Congratulations to our recent PhD Graduate David M. Foley!

May 1, 2020 by Communications

David M. Foley: "Peter Comestor's Lectures on the Glossa ordinaria on John (ca. 1165): An Historical Introduction with a Critical Edition" (University of Toronto 2020).

Recent discoveries surrounding the twelfth-century schools of Northern France have begun to attract the attention of scholars to a vast corpus of unedited lecture materials (reportationes) emanating from the cathedral school of Notre-Dame. This dissertation encompasses the first partial critical edition and specialised study of one such series of lectures, Peter Comestor’s Glosae super Iohannem glosatum. Delivered in Paris in the mid-1160s, Comestor’s lecture course on the Glossa ordinaria’ on the Gospel of John has been preserved in the form of continuous transcripts taken in shorthand by a student-reporter. From this original set of reportationes, likely revised and authorised by Comestor prior to their diffusion, all of the sixteen extant witnesses to the text ultimately derive. Despite the impressively stable textual tranmission of the Glosae, each manuscript contains unique information about Comestor’s immediate teaching environment: interpolations in the main body of text, student annotations, marginal glosses reporting Comestor’s teaching in his other classes, and additions made (or dictated) by the master himself. Accordingly, I have selected ten of the best witnesses dating from between the last quarter of the twelfth century and the first quarter of the thirteenth to produce a critical edition of the prothemata (i.e. prefatory material) and the first chapter of Comestor’s lectures. In addition to the text of the original lectures, I provide two appendices containing the layered accretions made by Comestor and his students to the lectures, as well as a third appendix containing an edition of the corresponding portion of the textbook from which Comestor lectured, the Glossa ordinaria’ on John.

The second part of this dissertation, comprised of five chapters, serves to provide a wide-ranging introduction to the historical and intellectual context of Peter Comestor’s biblical teaching. Chapter One presents an outline of Comestor’s scholastic career and known works, a survey of the scholarship on his biblical glosses, and a general introduction to the text of the edition: its date, genre, and title. Chapter Two charts the intellectual landscape of Comestor’s lectures: namely, the tradition of biblical teaching originating at the School of Laon, preserved in the Laonnoise Glossa ordinaria,’ and subsequently developed in the classroom by Peter Lombard and a succession of Parisian masters. Chapter Three represents a critical study of the portion of the Glosae presented in the edition: an overview of its structure and narrative sequence, an examination of Comestor’s teaching method and scholastic setting, an outline of the sources (both patristic and ‘modern’) behind his biblical scholarship, and a survey of his engagement in contemporary doctrinal controversies. In Chapter Four, I provide a detailed description of the ten manuscripts selected for the edition together with a stemmatic analysis of their relations. Finally, Chapter Five specifies the editorial principles observed in the critical edition, its various apparatus, and the appendices.