IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 125: Pragmatics of Scholarly Writing: Encyclopedias and Commentaries

Monday 9 July 2007, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:John B. Dillon, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Moderator/Chair:John B. Dillon, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Paper 125-aOne's Reach Should Always Exceed One's Grasp: Bartholomaeus Anglicus' De proprietatibus rerum
(Language: English)
Juris G. Lidaka, Department of English, West Virginia State University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Science, Theology
Paper 125-bRe-Purposing Augustine: Use and Abuse of Sources in Commentaries on the Psalms
(Language: English)
Theresa Gross-Diaz, Department of History, Loyola University Chicago
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature - Latin, Rhetoric
Paper 125-cScholarly Apparatus to Augustine's De civitate Dei before c. 1300
(Language: English)
Jess Paehlke, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Rhetoric, Theology

Paper a: At the beginning and end of his encyclopedia, Bartholomæus Anglicus avows that his intent is to disclose the spiritual meanings hidden within the physical things in the Bible. While his material is largely ‘traditional’ in being selections from received authorities, scattered portions are original compositions; both pass beyond Biblical contents. His modus tractandi offers two further novelties: primary organization via the Great Chain of Being and authorial glosses – these glosses serving the expressed purpose of metaphorical exposition; and Bartholomæus’ educational goal of preparing Franciscan novices for preaching. Although Bartholomæus clearly completed his encyclopedia, there are signs that the work is not finished: the glossing is incomplete in areas, claims for restriction to Biblical materials are not reconciled with the actual contents, and a number of blind cross-references remain in the text.
Paper b: Commentaries on the Bible are still considered by many to be the least innovative among areas of theological or pastoral inquiry, mainly due to their heavy reliance on patristic writings. A careful review indicates that even the most “derivative” of medieval commentators on the Psalms cheerfully manhandled their sources to promote very distinctive agendas via some radically innovative techniques.
Paper c: This paper will examine the variety of features provided by medieval scholars for the text of Augustine’s De civitate Dei leading up to the appearance of the first commentaries proper in the early 14th century in order to better assess the significance of the commentaries. The division of the text into books and chapters with headings, the addition of excerpts from Augustine’s Retractationes in some manuscripts, the creation of florilegia, the tabula attributed to Robert Kilwardby, and other anonymous indices will be all be surveyed. I will concentrate, however, on the relatively isolated innovations of two other figures: Robert Grosseteste and Alexander of St Elpidio. The system of sigla devised by Grosseteste for books in his library will be explained and used to determine what topics he found noteworthy in his still extant copy of the City of God. Alexander’s virtually unknown contribution to scholarship on Augustine, written around the time that Nicholas Trevet’s first true commentary appeared, was not so much a commentary itself as an epitome of Augustine’s text.