‘Eckhart and the Layman’ in female religious milieus – John van Engen

Venue and time: 31 October, Courtroom, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, 16:00-17:15

Van Engen, a renowned expert in the Devotio Moderna and late medieval piety, returns to Groningen to give a lecture about the pseudo-Eckhartian treatise Eckhart and the Layman. Specifically, he will explore its connections to female religious milieus.

John van Engen is the Andrew V. Tackes Professor of Medieval History at the University of Notre Dame where he was director of its Medieval Institute. His works include Religion in the History of the Medieval West (2004) and Sisters and Brothers of the Common Life: The Devotio Moderna and the World of the Late Middle Ages (2008).

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Johann Christoph Sturm (1635-1703) and the secularization of early modern science

Lecture hosted by the Centrum voor Universiteits- en Wetenschapsgeschiedenis

Speaker: Dr. Andrea Sangiacomo (NWO/Faculteit Wijsbegeerte.

Time: 25 October at 17.30. Venue: Collegezaal in the University Library.

Eighteenth-century science is seemingly characterized by a progressive ‘secularization’, in sofar as theological and metaphysical concerns tend to drop out of the scientific agenda. This process is difficult to understand if compared with seventeenth-century science, in which God and divine action in nature played a crucial role. In this paper, Andrea Sangiacomo will focus on the German philosopher Johann Christoph Sturm’s account of passive forms as a case study to better understand the conceptual changes that affected the secularization of early modern science. He will argue that Sturm’s account leads to dissociate the explanans of natural phenomena from considerations about the causal power(s) needed to bring about these phenomena. While Sturm maintains that God is the only true cause bringing about natural effects, he also claims that the specificity of natural effects must be empirically investigated by inquiring into natural forms. Forms no longer have any ‘active’ role in the causal process but still account for its specific features. The speaker will argue that this account of passive forms reveals how theological and metaphysical considerations about God’s involvement in nature can be progressively bracketed, by leading to an apparently theology-free science.


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Child murder accusation against Jews: the Vita et passio Willelmi Norwicensis – Miri Rubin

Wednesday, 5 October, Faculty of Theology, Room 253, Oude Boteringestraat 38, 16:30-18:00

The birth of the child murder accusation against Jews, associated with the Vita et passio Willelmi Norwicensis

Miri Rubin, Queen Mary University London

Miri Rubin is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at QMUL. Her publications include: Corpus Christi: the Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (1991), Gentile Tales; the Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews (2004), Mother of God. A History of the Virgin Mary (2009), and trans. with an introduction, Thomas of Monmouth, The Life and Passion of William of Norwich (2014).

Miri Rubin’s Edition of The Life and Passion of William of Norwich

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Amsterdam and its Holy Place – Charles Caspers, Radboud University

6 June, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 125

During the Late Middle Ages religious life in Western Europe was increasingly influenced by Eucharistic devotion. Among these influences local cults, arising from a ‘Eucharistic miracle’, played important roles. These miracles involved a .remarkable, inexplicable occurrence with the consecrated host or wine. Amsterdam also had a devotion of this sort, a so-called ‘Sacrament of Miracle’. In 1345, in this Dutch city, a Host lay for hours in a fireplace without being consumed by the fire; hence the site of the miracle became the  ‘Holy Place’. From its inception, the devotion seems to have been a factor in interests of its devotees, the municipal authorities, the Counts of Holland and later on even the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Charles Caspers  works in the Titus Brandsma Institute. His most recent monograph is Zacht doch krachtdadig: Anna Catharina van Hees en de oorsprong van de Congregatie Dochters van Maria en Joseph (2015).

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RUG Conference: The Politics of Paper in the Early Modern World

Groningen, 9-10 June 2016

This two-day conference seeks to bring together scholars and paper experts working across a range of disciplines and geographic areas who are interested in the ways in which paper supported, shaped, or otherwise influenced practices of politics and political communications in the period ca.1350-ca.1800. It aims to sketch a more integral picture of the ways in which paper permitted early modern politics and political communications to unfold.

Keynote speakers include: Prof. Lothar Muller, Prof. Andrew Pettegree, Prof. Jonathan Bloom, and Prof. Jacob Soll.

See http://politicsofpaper.wix.com/politicsofpaper

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Political Transformations in the Batavian Republic (1750-1850) – Joris Oddens

2 May, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

Between 1750 and 1830 the Dutch state developed from an oligarchic republic to an enlightened autocratic monarchy via a short-lasted experiment with representative democracy. During this period, there was an ongoing debate about the right to petition. Political actors and opinion makers addressed the questions to what and whom this right extended and what it meant to have such a right. While theorists of the different types of government had sharply contrasting views on the place of the people in the political process, ideas about petitioning remained remarkably stable.

Dr Joris Oddens works in the Institute for History at the University of Leiden. His areas of expertise include the history of the Enlightenment and the history of the Batavian Republic. His current research project is ‘The Primacy of Local Belonging: Private Papers, Petitioning, and Periodical Press’ which is part of the NWO Free Competition Programme ‘The Persistence of Civic Identities in the Netherlands, 1747-1848’.

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Double Seminar: Thomas Aquinas as ‘Alter Christus’| Giant Bible Frontispieces and the Hermeneutics of Reading

25 April, 16:00-17:30, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

St Thomas Aquinas: an ‘alter Christus’?   –  Marika Räsänen, University of Turku

Giant Bible Frontispieces and the Hermeneutics of Reading: Some Observations  –  Teemu Immonen (University of Turku)

Dr Marika Räsänen is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Turku. Her lecture proposes a new reading of the image of Thomas Aquinas based on the 14th- and 15th-century hagiographical, liturgical and iconographical sources. This reading suggests that Thomas was represented as a special follower of Christ, an alter Christus, both in the traditional way through hagiographical topoi, and in a more ‘personal’ way as the composer of the texts of Corpus Christi liturgy and even through the fate of his own corpse.

Dr Teemu Immonen is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Turku. His lecture addresses  the 11th-century church reform that gave birth to a particular form of Bible manuscript called Giant Bibles. Several central Italian examples of the genre include a prominent Creation frontispiece before the text of Genesis. Despite the wide scholarly interest that the frontispieces have generated, little attention has been paid to the function of the pictures at the beginning of the biblical text. The paper discusses what these images tell us about the attitudes of their makers towards the book, i.e. Bible, and more specifically towards the reading of the Bible. It addresses the question of the manner in which the images participate in the process of interpreting the text.

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Sebastain Castellio: Hero of Modern Religious Tolerance? – Hans Martin Kirn

SebastianCastellio.jpg4 April, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

In his famous struggle for religious tolerance the French reformed theologian and opponent of Calvin, S. Castellio (1515-1563), focussed on the solution of intra-Christian conflicts and the execution of heretics. However, widely overlooked, references to Jews and Judaism (and also to Islam) played an important role in his argumentation. How did Castellio refer to biblical Judaism? What was his strategy of ‘Judaizing the heretics’? What was the relation with the ‘heretization of the Jews’ in Late Medieval times? These and other questions about religious tolerance in the Reformation period will be discussed.

Hans-Martin Kirn is Professor of Church History at the Protestant Theological University. His research is focused on the history of Central and Western European Protestantism  between the 16th and the 18th centuries.


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Ship and Iterate: Colonialism as a Recursive Process – Mark Thompson


Time: 16:00. Venue: Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

This paper argues that colonialism is a recursive process.  That is, to draw from the concept of recursion in computer science, colonialism resembles a process in which the output of a function becomes the input of the next iteration of the function.  In this case, colonialism is also dynamic (and often chaotic) so that with each iteration the successive outcomes (and the inputs) are different, sometimes wildly so.  Yet the recursion does not entirely efface itself after each iteration—traces remain of previous forms.  And because colonialism is at once a serial process (one settlement follows another), a parallel process (colonies develop simultaneously), and a networked process (colonies influence one another)—traces are left behind not only from previous colonies and previous iterations of a colony but also from previous iterations of other colonies.

This model runs against important models of colonization for early modern British America in which “virgin land” colonization appears as the typical process of development.  Although historians long ago showed that European colonization had roots in Old World experiences, the sense persists that colonization is culturally new.  Not only that, it is new again and again—it is new each time it begins in a new place.  But as the rage for interconnectivity has swept through history as well as all else in modern culture, historians have begun to show that colonies have had strong connections to one another not just at later stages of development but at earlier ones, too.  We begin to see that all colonies are colonies of colonies.

Dr Mark Thompson is a senior lecturer at the Department of American Studies at the University of Groningen. He recently published The Contest for the Delaware Valley: Allegiance, Identity, and Empire in the Seventeenth Century (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

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Marking Books, Mutilating Books

Centre for Historical Studies Lecture

February 8th, 16:00 in Academy Building A3

Speaker: Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser is professor of book studies at the University of Münster. She recently published Book Gifts and Cultural Networks from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century (2015) with co-editor Kerstin Meyer-Bialk.
Marking Books

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