Peter Jeffery



Michael P. Grace II Chair of Medieval Studies
105F Crowley Building
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556


Peter Jeffery CV


Peter Jeffery grew up in a house full of books and music, in the heady days of the pre-Vatican II Liturgical Movement; in fact he was an altar server the FIRST time the 1962 Missal was authorized. But he came of age on the mean streets of Brooklyn during the tumultuous 60s when it seemed as if violent revolution was inevitable. But being a creative type he attended the High School of Music and Art (dramatized in the movie "Fame"), and the City University of New York, where, after growing bored with protesting the Vietnam War, he unexpectedly learned much about the historical tensions between Christianity and Judaism. Unsure what field to go into, he obtained a PhD in Music History from Princeton University in 1980, and went on to become Cataloguer of Western Manuscripts and Editor of Publications at the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He remains a Benedictine Oblate of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville. Subsequent to that were a Mellon Fellowship at Harvard and teaching stints at the New York School of Liturgical Music and the University of Delaware, followed by a 1993 return to Princeton, from which he retired as Scheide Professor of Music History Emeritus in 2009. Now the Michael P. Grace II Professor of Medieval Studies at the U. of Notre Dame, he is also co-director of the Master of Sacred Music program. Along the way he was honored with grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Jesuit Institute at Boston College, the Guggenheim Foundation, and a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award," among others. He remains a somewhat disgruntled member of numerous august bodies, such as the North American Academy of Liturgy, the American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Society for Biblical Literature.

Gregorian chant remains at the center of his wide-ranging scholarly research interests, which produced such books as Re-Envisioning Past Musical Cultures: Ethnomusicology in the Study of Gregorian Chant (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); A New Commandment: Toward a Renewed Rite for the Washing of Feet (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1992); Ethiopian Christian Liturgical Chant: An Anthology, 3 vols., 1 compact disc (Madison, Wisconsin: A-R Editions, 1993-97), with Kay Kaufman Shelemay; Translating Tradition: A Chant Historian Reads Liturgiam Authenticam (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2005);The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled: Imagined Rituals of Sex, Death, and Madness in a Biblical Forgery (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006). He is still diligently at work on the Next Big Thing.