Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Dr. Isaac Schendel

Signum Clubs PreceptorSPACE Preceptor

West Germanic Philologist and Modern German Teacher

Isaac S. Schendel is a Signum Academy Preceptor for Old English Translation Club and for German Conversation Club. He is also a preceptor for Old English, Middle High German, Old Saxon, and Conversational German at Signum University’s SPACE Program. [see full bio...]

All Modules

Advanced Old English Readings

Discussion-based • Medium intensity
These selections will help introduce students to the breadth and depth of Old English texts available for advanced study. Each month, Dr. Larry Swain and/or Dr. Isaac Schendel surveys the group to see which text students are most interested in exploring next.

Some of the texts we could explore in a given month include:
Advanced Old English Readings: Beowulf I
Advanced Old English Readings: Beowulf II
Advanced Old English Readings: Riddles
Advanced Old English Readings in Prose: The Old English Boethius
Advanced Old English Readings: Genesis A 1
Advanced Old English Readings: Genesis A 2
Advanced Old English Readings in Poetry: Judith and Exodus
Advanced Old English Readings: Heroic Elegies
Advanced Old English Readings: Cynewulf's Juliana
Advanced Old English Readings: Cynewulf's Christ II
Advanced Old English Readings: Apollonius of Tyre
Advanced Old English Readings: Ælfric's Lives of the Saints
Advanced Old English Readings: Ælfric's Letter to Sigeweard
Advanced Old English Readings: The Blickling Homilies
Advanced Old English Readings: Selections in Prose
Advanced Old English: Alice in Wonderland
Advanced Old English: Tolkien's Old English Poetry

Including these texts taught by Dr. Isaac Schendel:
Readings in Old English: The Battle of Maldon & Group Reading
Intermediate Old English: The Homilies of Wulfstan
The Old Saxon for Old English Readers (The Old Saxon Hêliand I)

Note: Please refer to the Required Texts section on a month's iteration page to see which texts the group has decided upon for a given month.

Conversational German Series

Discussion-based • Low intensity
This is the landing page for Dr. Isaac Schendel's Conversational German Series. For more information check out the module links below.

Also: Please wishlist this page if you are interested in taking Dr. Schendel's Conversation German Series when we offer it next.

Intermediate Old English: The Homilies of Wulfstan

Mixed Lecture/Discussion • Low intensity
The Anglo-Saxon monk, priest and bishop Wulfstan (†1023) is, after Ælfric of Eynsham, the most famous author of Old English homilies. His alliterative prose, inventive vocabulary, and – most importantly – his fire-and-brimstone preaching style make him a joy to read. The scenes he invokes are both terrifying and captivating, and his descriptions of the invading Vikings as God’s punishment offer a unique glimpse into the mentality of a terrified English people in the 10th and 11th centuries. Come join us for a month of Anglo-Saxon “Old Time Religion” and see if you can master reciting the Old English phrase “Leofan men” with a Johnny Cash accent (suede tunic optional).

This unit is open to anyone who has a basic familiarity with the Old English language. We will begin by reading Wulfstan’s most famous sermon, the “Sermon of the Wolf” (Sermo Lupi ad Anglos), to gain familiarity with his style and to see some Viking action. After that, we will continue on to “On False Gods” for a bit more Christian vs. Pagan Linguistic Bloodsports before moving on to his more pious eschatological work. Wulfstan’s oeuvre is large, so each iteration of this module can focus on a different facet of his work.

Middle High German 1: An Epic Introduction

Mixed Lecture/Discussion • Medium intensity
Middle High German (MHG) is the umbrella term for the German dialects used in the Holy Roman Empire from about 1050 to 1350. Its written form was the language of the court, and most MHG poetry embraces chivalric intellectual interests – adventure, romances, and courtly love! In our epic introduction to the language, we begin with a poem on subject matter that Old English and Old Norse students will immediately recognize: Das Nibelungenlied, the story of Siegfried (Sigurd) the dragon slayer, who we all know from the Völsunga Saga, the Poetic Edda, and (as his father Sigmund) Beowulf.

This module requires absolutely no modern German, but you may find that the course awakens that bit of “school German” you remember from high school. We will read our text – the 14th “Adventure” of The Nibelungenlied – slowly, as a small reading group. The benefit of the Nibelungenlied’s style is that enjambment is rare and each line can be treated as a single sentence.

Middle High German 2: An Epic Continuation

Mixed Lecture/Discussion • Medium intensity
This module is a continuation of Middle High German 1 with the plan to continue with the 14th âventiure of the Nibelungenlied until we complete it. After that, we will switch to some Arthuriana - Iwein, by Hartmann von Aue, the German “translation” of Chrétien de Troyes’[s] Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. Also, if the students want to read something else, your preceptor is all ears!

Middle High German 3: The Return of Brünhilde

Mixed Lecture/Discussion • Medium intensity
This module, a continuation of the Middle High German series, picks up where the previous module left off (ie. Middle High German 2: An Epic Continuation). Although each MHG cohort learns and reads at different speeds, this module will probably continue with the 14th Âventiure of the Nibelungenlied and then switch to Hartmann von Aue’s Iwein, the German adaptation of Chrétien de Troyes’[s] Yvain, the Knight of the Lion.

As always, students are welcome to make suggestions if they would prefer a different text or even a different genre – farces, courtly epics, sermons or even legal texts are just a few examples of what we could read.

Middle High German Beginning Series

Mixed Lecture/Discussion • Medium intensity
This is the landing page for Dr. Isaac Schendel's Middle High German Series which consists of two modules: Middle High German 1: An Epic Introduction and Middle High German 2: An Epic Continuation. For more information check out the module links below.

Also: Please wishlist this page if you are interested in taking Dr. Schendel's Middle High German series when we offer it next.

Middle High German Series: A Month of Minnesang

Mixed Lecture/Discussion • Low intensity
During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Provençal tradition of courtly love poetry spread to Germany, where it became the lyrical genre known as Minnesang. It quickly took on a life of its own and developed into a medieval literary scene of the best type—complete with rivalries, drama, and satire! Come join us for a month of reading a selection of poems from this almost inexhaustible literary field.

This class is simultaneously meant as a literary survey and as language practice for Signum’s growing cohort of Middle High German enthusiasts. For every iteration, Dr. Schendel chooses a selection of poetry from the Early, Classical, and Late periods based on student interest. The shorter length of these poems makes them perfect reading material for beginning-, intermediate-, and even advanced-level MHG readers and will allow for an in-depth discussion of the poems.

The reading texts (which vary by iteration) will be supplied from a number of anthologies and editions according to the Fair Use doctrine, but Dr. Schendel will also provide ISBN numbers so students can buy their own copies. After all, who wouldn’t like to impress their houseguests with a hardcover copy of Des Minnesangs Frühling on the coffee table?

Old English Series

Mixed Lecture/Discussion • Medium intensity
Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.

Readings in Middle High German Series

Discussion-based • Medium intensity
This series will help introduce students to the breadth and depth of texts available for study in Middle High German. Each month, Dr. Isaac Schendel surveys the group to see which text students are most interested in exploring next.

Some of the texts we could explore in a given month include:
Diu Klage
Das Eckenlied
Herzog Ernst
König Rother
Orendel
Parzival

The Old Saxon for Old English Readers

Discussion-based • Low intensity
Old Saxon, the continental cousin to Old English, was the language spoken in Northern Germany from the ninth to the twelfth century. It is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Anglo-Saxon, so Old English students will easily be able to read and understand it. The language boasts a number of smaller texts, but the Hêliand, an epic poem of nearly 6,000 lines, remains its most prestigious literary monument. It tells the story of Jesus Christ (the “Hêliand,” meaning “Savior”) reimagined as a Saxon lord with a retinue of twelve thanes, and it is comparable to the Old English Beowulf. In this module, we will read and discuss selections of this poem. Some familiarity with Old English is required.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].