Chris Mitchell Chris Mitchell BSc, MA
I am involved in marking papers for the Cultural Astronomy and Astrology MA, and teaching sessions via distance learning in the History module of the Cultural Astronomy and Astrology MA. In addition, I give presentations at the Summer School run in Bath every year, and at the Trinity St. David’s London campus for occasional one-day conferences.
I am a PhD student at the University of Leicester in my final (writing-up) year of research. This research is on the introduction of astrology into England in the twelfth century via Latin translations of Arabic and Hebrew astrological texts from the Islamic world. I also teach the concepts of medieval astrology to final year undergraduate history students at the University of Leicester, and give regular talks at both astrology-related and academic conferences, for example at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.
In 2011, I undertook a part-time PhD at the University of Leicester after graduating from Bath Spa University College with an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology in 2008. My academic interests are in the history of astrology – my MA having been on the development of the zodiac in Babylonian texts, and my PhD on the translation of predominantly Arabic astrological manuscripts into Latin in the twelfth century. I am a tutor on the History of Astrology module at the University of Wales Trinity St. David (AHAN7003 History of Astrology) and teach sessions on this module and mark students’ papers.
My academic research revolves around the twelfth-century translation movement of astrological and computistical texts from the Islamic world, which were written primarily in Arabic, into Latin and investigating the impact this new knowledge had in disseminating the study of astrology in Christian Europe. I also have an interest in the role that Jewish scholars played from the eleventh century to the fourteenth century in the field of astrology and its spread into Christian Europe, given their unique role in living in both Islamic and Christian lands.
I have a strong background in the techniques of medieval astrology, and have been working with original manuscripts since 2011, which has necessitated studying palaeography and Latin formally. I help run the Latin Reading Group at the University of Leicester, an informal group for postgraduate students to study and share texts on which they are working. I have also attended various conferences on the digitisation of manuscripts using tools to make documents more easily analysable by computer software, a particular interest of mine.
In addition to my part-time studies, I am a director of a software consultancy producing software for NHS hospitals, and also run a small consultancy providing astrological services of a technical nature. Projects have included producing astrological and astronomical tables for a magazine publisher, producing an ephemeris for a Japanese publishing company, and producing supporting tables of lunar phases for a popular freeware app.
2008: “Did the division of the year by the Babylonians into
twelve months lead to the adoption of an equal twelve-sign
zodiac in Hellenistic astrology?”, MA thesis, published online at http://www.astrozero.co.uk/articles/documents/babylonian_zodiac_chris_mitchell.pdf
2014: “Astrology: Part of integrated health care?”, Press Release from the University of Leicester published in the Leicester Mercury
(ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies Conference paper of 2014, awaiting publication in forthcoming journal for proceedings of this conference): “The Provenance of Astrological Techniques used in Medieval Astrology”
I was awarded a travel grant to present a paper at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, entitled “The Rabbi, the Pope and the Black Death: Levi ben Gerson’s Prognostication for the Conjunction of 1345” in 2015.