Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Eckhart Edition

King's College London has started up a Meister Eckhart Project. See here for details.

Some selections (bold is my emphasis):

To study this towering figure of Meister Eckhart and his early 14th c. humanist environment of philosophy and theology at the University of Paris an AHRC-Major Research Grant (£571.000 for the years 2013-2016) was awarded for the project 'Meister Eckhart and the Parisian University in the early 14th century - Codex Vaticanus Latinus 1086', directed by Professor Markus Vinzent (PI) and Professor Oliver Davies (CO-I). The project includes one postdoctoral researcher (Chris Wojtulewicz), two Phd studentships (one held by Maria O'Connor, the other is advertised now) and several associated teams (Professor Denys Turner, Yale and King's College London; Professor Walter Senner, Rome with his team; Professor Loris Sturlese, Lecce with his team; Professor Dietmar Mieth, Erfurt with his team and the Max-Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt). The project teams intend to rewrite the history of this time, broadening the textual basis for Eckhart and reading his texts against the background of other, largely unexplored scholars of his time.

That's a lot of money for a medieval philosophy project. I dare say if one were to check the NEH website, one would find that this group has been funded more generously than the Richard Rufus of Cornwall project or the Scotus Parisian Reports project. Note, there is a PhD "Studentship" available. I don't know what that is, exactly. Note also the big names associated with the project. Finally, note that the part at the end about rewriting the history of early 14th c. philosophy (my own favorite sub-sub-subfield)

Here's some more from higher up on the same page, where they talk some more about rewriting history, and some re-discovered questions of Eckhart:

Although the re-discovered Questions are already worth a detailed study, the source from where the four derive will shed further light on these questions: The manuscript Vat. Lat. 1086 ranks as a document of crucial importance which will help us understand the development of philosophical, theological and juridicial teaching at Paris in the beginning XIVth century. Prosper's collection contains names and opinions of students, bachelors and masters (regents) of the university and preserves the documentation of a detailed insight into the atmosphere of learning of this European cultural centre as no other document does. For many of the named people, this will be a first scholarly study of their bio-bibliography and their thinking.

Here just a few examples of people who's questions are contained in Ms. Vat. Lat. 1086 :
Prosper, Jacques d'Ascoli, Gregoire de Lucques, John de Monte s. Elygii, Gregoire de Lucques, Henricus (de Gand?), Gilles de Rome, Aegidius Romanus, Simon de Corbeia?, Bertrand de Turre, Gerardus de s. Victore, Gregoire de Lucques, Pe de sto dyo, Henricus Amandi, Jean de Pouilly (142ra1), Jean, de l'ordre du Val des Ecoliers?, Martin d' Abbeville, Fran├žois Caraccioli or de Caroccis di Napoli, Brito: Raoul Renaud, Gui Terreni or de Perpignan, Durandus, Thomas de Aquino ...

[of course, for most in the list they give, there already are bio-bibliographical studies and texts published; interestingly, they make no mention of the previous detailed studies of this ms. by Courtenay and Glorieux. But it is just a webpage blurb, after all]

Only after a few monhs into the running of the project - Eckhart's new Questions have already been published in the authoritative critical edition of his works with Kohlhammer under the research associate's pen of Professor Loris Sturlese. And in the near future, the first fascicle of the indices for the entire Deutsche and Lateinische Werke of Meister Eckhart will follow (authored by Professor Markus Vinzent).

As a next step, the project will provide a critical commentary of Eckhart's Parisian Questions together with further studies on those colleagues of him with whom he debated at Paris University and elsewhere, taking into account Vat. Lat. 1086 and other parallel manuscripts, in order to read Eckhart against the background of the network of University teachers in Paris and elsewhere.

Hmm... no mention of Gonsalvus Hispanus, Eckhart's opponent in a famous debate at Paris ca. 1300. Also, they don't mention Scotus, no doubt because Scotus and Eckhart scholarship are worlds to themselves, but they were in Paris at the same time. Surely there is some point of comparison? I see in their translation there is one on the attributes, but it doesn't seem to have anything useful, being mainly what seems to me a restatement of some of Godfrey of Fontaines' principles.

Don't forget to check out the giftshop!


Bubba said...

The key is Vat. Lat. 1086. Prosper of Reggio Emilia was an OESA theologian at Paris from ca. 1309-1318. He was present at many disputations in the period, took notes, and transcribed them from (probably) paper to parchment quires, along with other questions that interested him. This is his Liber Recollectorum, and it was famous already in his lifetime (I think there's a 1319 or 1320 OESA Chapter General meeting that actually refers to it). Glorieux has a famous article on it. Bill Courtenay gives a list of the masters who appear in it in an chapter of Schabel's 2006 Quodlibeta volume (although rumor has it that the team working on 1086 has made some revisions/corrections to authorship).
Anyway, most of the questions are quite short, and so it doesn't surprise me that they'd get the Meister Eckhart stuff out of the way in a few months. Bertrand de la Tour is edited in a couple footnotes in that same Quodlibeta volume.

The manuscript is far more important than just Meister Eckhart, but it is clear that it would be interesting to those trying to reconstruct the intellectual life of the faculty of theology at Paris at this time. It's also clear that it's not easy to convince non-experts of its importance without a "big name" attached. There's no Scotus in the VL 1086, which explains why he's not mentioned in their presentation.

That said, their list of names is rather weird, and whoever wrote it seems to have a thing for Gregory of Lucca.

Lee Faber said...

I see. So it's really a Vat. lat. 1086 project with Eckhart as the bait. Fair enough.

I was excited to see one of their post-docs is working on James of Ascoli; maybe an edition of the quodlibet will come out of the project as well.

Also, I was impressed that the goal of the project was an actual book(s), rather than a conference.

Anonymous said...

Disgraceful. Oliver Davies has NO QUALIFICATIONS in theology at all, yet he's been made a professor at KCL. he is trained in literature, which is easy compared to scholastic theology.
Meister Eckhart is just about the only theologian he has ever written on.