Our plan for the Petrus Project

As a medievalist at Carleton – a Canadian university with a small medievalist community– my opportunities for research collaboration with my colleagues are limited. The topic which is near and dear to my heart –the monastery of Cluny and its twelfth-century abbot– is an even more limited field with its specialists spread across North America and Europe. But we do exist and my hope is that we can meet up digitally to develop ways to give scholars and students greater access to (what I, at least, see as) the rich textual records of a monastic institution that was arguably the head of Christian monastic life for several centuries.

From my PhD onwards, my research has focussed on the writings of Abbot Peter the Venerable (r. 1122-1156) and members of his monastic/ literary circle. Most of their writings have now been edited, but little has been translated into English (some into French) which would allow their wider use for research and teaching. My proposal is to create a site which would both allow easy access to scholarship on Peter the Venerable, but also present draft translations which (while not complete/perfect) can provide some initial orientation to those wanting to gain insight into the works of Peter the Venerable. While my plan initially was just to create a static site for people to consult translations, my ambition has grown. I now imagine this as a place to share other resources – in particular, digital resources to help ease the process of studying and working on Peter the Venerable (and twelfth-century Cluny).

At this stage (a very preliminary stage, I admit), I have begun an initial project website and begun to plan further steps. This blog is a space for me (a team, should there be one) to write down thoughts, brainstorm ideas and talk about work in progress. At this stage, I am just using only free web services to get started, such as:

  • Gitbook: This is where I am posting an initial upload of translations; backed up to Github. The advantage of this space is that it allows for digital collaboration (where authorship is tracked) which can be worked on by a team.
  • Trello: This is where brainstorming/planning happens at its most raw.
  • Flowmap: This site records my thinking about how a polished website might look.

This is what has started. Who knows where this will end.