J ohn Wyclif (d.1384) is remembered primarily as a British forerunner of the Protestant reformation, under whose supervision the Bible was translated into English. His writings so angered the fourteenth-century church that his bones were exhumed and burned in 1428, in part because his words inspired the Czech reform movement associated with Jan Hus. Most of Wyclif’s admirers today associate him with the Bible translation; indeed, the Wycliffe Bible Society continues to translate the work into every known language. When I gave a presentation on Wyclif’s philosophy several years ago, a colleague later told me that he hadn’t even known that Wyclif wrote philosophy.[Read more…] about Stanislav of Znojmo’s Commentary on John Wyclif’s Philosophy
Practices of Commentary
More Future Events will be Posted Shortly
“If we consider commentary as a historical practice and a quotable gesture in this way, not only the operativity of the (very tangible) commentary on the page could come into view, but also the ways in which its operational core is used in a multiplicity of polemic, subversive, or creative ways that extend from a very personal dispute to questions of status and even—in a broad sense—to premodern forms of textual politics.”Lechtermann and Stock, 2020, pg. 4.
Congratulations to Christina Lechtermann and Markus Stock on the publication of their volume, “Practices of Commentary,” published in the Zeitsprünge series. This book arose out of a conference held at the Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, in December 2018, where scholars from both the University of Toronto and the Goethe University convened to consider the boundaries of commentary. The introductory chapter of this volume (by Christina Lechtermann and Markus Stock) presents a number of questions about the nature of commentary and leads into a series of premodern case studies in the fields of Arabic, English, German, Jewish, Latin, and Romance studies. Read the text in full below.
A hearty congratulations also to the contributors of this volume, many of whom are currently involved with the Global Commentary project:
- Stefanie Brinkmann, “Marginal Commentaries in Ḥadīṯ Manuscripts.”
- Walid Saleh, “The Place of the Medieval in Qur’an Commentary: A Survey of Recent Editions.”
- Jeannie Miller, “Commentary and Text Organization in al-Jāḥiẓ’s Book of Animals.”
- Suzanne Akbari, “Ekphrasis and Commentary in Walter of Chatillon’s Alexandreis.”
- Jennifer Gerber, “About Form and Function of German Vernacular Commentaries.”
- Christina Lechtermann, “Commentary as Literature: The Medieval ‘Glossenlied.'”
- Philip Stockbrugger, “Mirroring Authorization in Torquato Tasso’s Rime Amorose.”
In this book, Elisa Brilli and Giuliano Milani construct a biography of Dante Alighieri, delving into various documents and literary works to shed light on this famous author’s life. For more information, see the book’s publication page at Fayard.
“Écrire une biographie de Dante est un défi auquel se sont confrontés nombre de chercheurs. Tandis que les archives se taisent le plus souvent sur la vie du Florentin ou sont d’interprétation délicate, son œuvre contient tant de passages personnels qu’elle pourrait aisément se lire comme une autobiographie. Mais naïve serait la démarche qui prendrait Dante pour un témoin fidèle de sa vie. Dans une enquête conduite à quatre mains, où documents et œuvre littéraire se font écho, Elisa Brilli et Giuliano Milani renouent les fils de ce destin singulier. Celui d’un homme aux prises avec les bouleversements politiques de son temps, à la charnière des xiiie et xive siècles, et dont les expériences, horizons et réactions changent en fonction des contextes qu’il traverse (municipal, seigneurial, impérial, courtisan) ; celui d’un homme qui tenta à plusieurs reprises de façonner sa vie par l’écriture, inventant une forme de récit de soi, aux contenus toujours changeants, entre mémoire individuelle et universelle. Là est sans doute la contribution essentielle de Dante à la culture occidentale.”Fayard.
Featured image: Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS arabe 7290, fol 5r. Maqāmāt al-Ḥarīrī, 1214 (detail). Source: https://archivesetmanuscrits.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cc83329
Panel at the 2021 Modern Language Association Convention
SATURDAY, 9 JANUARY 5:15 PM-6:30 PM EST
Reception, Genre, Commentaries, Aesthetics, Literariness
1. A Philological Frame of Mind, Matthew L. Keegan (Barnard C) [#14416]
2. Commentary on al-Jāḥiẓ Manuscripts, Jeannie Miller (U of Toronto) [#14418]
3. The Problematic ‘One’ in a Thousand and One Nights, Muhsin J. al-Musawi (Columbia U) [#14420]
4. Al-Tawḥīdī’s Perception of the Art of Writing and Aesthetics, Nuha Alshaar (American U of Sharjah) [#14649]
Presiding: Lara Harb (Princeton U)
View details in the MLA Convention program online.
Attending this panel requires registering for the MLA Convention, but please check back for select recordings after the session.
Background image: British Library. Egerton MS 872, fol. 199r. Pentateuch with the Hafṭarot, Five Scrolls, and Rashi’s commentary, 1341. Source: http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Egerton_MS_872
Friday, October 30, 2020, 9am EST Zoom Meeting
A Practices of Commentary working group presentation by Dr. Amanda Goodman, Department for the Study of Religion and Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto
Featured image: P3861, item 9; folios 62–63. Sanskrit prayer tranliterated in Tibetan script with interlinear Chinese notations and additions. Courtesy of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Over the past decade, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Buddhist communities that flourished in the region of the Dunhuang Buddhist cave site in present-day Gansu province, China. Situated along the old Silk Road (fig. 1), Dunhuang served as a military garrison, way station, and pilgrimage site for well over a thousand years in what was then—and to a certain extent remains—a nexus of a wider regional “crossroads” populated by significant Chinese, Uyghur, and Tibetan communities. Many of these were Buddhist communities that left their traces in the books, buildings, and byways that for centuries lay buried beneath the desert sands.[Read more…] about A Multilingual Manuscript from Dunhuang: P3861
It’s our pleasure to invite you to the official zoom launch of the 5-year SSHRC Insight Grant, “Practices of Commentary”, hosted through the University of Toronto, and gathering colleagues from around the world.
The launch will take place on Friday, August 21, 2020 at
9am-10:30am EST (Toronto) | 3-4:30pm CEST (Germany) | 9-10:30pm SST (Singapore)
At the launch, we will introduce our plans for this first year, particularly in this time of COVID-19, as well as our longer-term goals. There will also be opportunity for discussion and introductions, as well as a short primer on Slack, our community’s digital home, and an introduction to our new project website.
Please reach out to us through the “Contact” emails to find out more.
Background image: British Library. Egerton MS 872, fol. 199r. Pentateuch with the Hafṭarot, Five Scrolls, and Rashi’s commentary, 1341.Source: http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Egerton_MS_872
University of Toronto
Walid Ahmad Saleh is Professor of Islamic Studies at the Department for the Study of Religion and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. He is a specialist on the Qur’an, the history of its interpretation, the Arabic manuscript tradition, Islamic apocalyptic literature, and Muslim’s reception of the Bible. His first book The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition was the first monograph study ofal-Thalabi (d. 1035) and his influence. His second monograph, In Defense of the Bible, is a detailed study and an edition of al-Biqa`i’s (d. 1480) Bible treatise.[Read more…] about Walid SALEH
by Walid SALEH
I was not going to the USA to study Qur’an commentary tradition. That was not the plan. I came to graduate school to study the Qur’an, in the manner of Biblical Studies (higher criticism). There I was reading up on scholarship on the Qur’an. I read a book on folklore and the Qur’an, and in it the author mentions that one of the most important Qur’an commentaries in Islamic history is still unedited!!!!!!! I said WHAT!!!!! This was 1994. A moment that would define my academic career, a side remark by an author.[Read more…] about Princeton Arabic mss Garrett no. 2271Y
Institute for Advanced Study
Suzanne Conklin Akbari is Professor of Medieval Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Her books are on optics and allegory (Seeing Through the Veil) and European views of Islam and the Orient (Idols in the East), and she’s also edited volumes on travel literature, Mediterranean Studies, and somatic histories, plus How We Write and How We Read. Her most recent book is The Oxford Handbook of Chaucer (2020), co-edited with James Simpson. A co-editor of the Norton Anthology of World Literature, Akbari co-hosts a literature podcast called The Spouter Inn.[Read more…] about Suzanne Conklin AKBARI
University of Toronto
Andreas Bendlin is Associate Professor of Classics at the Departments of Historical Studies and of Classics at the University of Toronto. He is working on ancient Mediterranean migration, Roman associations, and Graeco-Roman cultural history more generally, but the main focus of his research is religion in the Roman Mediterranean, from the city of Rome and Italy to the Imperial Greek East, and from the archaic period to Roman religion’s Nachleben in the modern world. Current research includes a large-scale project on demography, migration, and urbanism, and their impact on religious pluralism in the city of Rome.[Read more…] about Andreas BENDLIN
University of Toronto
I am an Assistant Professor (Limited Term) at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga. My work focuses on Latin Poetry of the 1st century C.E., and especially on Flavian Epic. My main research project investigates the ways in which imitation and intertextuality in Latin epic poetry create a space for reacting to contemporary philological discussions. I am also interested in the reception of philosophical ideas in Flavian Epic and in the construction of Statius’ literary language.[Read more…] about Lorenza BENNARDO
Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge
Dr. Bouhafa received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University and is now a senior research associate at the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests lie in Arabic philosophy and Islamicsciences, focusing on law, ethics, and rhetoric and poetics. In her first book entitledEconomy of Contingency in Ethics, Law, and Truth: Ibn Rushd’s Moral Philosophy,currently under preparation, Bouhafa identifies a philosophy of law in Ibn Rushd’s philosophical and legal works which not only assesses the epistemological basis of the Islamic system of knowledge but also admits the necessity of rectifying legal norms to redress ethical deficiencies stemming from the contingency of human actions.[Read more…] about Feriel BOUHAFA
University of Toronto
Elisa Brilli is Professor of Italian Studies at the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto. She is a specialist on Dante studies, with an interest in the interactions between history and literature, medieval exemplary literature, and historiography. Her first book Firenze e il Profeta provides a comprehensive analysis of the depiction of Florence in Dante’s works from three perspectives: its dialogue with civic memory, its reshaping of theological paradigms, and its autobiographical implications. She is the chief editor of the critical edition of the Alphabetum Narrationum by Arnold of Liège, a 14th-century collection of 800 exemplary tales.[Read more…] about Elisa BRILLI
Stefanie Brinkmann is Research Fellow at the Bibliotheca Arabica Project funded by the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig, Germany. During her time as research associate and acting professor for Arabic and Islamic Studies at the universities of Leipzig, Freiburg im Breisgau and Hamburg, she served as research assistant and principal investigator of a number of manuscript projects, and she was a long-term board member of The Islamic Manuscript Association. Her main research interests are manuscript studies, hadith, material culture (especially the history of food and drink), and classical Arabic poetry.[Read more…] about Stefanie BRINKMANN
Shayne Clarke is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies, McMaster University, where he has taught courses on Indian (and East Asian) Buddhism since completing his PhD at UCLA in 2006. He is a specialist in the study of Indian Buddhist monastic law (Vinaya), working primarily on legal texts—both canonical and commentarial—preserved in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese. His work aims to recover, among other things, lost voices and views from premodern sources, including those related to pregnant nuns and monastic mothers: Buddhist monasticism, but not as we generally imagine it.[Read more…] about Shayne CLARKE
Mordechai Cohen is Associate Dean and Professor of Bible at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. Reflected in his recent volume, The Rule of Peshat, his research focuses on Jewish Bible commentary in Muslim and Christian contexts. His earlier volumes, Three Approaches to Biblical Metaphor and Opening the Gates of Interpretation, show how Jewish thinkers drew upon Arabic poetics and Muslim jurisprudence to interpret the Bible. In 2010/11, Cohen directed a fourteen-member international research group at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, leading to the publication of Interpreting Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, co-edited with Adele Berlin.[Read more…] about Mordechai COHEN
Freie Universität Berlin
Islam Dayeh is Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at Freie Universität Berlin. His research focuses on Arabic-Islamic intellectual history and textual scholarship in the early modern period. He is the director of the research programme Zukunftsphilologie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship (Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin) and founding editor of the journal Philological Encounters (Brill).[Read more…] about Islam DAYEH
University of Toronto
Benjamin Durham is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a specialist on the Latin manuscript tradition, scholastic theology, and the nascent stages of the university system in Western Europe. His dissertation is a commentary on and edition of several sermons by Peter Comestor, a twelfth-century theologian and chancellor of the Notre-Dame cathedral school at Paris.[Read more…] about Benjamin DURHAM