The Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations project was started several years at the University of Dallas and is building a collection of medieval Latin texts, with English translations, from the period roughly between 500 and 1500, that will represent the whole breadth and variety of medieval civilization.
The project is now publishing its eleventh book, and is set to put out several more volumes. So far the books cover a wide range of topics from treatises on medieval theology and philosophy to Viking warfare.
We interviewed the editor of this series, Philipp W. Rosemann, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of Department of Philosophy at University of Dallas.
Why did you want to create this series of texts and translations?
The idea for the series actually came from one of my colleagues at the University of Dallas, Father James Lehrberger. Thirteen, fourteen years ago, when I was first appointed at the University of Dallas, he and I talked a lot about the absence of something like a medieval Loeb: a comprehensive series of Latin texts, with English translations, from all the different areas of medieval culture. We approached Peeters Publishers with the idea because I knew the Peeters family from my graduate studies at Louvain-la-Neuve. Peeters is the kind of publishing house that is open to large-scale scholarly projects with a long-term perspective. Emmanuel Peeters once told me that he hoped to published books that would still sell in fifty years. This is the spirit in which our books are conceived: they want to present texts that will stand the test of time, being useful to medievalists for many years to come.
2. The titles you have published so far and are planning to do so in the future cover a wide range of areas in Medieval Studies – is it one of your goals to be as diverse as possible?
One lesson to learn from Hegel is that human culture always functions as a whole: philosophy, theology, art, poetry, politics, etc. do not exist without interaction in completely separate spheres; they all belong to a larger cultural whole. This does not mean that they all necessarily have the same message: there are always movements and countermovements, a dominant discourse and attempts to subvert it, more central and more marginal cultural forms. But it is important not to isolate the different manifestations of the written culture of the Latin Middle Ages from each other artificially, according to the categories of the modern university and of modern scholarship.
3. Which of the publications that you have published so far, or will be coming out soon with, would be very suitable as a text in teaching a graduate or undergraduate class?
Several of the volumes that we have brought out so far have been used in graduate courses. The Henry of Ghent volumes have been particularly successful in this regard, no doubt because current discussions about Duns Scotus emphasize his indebtedness to Henry of Ghent, whose thought is only gradually coming to be understood more fully. I also know that there is a reading group this semester at the University of St. Andrews that is studying Michael Fitzgerald’s translation of Albert of Saxony’s Questions on Logic. Guy Geltner’s edition-translation of William of Saint-Amour’s famous invective against the mendicant orders would make fascinating reading for a graduate course on the religious culture of the high Middle Ages. Another excellent candidate for a graduate course would be Michael Harrington’s work on the well-known (but hitherto unedited) textbook of mystical theology that was used in Paris in the thirteenth century–by Thomas Aquinas, among others. The volume that just appeared featuring hagiographies by Hildegard of Bingen would be suitable in a number of contexts: in a course on Hildegard just as much as in one on medieval hagiography.
4. Are there topics or areas that you would like to see the DMTT be publishing in the future?
Absolutely. We want to broaden the scope of the series further. Many of our volumes have been devoted to philosophy and theology so far, simply because I have a lot of academic contacts in these areas. We are, however, interested in publishing texts from the whole breadth of medieval Latin writing. “Medieval Latin writing”–that is the only limitation we have. We will not publish medieval Greek texts nor anything in vernacular languages–not out of disdain for these cultures, obviously, but because we have to place some meaningful limit on the scope of our project.
5. If someone is interested in submitting a work to this series, what is the best of way of contacting you, and what advice would you give to them about preparing their text and translation for publication?
I can be reached at rosemann at udallas dot edu. My advice would be: go to your library and look at the volumes that we have produced so far, in particular the more recent ones, which best reflect our editorial policies as they have taken shape over the past few years. If you like the format and could imagine producing a text that would fit the specifications of the series, please send us a proposal.
We thank Professor Rosemann for answering out questions.