Michael Roberts, the Robert Rich Professor of Latin, professor of medieval studies, professor of classical studies, recently contributed his work, “Venantius Fortunatus and Gregory of Tours: Patronage and Poetry,” to a journal dedicated to providing an expert guide to interpreting the works and legacy of Gregory, Bishop of Tours (573-594) in religious and historical studies.
Published in A Companion to Gregory of Tours, in December 2015, Roberts’ article looked particularly at the relationship between the historian of 6th century Gaul, Gregory, Bishop of Tours, and the Italian-born poet Venantius Fortunatus. Throughout his work, Roberts argues, “that Gregory was Fortunatus’ patron and friend and that Gregory’s appreciation for poetry in general and for the poetic skills of Fortunatus in particular lay at the root of their relationship.”
The purpose of this book is to gain a deeper understanding into the life of Gregory, Bishop of Tours, who was a writer, often described as “ahead of his time.” In his work, Gregory covered history, hagiography and religious instruction and wrote about events, as well as himself as an actor and witness. Roberts uses this platform to explore just a small excerpt of the life and work of Gregory, Bishop of Tours.
New book, co-edited by Magda Teter.
Magda Teter, the Jeremy Zwelling Professor of Jewish Studies, professor of history, professor of medieval studies, is the co-editor of a book titled, Jewish-Christian Relations in History, Memory, and Art: European contet for the paintings in the Sandomierz Cathedral, published in Polish by Wydawnictwo Diecezjalne, Sandomierz in 2013.
A large painting known as Infanticidium on the western wall of the Cathedral church in Sandomierz, Poland depicting scenes of Jews killing Christian children, has been frequently viewed as an example of Polish anti-Semitism and a troubling symbol of Jewish-Catholic relations. The painting became a site of memory (lieu de mémoire), crystalizing in one object the memory of Jewish-Christian relations in Poland, and a source of protests and tensions between the Catholic church and the Jewish community. The richly illustrated book, edited by Teter and Urszula Stępień, presents the Sandomierz paintings in their broader European and local artistic, historical and historiographic context.
The controversial Sandomierz painting belongs to a broader series of sixteen paintings known as “Martyrologium Romanum.” The first two essays address the question of Jewish-Christian relations. Teter discusses the history of these relations and the role historians have played, and continue to play, in shaping the understanding and perception of these relations. Teter also points to visual influences of European iconography of the so-called “ritual murder” on the Sandomierz paintings, especially the iconography of Simon of Trent.
Ruth Nisse, associate professor of English, associate professor of medieval studies, received a $40,000 fellowship grant from the American Council of Learned Societies for 2011-12. During the fellowship, she will complete her book Jacob’s Shipwreck. The study focuses on the “co-emergence” of Christians and Jews in12th and 13th century England and Northern France. She argues that the the two communities mediated their relations through the reception, translation and rewriting of ancient texts.
Debbie Sierpinski, administrative assistant, pictured here with Christi Richardson ’10, has worked at Wesleyan more than 24 years. She manages the budgets for Classical Studies and English Departments and for the Archaeology and Medieval Studies programs.
Q: Debbie, you’re the administrative assistant for the Archaeology Program, Medieval Studies Program and the Classical Studies Department. Anything else?!
A: In October 2010, I was given a promotion and added the responsibility of also working for the English Department and Writing Workshop in the new Downey House operations support system. At times it is a bit challenging, but I am good at managing my time and priorities so the work gets done in a timely fashion. I wear many different hats and wear them well.
Q: How many years have you worked for Wesleyan, and in what departments?
A: I have credit for 24 years at Wesleyan. I have been at Wesleyan longer than that but I did not bridge all of the time. I have worked for the Classical Studies Department and Medieval Studies Program for 18 years. After a few years, the Archaeology Program was added on and then most recently, the English Department
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