Monthly Archives: January 2017

SAIMS/TMJ Essay Prize – Deadline 24 March!

SAIMS invites entries for its annual Essay Competition, submitted according to the following rules:

1. The competition is open to all medievalists who are graduate students or have completed a higher degree within the last three years. For PhD students the time period of three years begins from the date of the successful viva, but excludes any career break. Any candidate in doubt of their eligibility should contact the Director of SAIMS (saimsmail@st-andrews.ac.uk).

2. A candidate may make only one submission to the competition.

3. The submission must be the candidate’s own work, based on original research, and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication.

4. Submissions are welcomed on any topic that falls within the scope of medieval studies.

5. The submission should be in the English language.

6. The word limit is 8,000 words, including notes, bibliography, and any appendices.

7. The text should be double-spaced, and be accompanied by footnotes with short referencing and a full bibliography of works cited, following the guidelines on the TMJ webpage. An abstract of 200 words should preface the main text.

8. The deadline for submissions is 24 March 2017.

9. The essay must be submitted electronically to saimsmail@st-andrews.ac.uk, in both Word and pdf formats, to arrive by the deadline.

10. The submission must be accompanied by a completed cover sheet and signed declaration; the template for this is available here. The candidate’s name should not appear on the submission itself, nor be indicated in any form in the notes.

11. Decisions concerning the Competition lie with the Editors and Editorial Board of The Mediaeval Journal, who can, if they consider there to have been appropriate submissions, award an Essay Prize and in addition declare a proxime accessit. In the unlikely event that, in the judges’ opinion, the material submitted is not of a suitable standard, no prize will be awarded.

12. The value of the Prize is £500.

13. A candidate whose entry is declared proxime accessit will be awarded £100.

14. In addition to the Prize, the winning submission will be published within twelve months in The Mediaeval Journal, subject to the usual editorial procedures of the journal.

Please direct any queries to the Director of SAIMS (saimsmail@st-andrews.ac.uk).

New Book! Rubrics, Images and Indulgences in Late Medieval Netherlandish Manuscripts by Kathryn M. Rudy

How images fuelled the mania for indulgences in pre-Reformation Europe

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of an apocalyptic event in European history: Martin Luther nailed up the 95 Theses criticising abuses of the Roman church, including selling indulgences. With this action Luther set into motion the Protestant Reformation, arguably one of Europe’s biggest social upheavals. In her ground-breaking new book, Kathryn M. Rudy, Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of St Andrews, investigates the crucial role images played in tkatehe mania for indulgences that characterised the decades before the Reformation.

Published in December 2016 by Brill, Rudy’s book is the first to analyse systematically the interplay of images and indulgences in pre-Reformation Europe. Drawing upon hundreds of manuscript prayerbooks and numerous unpublished sources, she demonstrates how indulgences and images worked symbiotically to market certain images and popularise particular indulgences. Her work focuses on manuscript prayerbooks written in Middle Dutch for literate people living in the Low Countries during the fifteenth century. The Netherlanders had an exceptionally advanced book-making culture and high literacy rates. Their books recorded and prescribed cultural norms of behaviour in an era when people often owned just one book – a prayerbook – and the impious were ostracised. Prayerbooks thus exercised a powerful hold on both private and public behaviour.

The manuscript prayerbooks studied in Rudy’s new work were made at a time when the faithful understood they had to pay for their sins by spending time in Purgatory, where their souls would be cleansed. Believers could reduce their sentence by reciting certain prayers. Preachers communicated this fire-and-brimstone thinking, whipping up a fervour for indulgences. Rudy’s study shows that people performed particular prayers in front of images, such as the Virgin of the Sun, the Mass of St Gregory, the Trinity or a crucifix in order to earn these coveted indulgences. She asks: how did believers behave in front of images? What purgatorial remissions and rewards did they expect as a result of their performed prayers? What role did the text play in conditioning both the use of images and their production?

Rudy’s pioneering study was funded with a three-year research grant by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), the national research council for The Netherlands. During her research she studied more than 500 manuscripts and mastered the Middle Dutch language, enabling her to transcribe the instructions for prayer embedded in late medieval prayerbooks. Called rubrics and often written in red, these instructions effectively tell the reader how to pray. Rudy finds examples instructing the believer to ‘read the following prayer in the presence of an image of the Virgin of the Sun’, and the results they could expect. Rewards could be great. For reading a particular prayer in front of an image the Virgin of the Sun, the faithful could reduce their time in Purgatory by 11,000 years.

Further information and comments:

Appearance of the Virgin and Child to a group of Dominicans in a church, early 16th century, Northern Netherlands. Painting on panel, Utrecht, Museum Catharijneconvent, abm s71

Appearance of the Virgin and Child to a group of Dominicans in a church, early 16th century, Northern Netherlands. Painting on panel, Utrecht, Museum Catharijneconvent, abm s71

Andrew Pettegree, Professor of History at the University of St Andrews, comments: “A really beautiful, insightful and original book. Any Reformation historian who wants to understand the importance of indulgences will want to read it.”

Brill calls it “without doubt one of the most beautiful books we’ve published this year.”

Please ask your institution’s librarian to order a copy, available from Brill at: http://www.brill.com/products/book/rubrics-images-and-indulgences-late-medieval-netherlandish-manuscripts

For a review copy, ask a journal editor to request one at: http://www.brill.com/about/policies/review-brill-book. Thank you.

Notes to editors:

For further information on Rubrics, Images, and Indulgences or quotes from the author, please contact Kathryn M. Rudy by email: kmr7@st-andrews.ac.uk

For all press enquiries including hi-res images please contact Julia Faiers at Social Media Clinic

email julia@socialmediaclinic.co.uk tel: +33 683 171117