Hilary Term Programme

Welcome back for another term of sessions covering a range of topics from heresies to book history, and reading to religious music. As last term, we will be meeting from 4-5pm in the New Powell Room, Somerville College. Someone will be at the lodge to guide anyone not sure of the way shortly before 4pm. Tea and coffee will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there!

Week 2 – Dr Daniel Reeve – Heresies and errors in medieval culture

Week 4 – Hannah Ryley (DPhil Student, Worcester College) & James Dylan Sargan (DPhil Student) – The Material Culture of Medieval Manuscripts

Week 6 – Joseph Mason (DPhil Student, Lincoln College) – Sights and sounds: Medieval Music in Theory and Practice& Meghan Quinlan (DPhil Student, Merton College, Lecturer in Music, St. Hilda’s & St Anne’s Colleges) – My lady and Our Lady: Sung Devotional Lyric in the Thirteenth Century

Week 8 – Daniel Sawyer (DPhil Student) – Medieval Reading Practices

John Gower’s Handwriting identified – Medievalists.net

An exciting manuscript find by Sebastian Sobecki!

“John Gower, considered to be one of the greatest poets of medieval England, left behind several remarkable works. A scholar has now been able to identify poems that were written by his own hand, including a poignant piece about how he was going blind.”

Source: John Gower’s Handwriting identified – Medievalists.net

Programme for Michaelmas Term 2015 ***UPDATE***

We’re please to announce our programme for the new term (some details still tbc).

Sessions will take place in the New Powell Room at Somerville College (accessed via the lodge on Woodstock Road), 4-5 pm on Wednesdays of even weeksTea and coffee will be served.

Week 2 (21/10) – Gustav Zamore (DPhil Student, Merton College) – Through The Visible To The Invisible – The Medieval World as Allegory

Week 4 (4/11) – Dr Karl Kinsella (Keble College) – Medieval Architecture – Structures and Representations

Week 6 (18/11) – Dr Huw Grange (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Jesus College) – Systems of Knowledge – Medieval Universities & Encyclopaedias

Week 8 (2/12) – Dr Matthew Cheung Salisbury (Lecturer, University College) – Why every liturgical manuscript should be treated as a manuscript

Welcome back!

We’ll be running the Introduction to Medieval Culture Workshops again this term and next, in even weeks and in a a new honed format!

Keep your eyes peeled for further details of the programme coming soon!
Thanks to all who came along in Trinity and for your feedback.

Resources – Session 2 – ‘Heterodoxies’ – 11 June 2015


Dr Daniel J Reeve & Meghan Quinlan

The Fourfold Sense of Scripture:

This is the system, widespread/orthodox in medieval Europe, of scriptural exegesis (interpretation of the Bible) according to which the scripture has four modes of meaning, the literal (the description of things that happened), the allegorical (what it figures/represents for a Christian reader), the moral (it’s import for daily life – the behavioural norms that can be derived from it), and the anagogical (looking forward to te eschatological future and the narrative of salvation history).

Heresy, a definition:

Robert Grosseteste – ‘Heresy is an idea [sentenzia] chosen by human perception contrary to scripture, publicly taught and obstinately defended’

The Trivium –

Three disciplines which form the first stage of a medieval education: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric.

The Quadrivium – 

Four disciplines which form the higher stage of a medieval education: Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, Music.

Scripture cited:

Luke 23:43 – ‘I say to you(,) today(,) you will be with me in paradise’

People cited:

Gautier de Coinci, Miraculous Rhymes, ed. & trans. Tony Hunt (D.S. Brewer, 2007)

Useful Links:

Some Notre Dame Polyphony – Alleluia nativitas by Pérotin

Resources – Session 1 – ‘Orthodoxies’ – 09 June 2015


Dr Matthew Cheung Salisbury & Gustav Zamore

Useful links:

Website of AHRC research project on the experience and enactment of medieval worship.

Isidore of Seville’s Etymologies in the original Latin & in English translation.

Plan of a church (All Saints’ parish church, Newchurch, Isle of Wight):

NB – the chancel (and the high altar) are traditionally found at the east end of the church.

– larger churches and cathedrals also had other altars, chapels, and chantries to the Virgin Mary (Lady Chapel) and various saints, as well as a baptistry (sometimes separate from the main church building, as with the Cathedrals of Florence & Pisa), a vestry (where the clergy would dress and also perform parts of the liturgy), & an enclosed choir area (in which the choir would perform their parts of the liturgy). The chancel would have been screened off from the nave. This list is not exhaustive. A more thorough plan, of St. Alban’s Cathedral, which shows many of these additional features, is available through British History Online.


Taken from William Page’s A History of the County of Hampshire, Vol 5 (1912).
Image in the public domain and taken from Wikimedia commons, source: British History Online.

Schedule of Workshops (free food!)

This exciting medieval culture party starts next week! All sessions will take place from 12-2pm in the Radcliffe Humanities Building, Woodstock Road.
(Savoury snacks will be provided (vegetarians and vegans catered for).
If you can’t attend for the whole two hours, feel free to come to the 1st or 2nd half of the session!
Tuesday of 7th Week (9 June) – ‘Orthodoxies’ (looking at developments in orthodox religious thought) – Matthew Salisbury & Gustav Zamore
Thursday of 7th Week (11 June) – ‘Heterodoxies’ (looking at deviation, heresy, alternative models of religious thought and cultural practice) – Meghan Quinlan & Daniel J Reeve
Tuesday of 8th Week (16 June) – ‘(Natural) Philosophies’ (tracing developments in physiology, philosophy, the Latin Aristotle, etc) – David Bowe & Gustave Zamore
Thursday of 8th Week (18 June) – ‘The Organisation of Knowledge’ (material culture, book history, the rise of encyclopaedias and universities) – Huw Grange & Hannah Ryley

Introducing ‘Introductions to Medieval Culture’

Welcome to the website of the workshop ‘Introducing Medieval Culture’ taking place at the Radcliffe Humanities Building on Tuesday and Thursday of Weeks 7 and 8 of Trinity Term 2015.

This year we are piloting a workshop series designed to give undergraduates (and interested 1st year graduate students) studying medieval topics in any faculty a systematic overview of the cultural landscape of the period to allow them to properly contextualise their studies. Bringing together early-career medieval scholars from English, History, Modern Languages, Music, and Theology, this programme will consist of 4 lunchtime workshop sessions, each lasting 2 hours, which will cover the broad themes of ‘Orthodoxies’ (looking at developments in orthodox religious thought), ‘Heterodoxies’ (looking at deviation, heresy, alternative models of religious thought), ‘(Natural) Philosophies’ (tracing developments in physiology, philosophy, the Latin Aristotle, etc), and ‘The Organisation of Knowledge’ (material culture, book history, the rise of encyclopaedias and universities).

Any questions or queries can be directed to David Bowe (david.bowe [at] mod-langs.ox.ac.uk) and Daniel J Reeve (daniel.reeve [at] new.ox.ac.uk).