Postdoctoral Research Position “Medieval Spanish Literature and Latin”

The MSH offers a postdoctoral research position in medieval Spanish language and literature and Latin − a temporary contract (12 months) as part of an ANR funding (MSH Lorraine – INALCO – CNRS ATILF).

The contract begins on October 1st 2014.

Description of the research project framing the position and main focus of the postdoctoral researcher

ALIENTO (Linguistic and intercultural analysis of short sapiential statements and of their transmission East/West, West/East) is a research project whose aim is the creation of a database about the sources, transmission, circulation and posterity of sapiential statements of the Iberian Peninsula (from the ninth to the sixteenth century) between the Three Cultures: Jewish, Christian, Islamic. It is an interdisciplinary innovative research project which fits in the new field of the Digital Humanities. Our interdisciplinary approach brings together scientific practices and knowledge implemented by literary scholars, linguists, paremiologists, computer scientists. The dialogue of disciplines on a common object (the circulation of medieval sapiential brief units) provides new methodological and conceptual research perspectives. In this regard, ALIENTO is central in scientific and methodological treatment of sapiential texts, both by the nature of the corpus and the way of dealing with it, the management of multilinguism, the reflexion on textual encoding as well as by the originality of its qualitative approach of corpora exploration (interoperability man-machine).

Aims of the research project

The aim of the ALIENTO project is to elaborate a software transferable to other similar texts, from a significant referencial body consisting of 8 related texts having circulated in the Iberian peninsula in the Middle Ages ( Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish and Catalan), that is 582 pages and about 9570 brief sapiential statements, in order to
− extract knowledge from the annotated corpora on the sources, the transmission, the circulation and the posterity of the sapiential statements of the Iberian peninsula (9th-16th centuries) between the three cultures;
−work out concordances, even partial, close or distant connections,
− reassess inter-textual relations by comparing a great quantity of data and by interconnecting encoded texts written in different languages.

The steps to be followed are:

1. Accurate annotation using an XML/TEI tagging system on the sense, the form, the structure and the moral of each brief sapiential statement found in eight texts from a reference corpus (Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, Catalan and Latin). The point is to link the brief sapiential statements (about 9,570 items) and, by means of a close collaboration between experts, develop a robust tagging protocol for this type of items which can be transferable to other corpora (formalisation, normalisation, creation of a common ontology to this type of statements).
2. Cooperatively create a piece of software capable of matching items and displaying a trilingual interface that will allow the monitoring of results, i.e. the links created between the brief sapiential statements.
3. Analysis of the matching results and production of scientific results in the field of humanities: study of the circulation of brief sapiential statements, their transformation and their degree of acculturation according to their own intertextuality.
4. Creation of a library of medieval sapiential texts accessible on-line by means of standardised meta-data in TEI format and accompanied by data on the text, authors, translators, compilers and references

The current research project ANR ALIENTO is the result of four consecutive years of research. For further information:

Focus of the postdoctoral researcher:

The postdoctoral researcher must have an extensive background in Castilian, medieval literature and Latin as well as solid technical know-how in computing. Knowledge of Arabic would be an asset. As a specialist of Spanish texts s/he will have to tag with precision the brief sapiential statements with compatible XML/TEI annotations on the sense, the form, the structure and the moral of each brief sapiential statement to be found in the books of sayings such as: Libro de los cien capítulos, flores de filosofía, Vida y costunbres de los viejos filósofos, Libro de los doce sabios, Poridat de las poridades, Secretum secretorum….
S/he will work in Nancy (MSH Lorraine) in close collaboration with the research group ALIENTO (Paris − Nancy).
S/he will take part in the research meetings and workshops co-organised with the ATILF and will contribute with her/his expertise in medieval Hispanic texts and language.


- Doctorate in medieval Spanish language, literature and culture.
– Extensive knowledge of the circulation of sapiential texts in the Mediterranean area. – Good knowledge of Latin
– Knowledge of Arabic will be an asset.

Terms of contract

Length: 12 months
The postdoctoral researcher can be of any nationality. English may be used as the working language for researchers not speaking French. The contract begins on October 1st 2014.
Applications must be submitted before August 31st 2014.
The net salary will be about 2,100 euros per month.

Please send a curriculum vitae, a summary of your dissertation and a letter of application to the following email addresses: Marie-Sol Ortola at and

Posted by: Marie L’Etang (