Foreword to the Fiftieth Anniversary Volume

The significant anniversaries in our lives, both as persons and as institutions, give us a welcome opportunity to reflect on who and what we are. This fiftieth volume of Traditio provides just such an occasion both for celebrating the achievements of past contributors and editors and for trying to highlight the distinctive contribution the journal has made, and still hopes to make, to international academic life. Most of the articles that this issue comprises have been written for the occasion by the present editors or by generous long-time friends and supporters, to offer a kind of cross-section of the continuing interests and style of scholarship that have carried Traditio through the years, and that still sustain it. And although Traditio usually appears without introductory editorial comment, it seems appropriate to begin this fiftieth number with a few words recalling the "tradition" from which the journal itself, at age 50, continues to live.

Traditio was founded in New York in 1943, by a group of German émigré scholars who had been experiencing both the strong interest of their new American colleagues in pursuing Continental standards of scholarship in the humanities, and the dearth of journals on this side of the Atlantic ready to publish this kind of research. The preface to the first number of Traditio makes its purpose clear:

American scholars in the fields of ancient and medieval research see with increasing apprehension the serious difficulties which hamper their effort to give public account of their studies. There is no outlet in European learned magazines, and the number of pertinent American periodicals is no longer adequate to cope with the growth of scholarly production. Quite recently, an `interim' periodical, Medievalia et Humanistica, was founded to relieve the saturation of existing journals, and has been cordially welcomed. It is not our intention to compete in any way with this or with any established periodical. Yet we feel that productive scholarship continues to progress at a steadily increasing pace far beyond the existing facilities of publication. This is particularly true of those studies which, by the nature of their respective subjects or by the technical complexity of the researches involved, assume dimensions that would be too bulky for any monthly or quarterly magazine but which, on the other hand, could not very well be published as monographs. In Europe, this type of research has usually been well cared for, especially by the voluminous yearbooks, memoirs, Sitzungsberichte, and the like, published by the great Academies or by other learned institutions. Up to the present, very few serial publications of this kind have existed on this side of the Atlantic. Traditio will help them carry the burden...
As is well known, the very disasters of persecution and unprecedented war that had all but destroyed academic and cultural life in continental Europe were already beginning, in the midst of the war, to transform the universities and the artistic and scholarly worlds of the United States, infusing them with intellectual vitality and exposing them to the exacting cultural standards of Europe's leading figures in a wide variety of fields. Traditio was a child of this exodus, intended to be at least an "interim" version of the great European annuals for the publication of serious original research in the humanities.

From the outset, the journal's scope was both wide and clearly defined: it was to contain, as its subtitle puts it, "Studies in Ancient and Medieval History, Thought and Religion" - studies of the influences that have shaped the tradition of Western culture (in the broadest sense), as it is rooted in the life of ancient Mediterranean society and inescapably shaped by its contact with Christian faith. Limited by a rough terminus ad quem of 1500, Traditio has included, since its first issue, articles on classical literature and ancient history; on late antique history and culture; on the Bible and rabbinic Judaism; on early Christian theology, liturgy and art; on Byzantine history; on ancient and medieval philosophy and science; on medieval Western history, theology, political theory, canon law, art and vernacular literature; even on Georgian and Syriac literature and Church history, insofar as they were related to the life of the Greco-Roman world.[[1]] The focus of the journal has clearly been on original scholarship and the tools it uses: it welcomes critical editions of shorter texts, manuscript studies and catalogues, and bibliographic studies. The articles it contains are often longer than would be acceptable to most learned journals, and may be written in any Western scholarly language. Its format has remained, since the outset, somewhat self-consciously European, its style erudite and a little uncompromising; until recent issues, for instance, the editors clung doggedly to the policy that Latin or European vernacular quotations in the text of an article should not be translated. While not a theological or ecclesiastical journal, Traditio has also always had a somewhat Catholic ring, not only because its first editors were professors at the Catholic University of America and its eventual publisher Fordham University, with its tradition of Jesuit humanism, but even more because of a continuing sense among its editors and contributors that the tradition of Western culture and the tradition of Christian faith cannot easily be studied in isolation from one another.[[2]]

The real heart of Traditio's interest, however - the source of whatever unity of purpose it has continued to maintain - seems to be its focus on the continuity of religious and secular learning, art and culture within the life of Western society, during the long and formative period between the origins of the classical Greek world and the origins of modernity. Attempting to explain the breadth of subject-range that characterized even the first issue in 1943, Traditio's original editors wrote:

"This selection of departments of scholarship which are but too often anxiously segregated will convey to the reader the general program which was in our mind when we chose for the new enterprise the name of Traditio: it represents an effort toward comprehensive knowledge of all the living forces, forms, institutions, and ideas which have made, both in the Church and in secular society, the texture of history something more than a mere deposit of dates and facts."
The point is not so much that Traditio set out to encourage and publish research that has come to be seen as methodologically "interdisciplinary," as that it sought, by its very range of subjects, to underscore connections between periods and cultural forces which had, up to then, mainly been studied in tightly separated compartments. Put more pointedly, perhaps, it sought to present the "tradition" of Western culture - in 1943, dramatically disintegrating - in the kind of synthetic and comprehensive perspective that might make its preservation as a humanizing force seem possible and even desirable.

The founding editors of Traditio were two distinguished faculty members of the Catholic University of America, both German refugees and both seriously committed to the Christian humanist tradition of historical scholarship: the patrologist Johannes Quasten and the historian of canon law Stephan Kuttner. The publication and marketing of the new journal was undertaken by its first publisher, Dr. Ludwig Schopp, another learned émigré who had founded a small publishing and bookselling business in New York, the Cosmopolitan Science and Art Service Company. The first few numbers contained contributions by an outstanding list of scholars, including such names as Artur Landgraf, Alexander Turyn, Paul Oskar Kristeller, Rudolf Allers, Anton Pegis, Martin Grabmann, Ernst Honigmann and Ludwig Bieler. Dom Anselm Strittmatter, O.S.B., an American-born liturgical historian then teaching at Catholic University, joined the editorial board in 1945.

But by 1948, financial difficulties had forced Schopp's business into receivership, and publication came to a halt that year, with volume 6; and after Schopp's death, in 1949, it seemed unlikely that Traditio would appear again. Rescue came only in 1950, when Rudolf Arbesmann, O.S.A., another German émigré who was then chair of the Classics Department at Fordham University, persuaded his colleague Edwin A. Quain, S.J. of the journal's importance for postwar America; Quain in turn persuaded the Fordham University Press - which he was later to direct for many years - to acquire the title and stock of back issues from Schopp's receivers, and Traditio's volume 7 appeared in 1951, with Fordham as its publisher and Quain as the driving force of the reconsitituted editorial board. Prof. Bernard M. Peebles, another patristic scholar from the Catholic University, joined the board in 1952.

In its early years, Traditio included a small number of book reviews in each issue. It soon became obvious, however, that a journal with the scope of Traditio could not hope to review adequately the individual titles in its own broad field of interest that were now beginning to flow again from the world's academic presses. So with volume 8, in 1952, it began its policy of omitting individual book reviews, and replaced them with occasional review articles dealing more synthetically with current scholarly literature; the last of these reviews of scholarship appeared in 1972. Volumes 11 (1955) through 26 (1970) also contained the annual Bulletin of the Institute of Medieval Canon Law, but this feature eventually grew too large for Traditio and since 1971 has been published independently by the University of California at Berkeley.

Traditio has always been edited by a small group of scholars. There is no editor-in-chief, no official primus inter pares; although it had a business manager from 1953 to 1956 (Dr. Stanislaus A. Akielaszek), and has had a managing editor since 1972 to coordinate editing and production, the decisions regarding the contents of each volume continue to be made by the editors as a group, and until 1992 they did the main work of editing and proofreading. Changes in the composition of the board of editors through the past fifty years has brought with it changes of emphasis in the journal's contents, just as it has reflected changing currents of interest in the academic world. A "second generation" of American-born editors gradually took over the leadership of Traditio in the 1960s and 70s. Their interests lay less in the direction of late antiquity and early Church history than those of the original board, and more in the direction of medieval studies - this at a time when medieval scholarship was coming more fully into its own in many American universities. Robert E. McNally, S.J., a historian of the medieval Church, served on the board between 1962 and 1969. Charles H. Lohr, S.J., professor of medieval theology at the University of Freiburg and a specialist in both the works of Ramon Lull and medieval Western Aristotelianism, became an editor in 1970. Robert E. Kaske, an authority on medieval English literature at Cornell University, served on the editorial board from 1972 until his untimely death in 1989; and Elizabeth A. R. Brown, a historian of medieval France at the City University of New York, joined the board in 1975. Two non-medievalists also became editors in the 1970s: Richard E. Doyle, S.J., a classical scholar at Fordham University with a strong interest in the ethics of Greek heroic and tragic literature, who served on the board from 1972 until his death in 1987, and Brian E. Daley, S.J., professor at the Weston School of Theology and a student of patristic and early Byzantine theology, who joined the board in 1979. As the editorial board took on a new shape, the journal's focus gradually but inevitably shifted more and more towards secular medieval vernacular literature, philosophy and political history, although it continued to attract strong contributions in the other fields in which it had always published.

Traditio continued to maintain its characteristic focus on critical editions, manuscript studies and specialized bibliographical surveys - pieces often of considerable length and complexity. One of the journal's main contributions, in fact, since its early years, has been the serial publication of articles and bibliographical studies that constitute major tools for scholarship. These include Paul Oskar Kristeller's "Latin Manuscript Books before 1600,"[[3]] Cyril Toumanoff's "Introduction to Christian Caucasian History,"[[4]] Charles H. Lohr's extensive inventory of medieval Latin commentaries on the works of Aristotle,[[5]] Pearl Kibre's catalogue of the manuscripts of the Latin Hippocratic corpus,[[6]] Richard K. Emmerson and Suzanne Lewis's "Census and Bibliography of Medieval Manuscripts containing Apocalypse Illustrations,"[[7]] Richard J. Durling's list of Italian medical manuscripts,[[8]] and Joseph F. Kelly's catalogue of "Early Medieval Hiberno-Latin Biblical Commentaries."[[9]]

The deaths of Richard Doyle and Robert Kaske in the late 1980s again depleted the forces of the editorial board and created the need for new heads and hands to help guide the journal's fortunes. This "third generation" of Traditio editors began with James J. O'Donnell, Augustine scholar and specialist in late Roman imperial culture at the University of Pennsylvania, who joined the board in 1987. He was followed in 1989 by Richard K. Emmerson of Western Washington University, a Middle English scholar and manuscript specialist, and Jocelyn N. Hillgarth of the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto, an authority on Visigothic and medieval Spain. The most recent addition is Elizabeth C. Parker of Fordham University, a historian of medieval art who joined the board in the dual role of member of the editorial board and managing editor in 1992. Prof. Parker's coming coincided with a reorganization of Traditio's management and production procedures, following the departure to the Morgan Library of the director of the Fordham University Press, H. George Fletcher III, who had also served as Traditio's managing editor since 1972. After a period of some uncertainty about the journal's continuing relationship to Fordham University Press, it was agreed that the Press would be responsible only for marketing Traditio, and that the journal's publisher from now on would be Fordham University. The journal's long-standing relationship with its Belgian printer, Cultura Press of Wetteren, which had produced each volume since 1952, was also dissolved in 1991, and Traditio is now printed in the United States by Edwards Bros. of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The most recent issues of Traditio are in some respects different from the earliest ones. Volumes today tend to be slimmer than most of those published in the 1950s and 1960s, owing in part to more rigorous limits on content, imposed for economic reasons, and in part to a lighter paper stock.[[10]] The Chicago Manual of Style is now the official arbiter of orthography, punctuation and other technical details, and the list of standard abbreviations has been extended and modernized. Nonetheless, in an age of increasing pressure on scholarly journals to select articles that are brief, simple, and in tune with the fashions of the day, in a time of widespread academic self-criticism and fragmentation under the rubric of post-modernity, Traditio probably still strikes many of its readers as weighty, serious and slightly old-fashioned - for some, no doubt, a cultural oasis and for others simply a curiosity. How Traditio's contributors, and its present and future editors, will manage to realize the interdisciplinary and synthetic vision of its founders within the demands and the productive energies of the contemporary academy remains an open question. Nevertheless, the guiding idea of Traditio remains clear: in promoting and selecting scholarly contributions, to focus on intelligible continuities of form, meaning, intuition, and mental discipline within the bewildering variety of evidence for cultural and social change; to focus on the value of "high" culture and intellectual learning, as the main vehicle of continuity and diachronic intelligibility within human forms of self-expression; to stress the necessity of original research on written and material sources to advance historical knowledge; and to emphasize, too, the importance of religious faith for culture and of culture for religious faith.

The Editors

The Editors of Traditio

Business Manager of Traditio

Managing Editors of Traditio

[[1]]A rough summary of the statistics of Traditio's patterns of publication reveals the character of the journal. It has published some 485 articles, 243 miscellaneous notes, and 39 bibliographical surveys - an average of ten articles and five miscellaneous notes per volume. These can be broken down by traditional "fields" of scholarship as follows:

[[2]]It is worth noting that the first volume of Traditio was dedicated to Giovanni Cardinal Mercati, the great humanist and prefect of the Vatican Library, who had himself protected and supported a number of émigré scholars from Germany during the early years of the Second World War. That volume - but none of its successors - also bore the imprimatur of Francis Cardinal Spellman, Roman Catholic archbishop of New York.

[[3]]"Latin Manuscript Books before 1600: a Bibliography of the Printed Catalogues of Extant Collections," Traditio VI (1948); "Latin Manuscript Books before 1600: a Tentative List of Unpublished Inventories of Imperfectly Catalogued Extant Collections," IX (1953). Kristeller's two articles, published as a monograph, have gone through three revised editions: second ed., New York: Fordham University Press, 1960; third ed., New York: Fordham, 1965; fourth ed. (rev. Sigrid Kramer), Munich: Monumenta Germaniae Historica, 1993.

[[4]]Traditio XV (1959), XVII (1961).

[[5]]"Medieval Latin Aristotle Commentaries," Traditio XXIII (1967), XXIV (1968), XXVI (1970), XXVI (1971), XXVIII (1972), XXIX (1973) and XXX (1974); later published as a monograph: Florence: Olschki, 1988.

[[6]]"Hippocrates Latinus: Repertorium of Hippocratic Writings in the Latin Middle Ages," Traditio XXXI (1975), XXXII (1976), XXXIII (1977), XXXIV (1978), XXXV (1979), XXXVI (1980), XXXVII (1981); later published as a monograph: New York: Fordham University Press, 1985.

[[7]]Traditio XL (1984), XLI (1985), XLII (1986).

[[8]]"Medical Manuscripts in Kristeller's Iter Italicum," Traditio XLI (1985), XLIV (1988), XLVI (1991), XLVIII (1993).

[[9]]Traditio XLIV (1988), XLV (1989-90).

[[10]]It need hardly be pointed out that the cost of producing Traditio, and the price charged subscribers, have both risen dramatically in fifty years. From 1943 until 1953, a volume of Traditio cost $6.50, and remained close to that price, at $6.70, until 1959. From 1960 to 1966, a volume cost $8.00; it rose to $9.50 in 1967, to $11.00 in 1968-70, and to $13.50 in 1971-72. Since 1972, the price has not been printed in the journal: a sign, perhaps, of the discretion of that year's new managing editor, George Fletcher, but also a hint of the inescapable reality of inflation.