About Daniel J. Heisey

Daniel J. Heisey, O. S. B, is a Benedictine monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where he is known as Brother Bruno. He teaches Church History at Saint Vincent Seminary.

Gareth Harney’s Moneta


In 1958, Michael Grant published a series of lectures under the title Roman History from Coins. Ten years later he issued a revised edition, but both versions explain why studying ancient coins sheds light on ancient history. As one example, he referred to Diocletian’s economic reforms made in the late 200s. “Our literary sources leave so [...]

Gareth Harney’s Moneta2024-07-16T03:19:47-05:00

Cardenio Becoming Girl Shy


For thirty summers the Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival (now Company) has performed in Harrisburg’s Reservoir Park. On a hill several blocks to the east of Pennsylvania’s capitol building and of the Susquehanna River, the park is an idyllic setting for Shakespeare’s plays, especially his comedies. A notable experiment occurred in 1999, when the troupe produced The Taming [...]

Cardenio Becoming Girl Shy2024-06-20T18:31:29-05:00

King Lear’s Roman Britain


In 1934, Cole Porter, in his song “You’re the Top,” from his hit Broadway show Anything Goes, referred to a Shakespeare sonnet as an example of perfection, and in 1948 he based his musical comedy, Kiss Me, Kate, on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Still, something more important than Shakespeare’s influence on America’s greatest lyric [...]

King Lear’s Roman Britain2024-05-15T05:06:14-05:00

The Bard and the Duke


William Shakespeare’s many facets allow each era to respond to his writings in its own way. In the nineteenth century, Giuseppe Verdi turned Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Othello into tragic operas and transformed The Merry Wives of Windsor into Falstaff, and in the twentieth century, Duke Ellington composed jazz works inspired by Shakespeare. In 1957 Ellington recorded [...]

The Bard and the Duke2024-04-30T03:06:41-05:00

Shakespearean Chess


An often-reproduced painting in a private collection in Brooklyn purports to depict from life, around 1603, Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare playing chess. Bryan Loughrey and Neil Taylor, writing in the Winter, 1983, issue of Shakespeare Quarterly, noted that, “The chess portrait is unusual in that . . . its claims to authenticity rely largely on [...]

Shakespearean Chess2024-04-30T03:02:40-05:00

Detective Work in a Monastery Archives


Our monastery in western Pennsylvania dates to 1846, founded by Benedictine monks from Bavaria. We run a liberal arts college and theological seminary, and our abbey church is also a parish church. Consequently, it is a busy place, and almost every year sees a new building project or repair or renovation of an older building. Since [...]

Detective Work in a Monastery Archives2024-04-12T23:20:05-05:00

Jesus Entering Our Jerusalem


One of the Gospels to be read for Palm Sunday is Mark 11:1-10. It is a well-known passage, perhaps too well known, recounting Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Usually it serves as a warning about how fickle crowds can be, joyously hailing Jesus as a king foretold by the prophets but within a week angrily calling [...]

Jesus Entering Our Jerusalem2024-03-28T02:44:33-05:00

Shakespeare’s Maps


With William Shakespeare’s theatre called the Globe, what did he know about maps? More than a century after Shakespeare’s death, Samuel Johnson in his Dictionary defined a map as, “A geographical picture on which lands and seas are delineated according to the longitude and latitude.” For Shakespeare, a map was a basic pattern, but it was [...]

Shakespeare’s Maps2024-02-28T18:01:19-06:00

Shakespeare’s Ancient Gower


A good game for historians to play is “Notice what you’re not noticing.” It can be easy to take for granted what survives from the past. Mosaics or monuments, textiles or texts, all represent great expenditure of thought, energy, time, and money. None of them sprang forth fully formed, and they tell us something about commerce [...]

Shakespeare’s Ancient Gower2024-02-16T05:56:25-06:00

Hamlet’s Book and Volume


Since the eighteenth century, students of William Shakespeare’s plays and poems have noticed his astute use of legal terminology. In 1780, Edmond Malone, himself a barrister, suggested in his biography of Shakespeare that the Bard had technical legal training. Whether that legal knowledge derived from studying, if not practicing, law, or from his business dealings, especially [...]

Hamlet’s Book and Volume2024-01-21T18:16:58-06:00
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