Congratulations to our recent PhD graduates!

Congratulations to our recent PhD students who recently defended their thesis:

Annika Ekman: “Anselm of Laon, the Glossa Ordinaria, and the Tangled Web of Twelfth-Century Psalms-Exegesis”.

This thesis studies the textual relationships between a group of related early scholastic commentaries on the Psalms. At the centre of the discussion stands the commentary which is often said to epitomize the developments in teaching which emerged within the cathedral schools in the twelfth century, namely the so-called Glossa ordinaria on the Bible, and its association with Anselm of Laon, one of the most celebrated theologians of the period. Despite its central place in twelfth-century intellectual culture, relatively little has been able to be conclusively established regarding the origins of the Gloss. Likewise, the authorship of many of the early scholastic Psalms-commentaries related in some way to the Gloss remains uncertain. A great many suggestions have been put forward by modern scholars, but rather than looking only at one or two of the attributions, this thesis broadens the scope of the question and takes a comprehensive view of a larger group of these commentaries, showing that this is necessary if we want to be able to say anything conclusive about their authorship.

The first chapter examines the latest scholarship on the Gloss on some other books of the Bible, showing how this bears on the question of Anselm’s authorship of the Gloss on the Psalms. The second chapter analyses the relationship of the Gloss on the Psalms to its two closest relatives and attempts to settle conclusively the question of the direction of influence. The third chapter examines the evidence and arguments for the attribution of one of the other Psalms-commentaries to Anselm, arguing, on the basis of the expanded scope of the examination, against the attribution. It also begins to examine the relationships that exist within the larger group, and introduces a new hypothesis for the place of the Gloss in the family tree and for Anselm’s involvement its creation. The fourth chapter analyses the relationships of the group as a whole, demonstrating how they are all related to one another but that none can be the sole source of the rest of the group, and arguing further for the hypotheses introduced in Chapter Three.

Kirsten Schut: “A Dominican Master of Theology in Context: John of Naples and Intellectual Life Beyond Paris, ca. 1300-1350”.

This dissertation provides the first comprehensive biography of the Dominican scholar John of Naples (Giovanni Regina di Napoli), who flourished during the first half of the fourteenth century. John studied and taught at the Dominican schools in Naples and Bologna, and at the University of Paris, where he was made a master of theology in 1315. He spent most of the rest of his life in Naples, where he was closely associated with the Angevin court. Chapter 1 surveys John’s life and works, setting his career in its Neapolitan context. Chapters 2-4 deal with different aspects of his teaching. Chapter 2 contrasts his contributions to debates about the nature of theology at Paris with the way he introduced this subject to his Dominican students in Naples. Chapter 3 examines the role of medicine in his theological teaching, where it served as a tool for interpreting core texts as well as a source of material for preaching. Chapter 4 analyzes the symbiotic relationship between his quodlibets and the literature of pastoral care. Chapter 5 looks at John as a Dominican friar and preacher, turning to his sermon collection as a source of information about Dominican life in southern Italy, and Chapter 6 investigates his relationship with the Angevin rulers of Naples and the role of politics and political theory in his works. Appendices to chapters 2-6 provide transcriptions of unpublished quodlibetal questions, sermons, and other texts used as the basis for this study. Two additional appendices provide descriptions of the main manuscripts and discuss the dating and placing of John’s works. This study considers John from a variety of angles – teacher, preacher, friar, courtier, Neapolitan – and suggests that these overlapping identities cannot be productively separated from one another. It highlights the vibrancy of intellectual life in early-fourteenth-century Naples, and the strong cultural ties between Naples, Paris, and Avignon, as well as other regions such as the Kingdom of Hungary. Furthermore, it illustrates how mendicant convents could help to disseminate theological teachings from the University of Paris to the provinces, while also serving as sites of innovation in their own right.