Practices of Commentary

JHI Working Group active in 2019-2020


The Practices of Commentary group began in 2018-2019 with the goal of bringing scholars from a wide range of disciplines together to discuss commentary as it is used in historical and literary materials from several traditions.  We emerged with more questions than answers.  In the coming year, we will probe the ways that the conceptual and technical aspects of commentary intersect with technological revolutions (the introductions of paper, print, and digital media; the takeover of palm-leaf manuscripts and papyrus rolls by codices; the shift from oral to textual modes of commentary). Our group will attend to moments of transformation to explore how different commentarial communities responded to material changes.  We will also look at developments in the organization and sociology of these communities, and the ways that these engendered new hermeneutics and interpretive modes.  Finally, we will examine the heritage of 19th-century scholarship, which brought philological methods and theories of commentary that continue to frame contemporary debates about comparative work in the Humanities.


  • Walid Saleh, FAS Study of Religion and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
  • Kenneth Yu, FAS Classics

Faculty, University of Toronto

  • Suzanne Akbari, FAS English and Medieval Studies
  • Alexander Andrée, FAS Medieval Studies
  • Lorenza Bennardo, FAS Classics
  • Elisa Brilli, FAS Italian Studies
  • Adam Cohen, FAS Art History
  • Bob Gibbs, FAS Philosophy
  • Amanda Goodman, FAS East Asian Studies
  • Peter King, FAS Philosophy
  • Jeannie Miller, FAS Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
  • Enrico Raffaelli, UTM Historical Studies
  • Ajay Rao, UTM Historical Studies
  • Natalie Rothman, UTSC Historical & Cultural Studies
  • Markus Stock, FAS German
  • Audrey Walton, FAS English

Faculty outside the University of Toronto

  • Miguel Angel Toledo, Avestan and Pahlavi Languages & Literatures, University of Salamanca

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto

  • Erica Loic, UTM Visual Studies

Graduate Students, University of Toronto

  • Shuaib Ally, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
  • Alessia Berardi, Medieval Studies
  • Miriam Borden, Jewish Studies
  • Anthony Fredette, Medieval Studies
  • Florian Muller, German
  • Simon Whedbee, Medieval Studies
  • Dylan Wilkerson, Medieval Studies