Showing posts from 2017

Chapter-by-Chapter Sneak Peak

Chapter 1: The Hours of the Virgin

This chapter provides a history of the introduction of the practice of saying the Hours or Office of the Virgin Mary from the late tenth century through the early sixteenth century. It surveys the different groups who adopted this practice over time, beginning with Benedictine monks and nuns in the tenth and eleventh centuries and including by the end of the Middle Ages every major religious order (canons, friars, beguines) as well as the laity and their confraternities. It introduces the Book of Hours as a novel codicological development brought about by this devotional practice and situates the devotion in the history of printing. The second part of the chapter gives a history of the development of the liturgical hours of the day according to which the Hours of the Virgin were structured, along with the symbolism of the hours. It also treats the variety of Uses of the Hours of the Virgin and explains why a single version of the Office was never ins…

Five Reasons My Book Rocks

1. This book is the first historical study to offer a close reading of the texts of the Hours of the Virgin, particularly the antiphons and psalms, as they would have been understood by Mary’s medieval devotees.

2. This book contains a close reading of three of the major Marian summae of the thirteenth century as sources for understanding medieval Marian devotion: Richard of Saint-Laurent’s De laudibus beatae Mariae virginis; Conrad of Saxony’s Speculum beatae Mariae; and pseudo-Albert the Great’s Mariale sive CCXXX Quaestiones super Evangelium “Missus est Angelus Gabriel”.

3. This book suggests a complete revision of the history of Marian devotion from its beginnings in the New Testament through to the modern era based on Margaret Barker’s reconstruction of the Old Testament temple theology, according to which Mary becomes critical for the history of Christianity: without Mary as seen through the temple tradition, there would have been no Christianity because no Incarnation of the So…

Would you like to learn to pray like a medieval Christian?

This book is intended as a kind of handbook showing the way medieval Christians prayed to Mary, the Virgin Mother of God.

Its subject-matter is the complex of psalms, chants, and other prayers known as the Hours of the Virgin with which Christians in medieval Europe served Mary, the Mother of the One whom they recognized as the Lord worshipped in the psalms of the Old Testament.

Its purpose is to provide a history of this service, while at the same time suggesting what it would have been like for medieval Christians to imagine Mary in this way.

It is intended to be useful to students of history, devotion, prayer, theology, liturgy, and exegesis who are interested in not only the structures of medieval religious thought but also its experience as an exercise of affect, intellect, and imagination.

Its author writes as an historian and believing Christian, but she is not a theologian, although she would argue that in writing about the history of devotion to Mary it is impossible not to ma…

Coming Soon!

Would you like to learn to pray like a medieval Christian? Here’s how!

Pre-order here.

V. Milo will divide us. R. Thanks be to God.

Remember the Good Old Days, when the worst thing you could be called was a white supremacist?

That was so last season!

Yesterday, The Daily Caller published what was supposed to be the first article in a weekly op-ed column by a well-known journalist. The author, himself a victim of abuse at the hands ::ahem:: of older men when he was a young teenager, talked about the accusations coming out against Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey and excoriated the star for his (Spacey’s) attempt to cover himself in the cloak of his newly-acknowledged identity as a gay man.

The author went on to cite the recent CATO Institute Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, which reports, among other things, that 58 per cent of Americans, including 73 per cent of Republicans and 58 per cent of independents “believe the political climate today prevents them from saying things they believe.” (Conversely, 53 per cent of Democrats “do not feel the need to self-censor.”) The author then gave two examples of the kinds of th…

Lies, Damn Lies, and Peer Review

My academic colleague and long-time friend Carol Symes (Associate Professor of History, University of Illinois; PhD, Harvard 1999) posted this article on the American Historical Association website this morning:

She, of course, mentions me.
To date, the only tenured historian of medieval Europe to have found an audience for her views on these issues is Rachel Fulton Brown (Univ. of Chicago), a columnist for Breitbart who has used her privileged position and powerful allies to deride, bully, and persecute a junior, untenured medievalist of color. In a blog post published in mid-September, and in subsequent interviews, she has explicitly justified these attacks by invoking her authority as a historian (PhD, Columbia 1994). “If you teach the history,” Fulton Brown told Inside Higher Ed, “everybody basically learns that it’s a very complicated story, and there’s nothing to support the white supremacist argument in it.” According to her, proving that “you are not a white supremacist” simpl…

The Niceness Cosmopolitan Creed

Last Monday, my department adopted a statement articulating its position on diversity*:
The Department of History at the University of Chicago is strongly committed to promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity among its faculty, students, and staff in the range and content of the courses that we teach, and in the pedagogical methods that we employ in our classrooms. We recognize that over the course of American and world history broad swaths of the population have been subjected to legal discrimination and systemic bias on the basis of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or disability status. Likewise, deep economic inequalities have persistently curtailed social opportunities for many. The individuals who constitute these communities have often found their intellectual contributions devalued to a degree that has attenuated human understanding, wisdom, and fellowship.  We affirm that our collective intellectual endeavors are …

Town and Gown

Transgender historian of economics Deirdre McCloskey has a word for intellectuals who constantly bash classical liberal (think Adam Smith) ideas about where wealth and human flourishing come from. She calls them the “clerisy.”

In her words, the clerisy are
the opinion makers and opinion takers, all the reading town, the readers of the New York Times or Le Monde, listeners to Charlie Rose [whoever that is], book readers, or at any rate book-review readers. My people. Like me. I would say, “My people. Like me,” too, except that I don’t read the New York Times or Le Monde, I have no idea who Charlie Rose might be, and I am pretty sure thanks to my support for Milo none of the opinion makers or takers would be interested in talking with me.

But these are my people. They are like me. Academics. Book readers. Book writers. The intellectuals.  If you prefer (say it with the proper accent), the intelligentsia.

Those of us who have bet bigly on our cultural capital, as Pierre Bourdieu might p…

Milo in the Dock

You’ve read the Buzzfeed article. You love Milo, but you have questions. What was he doing in the karaoke bar with Richard Spencer and friends? Why was he so mean to Allum Bokhari? Why was Steve Bannon so mean to him? Why did he write those things in the emails that Buzzfeed published? Is he really friends with Devon Saucier?

You don’t want to believe what the media are saying about him – that he is secretly a white supremacist even though he just married his black husband; that he is a misogynist, racist, xenophobic bigot – because you have read his book and listened to his college talks, and nothing that he has published or said on camera fits with this description. But now that you know that he has had help writing those talks and that Allum was his ghostwriter for Dangerous, you are worried.

Who is Milo? Can we trust him?

Short answer, as emphatically as I can put it without being on camera myself: YES.

Yes, you can trust him.

Yes, I have trusted him from the first moment I starte…