Herren (Michael W.)

  • s. xx–xxi
  • (agents)
Herren, Michael W., Andrew Dunning, Chiara Ombretta Tommasi, and Giovanni Mandolino, Iohannes Scottus Eriugena: Carmina; De imagine, Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis, 167, Turnhout: Brepols, 2020.  
A new edition of Eriugena’s poems, first published by Michael Herren in 1993 and now revised by Herren and Andrew Dunning; together with a new edition of De imagine by C. O. Tommasi and G. Mandolino.

John Scottus Eriugena’s Carmina reflect not only his central philosophical and theological ideas, but also his literary education and his life at the court of Charles the Bald. This corpus of Eriugena’s poetry includes recent discoveries of new items. Works laid under contribution by the poet have also been expanded.

De Imagine represents the Latin translation of Gregory of Nyssa’s treatise on the creation of man (De opificio hominis), a text that had already attracted the attention of Dionysius Exiguus in the sixth century. Probably a juvenile work, it witnesses to Eriugena’s interests for translating Greek texts and in this respect can be paralleled to major texts like the translation of Maximus the Confessor and of Dionysius the Areopagite. Moreover, large portions of the text were paraphrased or directly employed in the Periphyseon and, later on, were used by William of St Thierry in his De natura corporis et animae.

This new critical edition is based on the collation of the two extant manuscripts, compared against the Greek text, and is accompanied by a source apparatus that also highlights the reprises in Periphyseon and the parallel passages in De natura corporis. The introduction outlines the contents of the work, situating De imagine in Eriugena’s speculation, and offers a thorough reconstruction of the manuscript tradition, which also includes the thorny question of the Greek exemplar employed by Eriugena.

Herren, Michael W., “Comedy, irony, and philosophy in late antique prosimetra: Menippean satire from the fifth to the eighth century”, The Journal of Medieval Latin 27 (2017): 241–275.  
The author examines in chronological order the main examples of Latin works generally claimed to be Menippean satires from Roman times (by Varro, Seneca, Petronius) to the Cosmography of Aethicus Ister, written just before the middle of the eighth century C.E. He argues that the satires composed from the end of the fifth century to the middle of the eighth (by Martianus Capella, Ennodius, Boethius, Fulgentius, Virgilius Maro Grammaticus, and ps. Jerome) constitute a separate branch of the tradition. These works cohere in their attachment to an encyclopedic, or generally didactic, intent, the use of fabula or allegory, and a commitment to the anagogic or ennobling function of literature, all the while maintaining many of the classical features of the genre - the prosimetrical form, dialogic structure, comedy, irony, and engagement with philosophy. The author also debates with modern critics such as Mikhail Bakhtin and Northrop Frye and their endeavour to establish a definition of Menippean that is valid for all periods. It is argued that Latin (both Roman and late late antique) examples alone preserve the original form derived from Menippus that requires the mixture of prose and poetry, i.e. the prosimetrum. The prosimetrum is not merely formal, but operates in service to the dialectic inherent in the genre. The author argues that with the sundering of form from mode (the topoi and literary techniques identified in the genre) that Menippean satire essentially died and had to be reinvented.
Herren, Michael W., “Pelasgian fountains: learning Greek in the early Middle Ages”, in: Elizabeth P. Archibald, William Brockliss, and Jonathan Gnoza (eds), Learning Latin and Greek from antiquity to the present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 65–82.
Herren, Michael W., “Sedulius Scottus and the knowledge of Greek”, in: Pádraic Moran, and Immo Warntjes (eds), Early medieval Ireland and Europe: chronology, contacts, scholarship. A Festschrift for Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, 14, Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. 515–535.  
This article examines the evidence for Sedulius Scottus’ knowledge of the Greek language and evaluates it in comparison to that possessed by his contemporary, John Scottus. The following categories are assessed: (1) the use of Greek in Latin poetry; (2) skill as a scribe of the Greek Psalter and as glossator of the Sibylline Oracles preserved in Paris, Bibliotheque de l’Arsenal, 8407; (3) the glossing of Greek grammatical and rhetorical terms in his commentary on Priscian’s Institutiones grammaticae. The results of the investigation do not support the claim frequently made that Sedulius played a role in the interlinear translation of 9th-century Irish manuscripts of the Greek Gospels, the Psalter, and Epistles of Paul.
Herren, Michael W., “Cultures of grace: Eriugena and Irish Christianity”, in: Willemien Otten, and Michael I. Allen (eds), Eriugena and Creation: proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Eriugenian Studies, held in honor of Edouard Jeauneau, Chicago, 9–12 November 2011, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. 51–83.
Herren, Michael W., “The Cena Adamnani or seventh-century table talk”, in: Mary Garrison, Arpad P. Orbán, and Marco Mostert (eds), Spoken and written language: relations between Latin and the vernacular languages in the earlier Middle Ages, 24, Turnhout: Brepols, 2013. 101–112.
Herren, Michael W., “Cicero redivivus apud scurras: some early medieval treatments of the great orator”, in: Nancy Deusen (ed.), Cicero refused to die: Ciceronian influence through the centuries, 4, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2013. 1–4.  
What this chapter offers on the life and doings of Cicero is mostly skurril, but one example does verge upon the scurrilous. Early medieval writers and even later ones read many of the authors of Latin antiquity without having an inkling of their lifetime or careers. An example presented in the chapter is not only scurrilous but also shocking. It comes from a collection of Priscian glosses found in a Freising manuscript of the ninth century. The last example involves a more refined treatment of Cicero by an author who may be regarded as exemplifying the older notion of a scurra, namely, "a fashionable city idler." It refers to Virgil the Grammarian, a refined Irish gentleman of the 7th century, whose writings combine the serious treatment of grammar with parody, verbal wit, and much that is perplexing.
Herren, Michael W., “Patrick, Gaul, and Gildas: a new lens on the apostle of Ireland’s career”, in: Sarah Sheehan, Joanne Findon, and Westley Follett (eds), Gablánach in scélaigecht: Celtic studies in honour of Ann Dooley, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013. 9–25.
Herren, Michael W., “John Scottus and Greek mythology: reprising an ancient hermeneutic in the Paris commentary on Martianus Capella”, The Journal of Medieval Latin 22 (2012): 95–116.  
The essay opens with a brief discussion of Martianus Capella’s De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, and sets out some possible reasons for its popularity with medieval scholars. De nuptiis was known in Ireland by the seventh century, and John Scottus Eriugena might have read it there. In any case, he wrote two versions of a commentary on the work, the longer of which (P = Paris, BnF, MS lat. 12960) is considerably more interesting for its exegetical method. The allegoresis of secular texts had been largely neglected since Fulgentius (sixth century), and was only reprised in the diffuse commentary tradition on Martianus that preceded Eriugena’s study of that text. However, in the P commentary John appears to be working towards a sophisticated exegetical system that embodies what the author himself calls “the laws of allegory.” John employs the terms fabulose and physice (“in the mythical sense” and “in the physical sense”), which, as is argued, correspond to Neoplatonic psychological allegoresis and Stoic physical allegoresis respectively. Although the terms appear to be similar to those used by Augustine in the De civitate Dei (drawing on Varro), John uses them differently. The source of his terminology remains problematic, though one might speculate on the use of a Greek work.
(source: Brepols)
Herren, Michael W., The Cosmography of Aethicus Ister. Edition, translation, and commentary, Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin, 8, Turnhout: Brepols, 2011.  
Edition, with English translation, introduction and commentary, of the Cosmographia attributed to Aethicus Ister
One of the most skilful forgeries of the Middle Ages, the Cosmography of Aethicus Ister has puzzled scholars for over 150 years, not least because of its challenging Latinity. Written at a western centre in the first part of the eighth century, the work purports to be a heavily censored epitome made by St. Jerome of a “cosmography” by an Istrian philosopher named Aethicus. This writer, who is otherwise unknown, describes a flat-earth universe resembling that of Cosmas Indicopleustes, then gives an eye-witness account of his travels to the “isles of the gentiles” in the North and East. There he encounters not only savage races, but also monsters, Amazons, and other figures of mythology. Alexander the Great also figures prominently by immuring the “unclean races,” who will escape to ravage the world at the coming of the Anti-Christ. Not all is fiction. The author’s observations on volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis will interest the scientific reader. The last part deals in coded fashion with contemporary events in the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans, and may provide a clue to the author’s origins. The present volume offers a new critical text, the first translation, and a detailed commentary covering every aspect of the work.
(source: Brepols)
Herren, Michael, “François Kerlouégan (1933–2009)”, The Journal of Medieval Latin 20 (2010): xiv–xvii.
Herren, Michael W., and Shirley Ann Brown [eds.], Christ in Celtic Christianity: Britain and Ireland from the fifth to the tenth century, Studies in Celtic History, 20, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2002.
Herren, Michael W., “The ‘Greek element’ in the Cosmographia of Aethicus Ister”, The Journal of Medieval Latin 11 (2001): 184–200.
Herren, Michael W., “Some quantitative poems attributed to Columbanus of Bobbio”, in: John Marenbon (ed.), Poetry and philosophy in the Middle Ages: a Festschrift for Peter Dronke, 29, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2000. 99–112.
Herren, Michael W., “Literary and glossarial evidence for the study of classical mythology in Ireland A.D. 600–800”, in: Helen Conrad-O’Briain, Anne-Marie D'Arcy, and John Scattergood (eds), Text and gloss: studies in insular language and literature presented to Joseph Donovan Pheifer, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1999. 49–67.
Herren, Michael W., “Scholarly contacts between the Irish and the southern English in the seventh century”, Peritia 12 (1998): 24–53.
Herren, Michael W., “Irish biblical commentaries before 800”, in: Jaqueline Hamesse (ed.), Roma, magistra mundi. Itineraria culturae medieualis: mélanges offerts au Père L. E. Boyle a l’occasion de son 75è anniversaire, 10, Louvain, Turnhout: La Neuve, Brepols, 1998. 391–407.
Herren, Michael W., Latin letters in early Christian Ireland, Variorum Collected Studies Series, 527, Aldershot: Ashgate, 1996.  
This book is concerned with the transmission and reception of Latin literary culture in the early Middle Ages, and with the production of Latin works in Ireland and in Irish centres on the Continent. In these articles, Professor Herren deals with several closely related themes: the introduction of Latin into Ireland and the study of Latin literary heritage; the language and metre of Hiberno-Latin writings; and questions of dating and authorship pertaining to a number of crucial texts, from Columbanus to John Scottus Eriugena.
(source: Ashgate)
Herren, Michael, “John Scottus and the biblical manuscripts attributed to the circle of Sedulius Scottus”, in: Gerd van Riel, Carlos Steel, and James J. McEvoy (eds), Johannes Scottus Eriugena. The Bible and hermeneutics. Proceedings of the Ninth International Colloquium of the Society for the Promotion of Eriugenian Studies held at Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, June 7–10, 1995, 1.20, Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1996. 303–320.
Herren, Michael, “Virgil the Grammarian: a Spanish Jew in Ireland?”, Peritia 9 (1995): 51–71.
Herren, Michael W., “Aethicus Ister and Virgil the Grammarian”, in: Danièle Conso, Nicole Fick, and Bruno Poulle (eds), Mélanges François Kerlouégan, 515, Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1994. 283–288.
Herren, Michael W., Iohannis Scotti Eriugenae carmina, Scriptores Latini Hiberniae, 12, Dublin: School of Celtic Studies, DIAS, 1993.
Herren, Michael W., “Die Anfänge der Grammatikstudien auf den Britischen Inseln: von Patrick bis zur Schule von Canterbury”, in: Hildegard L. C. Tristram (ed.), Medialität und mittelalterliche insulare Literatur, 43, Tübingen: Narr, 1992. 57–79.
Herren, Michael W., “Hibernolateinische und irische Verskunst mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Siebensilbers”, in: Hildegard L. C. Tristram (ed.), Metrik und Medienwechsel / Metrics and media, 35, Tübingen: Narr, 1991. 173–188.
Herren, Michael W., “The stress system of the Hiberno-Latin hendecasyllable”, Celtica 21 (1990): 223–230.

As honouree

Wieland, Gernot R., Carin Ruff, and Ross G. Arthur (eds), Insignis sophiae arcator: essays in honour of Michael W. Herren on his 65th birthday, Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin, 6, Turnhout: Brepols, 2006.


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Dennis Groenewegen
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March 2018