University of Erfurt

Projekt von Dr. Jan Odstrcilik

Between the desk and the pulpit: Scholastic quaestio and sermons of Henry Totting of Oyta in Gotha and Erfurt

Henry Totting of Oyta was one of the key teachers of Erfurt’s Studium generale in the 14th century. He later went to many other places of learning: he studied and taught in Prague and Paris and he became the most famous professor at the medieval University of Vienna, second only to his colleague and good friend Henry of Langenstein. He was, however, not only a famous theologian but also an active preacher. The study of these both aspects of Henry Totting of Oyta (and their mutual influence) is the aim of this project.

The Research Library in Gotha contains two important witnesses of his work within the field of theology: Quaestio de sacra scriptura, in which he discusses various questions regarding the Holy Scripture, and an anonymous German Kompilatorischer Traktat über die letzten Dinge, which refers to both Henry Totting of Oyta and Henry of Langenstein. 

The study of these works should contribute to an analysis and a critical edition of Totting’s sermon De beata Virgine, inc. Murus est edificemus super (“She is the wall, let us build upon it”), preserved in the University Library Erfurt together with his other sermons. Despite its simple title, it features highly elaborated structure and a mythos-like narration connected to the image of the university, liberal arts and the role of theology and holy scriptures. It combines, therefore, both worlds of Henry Totting of Oyta; that is, his theological activity (expressed in his Quaestio de sacra scriptura) and his preaching.


Main research interests of Jan Odstrcilik lie primarily in the area of late medieval sermons. He wrote his Ph.D. thesis on Latin translations of Hus`s famous vernacular work “Czech Sunday Postil” and continues his research in the field of multilingual sermons. He is also studying Latin sermons, especially those composed by Henry Totting of Oyta, a late medieval theologian active at the Studium generale in Erfurt and at the universities of Prague, Paris and Vienna. His research interests include also medieval guides for studying.



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