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James Hogg (ed.): The Statuta Jancelini 1222. Manuscript of the Charterhouse of Glandier (= Analecta Cartusiana; 65, 1,1), Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Salzburg 2015, 160 S., ISBN 978-3-902895-64-6
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James Hogg (ed.): The Statuta Jancelini 1222 and the De reformatione of Prior Bernard (1248). Volume 1: Part II. Manuscript Grande Chartreuse 1 Stat. 23 (= Analecta Cartusiana; 65, 1, 2), Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Salzburg 2016, XII + 138 S., ISBN 978-3-902895-70-7
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Rezension von:
Stephen Molvarec
Department of History, Marquette University
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Ralf Lützelschwab
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James Hogg (ed.): The Statuta Jancelini

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Professor James Hogg's series Analecta Cartusiana is the flagship for those interested in the history and spirituality of the Carthusian Order. The series habitually carries volumes of conference proceedings, facsimiles and editions of texts, monographs, and photographic essays concerned with the remnants of Carthusian monasteries. In particular, the editions and facsimiles of medieval texts and incunabula are a significant contribution to scholarship in this subfield: direct access to these primary sources can be difficult - if not impossible - to come by. The series itself is a landmark for the study of the Carthusians and all by itself constitutes far and away the lions' share of literature on these "white" monks (so-called because, like the Cistercians, the Carthusians' habits were of undyed wool). It is truly a shame that this series has not seen a wider distribution and circulation, especially recently - the number of subscribers has plummeted in the past few years and coinciding with the economic crisis, financial difficulties have beset the series.

Professor Hogg's attempt to make early Carthusian legislative texts more widely available has been an ongoing part of his work with the Analecta, for instance in a series of volumes containing transcriptions of ordinances from the Carthusian General Chapter. [1] These two most recent volumes being reviewed are editions of texts - a follow-up to Hogg's 1978 publication of facsimiles of both of the manuscripts (Glandier and Ms. Grande Chartreuse 1 Stat. 23). [2] The arrangement of the texts in these two volumes mirrors the arrangement of the two earlier volumes. The ordering follows that of the texts in the manuscripts, although part of Ms. Grande Chartreuse 1 Stat. 23 appeared in an earlier critical edition by Hogg. [3] These texts have truly been a labor of love for him, apparent in the amount of time he has worked with them - he recounts that he first began his transcriptions in 1967 while still a monk at the Charterhouse of Farneta (Tuscany, Italy). [4] Nearly fifty years later, these texts are now available in both reproduction and a modern edition. After a fashion, these texts have been with Professor Hogg his entire scholarly career.

The Statuta Jancelini (1222) and Bernard de Turre's De Reformatione (1248) are, respectively, the third and fourth major sets of additions and modifications to the Carthusian rule written by the fifth prior of La Chartreuse, Guigo I (r. 1109-1136), in the 1120s. All other legislative texts and decrees in the medieval period were built on Guigo's foundational customary that was eventually adopted by an early confederation of monastic houses. Once the General Chapter began meeting regularly, first in the 1140s, a Carthusian Order proper emerged and the office of the prior general was created - in effect, the prior of La Grande Chartreuse governed the Order with the Chapter. The first statute of Prior Anthelme (r. 1136-1151) were chiefly concerned with liturgical observance in the monasteries, whereas the Consuetudines of 1170 issued by Prior Basil (r. 1151-1179) were more programmatic. [5] Eventually the Statuta Jancelini (1222) and Bernard's De Reformatione (1248) were collected alongside these earlier ordinances and modifications. This first occurred in the Antiqua Statuta of 1271, followed by a collection of ordinances of the General Chapter in the Nova Collectio of 1368 and a second updating with the Tertio Compilatio of 1509. In 1509 Johannes Amorbach of Basel printed these three collections alongside Guigo's original Carthusian rule. [6]

Thus, the Statuta Jancelini and De Reformatione were texts of durable significance. According to a seventeenth-century slogan the Carthusians maintained their way of life unsullied through periods of change and the vicissitudes of the world: Cartusia nunquam reformata, quoniam nunquam deformata (The Carthusians: never reformed, because never deformed). [7] Although this slogan is a propagandistic device for projecting a Carthusian image of purity and otherworldliness, to the extent that this expresses some truth, we can see a nascent impulse towards the creation and preservation of a unique mode of monastic life in these legislative texts, which adapt and reinforce Guigo's vision. All this to say that the texts Hogg has edited in these two volumes are historically important for understanding the development of Carthusian life and they have been disproportionately neglected. Without them, a suitable and accurate account of the details of Carthusian life in the high and later middle ages cannot be written. These editions by Hogg represent the first significant attempt to amass editions of Carthusian legislative texts since those of Dom Maurice Laporte, O. Cart in the 1950s and 1960s. [8]

Professor Hogg's work in some respects is par excellence, given his extensive knowledge and research on all subjects and personages Carthusian. The introductions to the volumes - especially the lengthier one in the first - display a deep knowledge of the history of these two manuscripts and what Carthusian authors (especially Dom Laporte and Dom Le Couteulx) made of them. Hogg surveys the previous attempts at transcribing, copying, and editing these texts. This historical orientation to the manuscripts is useful and in fact many of the footnotes in the introductions could be expanded considerably - there are many interesting items there that could be (and sometimes are) articles unto themselves. Readers might find themselves tantalized by some of these.

What is missing, however, is an historical introduction and attempt to contextualize the contents of the texts and their significance and use, especially if a reader is entirely unfamiliar with the Carthusians or is a neophyte to the study of this important, although neglected Order. Hogg has done much to remedy this neglect during his long career and I wish that he had done more in these volumes in this way. Although the discussion of the reception of the texts is surely excellent, Hogg has focused solely on this issue and the use of the manuscripts and has neglected almost entirely the time period, the events, and the monks that produced them in the mid-thirteenth century. A context is needed so that readers might understand the role these texts played in the development of the Order and perhaps even a brief historical introduction to the history of the Carthusians and their General Chapter would be useful as well. And in particular, the introductions focus entirely on discussions of the texts of the Statuta Jancelini to the exclusion of the De Reformatione. Also, even a brief orientation to any literature on these texts (including Hogg's other works) would be helpful to the reader.

The introductions, also, have some moderate intellectual dependences. First, Hogg relies on the work and thought of Dom Laporte. Dom Laporte did do significant work with early Carthusian texts, especially legislation and epistolary letters. His work is a sine qua non for scholars interested in the Carthusians. It is, however, not without its shortcomings. Dom Laporte's opinions, judgments, and (sometimes) readings of the texts are unscientific and sometimes unscholarly - his work represents significant bias as a present-day Carthusian monk. [9] Dom Laporte's opinions need to be taken with a grain of salt - especially concerning the early sources for his Order's history as his assessments are often overly optimistic. Second, Hogg relies perhaps too much on his own work. As the leading scholar on the Carthusians for several decades, some of this is entirely unavoidable and understandable. His work is often the only published discussion of certain matters. Reading the introductions, however, which are entirely too terse in certain regards, a reader practically needs access to many of the other volumes of Hogg's considerable corpus to unpack and elaborate suitably upon the discussions in the introductions. If some thoughts and narrative from his other work had been incorporated into these two introductions, they would have been comprehensively useful. Instead, a feeling of incompleteness amid a sterling discussing of reception somewhat lessens the contribution of these volumes.

The introductions are also possessed of some idiosyncratic features. Some are amusing - inside jokes for scholars of all things Carthusian. For instance, Hogg cites some correspondence addressed to Paula Hogg. The uninitiated might conclude that Paula is Hogg's secretary or spouse. She is not. I will leave the solution to this riddle for the reader to work out. Some other footnotes are editorial comments on the part of Professor Hogg - usually kind and often personal anecdotes or comments on his relations with monks or other scholars. Sometimes, however, some of his scholarly opinions - warnings about certain transcriptions, for instance - are unsubstantiated and thus not always helpful for a researcher (pt. 1, 10). Some of the footnotes quote anecdotes and opinions from present-day Carthusians. As noted earlier, on the one hand, these footnotes display Hogg's learning and depth of his work; on the other, they are sometimes amusing, endearing, and often eccentric.

The plates are nice, clear, and often interesting. The manuscript images are well-rendered and provide a good sense of what these books are like as objects. On the other hand, many of the plates are photos and images of monasteries, interior and exterior. These modern images take on the aspect of a photo album and while they are pleasant, they do not particularly add to the volumes or the work itself. Apart from their subjects being Carthusian houses, they are not particularly relevant.

As for the edition itself, Hogg's two volumes are essentially diplomatic editions of each of the manuscripts. He has also noted the readings and additions to the manuscripts (particularly the annotations on Ms. Grande Chartreuse 1 Stat. 23) by Dom Charles Le Couteulx, a seventeenth-century Carthusian annalist. Hogg also provides a concordance of the two manuscripts, supplied in the footnotes for each transcription. Thus, the variants can be cross-referenced between the two texts.

In this way, however, Professor Hogg has often avoided choosing a reading between the two extant texts. Sometimes this may indeed have proven impossible given the nature of the texts, but the apparatus makes it difficult to see exactly where one reading might have been the preferred one. In the transcriptions, he has chosen to retain the irregular and inconsistent orthography of the scribes. This is perhaps curious in terms of method. Very many of the notes in the apparatus are concerned either with orthographic variance between the two manuscripts or with slight changes in the word order between them. Scholarly audiences would surely be sympathetic to difficulties in choosing readings between manuscripts; the way these editions were prepared, however, makes them somewhat difficult to use - the attention to detail of numerous instances of unsystematic, inconsistent orthography and likewise the assiduous preservation of the variant word order causes any significant differences between the two manuscripts to be potentially lost for the reader. Quite literally a scholar working with these texts might very well miss the forest for the trees, especially since variant spellings in the very same transcription are preserved rather than standardized. Certainly, the concordance that has been provided with extensive cross-references between the two texts is a needed aide, but a more focused approach to the differences might have been a better methodological approach. These volumes are less user-friendly than they might have been on account of this decision. Scholars might be left wondering how much some of these differences might actually matter. For this reason, primarily, I consider these two volumes as two diplomatic editions meant to be used together rather than as a scientific, critical edition of the text. Adding to the impression that these volumes are two transcriptions of the two separate manuscripts is the fact that the contents are not entirely overlapping: volume one (The Glandier Manuscript) contains only the Statuta Jancelini of 1222 while volume two (Ms. Grande Chartreuse 1 Stat. 23) also contains the transcription of De Reformatione without any collation of variants. The preservation of Le Couteulx's seventeenth-century annotations lends something of an antiquarian sensibility to the transcription. Again, any significant textual divergences or differences in content between the two manuscripts might have been laid out cleanly and clearly in the transcriptions and in the apparatus (as well as in the introductions).

Hogg certainly worked on these texts under what many would consider adverse conditions - from his comments it is clear that he assembled the transcriptions and concordance primarily from his reading of photocopies and photographs. Eventually some readings were verified from digital images. The extent of such a work done almost without access to the originals themselves is impressive. A downside to this, however, is that sometimes the rubrication, coloring, and quality of the work were unable to be assessed or adequately described (pt. 1, 7). Some of the descriptions of the text made from black and white copies are only educated guesswork. Further consultation of the original manuscripts (or, in fact, digital images) would have eliminated this uncertainty.

On the whole, Hogg's work with these two manuscripts and the rendering of transcriptions and a concordance is a significant boon for scholars interested in Carthusian legislative texts. This cannot be understated. The aspects of this work of which I have been critical are peccadillos and idiosyncrasies that mar its usefulness even though they do not detract from its value. After a fashion, some of the eccentricities observed here are ones that are found elsewhere in Analecta Cartusiana and sometimes characterize the volumes of the series. As these legislative texts have been with Hogg since the inception of his scholarly career, so they have been with the Analecta over its decades-long run. Hogg's work - including these volumes being reviewed - remains essential for scholars. No one else has produced such a volume of articles on the Carthusians and their life. No one else has devoted so much time and so many resources to reproducing and editing texts such as these - ones that further scholarly inquiry and make new, ground-breaking work possible. The eccentricities and idiosyncrasies sometimes amuse, sometimes detract, sometimes frustrate; they always enlighten.


[1] James Hogg / Michael Sargent / John Clark / Jan de Grauwe (eds.): The Chartae of the Carthusian General Chapter (Analecta Cartusiana; 100, 1-65), Salzburg 1982-2013.

[2] James Hogg (ed.): The Statuta Jancelini (1222) and The De Reformatione of Prior Bernard 1248 (Analecta Cartusiana 65, 1-2), Salzburg 1978. The first volume contains the reproduction of the Manuscript Glandier, while the second contains that of Ms. Grande Chartreuse 1 Stat. 23.

[3] James Hogg (Hg.): Die ältesten Consuetudines der Kartäuser (Analecta Cartusiana 1), Salzburg 1970.

[4] James Hogg (ed.): The Statuta Jancelini 1222. Manuscript of the Charterhouse Glandier (Analecta Cartusiana; 65, 1.1), Salzburg 2015, 5.

[5] For an extensive discussion of some of the particulars of the legislation contained in these various texts, see James Hogg: The Carthusian Order from its Foundations to the Present Day, in: Analecta Cartusiana 225 (2005), 7-25.

[6] Fortunately, this incunabulum from 1509 is readily available in digital form. Universitätsbibliothek, Freiburg, ms. 2359, Statuta cartusiensis (Bâle: Amorbach, 1510). It is also available in facsimile produced by James Hogg: The evolution of the Carthusian Statutes from the Consuetudines Guigonis to the Tertia Compilatio (Analecta Cartusiana; 99), Salzburg 1989.

[7] For discussions of adaptation and change (in various aspects) for the Carthusians, see Stephen J. Molvarec / Tom Gaens (eds.): A Fish Out of Water? From Contemplative Solitude to Carthusian Involvement in Pastoral Care and Reform Activity (Studia Cartusiana; 2), Leuven 2013; Stephen J. Molvarec: A City in the Wilderness. The Development of Social Relations in the Carthusian Order, 1084-1340 (Ph. D. thesis, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, 2016).

[8] These can be found in Maurice Laporte's monumental Aux sources de la vie cartusienne, 8 Bde., Grande Chartreuse 1960-1971. His edition of Guigo's customary was later reprinted in Sources Chrétiennes 313, Paris 1984.

[9] Additionally, Dom Laporte - while he certainly became erudite while working with manuscripts and archival documents in the library of La Grande Chartreuse - was a trained polytechnic engineer, not a historian or textual scholar.

Stephen Molvarec