Rachel Fulton Brown

Department of History

The University of Chicago

 

Autumn 2011

 

MEDIEVAL BIBLICAL EXEGESIS I

 

The purpose of this course is to problematize the study of medieval Biblical exegesis both historiographically and theoretically.  Students will have a choice of primary sources on which to focus, while discussions will range from efforts to situate the work of exegesis within its institutional and methodological contexts to contemporary critiques of the problem of reading Scripture as such. Particular attention will be given to the interplay between the reading of Scripture and its experience as prayer (above all, through the Psalms), as well as to the different levels of meaning medieval exegetes found in the texts.  Students taking the course for seminar credit will be expected to prepare a research proposal by the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, we will focus on topics that arise from the research and writing of the seminar paper.

 

BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE SEMINARY CO-OP BOOKSTORE

 

Douglas Burton-Christie, The Word in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).

Mary Carruthers, The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric, and the Making of Images, 400-1200 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Henri de Lubac, Medieval Exegesis.  Vol. 2: The Four Senses of Scripture, trans. E.M. Macierowski (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000).

G.R. Evans, The Language and Logic of the Bible: The Earlier Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

Northrop Frye, Words with Power: Being a Second Study of The Bible and Literature (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990).

Rachel Fulton, From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800-1200 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002).

Wesley Kort, “Take, Read”: Scripture, Textuality, and Cultural Practice (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996).

Friedrich Ohly, Sensus Spiritualis: Studies in Medieval Significs and the Philology of Culture, trans. Kenneth J. Northcott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989).

Nancy Van Deusen, ed., The Place of the Psalms in the Intellectual Culture of the Middle Ages (Albany: SUNY, 1999).

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

 

1.  Critical essay on one of the books assigned for the course (5-7 pages)  30%

2.  Analysis of primary source (10-12 pages) 40%

3.  Participation in class discussions, including presentations 30%

 

READING AND DISCUSSION ASSIGNMENTS

 

September 28  Reading Scripture/Reading as Scripture

Kort, “Take, Read”, Introduction, chapters 2-3 (pp. 1-17, 37-95).

 

October 5  Who read Scripture in the Middle Ages?

Smalley, Study of the Bible, chapters 1-2 (pp. 1-82).

Evans, Language and Logic, Introduction and Part I (pp. 1-50).

 

Assignment: Go to Friedrich Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, 11 vols. (Madrid: Consejo superior de investigaciones cientificas, 1950-1980) [BS444.A1S78] and find a commentator whom you would like to know more about.

 

October 12  How did they read Scripture I: in the desert?

Burton-Christie, Word in the Desert, chapters 1-5 (pp. 1-180).

 

Assignment: Go to the International Medieval Bibliography and find three articles on your commentator.  Find at least one monograph on your commentator.  If there are no monographs, find a book chapter.

 

October 19  How did they read Scripture II: in the liturgy?

James McKinnon, “The Book of Psalms, Monasticism, and the Western Liturgy,” in Van Deusen, Place of the Psalms, chapter 3 (pp. 43-58).

Joseph Dyer, “The Psalms in Monastic Prayer,” in Van Deusen, Place of the Psalms, chapter 4 (pp. 59-90).

Fulton, From Judgment to Passion, chapter 5 (pp. 244-88).

 

Assignment: Choose a text by your commentator to work on for the rest of the quarter.

 

October 26  How did they read Scripture III: in meditation?

Carruthers, Craft of Thought, [TBA]

Fulton, From Judgment to Passion, chapters 6 and 8 (pp. 289-350, 429-70).

Smalley, Study of the Bible, chapter 3 (pp. 83-111).

 

Assignment: Read the preface to your commentary.  Translate if necessary.

 

November 2 How did they read Scripture IV: in the lecture room?

Theresa Gross-Diaz, “From Lectio Divina to the Lecture Room: The Psalm Commentary of Gilbert of Poitiers,” in Van Deusen, Place of the Psalms, chapter 5 (pp. 91-104).

Smalley, Study of the Bible, chapters 5 and 6 (pp. 196-355).

Evans, Language and Logic, Part III (pp. 125-63).

 

Assignment: Begin reading your commentary.

 

November 9  What did Scripture mean I: historically?

De Lubac, Medieval Exegesis 2, chapters 6 and 7 (pp. 1-82).

Evans, Language and Logic, Part II, chapters 4-5 (pp. 51-71).

Ohly, Sensus Spiritualis, chapter 2 (pp. 31-67).

 

Assignment: Keep reading your commentary.

 

November 16  What did it mean IIa: spiritually?

De Lubac, Medieval Exegesis 2, chapter 8 (pp. 83-126).

Evans, Language and Logic, Part II, chapters 6-7 (pp. 72-124).

Ohly, Sensus Spiritualis, chapter 1 (pp. 1-30).

 

Assignment: Keep reading your commentary.

 

November 23  What did it mean IIb: spiritually?

De Lubac, Medieval Exegesis 2, chapters 9-10 (pp. 127-226).

Burton-Christie, Word in the Desert, chapters 6-9 (pp. 181-296).

 

Assignment: Keep reading your commentary.

 

November 30 Reading the Word as Word

Frye, Words with Power, Introduction and Part One (pp. xi-xxiv, 1-135).

Kort, “Take, Read”, Conclusion (pp. 119-38).

 

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