MSS Lunch Lecture Julian Yolles, 'Christian Unity and Religious Polemic in Walter the Chancellor’s Bella Antiochena (c. 1115-22)'

03-04-2020 from 12:00 to 13:00
Ghent, Plateau Building, ground floor, 'Simon Stevin' Room (Plateaustraat 22)
Stefan Meysman
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Medieval Seminar Series Lunch Lecture

On Friday 3 April, 2020, we welcome Dr. Julian Yolles (Southern Denmark University & the University of York) for a lunch lecture on 'Christian Unity and Religious Polemic in Walter the Chancellor’s Bella Antiochena (c. 1115-22)'.

Please note that this lecture will take place in the 'Simon Stevin Meeting Room' in the Plateau-Rozier building, ground floor (Jozef Plateaustraat 22)


This paper engages with recent work on Walter the Chancellor, an early twelfth-century author who wrote a short Latin prosimetric history in Antioch, covering local events between 1115–1122. Scholars have variously debated whether Walter’s work belongs to the genre of anti-Islamic polemic or rather contains a nuanced depiction of the Artukids, representing viable testimony for their pre-Islamic cultural practices. This paper attempts to break through the scholarly impasse by proposing a two-pronged approach: by situating Walter and his history within the multifaceted literary and intellectual culture of early twelfth-century Antioch and by taking seriously the literary strategies Walter employed in his history, I identify hitherto unobserved polemical motifs in Walter’s Bella Antiochena and argue that the work is best understood as a Latin Christian’s complex and developing engagement with the Eastern Christian communities of Antioch.


Julian Yolles received his PhD in Medieval Latin Philology from Harvard University and is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Medieval Literature at the University of Southern Denmark. He recently edited and translated together with Jessica Weiss a volume in the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library on Medieval Latin Lives of Muhammad (Harvard University Press, 2018) and has a forthcoming monograph, titled Making the East Latin: The Latin Culture of the Levant in the Twelfth Century.