Course Descriptions

MST 1002H Advanced Latin: Advanced Latin: The Bible in the Medieval Schools/A Andree (PR: Level Two Latin pass or MST 1001Y)

This course will study, in the original Latin, a selection of texts from the medieval school curriculum in biblical studies and theology, c. 1100-1250. The exercise comprises close reading and comparison of texts, as well as discussions of contents and contexts. The main objectives of the course are to provide students with knowledge of topics and themes of medieval theology and scriptural commentary as well as to expand their Latin scholastic vocabulary. Examination will consist of written translations and an editorial practicum.

MST 1104H   Palaeography I/A. Andree (PR: Level One Latin pass)

An introduction to early medieval scripts. The course is designed as a practicum in the transcription of scripts from the late Roman empire to the twelfth century.

MST 1015H   Medieval Representation of Sexual Dissidence/D. Townsend

A comparative approach to medieval textual representations of heterodox sexual behavior and identification, possibly with some supplemental consideration of select visual material. The course will include extensive discussion of the theory and historiography of sexuality since the 1970’s and its impact on the study of medieval sexualities.

MST 1422H   Introduction to the Study of Magic in the Middle Ages/J. Haines

In the last few decades, the field of medieval magic has developed into an important interdisciplinary area of scholarship. This seminar will serve as a broad introduction to magic in the Middle Ages for students working in disciplines ranging from literature to the history of science; to my knowledge, this is the first such course offered at the CMS. Following an introduction to the different types of magic – from healing and astrology to exorcism and necromancy – the seminar will briefly survey the historiography of medieval magic from the 1500s onwards. The bulk of the seminar will concern the vast range of mostly Latin literature related to medieval magic. While genres such as dream-books have been relatively well studied, others, such as chiromancy manuals, have received less attention. Significant time will be devoted to well-known works such as the Secret of Secrets and the Notory Art.

MST 2001H   Old Saxon/V. Pakis

This course is an introduction to Old Saxon language and literature. It will cover the lingustic basics of Old Saxon, especially its morphology, phonology, syntax, and vocabulary. Also, the relationship of Old Saxon to cognate Germanic languages, such as Old High German and Old English, will be discussed. The main course texts will be Heliand and Genesis, which will be read in and translated from the original Old Saxon. A portion of the course will also be devoted to the historical context of continental Saxon culture and two of the most important aspects of Old Saxon literary production: the tension between orality and writing, and the tension between heroic ethos and biblical subject matters.

MST 2030Y Old and Middle Irish/B. Miles

An introduction to classical Old Irish.  This comprises instruction and assignments in grammar and translation. A selection of Old Irish texts will be read and some instruction and reading will be given in handling later transitional Irish literary texts.

MST 3015H   Introduction to Ge’ez/R. Holmstedt

This course covers the essentials of Ge’ez (Classical Ethiopic) grammar, and introduces students to Ge’ez texts of elementary to intermediate difficulty. Designed for students with no previous knowledge of Ge’ez.

MST 3035H   Medieval Representation of Death, Sickness and Crime (1100-1500)/Y. Iglesias

This course will address the variety of representations of death, sickness and crime (including representations of burials, tombs, last judgment, tortures, mortal illnesses, suicide, medical care, and plagues). Iconography will be used together with legal, historical and literary sources. The goal of the course will be to understand better how these different sources interact, complement and sometimes even contradict each other. The course will be mainly centred on Medieval Spain. We will examine representations and texts from England and Italy as well. Nevertheless, students will be free to do their research on any European country.

MST 3126H   The Apocalypse in Medieval English Literature/A. Walton (Reading knowledge of Middle English)

This course will examine representations of the Apocalypse in medieval European literature, especially but not exclusively the literature of England.  It will pay particular attention to the visual symbols of Apocalypse, asking how these often sensational images were used by medieval authors to convey an extraordinary range of personal, political, and theological concerns. It will explore, for instance, how the Anglo-Saxons used Apocalypse to represent the death of a culture, how authors like Jacobus de Voragine used Apocalypse to represent the value of animal life, and how William Langland used Apocalypse to dramatize social crisis and the need for reform. Along the way, it will also examine the ways that medieval authors used humor and parody to resist the urgency of apocalyptic discourse. In exploring the wide variety of medieval responses to Apocalypse, this course will also pose a broad methodological question: how should scholars of the Middle Ages understand the relationship between religious belief and poetic expression? We will investigate the nature of this relationship in part by asking how medieval poets, from Bede to Chaucer, used apocalyptic imagery to represent the thrills and disasters of everyday life.

MST 3140Y   Medieval Catalan Language and Literature/J. Ross

This course is designed as an introduction to medieval Catalan language and literature.  The first semester will consist of a thorough presentation of Catalan grammar with special emphasis on the distinctive morphological, syntactical and lexical features of medieval usage.  We will also examine the relevant political, social and cultural factors which contributed to the development of Catalan as a literary language from the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries.  By the middle of the first semester we will begin literary readings in combination with formal grammatical material. The second semester will shift from an emphasis on grammar to a survey of medieval Catalan literature.  We will read a variety of texts from genres as diverse as troubadour lyric, historical narrative, sermon literature and romance.  The texts proposed for study are the following: Cerverí de Girona, selected poems; Ramon Llull, Blanquerna, Pere el Cerimoniós, Crònica; Sant Vicent Ferrer, sermons; Bernat Metge, Lo Somni; Ausias March, selected poems; Jaume Roig, Llibre de les dones; and Joanot Martorell, Tirant lo Blanc.  We will analyse these texts from both literary and historical perspectives.

MST 3152H   Intro to Old Occitan/D. Kullmann

A language course, designed for beginners who have little or no previous knowledge of Old Occitan and who wish to acquire the means to approach medieval Occitan literature in the original language. (A seminar on medieval Occitan literature will be offered in the spring term.) We will study historical phonetics, morphology, and syntax, using original text examples from different genres, including some troubadour poetry.

MST 3153H   Medieval Occitan Literature/D. Kullmann (PR: MST 3152H or permission of instructor)

A brief general introduction to medieval Occitan literature will be followed by the study of a specific corpus, author, or genre, or a particular aspect of this literature. Apart from troubadour lyric, genres such as romance, epic, hagiography etc. may also be covered. Participants will become acquainted with the literature and culture of Southern France and its relationship to other European cultures

MST 3207H   Decretists and Decretalists/G. Silano

Canonical jurisprudence was a crucial discipline in the definition of high medieval Christendom and in the formation of the Western legal tradition. The course will introduce students to the principal texts (e.g. Gratian’s Decretum and Gregory IX’s Decretals) and the chief commentaries upon them. The selection of texts to be examined will be determined in part in accordance with the students’ research interests.

MST 3225H   Jews and Christians in Medieval and Renaissance Europe / M. Meyerson

The course will explore key aspects of Jewish-Christian interaction, ca.400-1600, such as religious polemics, royal and papal Jewish policies, the Jews’ economic role, social relations, intellectual exchange, and the development of anti-Judaism

MST 3235H   Communal Florence 1150-1530/L. Armstrong

This course will draw on the rich historiography of medieval and early Renaissance Florence (ca. 1250‑1500) to study the dynamics of a medieval Italian commune. Among the topics that will be addressed are population, family and gender, the function of class, faction and economic relations in Florentine history, and the role of culture and ideology in making and remaking the republican political order.

MST 3241H   Everyday Life in Medieval Europe/S. Ghosh

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to a burgeoning field of historical inquiry in medieval studies: the everyday life of common people in the middle ages. The focus will be on ‘history from below’, and topics covered will include how people made a living; family life, kinship, love, sex, marriage, and childhood; ordinary women’s lives in the middle ages; popular religion; material culture, leisure, and play; schooling, apprenticeship and education; neighbours and community; and outsiders. By the end of the course, students should have a good understanding of the principal kinds of primary sources used to approach these topics and the problems and potential each kind of source offers, as well as the main debates in the field at the moment.

MST 3251H   The Merovingians/A. Murray

The passage from Roman to Frankish Gaul, culminating in the rise of the kingdom of the Merovingians. The course will provide a context for considering the continuities and discontinuities that constitute the transition from ancient to medieval civilization in western Europe during the period from, roughly, the fourth to eighth centuries. The latter part of the course will concentrate on reconstructing the kingdom of the Merovingians of the sixth and seventh centuries, traditionally seen as laying the foundations of both France and Germany. Students will be expected to participate in class discussion, to produce a research report for the instructor, and to convey its approach to their colleagues in the pedagogical and critical setting of the classroom.

MST 3309H   Birth of the Will/P.King

Close reading of texts from Augustine (Confessions, Free Choice of the Will, Grace and Free Choice, City of God) and from Anselm of Canterbury (Fall of the Devil, The Harmony of Free Choice and Foreknowledge) in which the idea of a separate quasi-autonomous psychological faculty of choice and decision, the “will,” is sketched out.  Particular attention will be paid to how this faculty is supposed to ground and explain ordinary psychological phenomena, such as weakness of will, commitment, decision, and the like.

MST 3346H   Medieval Islamic Philosophy/D. Black

An introduction to the major figures and themes in Islamic philosophy from the 9th to the 12th centuries, emphasizing issues in epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind.  The course will focus on the major thinkers from the Aristotelian and Neoplatonic traditions, especially Al-Fārabi, Avicenna, and Averroes.  Consideration will also be given to the impact of Islamic philosophy on the Christian West.  A major theme of the course will be developing an understanding of the differences between Islamic philosophy as studied in its own context, and Islamic philosophy as studied from the perspective of its influence on Christian authors such as Thomas Aquinas.

MST 3501H   Introduction to the Medieval Western Christian Liturgy/J. Haines

This introductory course is designed to supply participants with essential tools for further research in medieval liturgy, regardless of their field of expertise. The first four weeks cover basic aspects of private and public Western Latin worship in the Middle Ages. This is followed by an in-depth study of extant liturgical books, especially those from the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries. The latter will include hands-on work with liturgical books housed in University of Toronto library collections.