NSU Historian Only Russian in Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis Series

The Belgian publishing house Brepols published NSU Historian Valentin Portnykh’s Latin text of the Treatise "On the Preaching of the Cross" by the Dominican monk Humbert Romansky. The book is the 279th volume in the Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis Series and, according to the publisher, the only one with a Russian author. A translation of the Latin text of the Treatise by Portnykh was published two years ago by the "Aleteya" publishing house.


The Treatise "On the Preaching of the Cross" (De predicatione crucis) is a type of medieval textbook for preachers of the Crusades to the Middle East. The book was written by a Dominican French author who was the fifth general master of the Order Humbert Romansky in the 13th century. It was used by clergymen to propagate the idea of ​​the Crusades against Muslims.


The historian had to restore literally the Latin text of the Treatise. To do this work Portnykh used 18 surviving manuscripts of varying degrees of preservation. He then translated the resulting hypothetical Latin text into Russian, and in 2016 a book with the translation was published by "Aleteya".

The edition with the reconstructed Latin text, as well as an introductory commentary by the author in French, was not published until now because of a number of issues related to its completion and compliance with the publishing house’s technical standards.

Portnykh described the challenges presented by this work,

The Latin text is also the result of the work. We do not have the original. It is clear fr om various errors that all the manuscripts we have are copies. Our task was to reconstruct the hypothetical original by analyzing the links between the manuscripts and the discrepancies. This book is important because it is not just a reprint of the text, but a reconstruction.


In addition to the reconstructed text, the book has a critical reference section that provides information on wh ere there are discrepancies in the manuscripts and what sources the author used both biblical and non-biblical.

The second author listed on the cover of the book is Cristina Vande Veire, an editor from Brepol. According to Portnykh, she was a great help preparing the material, gave many valuable recommendations on how to finalize the book, and often served as a quality inspector.


The Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis Series was launched in 1953 and has 280 editions. It is devoted to significant medieval sources on the history of the Western Christian world. The Series is purchased by major Western university libraries. Through the Treatise "On the Preaching of the Cross" in Latin, it will be possible for readers to learn about NSU. Portnykh presented one copy of the book to the Novosibirsk State University Library. A formal presentation of the book will be made at the beginning of the academic year.