Verkholantsev Wins Book Prize

December 21, 2015

Julia Verkholantsev, an associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures, has received the Early Slavic Studies Association Book Prize for The Slavic Letters of St. Jerome: The History of the Legend and Its Legacy, or, How the Translator of the Vulgate Became an Apostle of the Slavs.

The book explores the history of the medieval belief that fourth-century church father and biblical translator St. Jerome was a Slav and the inventor of the Slavic (Glagolitic) alphabet and Roman Slavonic rite, and investigates this belief’s spread from Dalmatia to Bohemia and Poland. Now largely forgotten, this legend was used by political and religious leaders from Rome to Bohemia and beyond for nearly 500 years until it was debunked in the 18th century. Verkholantsev examines the belief within the wider context of European historical and theological thought and shows that its effects reached far beyond the Slavic world.

Verkholantsev’s research interests include cultural and religious history, early modern and medieval literary and linguistic culture, and the history of ideas in the space of eastern, central, and southern medieval and early modern Europe, particularly the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Bohemia, Poland, and Croatia. She is investigating the history of and approaches to language, writing, and literacy; pre-modern historical writing and historical methods; Slavic (Cyrillic, Glagolitic, and Latin) and Greek paleography and cryptography; projects and theories of universal language; and Russian medieval and modern literature and culture.

In her undergraduate courses, Verkholantsev and her students examine medieval literary and historical topics in the context of modern society and reveal their importance in the development of contemporary culture, politics, and social norms. Her literature courses study reading strategies of imaginative texts that lead to advanced understanding of literature as part of cultural history.

Verkholantsev also authored Ruthenica Bohemica: Ruthenian Translations from Czech in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poland, and coedited Speculum Slaviae Orientalis: Muscovy, Ruthenia and Lithuania in the Late Middle Ages with Vyacheslav V. Ivanov. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.