Philosophy Department Celebrates Medieval-Focused Publications

Anselm of CanterburyAmid the end-of-semester bustle, faculty, staff and students gathered to celebrate some of the fruits of academic labor. On Wednesday, May 1, the Philosophy Department celebrated this spring's publication of three new volumes in the Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations (DMTT) series and a new translation by Associate Professor Matthew Walz of Anselm's "Proslogion."

The "Proslogion," written in the 11th century by Benedictine monk Augustine of Canterbury, is a meditation on God rooted in the idea that God is "that than which nothing greater is able to be thought."

"Anselm thinks that if one gives oneself over to this thought and follows its trajectory, then one begins to see that the reality to which it points must exist and that all other realities exist because of it," said Walz.

According to Walz, Anselm's argument is often taken out of its meditative context and interpreted instead as a claim that one can simply move from the thought of God to his actual existence. The aim of his translation is to recover the argument's original context.

Walz, who also runs UD's Philosophy & Letters and Pre-Theologian programs for seminarians, plans to continue working on Anselm. Projects on the horizon include a translation of Anselm's work on grammar, "De Grammatico," and a work on Anselm's thought as a whole centered on the "Proslogion."

The Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations series is a UD-supported endeavor to create a comprehensive library of texts representing all subjects, genres and periods of medieval Latin writing.

"All volumes contain the original Latin texts with facing English translations and scholarly introductions," said Philipp Rosemann, professor and chair of philosophy and editor of the DMTT Series. "This project, unrivaled in its scope, aims to keep the rich literary heritage of the Middle Ages alive for the present day."

Hans Geybels (Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium), edited volume 16, which is devoted to the 11th century Eucharistic controversy. In volume 17, Fr. Roland Teske (Marquette University) edited and translated the 13th century theologian William of Auvergne's attempt to apply the rules of Ciceronian rhetoric to Christian prayer. Sr. Juliet Mousseau (Aquinas Institute of Theology), who attended the book launch, translated liturgical hymns composed at the Abbey of Saint-Victor in Paris in the 12th century for volume 18. More information about these volumes is available at the DMTT's website

In addition to editing the DMTT series, Rosemann's scholarly work focuses on the intersection of medieval and contemporary thought. In May, Rosemann will deliver a series of lectures at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris on the notion of human authorship and authority in medieval theology. 

IMAGE: Anselm of Canterbury

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