Edited by David C. Mengel and Lisa Wolverton
This volume celebrates the remarkable scholarly career of medieval historian John Van Engen with eighteen exceptional essays contributed by Van Engen’s colleagues and former doctoral students, a group that includes some of the best established scholars of the Middle Ages as well as leading younger ones. Together, their work reflects the wide-ranging but coherent body of John Van Engen’s own scholarship.
In a section on Christianization, Ruth Mazo Karras explores medieval marriage, Lisa Wolverton offers a new model of the Christianization of Bohemia, R. I. Moore examines the historiography of the Cathars, and Christine Caldwell Ames links the inquisition with medieval and modern concepts of popular religion. Under the rubric of twelfth-century culture, Maureen C. Miller uses eleventh-century Roman frescoes to rethink reform, Jonathan R. Lyon unpacks Otto of Freising’s notions of advocacy and tyranny, Rachel Koopmans traces testimonial letters associated with the cult of Thomas Becket, Dyan Elliot deliberates on the importance of what she calls counterfactual, or alternative, realities in twelfth-century thought and literature, and Giles Constable traces manifestations of the cross in monastic life.
Three essays study Jews and Christians in society. Susan Einbinder probes the connections between martyrdom, politics, and poetry in thirteenth-century Castile, William Chester Jordan traces anti-Judaism in the Christina Psalter, and David C. Mengel highlights the significance of urban space for Jews in fourteenth-century Prague and Nuremberg. Lastly, contributors explore topics in late medieval religious life, a special focus of Van Engen’s scholarship. Walter Simons edits and analyzes a letter defending beguines in the Low Countries, William J. Courtenay traces the effects on pastoral care of papal provisions to university scholars, and James D. Mixson reinterprets the fifteenth-century treatise Firefly. An essay by Marcela K. Perett looks at vernacular anti-Hussite treatises, Daniel Hobbins employs a fifteenth-century Italian story about Antichrist to consider hearsay, belief and doubt, and Roy Hammerling contemplates Martin Luther’s understanding of himself as a beggar.
“Christianity and Culture in the Middle Ages: Essays to Honor John Van Engen is a thrilling collection, both wide-ranging and informative. The contributions are well-structured, well-argued, and comprehensive in bibliography and source materials—a welcome volume to celebrate the work of John Van Engen." — Anthony Lappin, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
“Christianity and Culture in the Middle Ages is a fitting tribute to one of America’s leading medievalists by his former students and other distinguished colleagues in the fields that Van Engen has investigated. The essays are wonderfully conceived and well executed to show the wide-ranging influence Van Engen has had on the interpretation of medieval Christianity and Judaism from the twelfth-century context of his early work to the late medieval world of his recent studies. The volume has an unusual unity and compelling narrative flow for a collection of essays by different authors." — Paul Freedman, Chester D. Tripp Professor of History, Yale University
“The editors of Christianity and Culture in the Middle Ages: Essays to Honor John Van Engen have succeeded in producing a very fine volume. Most of the contributions honor John Van Engen by referring in various ways to his work. A remarkably large number are well written, original, thoughtful, and trenchant.” — Robert E. Lerner, Peter B. Ritzma Professor in the Humanities, Northwestern University
“Here is a collection as multifaceted as the scholar it honors. John Van Engen came to prominence as a force for renewal in the study of medieval religious and intellectual culture. How well he succeeded is written on every page by luminaries of his generation to rising stars of the future, many his former students. Every medievalist will find something of value here. Highly recommended.” — James Murray, the Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University
“These essays in [van Engen’s] honor craft a thread from each contributor’s work to the groundbreaking work of van Engen. . . . This book is a fine resource for scholars wanting to keep abreast in their field as well as for graduate students wanting to be grounded in the best critical thinking in their field.” — Magistra
“This is a particularly fine tribute to a particularly fine scholar . . . The essays are evenly important, generally well-written, suggestive, signposting additional research possibilities: they are a credit to the editors and worthy of presentation to Van Engen.” — Parergon
“One of the great hallmarks of Van Engen’s method is his ability to evoke these precise settings—the landscapes and the cityscapes—in which the authors he studies were writing. It is above all this spirit that runs throughout the essays in the present collection: a desire to engage intimately with the people whom we can glimpse, as it were, still living in the texts and other artifacts that they have left us.” — Irish Theological Quarterly
“Festschriften are, not without reason, an often-maligned genre. This volume, however, does the genre proud with essays of unusually high quality, very clearly written, and a focus on topics that not only relate to Van Engen’s own work but also raise important issues in current research.” — Speculum