Sign language in monastic communities

Lecturer: Dr Wiktor Szymborski, JU Institute of History
Delivered on 18 March 2016, the lecture discussed issues related to historical gestures used in monastic facilities as well as contemporary sign language. In many areas of monastic life, the rule of silence necessitated interpersonal communication by means of signs. The multitude and diversity of signs or gestures used by monks in monasteries is immediately associated with today's sign language. Do these two worlds, of monastic gestures and contemporary sign language, apparently far apart, have something in common? What was the origin of sign language in the Middle Ages in the first place? How did it evolve? This and other questions were answered during the lecture.

Joanna Augustyniak, sign-language interpreter, and Dr Wiktor Szymborski, lecturer; photography by Mariusz Kopiejka
Joanna Augustyniak, sign-language interpreter, and Dr Wiktor Szymborski, lecturer; photography by Mariusz Kopiejka

Lecture attendees; photography by Mariusz Kopiejka
Lecture attendees; photography by Mariusz Kopiejka

 

Miniatures and adaptations of the illustrations discussed during the lecture