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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Matthieu H. van der Meer

van der Meer portrait

Assistant Teaching Professor


Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

Classical Civilization

Classics (Latin or Greek emphasis)

LGBTQ Studies

Medieval and Renaissance Studies

332 HB Crouse Hall

Research and Teaching Interests

My scholarship centers on the question how authors in the Carolingian Renaissance and in the humanist Renaissance of the fifteenth century appropriate and reconfigure seemingly authoritative texts into new and often subversive literature. In my dissertation I investigated how Nicholas of Cusa, a German bishop, member of the papal court, and one of the most creative minds of his generation, attempts to redefine traditional Christian theological concepts in terms of Neoplatonic philosophy. My interest in the humanist Renaissance has occasioned me to expand my field of research into the Carolingian period, when a new climate of learning and textual scholarship gave rise to comparable discussions about the relationship between man and God and, more in particular, between free will and grace. Currently, I am finishing the critical edition and study of a ninth-century commentary (a glossary and florilegium) to the Rule of Benedict. The edition will appear with the publisher Brepols (Belgium) in the series Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis. All the while, I am working on a monograph with the titel Rule and Reform in the Age of Charlemagne. In this book, I present the results of my research into the Glosae. By comparing the differences between the Glosae and the Expositio, we can peek over Smaragdus’ shoulder, as it were, and, using Smaragdus as a model, better comprehend how Carolingian scholars and reformers crafted their texts, what techniques of reading and teaching they employed, and how they selected authoritative texts from the past.


  • Fall 2010 – present: Assistant Professor of Classics, Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Syracuse University.
  • Fall 2008 – Spring 2010: Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies and The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CEMERS), Binghamton University.
  • Spring 2008: Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History, Binghamton University.
  • Fall 2007: Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Syracuse University.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D.-Dissertation, September 2006, Department of Philosophy, University of Groningen, Netherlands. Dissertation: De beweging van de geest. Het begrip ‘motus intellectualis’ in de filosofie van Nicolaus Cusanus, 1401-1464 (= The motion of the mind. The concept of ‘motus intellectualis’ in the philosophy of Nicholas of Cusa, 1401-1464). Ph.D. advisor: A.J. Vanderjagt
  • M.A., Philosophy, October 2001, University of Nijmegen, Netherlands.
  • M.A., Theology, September 1999, Department of Religion, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.


“Divus Dionysius. Jean Gerson, Nicholas of Cusa and the interpretation of Pseudo-Dionysius’ mystical theology,” in Viator 44/2, (2013), pp. 323-342. Peer- reviewed.

“Intellige semper spiritaliter. The role of the Bible in the philosophy of Nicholas of Cusa,” in Mediaevalia. An Interdisciplinary Journal of Medieval Studies World Wide (Binghamton University) 31 (2010), pp. 83-98. Peer-reviewed.

“World without end. Nicholas of Cusa’s view on time and eternity,” in Zweder von Martels, Alasdair A. Macdonald and Jan Veenstra (eds.), Christian Humanism. Essays in Honor of Arjo Vanderjagt, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, 142, Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2009, pp. 317-337. Peer- reviewed.

“Imago und participatio. Das Verhältnis zwischen dem Bildsein und der Teilhabe des Geistes in De coniecturis, De filiatione dei und Idiota de mente,” in Klaus Reinhardt and Harald Schwaetzer (eds.), Nicolaus Cusanus. Perspektiven seiner Geistphilosophie, Regensburg: S. Roederer Verlag, 2003, pp. 65-78.

In collaboration with Bruce Venarde (Pittsburgh): translation of the prologue of Hildemar of Civate’s Expositio Regulae, at

Works in Progress


Glosae collectae in regula sancti Benedicti abbatis (critical edition of a ninth century glossary and florilegium to the Rule of Benedict from the circle of Smaragdus of St.-Mihiel). Expected publication: Spring 2016, in the series Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio Mediaevalis, Brepols, Turnhout.


Rule and Reform in the Age of Charlemagne. A study of the Glosae a diuersis doctoribus collectae in regula sancti Benedicti abbatis. Expected publication: Spring 2017.


In collaboration with Albrecht Diem (ed.), Die Columbanischen Klosterregeln: Regula cuiusdam patris, Regula cuiusdam ad virgines, De accedendo (fragment), EOS, St. Ottilien, 2015.

Book Reviews

Thomas Frank and Nobert Winkler (eds.), Renovatio et Unitas - Nikolaus von Kues als Reformer. Theorie und Praxis der reformatio im 15. Jahrhundert, Göttingen 2012, for the Renaissance Quarterly 66/1 (2013), pp. 277-279.

Martin Thurner (ed.), Nicolaus Cusanus zwischen Deutschland und Italien, Berlin 2002, for Theologie und Philosophie 80 (2005), pp. 104-106.

Nicolai de Cusa opera omnia, Sermones IV (1455-1463) fasciculus 3: Sermones CCXXXII-CCXLV, Hamburg 2002, for Philosophisches Jahrbuch 111 (2004), pp. 207-208.

Harald Schwaetzer (ed./tr.), Nikolaus von Kues. Textauswahl in deutscher Übersetzung, vol. 5, Über die Gotteskindschaft, for Litterae Cusanae. Informationen der Cusanus-Gesellschaft 2/2 (2002), pp. 77-78.

Inigo Bocken (ed./tr.), Cusanus. De leek over de geest (Dutch translation of Nicholas of Cusa’s Idiota de mente), for Millenium. Tijdschrift voor middeleeuwse studies 16 (2002), pp. 178-179.

Conference Papers

“Turning Benedict into a shepherd – How pastoral is Smaragdus‘ interpretation of the Rule of Benedict?“ at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, UK, July 6, 2015.

“Smaragdus and Benedict of Aniane – complementing or competing programs?“ at the conference Norm and Exercise, Turin, Italy, June 22, 2015.

“Theology à la carte. News from Smaragdus’ Patristic Pantry“ at the International Medieval Conference at Kalamazoo, MI, May 9, 2014.

“Will and Grace again! A contribution to Carolingian theology of monasticism“ American Historical Association, Washington, D.C., January 2, 2014.

“Auctor and auctoritas in the Carolingian age. Smaragdus of St.-Mihiel and the Church-fathers“ Return of the Text. A Conference on the Cultural Value of Close Reading, LeMoyne College, Syracuse NY, September 26, 2013.

“Prisca theologia in the philosophy of Nicholas of Cusa?“ International conference The Place of Renaissance Humanism in the History of Philosophy, Dept. of Philosophy, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands, June 12, 2013.

“The ‘Valenciennes commentary’ on the Regula Benedicti. The critical edition and study of a 9th century glossary and florilegium for the study of the Rule of Benedict,“ Colloquium at the Dept. of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, March 29, 2013.

“Jerusalem or Athens? Jean Gerson, Nicholas of Cusa and the 15th-century debate on Christian Platonism“ Invited lecture for MedRen working group, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, November 9, 2012.

“The Valenciennes-Commentary on the Regula Benedicti. An excerpt from Smaragdus’ Commentary or its ‘Vorlage’?” at the Conference Texts and Contexts, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, October 26, 2012.

“A comparison of Smarargdus of St. Mihiel with Hildemar of Civate” at International Studies on Hildemar of Corbie: First International Workshop, Toronto ON, November 23, 2012.

“The essential Benedict: an unpublished commentary on the Rule of Benedict” at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds, UK, July 2012.

“Teaching with the Regula Benedicti: the Valenciennes-gloss” at the International Medieval Conference at Kalamazoo, MI, May 2012.

“Gerson and Cusa as interpreters of Pseudo-Dionysius” at the International Medieval Conference at Kalamazoo, MI, May 2011.

“Nicholas of Cusa on the authority of Scripture” at the The Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Seminar on Pre-Reformation Theology at Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary and The American Cusanus Society, Gettysburg, PA, October 2010.

“Trade in philosophy. Commercial metaphors in the work of Nicolas of Cusa and the medieval market in ancient books” at Negotiating Trade, CEMERS Conference, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, September 2010.

“Ut scias sapientiam non esse in arte oratoria. Nicholas of Cusa’s ambivalence towards rhetoric” at The 55th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Los Angeles, CA, March 2009.

“Apocalypse and eternity. Nicholas of Cusa on the end of time,” CEMERS lecture series, Binghamton, NY (invited lecture), September 2008.

“The dead and the living image. The aesthetics of Nicolas of Cusa and Leon Battista Alberti rethought,” International Medieval Conference, Kalamazoo, MI, May 2006.

“Nicholas of Cusa’s reception of Plato’s Parmenides” at the The 51st Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Cambridge, UK, April 2005.

Grants and Awards

Research fellowship at the Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, U.S.A. awarded by the Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies and the Medieval Institute of the University Notre Dame, 1/2005-4/2005.

Erasmus Scholarship of the European Union at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität in Tübingen, Germany, 9/1995-7/1996.


Graduate seminar Medieval Latin, Codicology and Paleography (MDVL 561), Department of History & Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies (cross-listed), Binghamton University, Spring 2008, 2009, 2010.

Survey class Medieval History (MDVL 101): Introduction to Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Department of History, Binghamton University, Spring 2010.

Survey class Ancient History (CLAS 380) Pagans, Christians, Jews 60-622 CE, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Binghamton University, Fall 2009.

Survey class Introduction to Classical Literature (LIT 102), Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Syracuse University, Spring 2011-2014

Survey class Love and Friendship in Antiquity (LIT 360), Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Syracuse University, Spring 2015

Latin language instruction:

LAT 101 Introduction to Latin 1, Binghamton University, Fall 2008, Fall 2009; Syracuse University, Fall 2010-2015

LAT 102 Introduction to Latin 2, Binghamton University, Spring 2009, Spring 2010; Syracuse University, Spring 2011-2015

LAT 201 (203) Latin 3, Intermediate Latin, Binghamton University, Fall 2009; Syracuse University, Fall 2010-2015

LAT 310 Latin Prose Authors, Syracuse University, Fall 2010-15 (2013: Cicero, Livy, 2014: Cicero, Seneca, Augustine, 2015: Caesar and Sallust)

GRE 203 Intermediate Greek, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Binghamton University, Fall 2008.


LLL Professor Awarded for Outstanding Research of a Medieval Monastic Text

(Nov. 5, 2020)

Matthieu Herman van der Meer analyzed a newly discovered commentary from around the year 800.

LLL Professors Rack up National, University Awards

(June 21, 2017)

Faculty bring distinction to Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics