Goering, Joseph 1947–
Goering, Joseph 1947–
(Joseph Ward Goering)
Born October 17, 1947.
Office—University of Toronto, History Department, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George St., Rm. 2074, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, St. George Campus, department of history, professor.
(Editor, with F.A.C. Mantello) Robert Grosseteste, Templum Dei, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1984.
William De Montibus, c. 1140-1213: The Schools and the Literature of Pastoral Care, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1992.
(Editor, with Francesco Guardiani) Medievalism: The Future of the Past, Legas (New York, NY), 2000.
(Editor, with Evelyn A. Mackie) Editing Robert Grosseteste: Papers Given at the Thirty-sixth Annual Conference on Editorial Problems, University of Toronto Press (Buffalo, NY), 2003.
(Editor, with others) Limina: Thresholds and Borders: Proceedings of a St. Michael's College Symposium, 28 February-1 March 2003 Legas (New York, NY), 2005.
(Editor, with others) Rule Makers and Rule Breakers: Proceedings of a St. Michael's College Symposium, 1-2 October 2004, Legas (New York, NY), 2006.
Joseph Goering serves on the faculty of the University of Toronto where he is a professor in the department of history at the St. George campus. His primary areas of academic and research interest include the history of the church in medieval times, as well as the institutions of the era, intellectual history, and the history of education, with an emphasis on law and theology, as well as popular religion. He is the author and/or editor of a number of works, the majority of which address subjects of the twelfth or thirteenth centuries relating to religion. Over the course of his research, he has developed a fascination with and an affinity for working with old, unpublished manuscripts.
In William De Montibus, c. 1140-1213: The Schools and the Literature of Pastoral Care, Goering looks at William de Montibus, one of the few English scholars of the period about whom any real information is known. Goering traces de Montibus's life, tracking him to Paris in the latter half of the twelfth century, where he went for his education, and then back to his home in Lincoln. By the year 1185, de Montibus was the chancellor of the local cathedral, a post he held for nearly thirty years. Much of the work that de Montibus did during this period regarding scholarship and the passing on of his knowledge helped to provide a framework for what would eventually become the English university system. Goering goes into detail as much as possible regarding de Montibus's own education, including religious studies, which he prioritized over the newer arts of the day, such as science and language. G.R. Evans, in a review for the Journal of Theological Studies, wrote that "all in all, this study puts William de Montibus most satisfactorily on the map and points the way to future studies in the field of these pastoral works."
Goering is one of several editors to work on With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, a collection of nearly thirty international essays that derive from a conference held at the University of Toronto in 1997. The volume is divided into three sections, consisting of the Medieval Jewish Exegesis of the Bible, the Medieval Christian Exegesis of the Bible, and Medieval Exegesis of the Qur'an. Each of the three sections has a different editor offer up an introduction, with Goering providing the introductory information for the Medieval Christian Exegesis of the Bible. The essays themselves address how the scriptures from the religious work for that particular third of the volume should be received, and offer a thorough explanation of many of the concepts covered in the more vital stories. Unlike many collections of this type, based on scholarly papers that were delivered as many as several years prior to publication, this assortment of essays remains timely and interesting to readers of all kinds, providing a varied set of outlooks as well as addressing a good, solid cross section of religious beliefs. Graham Howes, in a review for the Journal of Qur'anic Studies, remarked that "impeccably edited, comprehensively, indexed (including not only subject-matter, but citations from the Bible, Rabbinic Literature and the Qur'an), and handsomely produced, these papers have much to offer textual scholars, theologians, historians and comparative religionists alike." He concluded that "this collection does much to illuminate what one of its editors accurately describes as a religious heritage which ‘can be viewed positively as a resource in its own right.’" In a contribution for the Jewish Quarterly Review, Eitan Fishbane remarked that "assembling the work of a wide array of leading researchers, the finished product is impressive in scope, depth of individual analyses, and thematic correlations." He concluded: "The essays are a model of erudition, and collectively they shed great light on a core phenomenon in the history of religion. This book is highly recommended to scholars working in all areas of religious studies."
In The Virgin and the Grail: Origins of a Legend, Goering addresses the age-old fascination with the Holy Grail and its recent resurgence in popularity as a thematic device in popular culture. The Grail serves both literary mystery and an object of historical interest, and Goering attempts to trace the legend back to its origins. The book, divided into three parts, first looks at the twelfth-century innovation of Chretien de Troyes, who wrote the original story about the Holy Grail, thereby initiating the literary phenomenon that would grow up around the subject over the centuries to come. After de Troyes, the German writer Wolfram von Eschenbach followed with his Parzival, then The Great History of the Grail by Robert de Borons. At the end of the section, Goering discusses the historian, Helinand of Froidmont, who at approximately this same time began searching for sources proving the existence of the Grail.
The second section of Goering's book shifts to Spain, and the more religious cultural details regarding the Grail. Again in the twelfth century, a local artist began to decorate the churches with very specific paintings, depicting the Virgin Mary holding a vessel of some sort in her left hand. From there Goering shifts to the third part of the book, where he looks at political and cultural conditions during the twelfth century in an attempt to determine what might have encouraged this convergence of various types of imagination that all contained Grail imagery. Goering notes that the earliest appearances of the Grail in literature all reference earlier writers who supposedly provided the inspiration, but nothing of those sources has survived. It also appears that the paintings in Spain actually predate the works of literature. Julianne Smith, in a review for Christianity and Literature, called Goering's effort "a quick and delightful read," noting that it possesses a "certain whodunit quality that enlivens what is perhaps an overexposed topic." Lynda Sexson, reviewing for Church History, stated that "the author is lucid and insightful, but repetitive. With an incisive editor, the slender book would be a substantial article. Despite the redundancy, I am glad it is a book, as it will reach more readers, who will come away with a heightened appreciation for particularity."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Catholic Biblical Quarterly, April 1, 2004, Kalman P. Bland, review of With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, p. 345.
Christianity and Literature, March 22, 2007, Julianne Smith, review of The Virgin and the Grail: Origins of a Legend, p. 508.
Church History, June 1, 2006, Lynda Sexson, review of The Virgin and the Grail, p. 416.
Jewish Quarterly Review, spring, 2006, Eitan Fishbane, review of With Reverence for the Word, pp. 268-271.
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Volume 28, issue 5, 2004, W. Johnstone, review of With Reverence for the Word, pp. 135-136.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, April 1, 1993, Colin Morris, review of William De Montibus, c. 1140-1213: The Schools and the Literature of Pastoral Care, p. 297.
Journal of Near Eastern Studies, October 1, 2007, Steven W. Holloway, review of With Reverence for the Word, p. 308.
Journal of Qur'anic Studies, Volume 6, issue 2, 2004, Graham Howes, review of With Reverence for the Word, pp. 88-93.
Journal of Theological Studies, April 1, 1993, G.R. Evans, review of William De Montibus, c. 1140-1213, p. 390.
Medieval Review, December 1, 2004, David Flood, review of Editing Robert Grosseteste: Papers Given at the Thirty-sixth Annual Conference on Editorial Problems; February 1, 2006, Anne Gilmour Bryson, review of The Virgin and the Grail.
Medium Aevum, March 22, 2005, Maura O'Carroll, review of Editing Robert Grosseteste, p. 129.
Notes and Queries, March 1, 2007, David Luscombe, review of Editing Robert Grosseteste, p. 91.
Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, July 1, 1994, Roy Martin Haines, review of William De Montibus, c. 1140-1213, p. 782.
University of Toronto History Department Web site,http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/ (May 22, 2008), faculty profile.
University of Toronto St. Michael's College Web site,http://www.utoronto.ca/stmikes/ (May 22, 2008), faculty profile.