Our speaker writes:
What did it mean to copy and promote medical learning during a period still often considered the “Dark Ages”? Are the manuscripts that survive attempts to simply preserve and imitate classical culture or were these seen as practical guides, to be actively used in healing interactions? This talk introduces the corpus of Latin medical writings extant in manuscripts from the late eighth century onward—a corpus that is far larger and more diverse than has previously been recognized. It probes what we can discover about the agendas of anonymous scribes who transformed the medical knowledge they copied in various ways, not least by adapting the inventions of so-called pagans into Christian wisdom. In its examination of texts and images in specific Carolingian medical manuscripts, the talk assesses the boundaries between philosophy and applied practice and considers how the care of the soul was understood to guide and shape the care of the body.
About our speaker:
Meg Leja is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Binghamton University. Her research focuses on the early Middle Ages and deals with manuscript studies, the history of masculinity, the theology of the body, and premodern medicine and health. Her first book is forthcoming in May 2022 with Penn Press and is entitled Embodying the Soul: Medicine and Religion in Carolingian Europe. She spent the 2017–2018 academic year at Penn as a Mellon fellow at the Wolf Humanities Center for the topic on “Afterlives.”