Posts with the tag: Humanities

Celebrating the life and works of Saint Albert the Great

Albertus Magnus (fresco, 1352, Treviso, Italy). Author: Tommaso da Modena [Public domain]
On November 15 the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus), Doctor of the Church, philosopher, and the patron saint of scientists. “Known as Albert the German, Albert of Cologne, and Albert of Ratisbon, Saint Albert was known as Great even during his lifetime”. [1] Being one of the most prominent scholars of the 13th century, he is also known for being a teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas”. [1]

Saint Albert was born in 1206 in Lauingen, situated on the left bank of the river Danube in Germany [4]. He comes from a wealthy military family and received education, which included arithmetic, grammar, and arts. His further education was in humanities and natural sciences in Bologna, Italy [2]. This is where he became acquainted with Aristotle’s physics and ethics for the first time.” [2] Saint Albert was fascinated by science and was “gifted with special instinct for scientific investigation and research”. [3] The love of study and deep piety led Saint Albert to answer God’s invitation to join the Order of Preachers (popularly known as the Dominican Order). [1]

“Saint Albert studied and learned not just for the sake of knowing, but he also investigated and challenged the works and studies of others often conducting his own experiments”. [4] Because he was an expert in not just one branch of learning but in all, his contemporaries were so impressed by his knowledge that they conferred on him a doctorate that no other man ever received – the Universal Doctor (Doctor Universalis). [3] In his work on Saint Albert, Joseph Wimmer says: “Albert has studied and described the entire cosmos from its stars to its stones”. [3] Speaking in his own words about the wealth of knowledge he accumulated, Saint Albert says the following: “When there is a question of faith and morals Augustine enjoys the greatest authority; of medicine, Galen and Hippocrates; of natural sciences, Aristotle”. [3]

Albertus Magnus - manuscript. Author: Rudolf H. Boettcher [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Albertus Magnus – manuscript. Author: Rudolf H. Boettcher [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Having a lot of administrative work and various teaching assignments, and even when serving as a bishop of Ratisbon, Saint Albert was still able to find time to write lengthy multi-volume works about natural sciences, philosophy, and theology. [2] Among many works written by Saint Albert, some of the most prominent ones include a commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Summa Theologiae, and commentaries on the Gospels and various books from the Scriptures.

Saint Albert the Great died on November 15, 1280 in Cologne, Germany. [2] He was beatified by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 and canonized in 1931 by Pope Pius XI. [2] Pope Pius XI proclaimed Saint Albert a Doctor of the Church and named him patron of students of the natural sciences. [2] Albert, the Pope said, “is precisely the saint whose example should inspire the present age, which seeks peace so ardently and is so full of hope in its scientific discoveries”. [2]

Albertus Magnus on the Frankfurt Dominican family tree. Author: Hans Holbein der Ältere [Public domain]
Albertus Magnus on the Frankfurt Dominican family tree. Author: Hans Holbein der Ältere [Public domain]
Mullen Library offers many resources on Saint Albert the Great. Please consult the library catalog or refer to the list of select resources below:

Alberti Magni Opera Omnia (database)
This is the critical edition of the works of Saint Albert the Great (Alberti Magni Opera Omnia, Editio Coloniensis).

Opera Omnia, Coloniensis Edition (1951-).
This 28-part set reproduces the complete works of Saint Albertus Magnus in Latin. This critical edition began in 1951 and lead by the Albertus-Magnus-Institut of Bonn. It is still unfinished. The text includes a critical apparatus, notes, and prefaces, in addition to bibliographical references and indexes. BQ 6334 1951 (Religious Studies and Philosophy Library Folios, room 314)

Opera Omnia, Vivés Edition (1890-1899)
This edition is based on Lyon’s edition of 1651. Edited by Auguste and Emile Borgnet. Parisiis: apud Ludovicum Vivès, 1890-1899. BQ 6334 1890 (Religious Studies and Philosophy Library, room 314)

Albert the Great: a Selectively Annotated Bibliography (1900-2000). BQ 6338 .M6 Z97 (Religious Studies and Philosophy Library, room 314)
[1] Weisheipl, J. A. “Albert the Great, Saint” New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Gale, 2003, pp. 224-228. Gale eBooks, Accessed 13 Nov. 2019.
[2] Butler, Alban, Farmer, David Hugh., and Burns, Paul. Butler’s Lives of the Saints. New full ed., vol. 11, pp. 118-120. Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Burns & Oates, 1996.
[3] Schwertner, Thomas M. Saint Albert the Great. New York: The Bruce publishing company, pp. vii-xi and 169-210. 1932.
[4] Sighart, Joachim. Albert the Great, of the order of friar-preachers: his life and scholastic labours., pp. 101-148. Dubuque, Iowa: W.C. Brown, 1967.

Digital Scholarship: How & What? We Read!

This week’s post was meant to be a treatise on libraries role in students’ journey to information and reading habits – and we will get to that. We were overwhelmed by well-intentioned people referring us to this article: The Mistrust of Science By Atul Gawande  June 10, 2016. It is a part-scathing and part-hopeful piece on the role of science communication today. One of the important tenets in this article is the indication that ‘neuroscience and computerization’ are linking the fields of science and humanities in a new and important way.

Few working scientists can give a ground-up explanation of the phenomenon they study; they rely on information and techniques borrowed from other scientists. Knowledge and the virtues of the scientific orientation live far more in the community than the individual. When we talk of a “scientific community,” we are pointing to something critical: that advanced science is a social enterprise, characterized by an intricate division of cognitive labor. Individual scientists, no less than the quacks, can be famously bull-headed, overly enamored of pet theories, dismissive of new evidence, and heedless of their fallibility. (Hence Max Planck’s observation that science advances one funeral at a time.) But as a community endeavor, it is beautifully self-correcting.

Beautifully organized, however, it is not. Seen up close, the scientific community—with its muddled peer-review process, badly written journal articles, subtly contemptuous letters to the editor, overtly contemptuous subreddit threads, and pompous pronouncements of the academy— looks like a rickety vehicle for getting to truth. Yet the hive mind swarms ever forward. It now advances knowledge in almost every realm of existence—even the humanities, where neuroscience and computerization are shaping understanding of everything from free will to how art and literature have evolved over time. Continue reading “Digital Scholarship: How & What? We Read!”

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Humanities or Sciences?

Crossroads image between liberal arts and technology

Are we worried about too much Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) or the death of the humanities – or both? At many universities, including ours, we are having the conversations about making science more accessible to undergraduates in exploratory courses; and we are having the conversations about how science researchers can be better at communicating and creativity. We are also having a troubling conversation about how often a web site needs to be redesigned – yes, six years is way too long!

The following articles from many perspectives highlight the dichotomy between the humanities and sciences in higher education today that, hopefully, will inform higher education in the future.

Two excellent articles outline out the case for the importance of both humanities and sciences.

“A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization. Yes, science and technology are crucial components of this education, but so are English and philosophy.”

“Turning to events internal to the intellectual world, we notice that during the last 150 years the humanities became radically eclipsed, even delegitimized, by the phenomenal success of their great intellectual rival, the hard sciences. The latter have rapidly built up an unprecedented edifice of knowledge. It is not only intellectually or theoretically superior to everything before — precise, systematic, and empirically verifiable — but also superior in its practical utility, generating unimagined new technologies for the improvement of human life. Today scientific knowledge is equated with real knowledge, all the rest seeming like folklore. All modern intellectuals suffer from physics envy. But even the extraordinary rise of modern science cannot adequately explain the current fate of the humanities. Empirical science is competent in the realm of measurable facts, but not in the realm of values. The wisdom of life and knowledge of the self that we desperately need come, not from scientific data, but from reflective accounts of the inner experience of being alive as a human being, and especially of being most fully, intensely, and authentically alive. The sciences eclipse the humanities in one way, but render them more necessary in another. By vastly expanding our power for good and ill, the rise of modern science greatly increases our need for self-­knowledge and moral clarity.” Continue reading “Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Humanities or Sciences?”

Research Guide on Medieval Philosophers

Taras Zvir in Religious Studies and Humanities Services has created a research guide on Medieval Philosophers. This guide is intended to become a starting point for students, scholars, and researches to philosophers of medieval times (AD 400 – 1400).  It lists prime sources and selected secondary sources, and any other applicable materials on a given philosopher such as companions, biographies, or bibliographies.

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Primary Resources

Nineteenth Century Collections Online  (NCCO) provides full-text, fully searchable content from a wide range of primary sources for the “long” 19th century, 1789-1914. NCCO indexes the full text of books, newspapers, pamphlets, manuscripts, maps, diaries, photographs, statistics, literature, government reports, treaties, and other kinds of documents in both Western and non-Western languages.  Released incrementally beginning in 2012, NCCO’s first four topical collections include: British Politics and Society; Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange; British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture; and European Literature, 1790-1840: The Corvey Collection.


Loeb Classical Library new arrivals

Fragments of Old Comedy,’ edited by Ian Storey and Jeffrey Henderson and covering a number of ancient Greek poets, has been published in volumes 513-515 of the Loeb Classical Library. With few exceptions, the Greek text is taken from Poetae Comici Graeci.  The volumes are on the shelf in the Greek and Latin Seminar Room.

As an aside, the Loeb Classical Library will be moving online in 2013.

Library of Latin Texts MARC records now in the catalog

The MARC records for 3,842 titles found in the Library of Latin Texts (Series A and B) have been added to the library catalog.  Special thanks to Kristen Frederickson, Information Processing Librarian, for uploading the records.

You can search the catalog using a title search or a keyword search using ‘Library of Latin Texts’.  Each catalog record contains a link directly to the work in the Library. Most of the works come from the print series, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina and Continuatio Mediaevalis as well as selections from the Teubneriana series.

New Research Guides in the Humanities

The library science students in the course “Humanities Information” (LSC634) have created research guides to the following subjects:

Architect Aesthetics (Elizabeth Dodson)
Chaucer (Jessica Sprigings)
Christian Iconography and Architecture (Madison Bolls)
Modern Art (Viveca Pattison)
Mythology (Cecilia Cho)
Renaissance Art (Elizabeth Deegan)

The students and instructor have created a poster that details their experiences working on this unique collaborative project between SLIS and CUA Libraries.  The poster will be presented at the SLIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium on February 25, 2011 .

For any questions, please contact Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Religious Studies and Humanities Services and the instructor for LSC634.

New Research Guides on Shakespeare

Religious Studies and Humanities Services in Mullen Library present two new research guides on Shakespeare:  Shakespeare Studies: General and Shakespeare Studies: Performance.

The guides were created by Samantha Saporito, GLP and edited by Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Religious Studies and Humanities Services.  Faculty suggestions came from our Renaissance scholars Professors Michael Mack, Daniel Gibbons, Todd Lidh, Tobias Gregory, and Patrick Tuite.

If you have any questions about the guides or would like to suggest topics for new guides, please contact Kevin Gunn at extension 5088 or