The Book: Books in the Medieval Liturgy - Harvard University



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Learn about the ornate liturgical books used in medieval cathedrals and monasteries, and their purpose in the Middle Ages.With this course you earn while you learn, you gain recognized qualifications, job specific skills and knowledge and this helps you stand out in the job market.

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Dove e quando

Inizio Luogo
Da definire

Cosa impari in questo corso?

Middle Ages


When we think of liturgy today, we imagine short, formal, congregational events happening periodically within the confines of churches. Medieval liturgy, however, took up many hours of every day, filled the city's largest meeting halls, and even spilled onto the streets. At the center of the medieval liturgy were the books we will study in this course.

In this module of The Book: Histories Across Time and Space, we’ll explore and explain the beautiful service books of the medieval church. No prior knowledge of liturgy or Latin is required, but there will be a lot of both, along with music.

The medieval services consisted of a complex system of cycles, and the liturgical books correspond to the various functions of the people who used them: Laypersons, nuns and monks, readers, singers, priests, and bishops.

We will explore and examine these precious objects using materials from Harvard’s collections. Close examination of various types of books will help to explain the complex and collaborative nature of medieval worship. Ultimately, we will learn how these beautifully adorned books  represent the importance of liturgy as an essential function of society in the Middle Ages.

What you'll learn

  • A general understanding of the medieval liturgy and its place in medieval society
  • Liturgical spaces and music in the Middle Ages
  • The various purposes of liturgical book used in the mass, office and for special occasions
  • How liturgical books reflect the complex and collaborative nature of medieval worship

Ulteriori informazioni

Thomas Forrest Kelly Tom Kelly is the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University. Professor Kelly received his B.A. from Chapel Hill; spent two years on a Fulbright in France studying musicology, chant, and organ. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard (1973) with a dissertation on office tropes. He has taught at Wellesley, Smith, Amherst, and at Oberlin, where he directed the Historical Performance Program and served as acting Dean of the Conservatory. He was named a Harvard College Professor in 2000 and the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music in 2001.