Celebrating Fr Joe Munitiz's academic career

Fr Joseph Munitiz SJ and Dr Bram Roosen
Fr Joseph Munitiz SJ and Dr Bram Roosen

The life of a Jesuit scholar can be an austere one, with hour upon hour of solitary study, usually on a topic little understood by your Jesuit brothers. Moments of recognition can be few and far between. One such moment took place on 22nd August at Campion Hall in Oxford when a group gathered to celebrate the life achievement of a Jesuit of the British Province, Fr Joe Munitiz SJ.

Fr Munitiz has spent his life studying Byzantine manuscripts. In the academy, his name is associated with scholarly editions of the writings of two important Byzantine figures, Anastasios and Theognostos. In addition to this work, Fr Joe has also published a noted collection of the writings of the founder of the Jesuits, St Ignatius Loyola (Ignatius Loyola, Personal Writings, ed. Philip Endean, Joseph Munitiz, Penguin Classics 2005).

The celebration culminated in the gift of a festschrift, a collection of essays specially written by fellow scholars and titled 'The Literary Legacy of Byzantium: Editions, Translations and Studies in Honour of Joseph A. Munitiz SJ', edited by Bram Roosen and Peter Van Deun, published this year. Joe was presented with a copy of the volume by Dr Roosen during the celebration, which was attendend also by Fr Provincial, Damian Howard SJ.

Reflecting on a lifetime of academic endeavour, Fr Joe expressed gratitude to the Society of Jesus for missioning him to this work. He was particularly thankful to have been able to spend his life editing texts from Antiquity, "it was a task which led to the creation of something of lasting value", he commented. It had also brought him into contact with many people who would later become friends, and some of whom were present in Campion Hall to celebrate with a festive lunch.