- An Apocalyptic Age?An Introduction to Essays in Honor of E. Randolph Daniel at Seventy-Five
49th International Congress on Medieval Studies
8 May 2014
Western Michigan University
Emmett Randolph Daniel became interested in the subjects of medieval apocalypticism, eschatology and related matters largely on the heels of the pioneering work done in these fields during the 1950s and 1960s by European scholars like Herbert Grundmann,1 Marjorie Reeves,2 Beatrice Hirsch-Reich,3 and Bernhard Töpfer.4 Nearly fifty years later, that is to say, after the publication of his brief but ground-breaking article of 1968 in Speculum on the subject of the Franciscan Joachites,5 one can attest that “Randy” Daniel was for many years an integral part of a new group of distinguished American scholars – such as Bernard McGinn,6 [End Page 249] Robert Lerner and David Burr – who have also made these same issues one of the prime foci of their scholarly work.
On 8 May 2014, scholars, colleagues and friends gathered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the 49th Annual International Congress on Medieval Studies on the campus of Western Michigan University to celebrate the seventieth birthday year of our honoree. Born in 1935, E. R. Daniel did his undergraduate studies at Davidson College, where he graduated in 1958. He then earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia in 1961, being ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. shortly thereafter. In the fall of 1961, he began his studies at Harvard University where he was planning to do a doctorate in historical theology under Profs. Heiko Obermann and George Hunston Williams. But Oberman tried to convince him that he was a theologian using historical tools, while Mr. Daniel believed he was more of a historian interested in theology. Randy then applied to the University of Virginia where he received a NDEA fellowship, leading to his Ph.D. there in 1966 under the direction of Charles Julian Bishko. Upon its completion, he became an assistant professor teaching medieval history at the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he taught until his retirement 1975. Three major book-length publications limn the general contours of Randy’s research and published work; and it is, more or less, around these three broad areas that this celebration has been structured.
The first area is represented by an edition, that of the Liber de concordia of Joachim of Fiore7: one of the seminal texts of the Calabrian abbot whose writings have constituted the primary subject of E. Randolph Daniel’s scholarly production over some fifty years. Following certain positions taken on Joachim’s eschatology, particularly by Marjorie Reeves (and not without some controversy),8 the bulk of his work has indeed been in the field of Joachim-studies and the subsequent literary production of the successive generations of Joachites.9 [End Page 250]
The other two fields are cognate to the first. The second group of studies concerns the specifically Franciscan contribution to this genre. Beginning with the justly famous 1968 article on the origins of the early Franciscan Joachites in the 1240s, Professor Daniel worked his way forward to the important figure of and role played by Bonaventure of Bagnoregio in a series of well-argued essays during the 1970s and beyond.10 But then, in his second volume - this time a monograph - he endeavored to place the Franciscan eschatological thinking of the thirteenth century within its broader intellectual setting by studying “The Franciscan Concept of Mission in the High Middle Ages.”11 This monograph actually grew out of his dissertation at the University of Virginia.
The third area represents a kind of recapitulation and exemplification of a particular focus of Joachim’s apocalypticism – that which Randy calls “reform apocalypticism,” which picks up themes already present in writers like Bernard of Clairvaux and Gerhoh of Reichersberg and stretching forward into the next centuries to embrace such figures as John Wyclif and John Calvin. Some of these contributions have been reprinted in the latter half of the Variorum volume while others can be found in a number of festschrifts and scholarly symposia. All in...