Alessia Berardi awarded Leonard Boyle Dissertation Prize

July 5, 2024 by Centre for Medieval Studies

Congratulations to CMS Alumna, Alessia Berardi, who has been awarded the Leonard Boyle Dissertation Prize from the Canadian Society of Medievalists for her dissertation, "Vitascientiadoctrina: Stephen Langton and the biblical model of the 'good master' in the twelfth-century schools." The Prize is awarded annually for an outstanding dissertation by a Student at a Canadian institution.

The Prize Committee cites:

"Dr. Berardi's thesis argues “for the existence of a ‘magisterial model’ for twelfth-century masters of theology based on the image of the ‘good bishop’ provided by Gregory the Great in his Pastoral Rule.” Making a distinction between masters of the arts and masters of theology, it analyzes, and provides transcriptions of, previously unpublished material by Stephen Langton (lectures on the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations). It demonstrates that “the triad scientia, uita, and doctrina…is found for the first time in the Ordinary Gloss, and it is used in reference to good preachers and masters in works authored by some of Langton’s contemporaries.” Finally, it situates Langton in historical context, noting the relationship between his views and those of preceding masters (Anselm of Laon, Gilbert of Poitiers, Peter Lombard, and Peter Comestor) and arguing that Peter Abelard represented, rather than a new model for masters of theology, a significant exception to the model of a good master.

Dr. Berardi should be praised for her contributions to medieval studies and her thesis is a “remarkable contribution” to the fields of medieval history, political history, and social history. It is a “tour de force in how meticulously transcribed and deciphered medieval manuscript material can provide new knowledge of a field.” Dr. Berardi's methodology for placing “the main subject of the thesis, Langton, in a long-term perspective” is especially appreciated. Indeed, this thesis is “of significant importance” for our understanding of the creation of the university in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The committee further notes the important contribution to scholarship of the transcribed primary texts included in the Appendix to Chapter 1, and the Conclusion’s discussion of potential future paths of investigation. The committee wishes to congratulate Dr Berardi for this rigorous work that exemplifies a high level of knowledge and skills in Medieval Studies."

Alessia, who is now Assistant Professor of Medieval History at Christendom College successfully defended her dissertation in 2023 under the supervision of Alexander Andrée. During Alessia's time at CMS, she was awarded multiple grants and fellowships, served as one of the editors of Exposito in Cantica Cantocorum, Critical Edition and has written articles for Scriptorium and book chapters for Holy Hero(in)es: Literary Constructions of Heroism in Late Antique and Early Medieval Hagiography.

For more information on the Prize, and for a list of past winners, please visit the Canadian Society of Medievalists website.

Canadian Society of Medievalists / Société canadienne des médiévistes (CSM/SCM)