Jeffrey Hamburger will be coming to speak in the Seminar in Comparative Medieval Material Culture Wednesday, December 1, 2010, on “The Hand of God and the Hand of the Scribe: Craft and Collaboration at Arnstein Abbey.”

Jeffrey Hamburger is the Kuno Francke Professor of German Art and Culture in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, where he has taught since 2000. Dr. Hamburger received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He has taught at the University of Toronto in Canada and Oberlin College, Ohio, and as a visiting professor, at Oxford University in the UK, the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, the École des Hautes Études in Paris, and Universität Zürich, Germany. He has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards including a fellowship from the American Philosophical Society (2007), an Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Fellowship (1996, extended 2006), a senior fellowship from Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions (2003) and in 2001 he was elected a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America.

Dr. Hamburger is the author of Leaves from Paradise: The Cult of John at the Dominican Convent of Paradies bei Soest (2008); St. John the Divine: The Deified Evangelist in Medieval Art and Theology (2000); The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany (1998); Nuns as Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent (1996); The RothschildCanticles: Art and Mysticism in Flanders and the Rhineland circa 1300 (1990); and co-author of Die Ottheinrich-Bibel. Kommentar zur Faksimile-Ausgabe der Handschrift Cgm 8010/1.2 der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München, with Brigitte Gullath, Karin Schneider, and Robert Suckale (2002). He is also the co-editor of, Crown and Veil: The Art of Female Monasticism in the Middle Ages,with Susan Marti (2008); Tributes in Honor of James H. Marrow: Studies in Late Medieval and Renaissance Painting and Manuscript Illumination, with Anne Korteweg (2006); and with Anne-Marie Bouché, The Mind’s Eye: Art and Theological Argument in the Medieval West (2005).

Dr. Hamburger’s talk is entitled, “The Hand of God and the Hand of the Scribe: Craft and Collaboration at Arnstein Abbey.” Under the headings, “The Hand of God” and “The Hand of the Scribe” and using the great lecturn bible produced at Arnstein Abbey towards the end of the twelfth century as a point of departure, the talk will consider the relationship between craft and creativity at this crucial juncture in the Middle Ages. It will be argued that we can only understand monastic attitudes towards making and meaning within the larger framework provided by attitudes towards divine creation, all the more so as the Arnstein Bible was crafted precisely during the period during which attitudes towards human creativity were undergoing fundamental change. The imagery produced at Arnstein hints at a broader development, one that would eventually render medieval conceptions of handiwork obsolete. At the very time the Arnstein Bible was made, new concepts of making, stressing fiction over fabrication, were coming into being. Once established, this novel concept of artistic creation would also come to be seen as “divine” in its origins.

Please RSVP and join us in the Lecture Hall at 38 West 86th Street, between Columbus Ave and Central Park West, at 5:45pm for a reception before the talk.