Letter from the Editor, Volume 12 Number 1

Dear Readers,

We are pleased to offer our Fall 2015 issue of Hortulus, for which the theme is “Pilgrimage, Exploration, and Travel.” Fittingly for a theme on travel and exploration, our contributors to this issue hail from around the world, with articles by Paul Brazinski of the Catholic University of America and Thari Zweers of the University of Groningen, as well as a special feature interview on Digital Humanities and Medieval Studies with Dorothy Kim of Vassar College and four book reviews by scholars from North America, France, and The Netherlands.

In his article “Early Christian ‘Anti-Pilgrimage’ Literature: The Case of Gregory of Nyssa’s Letter 2” Paul Brazinski offers a corrective reading of Gregory’s letter which puts Gregory in conversation with other important early Church fathers on the topic of salvation. Brazinski uses evidence from Gregory’s own readings of the Beatitudes, Saint Basil’s Rule, and Scripture to demonstrate that Gregory’s Epistula 2 is not primarily intended as an economically or politically driven work, as it has often been viewed. Brazinski argues that Gregory’s letter should not be read as an “anti-pilgrimage” tract, but rather as evidence that Gregory found the physical practice of pilgrimage not to be one required for salvation, and wished rather for more attention to belief in the Gospel and to developing a uniform Christian doctrine—an approach similar to that of Athanasius and Jerome on this topic. Thari Zweers’s article, “Gerald of Wales’s The Journey Through Wales: Reinstating the Greatness of the Welsh Nation,” presents a re-examination of Gerald’s narrative structure as both a travelogue written in the paratactic style and as a pilgrimage narrative, through which Gerald’s support of the Welsh becomes clear. Zweers argues that Gerald makes use of the narrative structure of the Journey to convey the message that he was in favor of Welsh independence from England, both nationally and spiritually.

Throughout the Fall of 2015, Hortulus staff members hosted a #AskaDHMedievalist social media event, posting a series of polls about Digital Humanities and medieval scholarship on Twitter and Facebook. These polls generated questions that we then turned over to Dr. Dorothy Kim, Assistant Professor of English at Vassar College and a leading figure in medieval digital humanities scholarship. Her generous and comprehensive responses, including plenty of references and resources to aid both those new to digital humanities and those who have some experience with digital scholarship and pedagogical practices, appear in our special feature, “Ask a Digital Humanities Medievalist.”

This issue also features four book reviews. Nadia Van Pelt reviews The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Culture in Early Modern England; Jenny C. Bledsoe reviews The Long Twelfth-Century View of the Anglo-Saxon Past; Jacob Doss reviews Money and the Church in Medieval Europe, 1000-1200: Practice, Morality, and Thought; and Geneviève Pigeon reviews Holy War, Martyrdom, and Terror: Christianity, Violence, and the West, c. 70 CE to the Iraq War.

We have some exciting job opportunities and events coming up in the following year. We are currently accepting applications for assistant editors for our 2016 issues. We have two openings for the Spring 2016 issue and two for the Fall 2016 issue. Applications for these positions are due January 15, 2016. We will sponsor our fourth panel at Kalamazoo in 2016, which will correspond to the theme for the Fall 2016 issue (“Gendered Spaces”). Our Spring 2016 issue is an open issue, and the Call for Papers is available now. Submissions are due February 15, 2015, and more details can be found at https://hortulus-journal.com/2015/12/18/call-for-papers-spring-2016-open-issue/.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the dedicated Hortulus editorial staff. My co-editor, Nadine Kuipers, has stepped into the position with superb professionalism, handling the digital platform and publishing duties with aplomb and enabling us to stay on schedule towards a timely release of this issue. Our assistant editors for this issue, Michelle Seiler and Gwendolynne Knight Keimpema, did an exemplary job of shepherding the articles through revisions towards the final versions, and it would have been much more difficult to get this issue out in timely fashion without their efforts. Our chief book reviews editor Paul Brazinski has been invaluable in securing excellent book reviews and ensuring that they meet the high editorial standards that our readers have come to expect from our reviews section; his ability to rely on his co-editor James Adams for revision and copyediting plays no small role in the continued success of this journal in providing high-quality, informative reviews.

Lastly, we would like to remind our readers that Hortulus exists only because of the combined efforts of graduate students from around the world, and we are always interested in hearing from you. What kinds of features would you like to see in the journal? What themes would you like to see in future issues? And, of course, we’re happy to receive your article submissions and requests to do reviews for us.

Melissa Ridley Elmes, Hortulus senior editor