Lecture by Prof. Robin Norris, “The Litany of the Saints”, Nov. 22nd

The 2019 W. John Bennett Distinguished Visiting Scholar

Robin Norris (Dept of English Language and Literature, Carleton University)

“The Litany of the Saints and the Taxonomy of Sanctity in Early Medieval England”


4:10 p.m.

Room 100, Alumni Hall

121 St. Joseph Street

 Reception to follow

London, British Library MS Cotton Galba A XVIII, f.21r

London, British Library MS Cotton Galba A XVIII, f.21r

Working with Islamic Manuscripts, Oct 17

Thursday, October 17, 5:10pm–6pm

Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building, CMS room 301

Lecture by Karin Scheper (Conservator, Leiden Univ.), author of The Technique of Islamic Bookbinding: Methods, Materials, and Regional Varieties (2018)

“Working with Islamic Manuscripts from a Western perspective to a neutral stance, and a new vocabulary”

Response by Alberto Campagnolo (University of Udine and the Ligatus Project)

Reception to follow

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In the past two decades, quite a few studies on material aspects of manuscripts from the Islamic world have shed new light on these artefacts, and it is fair to say that these have changed our understanding of this manuscript culture, and it’s larger role in the development of bookmaking techniques. As a result, we must also see the western tradition in a different light and question our vocabulary when we talk, write and teach about these objects. The terminology that has become a standard tool to exchange our knowledge, and to describe characteristics in the finest detail, appears very much geared towards western books. This talk is about misunderstandings that may evolve from the lack of a proper terminology for diverse bookmaking traditions, and presents ongoing work to address this problem.

Karin Scheper heads the conservation workshop at the University Library Leiden. In her practical work and study she focusses on manuscripts from the Islamicat world, and received a PhD for her work on the Islamic bookbinding tradition in 2014. She is also an experienced teacher, welcomes interns and has given workshops for western conservation training programmes and institutions in the Islamic world.

CMS Eighth Annual Alumni Lecture: Helen Solterer, 24 October 2019

The Centre for Medieval Studies cordially invites you to a lecture by CMS alumna

Helen Solterer (CMS 1986), Professor of Romance Studies, Duke University  

“The Travail of Political Visionary Writing:  Christine de Pizan, Edith Thomas, and Other Humanists at Work”

Christine de Pizan, Book of Three Virtues. Boston, Public Library, MS f 101, fol. 3

Christine de Pizan, Book of Three Virtues. Boston, Public Library, MS f 101, fol. 3

24 October 2019, 4:10 p.m.

Centre for Medieval Studies, Room 301
Lillian Massey Building
125 Queen’s Park

Reception to follow


Medieval Ethiopia: A Second Colloquium (11-12 October)

"The Virgin and Child with the Archangels Gabriel and Michael". Late 15th/early 16th century. Tempera on parchment. Gospel manuscript from the monastery of Gunda Gunde (Tigray, Ethiopia). Image: DSU, UTSC Library. © M. Gervers, 2002.

“The Virgin and Child with the Archangels Gabriel and Michael”. Late 15th/early 16th century. Tempera on parchment. Gospel manuscript from the monastery of Gunda Gunde (Tigray, Ethiopia). Image: DSU, UTSC Library. © M. Gervers, 2002.

co-hosted by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval Studies and the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies together with the Art Gallery of Ontario and with the support of the Italian Cultural Institute 


If you intend to attend the conference, please register on this website.


11 October 2019

9:00 am-9:15 am / CMS 310

Welcome by Suzanne Akbari (IAS / U of Toronto), including honored guests:

9:15-10:30 am / CMS 310

Session 1: Opening lecture by Michael Gervers (U of Toronto):

“The Enigma of Ethiopia’s Tablet-Woven Sanctuary Curtains”

10:30 am-11:00 am / CMS Great Hall

Coffee break

11:00 am-1:00 pm / CMS 310

Session 2Manuscript Culture:

Chair: Jill Caskey (U of Toronto)

Eyob Derillo (Curator of Ethiopian Collections, British Library), “Ethiopian Manuscripts: Curating, Exhibiting, and Digitising the British Library’s Collection”

Melissa Moreton (Hill Museum and Manuscript Library), “Nearing the Half-Century Mark: A Look Back at Ethiopian Manuscript Collections at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library”

Robert Holmstedt, “On Not Editing and Not Normalizing Ethiopic Texts (for the Sake of Gǝʿǝz Linguistics)” (U of Toronto)

1:00 pm-3:00 pm

Lunch break / travel to AGO

3:00 pm-5:00 pm / AGO Jackman Hall

Session 3: Roundtable discussion:

“Representing Ethiopia – and Representing Africa – in the Museums”

Welcome by Julian Cox (Art Gallery of Ontario)

Chair: Suzanne Akbari

Andrea Achi (Metropolitan Museum of Art); Michael Chagnon (Aga Khan Museum); Julie Crooks (Art Gallery of Ontario); Bryan Keene (Getty Museum); Silvia Forni (Royal Ontario Museum

5:00 pm-5:15 pm / adjoining Jackman Hall

Coffee break

5:15 pm-6:45 pm / AGO Jackman Hall

Session 4: Public lecture: Samantha Kelly (Rutgers U):

“Connected Histories: Ethiopia and the Global Middle Ages”


12 October 2019

9:30 am-10:00 am / Great Hall

Coffee and light breakfast

10:00 am-12 noon / CMS 310

Session 5Theological and Cartographic Contexts:

Chair: Isabelle Cochelin (Director, Centre for Medieval Studies, U of Toronto)

Marcia Kupfer (Washington, DC), “Sites of Anti-Judaism in Christian Cultures: A Comparative Study of the Medieval Latin and Ethiopian Orthodox Traditions”

Meron Gebreananaye, “Life of Krestos Semra” (Durham U)

Bryan Keene (Getty Museum), “Locating the Island of Socotra on Maps and in Manuscripts from Medieval Afro-Eurasia”

12 noon-1:15 pm / Great Hall

Lunch (buffet on site for presenters)

1:15 pm-2:30 pm / CMS 310

Session 6: Hagos Abrha Abay (St. Yared Center for Ethiopian Philology and Manuscripts Director, Mekelle U):

“Manuscript Collections of Kidana Mihret Wegrezhi”

2:30-3:00 pm / Great Hall

Introduced by: Tim Harrison (U of Toronto)

Coffee break

3:00-5:00 pm / CMS 310

Session 7: Material Culture:

Chair: Mark Meyerson (U of Toronto)

Verena Krebs (Bochum U), “Echoes of Exotic Others: Flemish Panel Paintings, Madre della Consolazione Icons, and Limoges Painted Enamels at the Late Medieval Ethiopian Royal Court”

Felege-Selam Solomon Yirga (Ohio State U / Dumbarton Oaks), “A New Provenance Study of the Aksumite Coins of the American Numismatic Society”

Sarah Guerin (U of Pennsylvania), “The African Ivory trade in the Longue Durée”

5:00 pm-6:30 pm / CMS 310

Session 8: Closing lecture: Alessandro Bausi (U of Hamburg):

“Ethiopia and the Christian Ecumene: Cultural Transmission, Translation, and Reception”

Introduced by Walid Saleh (U of Toronto)

Closing remarks and thanks: Suzanne Akbari (IAS / U Toronto)

6:30-8:00 / Great Hall



Commenting and Commentary: The Historical Emergence of a Global Interpretive Mode, 4-6 October 2019

An Interdisciplinary Conference

Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building

125 Queen’s Park, Room 312

 Main Commentary photo

Friday, 4 October 2019

9:45 Welcome

10:00 – 11:00   Introductory Roundtable: Towards an Interdisciplinary Methodology of Historical Commentary Studies

Chair: Markus Stock

Panelists:  Amanda Goodman, Christina Lechtermann, Walid Saleh, Kenneth Yu


11:30 – 1:15 Transgressing Theories of Interpretation

Chair: Kenneth Yu (University of Toronto)

Suzanne Akbari (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton): “Temporal Rupture and the Place of Commentary: The Aftermath of Alexander the Great in Medieval Universal Histories”

Andrew Brock Kraebel (Trinity University): “Senseless Interpretation”

Andrew Hicks (Cornell University): “Reading Texts within Texts: The Special Case of Lemmata”


2:15 – 4:00 Commentary and Religiosity

Chair: Robert Gibbs (University of Toronto)

Jennifer Gerber (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): Queries about the Divine. The Commentary on Meister Eckhart’s Granum sinapis

Amanda Goodman (University of Toronto): “Commentary at the Crossroads: An Examination of Chinese and Tibetan Ritual Works from Late-Medieval Dunhuang”

Elisabeth Hollender (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “On the Margins or in the Centre? The Place of Medieval Hebrew Liturgical Commentaries”


Saturday, October 5, 2019

10:00 – 11:45 The Materiality of Medieval Commentary

Chair: Christina Lechtermann (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Kristin Böse (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Openings”

Erik Kwakkel (University of British Columbia): “Annotating Aristotle: Page Design and Marginal Space in Thirteenth-Century University Manuscripts”

Joanna Olchawa (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Texts – Illustrations – Objects. The Materiality of Comments in the Bellifortis Manuscripts of the 15th Century”


1:00 – 2:45 Communities of Commentary

Chair: Enrico Raffaeli (University of Toronto)

Miguel Toledo (Universidad de Salamanca): “Zoroastrian Commentaries in Antiquity and Late Antiquity”

Alexander Andrée (University of Toronto): “Reading Virgil in Twelfth-Century Laon: Accessus and Commentary”

Philipp Knüpffer (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Commenting the Classics at Protestant Universities. The Commentarii Docti, Breves et Succincti in Virgilii libros Georgicorum (Mühlhausen, 1574) and the In Quintiliani institutionum librum decimum annotationes (Leipzig, 1570) by Johann Stigel”


3:15 – 5:00 Metapoetics and Autocommentary

Chair: Jill Ross (University of Toronto)

Elisa Brilli (University of Toronto): “Dante’s Self-Commentary and the Call for Interpretation”

Andrea Baldan (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Francesco Fulvio Frugoni’s Self- Commentary: Glosses and Literary Criticism in the ‘Tribunal della Critica’”

Christine Ott / Philip Stockbrugger (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Modes and Functions of Self-Commentary in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century”


Sunday, October 6, 2019

9:30– 10:45 Narrative and Commentary

Chair: Lorenza Bennardo (University of Toronto)

Elsa Bouchard (Université de Montreal): “Reading the Poetic Artifact: Narrative Unity in the Ancient Commentaries on Homer”

Christina Lechtermann (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “The In-/Coherences of Narrative Commentary”


11:15 – 12:30 (De-)Disciplining the Discourse: Commentary and Knowledge Formation

Chair: Walid Saleh (University of Toronto)

Ajay Rao (University of Toronto): “The Sociology of Knowledge in Sanskrit Scholastic Commentary”

Magnus Ulrich Ferber (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Commenting on a Purged

Model. The M. Valerii Martialis Epigrammaton libri omnes of the Jesuit Matthäus Rader (1602)”


Post-conference gatherings:

 2:00 – 4:00pm Graduate Student Workshop: Commentaries on Early Modern Texts – Theory and Practice

Chair: Robert Seidel (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Knowledge of Latin or German required



2:00 – 4:00pm PI Planning Meeting (Frankfurt / Toronto)


Lecture by Barbara H. Rosenwein, Sept. 26

The Centre for Medieval Studies cordially invites you to a lecture by

Barbara H. Rosenwein Professor emerita, Loyola University, Chicago 

Angry Words, Then and Now

Thursday, 26 September 2019, 4:10 p.m. Room 310

Reception to follow

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British Library (London), Yates Thompson 3, Penitential Psalms (France), f. 165v, “Anger” 

“We are all servants” — The Diversity of Service in Premodern Europe (20-22 Sept)

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Organized by Isabelle Cochelin (UofT), Elisheva Baumgarten (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Konrad Eisenbichler (UofT) with Lochin Brouillard (UofT) and Emma Gabe (UofT)

Scientific Advisory Board: Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux (EHESS) and Diane Wolfthal (Rice University)

Administration: Lane Springer (UofT)

Click here for Registration 

Location: Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies (UofT)


Friday: September 20th

8am-9am – Registration

9am-9:30am – Opening Remarks

I. Service in (Jewish and Christian) Legal and Religious Discourses

9:30am-11:00am – The Legal Discourse on Service 

Chair: Steven Bednarski (University of Waterloo)

Ilana Ben-Ezra (New York University), “Between Custom and Law: Raymond de Penaforte’s approach to the Master-Servant Relationship Between Jews and Christians”

Yael Ejgenberg (Bar-Ilan University), “Domestic servants in Jewish households and rabbinical law in medieval Europe”

Sarah Pech-Pelletier (Univ. Paris 13), “L’évolution de la notion de ‘service’ entre les XIIIe et XVIe siècles: serviteurs, esclaves et maîtres sous le regard de la loi”

11:00am-1pm- Lunch (ad lib)

1pm-2:30pm – The Concept of Service in Religious Texts 

Chair: Lochin Brouillard (University of Toronto)

Magda Hayton (Missouri State University), “The Concept of Service in Hildegard of Bingen’s Apocalyptic Discourse and the Making of the Exordium magnum

Judah Galinsky (Bar-Ilan University), “The Religious Ideal of the “Faithful Servant”: Moses of Coucy and Rashi”

Discussion on the importance of service in both medieval Judaism and Christianity led by Elisheva Baumgarten (Hebrew University), Darlene Brooks Hedstrom (Wittenberg University), and Isabelle Cochelin (University of Toronto)

2:30pm-3pm- Coffee Break

II. Service in Lay Context (in Christian and Jewish milieus)

3pm-4:30pm – Differences in Status and Religion 

Chair: Judith Baskin (University of Oregon)

Lucie Laumonier (Concordia University), “Domestic Service in Late Medieval Languedoc: The Household and the Family”

Federica Francesconi (University at Albany, SUNY), “Anonymous Women, Last Wills, and Domestic Service in the Early-Modern Venetian Ghetto”

Natalie Rothman (University of Toronto), “Patronage and servitude in early modern Catholic Istanbul”

Saturday: September 21st

8:30-10:30am –Servants and Masters

Chair: Natalie Zemon Davis (University of Toronto)

Debra Blumenthal (University of California at Santa Barbara), “’Services for which I expect to be compensated’: Mothering as a Labor of Love in Fifteenth-Century Valencia”

P. J. P. Goldberg (University of York, UK), “The experience of life-cycle servanthood in later medieval English town and country”

Shannon McSheffrey (Concordia University), “Servants, Masters, and Xenophobic Violence in early Tudor London”

Elizabeth S. Cohen (York University), ““I am a girl, a servant, and I eat their bread”: Domestic service and dependency in Rome, circa 1600”

10:30am-11am – Coffee Break

11am-1pm – Trust and Mistrust 

Chair: Angela Zhang (York University)

Emily J. Hutchison (Mount Royal University, Calgary), “Mutual Suspicion and Distrust: Servants and Masters in the Criminal Records of Late Medieval Paris”

Kim M. Phillips (University of Auckland), “Breast into Service: Wet Nurses in Late Medieval England”

Elena Brizio (Georgetown University, Fiesole Campus, Italy), “Friends or Enemies? Sienese Servant Women in the 15thand 16thcenturies”

Marlee Couling (York University), “‘She would long since have been starved’: The Alliances of Mistresses and Female Servants in Seventeenth-Century England”

1pm-2pm- Lunch

III. Service in Christian Religious Contexts

2pm-3:30pm –Service in Female Religious Communities 

Chair: Bert Roest (Radboud University)

Kate E. Bush (University of Rhode Island), “Maids of the Handmaidens: Manual Labor in Female Franciscan Community, c. 1250-1550”

Emma Gabe (University of Toronto), “The Discourse on Service in the Late Medieval Sister-Books”

Isabel Harvey (Humboldt University, Berlin & Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice), “Tridentine Reform of Convents from Below: When Servants Become Converse Nuns”

3:30pm-4pm -Coffee Break

4pm-5:30pm –Serving Recluses, Priests and the Sick 

Chair: Konrad Eisenbichler (University of Toronto)

Laura Moncion (University of Toronto), “Crossing the Threshold: Recluses and their Servants”

Adam J. Davis (Denison University), “Servants in Medieval Hospitals: In Service of the Sick Poor ‘Lords of the House’”

Roisin Cossar (University of Manitoba), “The Life Stories of Clerics’ Servants in Fifteenth-Century Italy”

Sunday: September 22nd

IV. Service in Art, Literature and Court

9:30am-11am – Service at Court 

Chair: Elisa Brilli (University of Toronto)

Arnaud Montreuil (University of Ottawa), “Qui pour armes servoient: service and knighting in vernacular literature (12thand 13thcent.)”

Jiting Chu (Zhengzhou University), “L’Accompagnement en tant que service : les suivantes des dames de haute noblesse à la fin du Moyen Âge”

Rolf Strom-Olsen (IE School of Arts & Humanities, Madrid), “The Part-Time Courtier: the periodic contract system at the Court of Burgundy”

11am-11:30am- Coffee Break

11:30am-1pm – Visual Representation of Service 

Chair: Matt Kavaler (University of Toronto)

Francesca Canadé Sautman (Hunter College), “Women Servants, Headwraps and Turbans: Locating Status and Service in the fifteenth-century Burgundian Reach”

Diane Wolfthal (Rice University), “The Unseen Servant”

Mathilde Legeay (University de Nantes), “Between painting and reality: maidservants in seventeenth-century religious Italian painting”

1pm-2pm – Lunch

2pm-3:00pm – Staging Service and Servants 

Chair: Mario Longtin (Western University)

Laura Muñoz (UCLA), “Servants and the Politics of Language Choice in Three Plays by Guillén de Castro”

Rosalind Kerr (University of Alberta), “Masters and Servants On and Off stage in The Commedia dell’Arte”

3pm-3:30pm- Coffee Break

3:30pm-4:30pm – Concluding Round Table 

Chair: Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux (EHESS)

Diane Wolfthal (Rice University), Shami Ghosh (University of Toronto), Elizabeth Ewan (Guelph University), and Mario Longtin (Western University, London).

University of Toronto Colloquium in Medieval Philosophy 2019 (20-21 Sept.)

All sessions are free and open to the public and will be held in Room 100 of the Jackman Humanities Building (170 St. George Street).


Session I (4:30 – 6:30)

Chair: Therese Cory (University of Notre Dame)

Emmanuel Bermon (Université de Bordeaux): “The Augustinian Proof for the Immortality of the Soul”

Commentator: Scott MacDonald (Cornell University)



Session II (10:00 – 12:00) 

Chair: Giorgio Pini (Fordham University)

Matteo di Giovanni (University of Turin): “Western Islamic Hylomorphism: Matter and Form in Averroes’ Philosophy”

Commentator: Stephen Menn (McGill University)


Session III (2:00 – 4:00)

Chair: Simona Vucu (University of Toronto)

Matthieu Remacle (University of Toronto): “Logic as a Normative Linguistic Discipline in al-Farabi”

Jacob Andrews (Loyola University Chicago): “William of Auxerre on the Compatibility of Faith and Arguments”

Machessa Samz (Nazareth College, Rochester): “Vital du Four on the Intellect’s Cognition of the Singular”


Session IV (4:15 – 6:15)

Chair: Peter Hartman (Loyola University Chicago)

Christina Van Dyke: “Reason and Its Limits in 13th-15th Century Contemplative Philosophy”

Commentator: Jennifer Hart Weed (University of New Brunswick)


The colloquium is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, the Collaborative Program in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, the Centre for Medieval Studies, the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, and the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations.

Organizers: Deborah Black, Peter King, Martin Pickavé

Position available: research associate (limited term) – Old English

The Centre invites applications for a Research Associate (Limited Term) for a 1-year part-time appointment, with the possibility of renewal.  The anticipated start date is November 1, 2019. Review of applications will begin on August 26, 2019, however this position will remain open until filled. To apply, please click here.

The successful candidate will have a PhD by the time of appointment or shortly thereafter. Applicants must have expertise in Od English language, familiarity with the corpus of Old English, and excellent research ability. Knowledge of Latin is essential and proficiency in Old English paleography is desirable. The primary responsibility of the successful candidate will be to do preparatory work to support editors in writing entries for the Dictionary of Old English.

This position offers a rare opportunity to participate in team research in the humanities, and therefore requires the ability to work well with other members of the project.  For more information about the Dictionary of Old English, please visit our home page at http://www.doe.utoronto.ca.
Any questions regarding this position should be directed to Dr. Robert Getz email hidden; JavaScript is required or Dr. Stephen Pelle email hidden; JavaScript is required.
To see a video about the project, click here:
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Congratulations to James P. Carley for his Gold Medal from the Bibliographical Society

Our colleague James P. Carley (CMS 1976) has been chosen as the recipient of the British Bibliographical Society‘s 2019 Gold Medal. Founded in 1892, the Bibliographical Society is the senior learned society dealing with the study of the book and its history. From time to time the Society awards a Gold Medal for distinguished services to bibliography to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the subject and the furtherance of the Society’s aims. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, James Carley is also Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at York University, Honorary Professor at the University of Kent, Honorary Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and Fellow at the Pontifical Institute. The presentation of the Gold Medal will take place before the lecture on Tuesday, 21 January 2020, at the Society of Antiquaries.Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 2.25.19 PM