Fall 2008 Graduate Courses
(as of 8-5-08)
MI 60001 - Introduction to Medieval Studies
M 5:00 - 5:50 PM
Constable, Olivia Remie
A one-credit-hour course designed to introduce students to the basic bibliographies, handbooks, and research tools in medieval studies. Professors from various disciplines will participate.
MI 60003 – Introduction to Christian Latin
M W 11:45 - 1:00 PM
Bloomer, W. Martin
This course has two goals: to improve the student’s all-around facility in dealing with Latin texts and to introduce the student to the varieties of Christian Latin texts and basic resources that aid in their study. Exposure to texts will be provided through common readings which will advance in the course of the semester from the less to the more demanding and will include Latin versions of Scripture, exegesis, homiletic, texts dealing with religious life, formal theological texts, and Christian Latin poetry. Philological study of these texts will be supplemented by regular exercises in Latin composition.
MI 60122 – Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts
T R 3:30 - 4:45 PM
A seminar on the manuscripts and book culture of Anglo-Saxon England, emphasizing the transmission of Latin and Old English texts, the curriculum of study in early English schools, the history of early English libraries and scriptoria, and varieties of literacy and reading practices. Students will gain experience reading and researching Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and will transcribe and edit texts in Latin and Old English.
MI 60150 - Middle English Drama
M W 1:30 - 2:45 PM
This course will survey the extant canon of both “religious” and “secular” dramatic texts - primarily those from the fourteenth-century up the the establishment of the professional theaters in the sixteenth in England, though we will also attend to antecedent practices in liturgy and civic spectacle. In addition to this survey, the course will also provide an introduction to primary source material in the Records of Early English Drama to allow us to investigate dramatic performance in historical context and will examine some of the more recent critical trends in scholarship by Carol Symes, Sarah Beckwith, and Ruth Nissé, among others, who have examined the definition and role of “drama” in medieval culture more broadly. Assignments will include a few short papers and presentations and one larger research project.
MI 60213 – The History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from 1750
M W 9:30 – 10:45 AM
This course will be the first half of a two-semester survey of the main events in the history of natural philosophy and science from Greek antiquity to the early Enlightenment. The first half, will begin with Presocratic reflections and carry the course to the Renaissance
MI 60324 - Plotinus and Proclus
T R 11:00 - 12:15 PM
This course will provide an introduction to the two most important Greek philosophers of late antiquity and the representatives of the two main tendencies in what is nowadays called “Neoplatonism.” The first half of the semester will consist of textual readings in English translation but always keeping an eye on the original Greek. Students will make a close study of selected treatises in Plotinus’ Enneads and parts of Proclus’ Elements of Theology and commentaries on the Timaeus and Parmenides with a view to understanding their inner consistency and historical background. The second half of the semester will be devoted to a historical survey of the two thinkers’ influence in the medieval Latin, Arabic, and Byzantine spheres. The survey will include some discussion of the MSS. traditions, of the beginnings of the medieval (direct and indirect) transmission proper in Iohannes Scottus Eriugena, al-’Âmirî, and Michael Psellus, and of selected later influences. Knowledge of Greek is desirable but not essential. Requirement: one final paper (ca. 20 pp.).
MI 60368 - Allegory and Cosmology
T R 12:30 - 1:45 PM
During the Middle Ages in the Latin West, the Timaeus was the only work of Plato that achieved wide dissemination (in the translation by Calcidius). Especially when read in conjunction with other works of late antiquity such as Macrobius’ commentary on the Cicero’s Dream of Scipio and Servius’ commentary on Virgil’s Aeneid, this dialogue came to be viewed as “cosmological” with regard to content and as “mythical” or “allegorical” with regard to style. Our course will be devoted to the influence of such a Timaeus in twelfth-century Latin authors. Beginning with some discussion of the philosophical commentaries of Bernard of Chartres and William of Conches, we will engage in a sustained reading of Bernard Silvestris’ Cosmography and Alan of Lille’s On the Complaint of Nature, paying close attention to the themes of the disorder of matter, the harmony of the spheres, and the soul’s celestial journey soul. Knowledge of Latin is desirable but not essential. Requirement: one final paper (ca. 20 pp.).
MI 60400 - Early Christianity: Introduction
M W 8:00 - 09:15 AM
Young, Robin Darling
This course provides an introduction to the history and thought of the first 500 years of the Christian church. The approach taken will be largely that of social history: we will try to discover not only the background and context of the major theological debates but also the shape and preoccupations of “ordinary” Christian life in late antiquity. Topics to be studied will therefore include canon formation, martyrdom, asceticism, Donatism, Arianism, and Pelagianism. The class will stress the close reading of primary texts. Requirements include class participation, a final examination, the memorization of a few important dates and places, and two papers, one of which will be an exercise in the close reading of an additional primary source and the other and exploration of early Christian exegesis.
MI 60401 – Medieval Theology: An Introduction
T R 12:30 – 1:45
The Middle Ages brought about a broad spectrum of theological thought and literature. Both traditional and innovative medieval theologians eventually made theology a “science.” Though exposing the faith to rational inquiry, medieval theology remained a thoroughly biblical endeavor. The Middle Ages also produced a great number of classics of Christian spirituality.The course will focus on single theologians as well as on important controversies and theological ideas. Particular emphasis will be given to the leading figures of the 12th and the 13th century, such as Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Abelard, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hugh of Saint Victor, Albert the Great, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus.
MI 60501 - From Reconquest to Renaissance
M 3:30 - 6:00 PM
The literature of medieval Spain in light of recent developments in critical theory.
MI 60531 – Introduction to Old French
T R 9:30 - 10:45 AM
This course is designed to be an introduction to the language and dialects of medieval France, including Anglo-Norman. Readings will include texts written between the twelfth and the fourteenth centuries, such as the lais of Marie de France, trouvère poetry, the prose Lancelot, Machaut, and Froissart.
MI 60537 - Renaissance Love Poetry: Ronsard
M 3:00 - 5:45 PM
Della Neva, Jo Ann
An in-depth reading of the love lyrics of Ronsard, particularly as they relate to the Italian Petrarchist tradition.
MI 60552 - Dante I
M W 3:00 - 4:15 PM
Many have considered Dante’s Comedy to be the greatest poetic achievement in Western literature. It is also perhaps the most perfect synthesis of medieval culture, and the most powerful expression of what even today remains the foundation of the Catholic understanding of human nature, the world, and God. This course is an in-depth study, over two semesters, of the entire Comedy, in its historical, philosophical, and literary context, with selected readings from the minor works (e.g., Vita Nuova, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia). Lectures and discussion will be in English; the text will be read in the original, but all who can follow with the help of a facing-page translation are welcome.
MI 60630 – Introduction to the Latin Vulgate
T R 3:30 - 4:45 PM
Readings in the prose and poetry of the Latin Bible. The peculiarities of its Latin, influenced by Greek and Hebrew, will be analyzed from an historical linguistic perspective and also interpreted according to Christian exegetical tradition. Special stress on the Psalms with accompanying readings in Augustine’s Enarrationes. No knowledge of Hebrew or Greek required.
MI 60680 – Medieval German Literature
M W 3:00 - 4:15 PM
This course constitutes a survey of German literature from its beginnings during Germanic times until the 16th century. Ideas, issues and topics are discussed in such a way that their continuity can be seen throughout the centuries. Lectures and discussions are in German, but individual students’ language abilities are taken into consideration. Readings include modern German selections from major medieval authors and works such as Hildebrandslied, Rolandslied, Nibelungenlied, Iwein, Parzival, Tristan, courtly lyric poetry, the German mystics, secular and religious medieval drama, Der Ackermann aus Bühmen, and the beast epic Reineke Fuchs. Class discussions and brief presentations in German by students on the selections are intended as an opportunity for stimulating exchange and formal use of German.
MI 60724 - Gothic Art and Architecture
T R 3:30 - 4:45 PM
It was during the Gothic period, stretching approximately from the 12th to the 15th centuries, that artists raised their social status to a higher level and produced a greater quantity of works than ever before seen in the Christian West. The architectural forms that we identify as characterizing the Gothic style, such as pointed arches, flying buttresses, pinnacles, and quatrefoils were applied not only to buildings, but to altarpieces, illuminated manuscripts, liturgical objects, and even to domestic items such as spoons, beds, and chests. This style has a powerful legacy, and has been frequently revived to various purposes in the modern era. In this course we analyze representative examples of Gothic art and architecture in light of their production at a time of great social, intellectual, religious, and political dynamism and upheaval.
MI 60757 Venetian and Northern Italian Renaissance Art
M W 3:00 - 4:15 PM
Coleman, Robert Randolph
This course focuses on significant artistic developments of the sixteenth century in Venice with brief excursions to Lombardy and Piedmont. Giorgione, Titian, and Palladio, the formulators of the High Renaissance style in Venice, and subsequent artists such as Tintoretto and Veronese are examined. An investigation of the art produced in important provincial and urban centers such as Brescia, Cremona, Milan and Parma also provide insight into the traditions of the local schools and their patronage.
MI 60803 – Nature, Grace, and History
R 3:30 – 6:00 PM
This seminar will explore several interrelated themes concerning the relationship between religious belief and politics. It will critically compare several authors on a variety of questions including the status of politics, its natural versus conventional status, whether religion is understood as natural theology or divine particular providence, whether reason and revelation can conflict, toleration of other religions, and what claims are made about the role of revealed religion in establishing political obligation. Readings will include parts of Plato’s Laws, Augustine’s City of God, Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed, Alfarabi’s Plato’s Laws, John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, and selections from Martin Luther. Requirements will include two five-page seminar papers, four one-page commentaries, and a 20-page term paper due at the end of the semester.
MI 63201 – Proseminar: The Early Middle Ages
T 1:00 - 3:30 PM
Noble, Thomas F. X.
A chronological proseminar in substance and bibliography required of all students in medieval history.
MI 63214 – The Renaissance: Society, Culture, and Ideas
W 1:00 - 3:30 PM
An exploration of the Italian Renaissance.
MI 63440 – Moral Theology Seminar: Thomas Aquinas
W 12:50 - 3:50 PM
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Aquinas’s ethical thought, but without attention to the context from which it emerged. Yet Aquinas’s moral thought cannot be fully understood or appreciated unless it is placed in relationship to the views of his immediate predecessors and interlocutors. Furthermore, this approach to the study of Aquinas’s moral theology also provides us with a case study for examining how moral concepts develop over time, and how they are shaped by social and cultural, as well as intellectual factors. In this course, we will examine Aquinas’s writings on the natural law in the context of relevant texts from selected twelfth and thirteenth century authors, including Abelard, Gratian, William of Auxerre, Bonaventure, and Albert the Great. All texts will be made available in translation, although students who wish to read them in Latin will be given the opportunity to do so. Course requirements will include several short papers and a longer paper on a topic to be determined in consultation with the instructor.
MI 63486 - Mystical Theology: Current Theological Perspectives
T 12:30 - 3:15 PM
This seminar will begin with a quick survey of the current research on mystics using William Harmless’s recent book Mystics (Oxford University Press, 2007). We will then read some current theological discussions in books like those of, Denys Turner and Mark McIntosh. We will assume as background Bernard McGinn’s survey of the literature (philosophical, psychological and theological) in the first volume of his work on the history of western mysticism. Students will lead discussions of the readings and make class presentations on a topic of their own choosing inspired by the readings. Such presentations will be anterior to a major paper on a topic chosen after consultation with the professor.
MI 63487 – Hagiography
F 9:35 - 12:35 PM
In recent years, a burgeoning scholarship on medieval and early modern hagiography has explored its literary conventions; its expression in a variety of forms: chronicles, romances, sermons, legenda, sequences, hymns, drama, (auto)biography, visual art, and parody; its social, cultural, and political uses; its relationship to historical and biblical writing; its complex authorship; and its depiction of gender. Less frequently has hagiography been studied in relation to specifically theological questions (biblical, moral, liturgical, and dogmatic). Drawing upon the theoretical resources of narrative theology, dialogical hermeneutics, and theo-aesthetics (in combination with the resources of other disciplines) participants in the seminar will seek answers from various perspectives to the question: What is the theological significance of the saint’s Life?
MI 63750 - Seminar: Topics in Medieval Art
T R 12:30 - 1:45 PM
Between 1175 and 1195, Herrad, Abbess of the Augustinian community at Hohenbourg, oversaw the compilation of texts and images into a tremendous manuscript that she named the Hortus Deliciarum, the “Garden of Delights.” Likening herself to a bee collecting nectar from the flowers of various authorities, Herrad combined narrative, diagrammatic, and allegorical imagery with excerpts from over 50 texts to create a history of the world from Creation to Judgement Day. Working through the highlights of this 320-plus folio manuscript, which is reproduced in facsimile version, this course will examine the world according to Herrad as it was vividly captured in Hortus Deliciarum. We will examine how she adopts and adapts different visual traditions to narrate a compelling and memorable history. Using texts in translation and secondary studies, we will consider certain philosophical and theological issues relevant for the Hohenbourg community and for a more general study of the twelfth century. We will explore questions concerning time and history, the relationship of an individual to the universe, and the nature of the group-identity constructed in these pages. Finally, we will examine how this exemplary manuscript increases our understanding of the lives and learnings of women in the twelfth century.
MI 66020 – 01 through 29 Directed Readings-Graduate
Offers graduate students a possibility, normally in their second or third year, to work closely with a professor in preparing a topic mutually agreed upon. Student and professor must sign a form that records the readings. OPEN ONLY TO MI GRADUATE STUDENTS.
MI 67001 – 01 through 06 2nd Year Research Tutorial I
An intensive program of reading in primary sources (preponderantly in the original language) and scholarly literature with a view to identifying a worthwhile, original research project, for completion in the following semester. OPEN ONLY TO 2ND YEAR MI GRADUATE STUDENTS.
MI 77001 - Field Examination Preparation
Constable, Olivia Remie
Offers students a possibility, normally in their second or third year, to work closely with a professor in preparing for one of their field examinations. OPEN ONLY TO MI GRADUATE STUDENTS.
MI 77002 - 01 through 29 Dissertation Proposal Preparation
Offers students the opportunity to work with their adviser in preparing their dissertation proposal. OPEN ONLY TO MI GRADUATE STUDENTS.
MI 88001 – 01 through 29 Resident Dissertation Research
Independent research and writing on an approved subject under the direction of a faculty member. OPEN ONLY TO MI GRADUATE STUDENTS.
MI 88002 – 01 through 29 Nonresident Dissertation Research
Required of nonresident graduate students who are completing their theses in absentia and who wish to retain their degree status. OPEN ONLY TO MI GRADUATE STUDENTS.