Dr Emily Corran

Emily is a historian of medieval Europe, specialising in late medieval ethical thought. She particularly looks at manuals for priests and investigates the advice they were given on how to resolve dilemmas. The part of ethics concerned with difficult decisions came to be known as casuistry and, after the Reformation, was particularly associated with the Jesuit order. In the later period, casuistry was controversial because it appeared to be too permissive; in the middle ages, however, this kind of ethics was extremely popular and an important intellectual resource for church institutions. Emily’s research will eventually become a history of casuistry from the thirteenth century up to the end of the Council of Trent (1563). Her doctoral research was on medieval thought about lying, particularly investigating whether the medieval clergy ever thought it was permissible to lie, swear a false oath or deceive. Prior to joining UCL she was a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College Oxford.

Major publications

  • Rules and Ethics: Perspectives from Anthropology and History, co-edited with Morgan Clarke, MUP 2021. 
  • Lying and Perjury in Medieval Practical Thought: A Study in the History of Casuistry, Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • ‘Moral Dilemmas in English Confessors’ Manuals’ in C. Watkins and A. Spencer (eds.), Thirteenth Century England XVI (Boydell and Brewer, 2016) pp. 21-36.
  • ‘Peter John Olivi’s Ethics of Lying and Equivocation: Casuistical Teaching drawn from his Commentaries of Matthew 5:37 and Luke 24:28.’ Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 108.1-2 (2015): 89-114.
  • ‘Hiding the Truth: Exegetical Discussions of Abraham’s Lie from Hugh of Saint Victor to Stephen Langton.’ Historical Research 87.235 (Feb 2014): 1-17.