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Issues in Medieval Liturgy


Joanne Pierce
College of the Holy Cross
1 College Street
Worcester, MA 01610
[email protected]


Mission Statement

The Issues in Medieval Liturgy Seminar devotes itself to the scholarly study of liturgical and devotional life in the Middle Ages. The time period stretches from the late patristic through the renaissance/reformation. The group is interested in any prayer activity of the period which includes both liturgical and devotional. Two sorts of presentations are encouraged: finished papers awaiting publication and works in progress which will benefit from the work in seminar.

2019 Academy Meeting Agenda

Friday, January 4
9:45 – 12:15             

Mike Witczak: presentation: “Medieval apologies in the 1570/1962 Roman Missal and the current Roman Missal: Offertory/Preparation of Gifts.”

And in conjunction with that presentation, discussion

“Some of the recent studies by medieval historians seem to forget that the forms are both historical and presently practiced. What are the cautions in both directions when studying a liturgical element that is not just historical, but also in present use? Not forgetting that history impacts the present, but also that it is dangerous to look for the present in the past, what are the concerns that that we need to keep in mind?”

1:45 – 3:15                
Nick Kamas: presentation: “Humbert of Silva Candida as a source for the 11th c. rite of Constantinople”    

4:15 – 6:15                
Henry Parkes: progress report: “Editing Bern of Reichenau’s opera liturgica”

Dan DiCenso: presentation:  "Words, Music, and Expression: On the Emotive Capacities of Gregorian Chant"

Saturday, January 5
8:45 - 10:45               
Anne Yardley: presentation: "The Holy Trinity of Barking Abbey: Ethelburg, Hildelith, and Wulfild." 

Elaine Hild [general topic: Liturgies for the sick and the dying—title to follow]

1:30 – 3:30                
Discussion of new convener
Evaluation of 2019 Seminar
Plans for 2020 Seminar

Future Meetings:

2020: January 2-5 | Atlanta
2021: January 7-10 | Seattle
2022: January 2-5 | Toronto *Note Date change*

2018 Seminar Agenda

Friday, January 5
10:30 AM – 12 Noon.
Barbara Haggh-Huglo (University of Maryland; Fellow, Yale Institute of Sacred Music). "Cluny and Ghent”: My paper to be circulated will describe the results of a close comparison of graduals and antiphoners from Cluny or Cluniac houses and the abbeys of Ghent. The question I seek to answer is to what extent the Cluniac liturgy and its chant was received in Ghent. An important source of Cluniac music includes unusual notation for microtones. My close comparison of the late fifteenth-century gradual of the Abbey of St Bavo suggests that many of these were treated in the same way in Ghent, becoming short vocal ornaments. The liturgical similarities - the Office of the Dead and Post-Pentecostal alleluias - raise interesting questions about the development of the liturgy not only in Ghent, but in other northwestern churches and abbeys, including Laon and Cambrai.

1:30 – 3:00 PM Discussion: a discussion of dealing with race/otherness in the medieval period; here has also been a great deal of discussion about race/otherness in medieval studies and some high-profile disagreements. A discussion to see if we would like to offer any response as a group.

4:00 – 5:30 PM
Michael Witczak (Catholic University). “Comparing Missals”: presentation on the project that I began last year, comparing the last version of the medieval/1570 Roman Missale (i.e., the 1962 Missal) with the current ordo, looking at the private prayers of the priest as a lens to unpack an evolving theology of priesthood.

Saturday, January 6
9:00 AM – 12 Noon
Joanne Pierce (College of the Holy Cross). Update on projects: historical perspectives on reconciliation (beyond the usual histories of the rites of penance; and reflections on the history of the private Mass.

Discussion: a conversation on evolving trends in the study of the medieval liturgy: the emergence of social history, and the great work done by musicologists, and the relative paucity of work being done by those from a more theologically based starting point.

1:30 – 3:00 PM
Other updates from members of seminar and planning for Denver 2019.