Congratulations to our recent PhD graduate!

Congratulations to our recent PhD graduate who defended in the last months:

Jason Brown: “St Antonin of Florence on Justice in Buying and Selling: Introduction, Critical Edition, and Translation.”

This dissertation presents an extensive introduction to the Summa of St Antonin (Antoninus, Antonino) of Florence and his teaching on justice in buying and selling. It also presents, for the first time, critical editions and English translations of three chapters of his Summa: 2.1.16 (On fraud), 3.8.1 (On merchants and artisans), and 3.8.2 (On the various kinds of contracts). St Antonin was a Dominican friar and archbishop of Florence from 1446 to 1459, and composed one of the most comprehensive medieval manuals of moral theology, his Summa. In his preaching and writing, Antonin sought to teach the merchants and artisans of Florence about the proper conduct of trade and exhorted them to practice virtue and moderation in the pursuit of profit. The first part of this dissertation is an introduction with four chapters. Chapter One provides a brief literature review on St Antonin and a biography. Chapter Two is a study of his Summa: its conception, textual witnesses, and process of composition. This chapter demonstrates that the manuscripts traditionally considered to be the originals are indeed the author’s autographs, and offers the most extensive analysis of these manuscripts yet produced. Chapter Three expounds the development of scholastic teaching on justice in buying and selling in the thirteenth-century faculties of canon law and theology. Chapter Four explains Antonin’s teaching: its social context in renaissance Florence; its content, sources, and method; and its purpose, namely, helping the clergy in their pastoral duties of preaching, hearing confessions, and resolving moral dilemmas. A postscript comments on Antonin’s place in the history of moral theology. The second part of the dissertation, the appendices, is the critical edition and English translation, preceded by an explanation of the edition and followed by tables illustrating the recensions of each chapter, as well as a description of Antonin’s handwriting.

Congratulations to Ben Wheaton for being awarded the Claudio Leonardi Fellowship!

The Claudio Leonardi Fellowship is granted by the Zeno Karl Schindler Foundation for Medieval Latin Studies. Ben Wheaton (PhD 2018) will be spending six months in Florence, Italy being hosted by the SISMEL Institute (Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino), where he will be revising and adding to his dissertation on Venantius Fortunatus for publication. In particular, he intends to explore in more detail the poem In laudem sanctae Mariae, uncovering its sources and looking at how it fits into the broader context of theological dispute in Late Antiquity.

A.G. Rigg obituary


We acknowledge with deep sadness the death of Professor A.G. Rigg on Monday, 7 January 2019.

George, as he was known universally to friends, colleagues, and generations of admiring and grateful students, died peacefully at home, in the presence of his beloved wife Jennifer, after a period of declining health.

A.G. Rigg photo_May2018

A.G. Rigg, May 2018

George was born on 17 February 1937 at Wigan, Lancashire, where he received his secondary education at Wigan Grammar School, which was known for its strong reputation in Classics. As an undergraduate he attended Pembroke College, Oxford from 1955 to 1959 leading to a B.A. in the English School.  He wrote his D. Phil thesis, “An edition of a fifteenth‑century commonplace book,” under the supervision of Norman Davis. That work was published in 1968 as A Glastonbury Miscellany of the Fifteenth Century: a descriptive Index of Trinity College, Cambridge, MS 0.9.38.  Concurrently with his doctoral work he taught at Merton College, Oxford, when he first met Jennifer, as well later at Balliol College. From 1966 to 1968 he held a Visiting Assistant Professorship in the Department of English at Stanford University. In 1968 he took the position of Assistant Professor in the newly formed Centre for Medieval Studies and the Department of English at the University of Toronto, where he taught until his reluctant retirement (still mandated by law at 65) in 2002. As an emeritus, his generous and energetic mentorship of graduate students continued for many years thereafter.

His exacting philological standards secured his international reputation as a scholar of medieval Latin as well as of Middle English. His editions included the poems of Walter of Wimborne (1978), his controversial edition of the Z-Text of Piers Plowman (1983, with Charlotte Brewer) and a glossed epitome of Geoffrey of Monmouth, A Book of British Kings (2000). The latter was published as volume 30 of the Toronto Medieval Latin Texts, a series that George established and for which he served as general editor for its first thirty volumes. His many articles included a signal series of codicological studies of medieval Latin poetic anthologies which appeared in Mediaeval Studies. Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide, co-edited with Frank Mantello, remains an invaluable resource for students of the field, while his magisterial survey, Anglo-Latin Literature, 1066-1422, published in 1992, will remain the definitive reference work for decades to come.  He was elected Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America in 1997 and of the Royal Society of Canada in 1998.

His passionate advocacy for reading competence in medieval Latin as a central feature of serious advanced training in medieval studies led to the creation of the Committee for Medieval Latin Studies, which he chaired from its inception until his retirement, and to the system of examinations that remains a hallmark of a Toronto training in the field. It was his tireless and exacting but endlessly patient encouragement of students in their pursuit of a notoriously rigorous standard that exposed the greatest number of Toronto graduate students to his teaching over the years. Those who took his seminars, and above all those who benefitted from his kindness, enthusiasm, and bonhomie as their doctoral supervisor experienced even more abundantly his rare combination of extraordinary erudition, good humour, genuine humility, and quiet empathy.

We are all of us the poorer for the loss of this kind, good, and brilliant man. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Rigg, sisters-in-law Joanne Hope and Ann Nicholson, and by his nephew, Rupert Hope. Warmest thanks to the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care for their unfailing kindness and support.

There will be a small ceremony at 11:00 am on Saturday, 19 January 2019, Humphrey Funeral Home, 1403 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON.  Phone: 416-487-4523.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to an animal rescue shelter or a charity of your choice.

The Centre hopes to hold a memorial on the University of Toronto campus in the Spring, and an informal remembrance at the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo prior to the annual CMS reception; details to follow.


David Townsend

Professor Emeritus of Medieval Studies and English

University of Toronto