contributor.author: Consuelo W. Dutschke

title.none: Brown and Stoneman, eds., A Distinct Voice (Dutschke)

identifier.other: baj9928.9811.004 98.11.04

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Consuelo W. Dutschke, Columbia University, cwd3@columbia.edu

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 1998

identifier.citation: Brown, Jaqueline and William P. Stoneman, eds. A Distinct Voice: Medieval Studies in Honor of Leonard E. Boyle, O. P. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. Pp. xiii, 668. $70.00. ISBN: ISBN 0-268-00883-3.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 98.11.04

Brown, Jaqueline and William P. Stoneman, eds. A Distinct Voice: Medieval Studies in Honor of Leonard E. Boyle, O. P. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. Pp. xiii, 668. $70.00. ISBN: ISBN 0-268-00883-3.

Reviewed by:

Consuelo W. Dutschke
Columbia University
cwd3@columbia.edu

It is with both pleasure and trepidation that one sets forth to review a Festschrift honoring such a figure as Leonard E. Boyle. The pleasure comes first, because to see Father Boyle's name on the title page, to see the frontispiece photograph is a reminder of the man: witty, wise, always a gentleman, always a scholar. The photograph, indeed, provided a three-country guessing game, as paleog raphic colleagues from Italy, England and the United States all attempted, and ultimately succeeded in identifying the three-column bifolium that Father Boyle holds in his hands (the correct answer, should others be intrigued, is: "Codex B", Vaticano greco 1209, the 4th century Greek text of the Bible, disbound at the time for conservation). Pleasure also accompanies the anticipation of reading articles by so many recognized scholars. It is here, however, that trepidation sets in: how to adequately represent in the short space of a review the twenty-five articles, occupying over 650 pages? How to pinpoint the effective presence of Leonard Boyle in the writers of the twenty-five articles? Father Boyle has been a longtime friend of many of these authors (Brentano, Pope and the Rouses come to mind), an advisor and teacher of most of the others. Since Father Boyle was director or reader of most theses on medieval topics at Toronto during his tenure at the Pontifical Institute, his former students work in a wide variety of fields, as is shown by the eight-part subdivision of the Festschrift: I, Scribes and Scholars; II, Manuscripts in their Settings; III, Libraries; IV, Robert Grosseteste; V, Education; VI, Law; VII, Diplomatics; VIII, Philosophy and Theology. Jacqueline Brown and William P. Stoneman, the volume's editors, set the approach to the book in its title. A Distinct Voice signifies Father Boyle's teaching and his approach to manuscripts; it derives, of course, from his article on diplomatics in Medieval Studies: an Introduction (J. M. Powell, ed.; 2nd ed., 1992, p. 91) in which he reminds us that with proper study "written records from any age and of any kind are made to speak again with a full, distinct voice."

The range of articles included in the volume, covering so many areas of expertise converge on this point: that they go to the original sources -- the manuscript books, the letters, the archives, the inventories -- in order to bring forth voices that have been silent for centuries; indicative of Father Boyle's focus on primary sources is the proportion of articles in the volume that edit, translate, catalogue, describe, chart this very real evidence for the conclusions that they draw.

One very strong voice is that of Robert Grosseteste represented in the Festschrift by two excellent and complementary articles. Joseph Goering, in his "Robert Grosseteste at the Papal Curia," has reexamined the nine documents known collectively as the Lyons dossier, removing Reformation back-readings in order to situate the material as a specifically composed aide-memoire to the curia in Grosseteste's campaign to quash archiepiscopal procurations in the visiting of parishes; in particular, the first document, traditionally termed "sermon," is reproposed here as diplomatic instrument, allowing more fruitful thinking about its function. The following article, " Optima epistola: A Critical Edition and Translation of Letter 128 of Bishop Robert Grosseteste" by F. A. C. Mantello, takes the next step in the reevaluation of Grosseteste's relationships with the papal curia; here Mantello provides a new edition of the famous letter in which Grosseteste refused the provision of a canonry at Lincoln for a nephew of Innocent IV; this letter has been read by the scholarly community for the past century in an edition based on two manuscripts with reference to copies preserved in two chronicles, an edition, moreover, that split the letter by placing Grosseteste's rehearsal of the papal mandate in a footnote. Mantello has examined over thirty manuscripts and reunites the two parts of the letter; his edition is the cornerstone for future work on the complex and crucial personality of this English bishop of the thirteenth century.

The thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries are in fact the focus of the volume's articles, with only two pertaining to earlier periods; one of these, the article of John Magee, uses evidence in Boethius to move backwards to an interpretation of Andronicus Rhodius in the first century B.C. ("Boethius, De divisione 875-76, 891-92, and Andronicus Rhodius"). Paul Edward Dutton, "Minding Irish P's and Q's: Signs of the First Systematic Reading of Eriugena's Periphyseon," is a most careful and fruitful examination of the some 850 marks (Ps or chrismons, Qs, Ls and symbols, often in dry point) in the margins of Reims, Bibliotheque municipale, 875, a manuscript partially written by Eriugena himself (c. 810 - c. 877); Dutton concludes that the marks were made by the second scribe of MS 875, the same person who then edited Eriugena's work in another surviving codex: the marks are the "precious evidence of [this scribe's] progress toward understanding and disseminating the complex thought of his master."

The same section of the Festschrift, on Scribes and Scholars, continues with an article by Richard H. Rouse and Mary A. Rouse, "Wandering Scribes and Traveling Artists: Raulinus of Fremington and His Bolognese Bible." The Rouses, with a touch of humor and precision of detail, study a bible that has been known until now only indirectly (through a 1934 article based, not on the manuscript, but on a sale catalogue description of it); the thirteenth century bible in question, now Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France, n. a. l. 3189, contains a remarkable series of notes, in which the scribe chats about his life, alternately curses and praises his beloved, worries out loud about money. The scribe's name (of English nationality), the book's script (in an Italian gothic, both in terms of letter shapes and abbreviations), the book's decoration (unmistakably Parisian, both in terms of the historiated initials and in the pen flourishing) remind us of the distances that a book and its creators can travel, and function as a caveat against facile assignations of place and date to any manuscript.

A precise codicological and textual analysis of two related manuscripts, British Library, Cotton Claudius D.VI and Royal 14.C.I, allows James P. Carley in his article, "William Rishanger's Chronicles and History Writing at St. Albans," to revise modern scholarship's view of these manuscripts as Rishanger's working notes, incoherently gathered together; he leaves us assured that the garbled arrangement is due to three stages of cobbling together of the various textual sections over the course of almost three hundred years. A series of charts and four photographs provide indispensable aid to the reader in following the successive rearrangements of the texts.

A photograph is sorely lacking, however, for the article "Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS McClean 51, Pope Sixtus IV, and the Fall of Otranto (August 1480)," where Penny J. Cole studies a manuscript of "remarkable beauty" with nearly 300 illuminations on its first 130 leaves, whose final ten unilluminated leaves, in the course of a very convincingly argued literary and historical case, she shows to be datable either to the period between the fall of Otranto in August 1480 and the death of Mehmed II in May 1481, or to period immediately following the Turkish surrender of Otranto in September 1481.

In the following article on a fifteenth century German codex, "The 'Book of the Head' in Osler Library MS 7586," Faith Wallis works from an extant but clearly abbreviated text, to reconstruct its hypothetical parent treatise, and to then draw conclusions as to the nature of the editorial policy that resulted in such an abbreviation: that it was produced for a clerical audience to respond to the types of medical situations that might be seen as the province of a priest rather than a "doctor" (trauma from commonplace violence; psychiatric and nervous disorders; epilepsy; or even demonic possession, paralysis and blindness, these last having been targets of Christ's healing). Wallis includes the (evidently seen as obligatory, but here external to the argument) paleographical and codicological description of the Osler manuscript; this reader was surprised to learn that there were no discernible watermarks in either the medical section of the codex (ff. 57- 92) or in the accompanying Postilla in Job by Nicholas of Lyra (ff. 1-56v).

Several articles in the volume blend scholarship and personal relationships, whether to Father Boyle himself or to the materials that have been his life's work: Robert Brentano in revisiting "The Pleasures of Provincial Archives" speaks of the Oxford of the 1950s when he and Leonard Boyle were working on their dissertations, and considers the different paths their lives have taken; J. Robert Wright is the owner of "An Olivetan Benedictine Breviary of the Fifteenth Century" which he here analyses in comparison with seven other known Olivetan breviaries; Joseph Pope, as curator of the collection, gives a whimsical account of "The Library that Father Boyle Built," in his history of the genesis and growth of that library's now 106 volumes (plus uncatalogued charters and single leaves).

The pendant, if not the culmination to Pope's article, is the inventory of the collection: "A Summary Guide to the Medieval and Later Manuscripts in the Bergendal Collection, Toronto" by William P. Stoneman. I'll resist the temptation to consider the manuscripts themselves (their texts, their places of origin, their dates, even their curious pattern of acquisition); instead, speaking as one who has toiled in the same field, I prefer to comment on the clarity and apparent simplicity of the entries, while recognizing the constant vigilance, word by word, over each nugget of information offered. Untypically of most manuscript cataloguers, Stoneman was working against the impediment of distance from his material; typically, however, of the manuscript cataloguer he knows that his work is the means, not the end, and turns to his readership with a request for corrections and additions.

Another open door, with a request for cooperation from the scholarly community, comes with the article by Michael Gervers, "The Dating of Medieval English Private Charters of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries"; the invitation in this case is to provide transcripts of heretofore unpublished charters, from within this time span, and datable to within a year. He also proposes that those who would like to run independent tests using the DEEDS project's methodology do so according to the guidelines set out in the present article by Rodolfo Fiallos, "Procedure for Dating Undated Documents Using a Relational Database." The underlying principle of the project is that even apparently minor shifts in the formulaic vocabulary of the charters (such as from "sancte marie" to "beate marie") can be provoked by historical events; the shorter the lifetime of a given phrase, the more valid its results can be when comparing patterns of usage in order to assign a date to an undated charter.

In the following article, "The Unedited Commercial Charters of the Manduel Family of Marseilles, 1191-1251," John H. Pryor publishes the eleven documents missed by the nineteenth century editor of this archive, with the salutary reminder that the 232 surviving charters are themselves a presumably thirteenth century selection of the Manduel family's actual recorded legal and commercial actions. Another study regarding this southern French city and carrying the work of nineteenth century scholarship forward is that of Daniel Williman in his welcome publication of the 560-volume rich inventory of "The Library of S. Victor de Marseille, 1374": some 150 years ago, the roll containing the inventory was noted as missing from the municipal archives; only in 1974 was its presence signaled at the University of Rochester, New York; Williman makes its contents available here, with a brief statistical study classifying the books by type (in which legal books occupy a surprisingly large 22%).

John Shinners contributed what he quietly termed an "impressionistic" survey of four centuries of evidence relating to "Parish Libraries in Medieval England"; his article in fact provides a well researched and remarkably coherent picture of the books, the sources of the books, and the conditions of the books that were available to parish priests. By drawing attention to the books in incipient parish libraries, rather than to the books that the priests owned as individuals, he is able to propose that priests were far better supplied than received knowledge concedes. Moreover, the books most commonly found in such libraries attest to the parish priest's normal concerns, liturgical rather than theological; these parish collections of books matched precisely the needs of the parish. Another article to focus on the cura animarum in England is that by Heather Phillips, "John Wyclif and the Religion of the People."

Levels of literacy and the literate themselves are the concerns of the three papers in the section on Education: William J. Dohar, "Sufficienter litteratus: Clerical Examination and Instruction for the Cure of Souls"; Damian R. Leader, "Caius Auberinus: Cambridge's First Professor"; and M. Michele Mulchahey, "More Notes on the Education of the Fratres communes in the Dominican Order: Elias de Ferreriis of Salagnac's Libellus de doctrina fratrum." Set in the context of Dominican manuals intended to train the order's friars in preaching and hearing confession, is the early fourteenth century Libellus by Elias de Ferreriis; the work is particularly interesting in that it survives accompanied by its cover letter in which Elias enjoins the specific copying procedure that would ensure speedy diffusion throughout the twenty-seven houses of the Dominican province of Toulouse. Happily, Mulchahey includes an edition of the cover letter in its entirety. Less satisfactory is Mulchahey's silence on possible explanations for the survival of only two manuscripts of the text, as well as the description of these two witnesses: in the Paris manuscript, the Libellus occupies seventy-three leaves, copied in a "French 'Secretary' hand" (?); in the Naples manuscript, the same text occupies seventeen leaves (!), copied in an "Italian Gothic textual hand . . . resembling the so-called 'AS-textualis italiana' " (?), later further specified as "a very personal hand"; photographs would have been much appreciated to give a sense of the relative density of text on the page, and to overcome uncertain script terminology. The article concludes by summarizing and commenting the main features of the text.

Section VI, on "Law," is comprised of two articles: Jacqueline Brown, "The Extravagantes communes and Its Medieval Predecessors" and Edward D. English, "Emancipation, Succession, and Honor: Family Strategies in Medieval Siena." Brown asks (and answers) impressively large questions, and she manages this without overwhelming her readers: charts control the mass of precise documentation; unemphatic prose style reflects sober and careful thinking. The Extravagantes communes, constituting the sixth and final section of the Corpus iuris canonicis published by Jean Chappuis in 1501 and 1503 and in effect through the beginning of this century, consist of seventy-three papal decrees that are not found as a unit in any single manuscript or previously printed book. Brown's task has been to determine Chappuis's sources and his unpredictable choice of texts internal to his many sources; she posits utility as his underlying theme (even for the occasional decrees of apparently no historical relevance to Chappuis's day) and manages to locate a source in a Paris library of the early sixteenth century for all but one extravagans. Edward English's article, on the other hand, considers one highly specialized legal action: that of emancipation from the patria potestas, which he has found only five times in the over four thousand Sienese documents examined for the period 1240-1420. Because he is able to situate the use of emancipation in its context of families, political conflict and business history, he is able to propose concrete reasons behind the use of the legal action: powerful mercantile families of Siena seemed to have employed it to limit fiscal responsibilities of sons as fathers moved into risky business ventures. He concludes his article with a transcription of the most complex of these emancipation decrees.

The section by section alphabetical arrangement of the authors has placed several fine articles at the end of the book's eighth section, "Philosophy and Theology." Michael A. Signer, "The Glossa ordinaria and the Transmission of Medieval Anti-Judaism," takes as example the gloss on Genesis 37-49, the story of Joseph and his brothers, to demonstrate how the visual presentation of meshed text and gloss provokes a subversive reading of the Hebrew Bible by the physical intercalation of the Christian Gospels; the gloss, as he shows, does not simply transmit wording from patristic biblical commentary but refashions it to a distinctly anti-Jewish position. Robert Sweetman, "Thomas of Cantimpre, Mulieres religiosae, and Purgatorial Piety: Hagiographical Vitae and the Beguine 'Voice'," takes as his point of departure an article written by Michel Lauwer in 1989 and refines its stance: Lauwer had proposed an apparently deliberate mis- and under-representation of female spirituality by their contemporary male mediators (the men who recorded the lives of female saints in the Netherlands of the later Middle Ages). Sweetman, in a carefully paced argument, examines Thomas of Cantimpre's Vitae of four women saints against Thomas's own earlier writings, against Thomas's known anxieties about the state of his father's soul, and against other contemporary hagiography; he concludes that Thomas's acceptance of Purgatory as a locus for one's beloved dead, who may even inopportunely cry for their survivors' prayers in benefit for themselves and for the living, can only have come to him from his immersion in the female spirituality of the nuns with whom he worked; thus, at least in the case of Thomas of Cantimpre, the male voice repeats that of his female subjects with a minimum of slippage. The volume's final article is by Mark A. Zier, entitled "Peter Lombard and the Glossa ordinaria on the Bible." Zier's minute analysis of two readings in Stephen Langton's commentaries on the Bible, and of three points in Peter Lombard's discussion of the Creation in his Sentences clarify the Lombard's relationship, whether written or oral, to the Glossa ordinaria. One wishes that the relationship between Zier's text and its two figures had been expounded as thoroughly: this reader confesses confusion especially about the first photograph which seems to contradict Zier's attribution of the reading "aspectibus" to the Lombard rather than to the Gloss's standard text.

No Festschrift is complete without the bibliography of the honorand, and the required listing is indeed present; Mary C. English has clearly, however, taken unusual care in compiling this bibliography, since it begins already in the mid 1940s with articles written in Irish; she includes translations published by Father Boyle (which most of us probably didn't know he had done), mention of the guide he wrote for his Roman home, San Clemente, and references to entries in encyclopedias, as well as the expected academic reviews, articles and books.

R. J. Tarrant's contribution to the volume is an enjoyable and affectionate Latin poem, "L. E. B. nostro salutem," that sums up, in sketched impressions, moments of Father Boyle's long career: from Ireland, to that city in Canada with an unscannable name, to his teaching, to his work in the Vatican Library where he gave the gift of the "pomeriggio" to many a time-pressured scholar.

The only quibble that I have with the physical presence of the volume is the misspelling on the cover of the name of one of the editors; Jacqueline Brown is herself a master at editing, and she deserved better than this at the hands of the University of Notre Dame Press. Otherwise, the volume is elegantly produced, including areas of potential typographical unease, such as with the charts in Jacqueline Brown's article and those in Michael Gervers' article; the devices of bold face type and innovatively used blank space make William Stoneman's catalogue of the Bergendal Collection easy to skim and to study; the index of manuscripts is equally well presented.

This volume is only the first to honor Father Boyle; three forthcoming Festschriften are Roma, magistra mundi, Itineraria culturae medievalis: Melanges offerts au Pere L. E. Boyle a l'occasion de son soixante-quinzieme anniversaire, ed. by J. Hamesse (Louvain-La-Neuve 1998); Ab aquilone: A Scandinavian Tribute to Leonard E. Boyle, ed. by M. L. Roden and K. Abukhanfusa (Stockholm 1998); as well as the two-volume set to be published in the Studi e Testi series, containing articles written by the Vatican Library's own staff and researchers.

In the end, when all the articles in all the honorary volumes are written and read, one will be left with the recognition that through Father Boyle's teaching and friendship, many scholars have been led to make the manuscripts speak again: the truly "distinct voice" is his.