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From Cross to Crucifix: Berthold of Nuremberg’s Dominican Rereading of Hrabanus Maurus’ “In Honor of the Holy Cross”

Jeffrey Hamburger, Harvard University, Fellow 2015–2016

Most of my fellowship was devoted to a book on medieval diagrams, specifically those of the Dominican Berthold of Nuremberg, who, in the late thirteenth century, rewrote and expanded In honorem sanctae crucis, by the Carolingian polymath Hrabanus Maurus. Using this case study to trace the transformation of attitudes toward images from the early to the late Middle Ages, I drafted my book, tentatively entitled From Cross to Crucifix: Berthold of Nuremberg’s Reconfiguration of Hrabanus Maurus’ Treatise on the Cross, to be published by the University of Chicago Press. The book will use the reception of Hrabanus to examine the shift from sign to body and transcendental sign to historical narrative in medieval art. My fellowship year enabled me to read broadly, not only on the integration of narrative and diagrammatic modes of representation in the medieval West but also on the discourse on diagrams in fields as varied as contemporary philosophy, artificial intelligence, Bildwissenschaft, and the history of science. This reading will enable me to situate my study in current humanistic scholarship on the diagram.