Commenting and Commentary: The Historical Emergence of a Global Interpretive Mode, 4-6 October 2019

When and Where

Friday, October 04, 2019 9:45 am to Sunday, October 06, 2019 4:00 pm
Room 312
Lillian Massey Building
125 Queen's Park Crescent


An Interdisciplinary Conference

Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building

125 Queen’s Park, Room 312


Friday, 4 October 2019

9:45 Welcome

10:00 – 11:00   Introductory Roundtable: Towards an Interdisciplinary Methodology of Historical Commentary Studies

Chair: Markus Stock

Panelists:  Amanda Goodman, Christina Lechtermann, Walid Saleh, Kenneth Yu


11:30 – 1:15 Transgressing Theories of Interpretation

Chair: Kenneth Yu (University of Toronto)

Suzanne Akbari (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton): “Temporal Rupture and the Place of Commentary: The Aftermath of Alexander the Great in Medieval Universal Histories”

Andrew Brock Kraebel (Trinity University): “Senseless Interpretation”

Andrew Hicks (Cornell University): “Reading Texts within Texts: The Special Case of Lemmata”


2:15 – 4:00 Commentary and Religiosity

Chair: Robert Gibbs (University of Toronto)

Jennifer Gerber (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): Queries about the Divine. The Commentary on Meister Eckhart’s Granum sinapis

Amanda Goodman (University of Toronto): “Commentary at the Crossroads: An Examination of Chinese and Tibetan Ritual Works from Late-Medieval Dunhuang”

Elisabeth Hollender (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “On the Margins or in the Centre? The Place of Medieval Hebrew Liturgical Commentaries”


Saturday, October 5, 2019

10:00 – 11:45 The Materiality of Medieval Commentary

Chair: Christina Lechtermann (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Kristin Böse (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Openings”

Erik Kwakkel (University of British Columbia): “Annotating Aristotle: Page Design and Marginal Space in Thirteenth-Century University Manuscripts”

Joanna Olchawa (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Texts – Illustrations – Objects. The Materiality of Comments in the Bellifortis Manuscripts of the 15th Century”


1:00 – 2:45 Communities of Commentary

Chair: Enrico Raffaeli (University of Toronto)

Miguel Toledo (Universidad de Salamanca): “Zoroastrian Commentaries in Antiquity and Late Antiquity”

Alexander Andrée (University of Toronto): “Reading Virgil in Twelfth-Century Laon: Accessus and Commentary”

Philipp Knüpffer (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Commenting the Classics at Protestant Universities. The Commentarii Docti, Breves et Succincti in Virgilii libros Georgicorum (Mühlhausen, 1574) and the In Quintiliani institutionum librum decimum annotationes (Leipzig, 1570) by Johann Stigel”


3:15 – 5:00 Metapoetics and Autocommentary

Chair: Jill Ross (University of Toronto)

Elisa Brilli (University of Toronto): “Dante’s Self-Commentary and the Call for Interpretation”

Andrea Baldan (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Francesco Fulvio Frugoni’s Self- Commentary: Glosses and Literary Criticism in the ‘Tribunal della Critica’”

Christine Ott / Philip Stockbrugger (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Modes and Functions of Self-Commentary in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century”


Sunday, October 6, 2019

9:30– 10:45 Narrative and Commentary

Chair: Lorenza Bennardo (University of Toronto)

Elsa Bouchard (Université de Montreal): “Reading the Poetic Artifact: Narrative Unity in the Ancient Commentaries on Homer”

Christina Lechtermann (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “The In-/Coherences of Narrative Commentary”


11:15 – 12:30 (De-)Disciplining the Discourse: Commentary and Knowledge Formation

Chair: Walid Saleh (University of Toronto)

Ajay Rao (University of Toronto): “The Sociology of Knowledge in Sanskrit Scholastic Commentary”

Magnus Ulrich Ferber (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Commenting on a Purged

Model. The M. Valerii Martialis Epigrammaton libri omnes of the Jesuit Matthäus Rader (1602)”


Post-conference gatherings:

 2:00 – 4:00pm Graduate Student Workshop: Commentaries on Early Modern Texts – Theory and Practice

Chair: Robert Seidel (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Knowledge of Latin or German required



2:00 – 4:00pm PI Planning Meeting (Frankfurt / Toronto)


125 Queen's Park Crescent