500-mile Spanish Trek Focus Of Lecture

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MSUM Spanish instructor, Benjamin Smith, recently completed a 500-mile pilgrimage in Spain, visiting Cistercian monasteries and studying medieval Spanish manuscripts.

From Sept. 1 to Oct. 12, Smith walked the 1,000-year-old route to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia. He either slept in a tent or overnighted in albergues, or inns, sponsored by monasteries and local Catholic churches. St. James is considered the patron saint of Spain, and the monument that marks his resting place is the third most visited shrine in Christianity after Jerusalem and Rome.

Smith’s hike was part of a semester-long sabbatical leave from his position at MSUM. His research during the hike focused on original manuscripts associated with key sites along the Camino de Santiago.

“These foundational texts are hallmarks in the evolution of the Spanish language,” Smith said, whose principal interest is the linguistic history of Spain. “Walking the Camino de Santiago was a way to interact intimately with 1,000 years of the history of the Spanish language as it sprouted from Latin.”

Smith will talk about the experience and his research Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Livingston Lord Library Auditorium.