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ERC

THESIS Report Summary

Project ID: 313339
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: France

Mid-Term Report Summary - THESIS (Theology, Education, Scholastic Institution and Scholars-network: dialogues between the University of Paris and the new Universities from Central and Eastern Europe during the Late)

The acronyme of THESIS project is given by this title: Theology, Education, School Institution and Scholars-network: dialogues between the University of Paris and the new Universities from Central Europe during the Late Middle Ages.
The first aim of the project is to develop a deeper investigation on the existing commentaries on the Sentences from the period 1350 to 1450. A Sentences commentary is a collection of theses as a core component of the academic curriculum that medieval scholars had to defend in the universities in order to obtain the title of master or doctor; it is actually the unique equivalent of our modern PhD thesis. We chose this period because is one of the less studied and because it corresponds with the apparition of new universities in the east of Europe, like for exemple Vienna.
The project is developing an innovative methodology that harmonizes various approaches that are at the same time codicological and palaeographical, historical and doctrinal, and statistical. Based on those approaches we try to establish new and more accurate attributions of texts and manuscripts.
By editing new texts, mainly the Prologues of these commentaries but also fragments dealing with different doctrinal topics (the Filioque, theory of knowledge, habitus), we intend to create a new corpus of material that will improve our understanding of the intellectual practice of the Sentences commentary.
The study of the sources and the identification of common passages will open new reflections about the use of the copy-paste method or the method of combining various fragments borrowed from other texts. Of course this provokes the question of plagiarism, a term that again displays its limitations when it comes to describing an intellectual practice in the Middle Ages. We find that employing this characterization is simply inappropriate and confines the investigation to a simple identification of common fragments. The new approach will provide an opportunity to open a new path of investigating the silent core of medieval universities.
Another interest is to investigate the phenomena of the transfer of knowledge, understood also as a transfer of intellectual practice concerning the tradition of Sentences commentaries. Therefore, to expand our understanding of the specific characteristics of the University of Vienna (one of case-study of the project) in the Middle Ages, it is important to chart the differences between Paris and Vienna.
The THESIS project’s investigation focuses on offering new information concerning the intellectual atmosphere inside the European universities in an attempt to respond to various historical questions: How do the Sentences commentaries of this period lead to the formation of a European university identity? Who are the masters of the time? What is the importance of a Sentences commentary (the modern PhD degree) in the development of a individual intellectual career during the late Middle Ages? What are the relations and exchanges between the University of Paris and the new universities of Central Europe? Which are the commentaries acquired (by purchase and thus at the request of the readers) in the university libraries of this epoch and in this area of Europe? What are the cultural exchanges between secular masters, monks and friars? How do the religious orders constitute a factor in the formation of a network for the transfer of knowledge in the universities?

Reported by

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
France
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