The Sermones.net project is an exciting new resource that exploits the possibilities latent in a well-encoded digital edition. For students of medieval sermons, especially the sermons of Jacques de Voragine (the first and primary collection available at Sermones.net), this [End Page 310] will be an indispensable scholarly tool. Likewise, for those interested in creating similar electronic editions, Sermones.net is replete with ideas to copy and develop. Sermones.net presents itself as a site that will eventually house many collections of medieval sermons. The present construction of the entire site seems primarily built around the site’s first collection, the Lenten Sermons of Jacques de Voragine. I therefore expect that the overall presentation and organization of the site may change somewhat (perhaps dramatically) as other collections are added. For example, despite the fact that a second collection has been added, namely, “Le ‘dossier franciscain” d’Eudes de Châteauroux,” when a user clicks on the “Collection” tab they are taken directly to a page devoted to Jacques de Voragine rather than to a true “Collections” page, which, presumably, should list all the available collections. One can, however, easily navigate to the other collection by using the sidebar to the left, but this is not entirely intuitive.
The resources on the Jacques de Voragine collection page are impressive. Five articles are offered describing the life of Voragine, his work, his sermons, and how the edition and electronic version were prepared. Since these are significant scholarly articles in their own right, it might be nice if each article came with a brief example of how it should be cited or, at the very least, provide a permalink for the article.
The site also includes a substantial introduction and bibliography to medieval preaching as a genre, which includes references to many helpful online resources. Despite a few broken links, it is a great resource, at times even overwhelming. Annotations might be a great addition, but this may be asking too much. The bibliography thoughtfully groups titles under informative headings, and in the end, this may be a quite sufficient compromise between the laborious work of serious annotations and a mere data-dump of relevant citations. This introductory section on medieval preaching also includes a reprint of Beata Spieralska’s 2007 book-length article on the sermons of Maurice de Sully. With these resources in hand, I imagine that a new student of medieval preaching could get up to speed very quickly.
At the center of all these orbiting appendices stands the electronic edition. The site provides a nice tutorial of how to engage with the texts and collections. Though it appears to becoming slowly out of date (the screen shots reflect an older design), it was perfectly sufficient to prepare me to navigate the edition. A link to the more technical aspects of the edition is also provided on the tutorial page. However, during my visit, the linked page <http://lemo.irht.cnrs.fr/43/43-11.htm>, hosted by CNRS, not Sermones.net, appeared to be down or moved. [End Page 311]
Each of the sermons is well formatted and easy to navigate. Especially useful is the ability to choose different viewing options. The site allows the user to easily remove and reinsert editorial headings and insertions. This function enables the user to both benefit from the editorial work and differentiate between the original text and any editorial interventions. A sample facsimile would go a long a way in helping the reader to fully understand how the text has and has not been modified by its modern editors.
In addition to selecting different views, one has the option to highlight different interpretative aspects of the texts: names, places, conceptual distinctions, critical concepts, keywords, citations, literary devices, or biblical and liturgical material. These are wonderful features made possible by the hard work of...