Past Lectures


Tuesday, October 13th, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 125

Colors of Shame: The Defamation of the Son of Holland

Hugo van Velden, University of Amsterdam and the Rijksmuseum

In the fall of 1417, the bishop-elect of Liège, Duke Jan van Beieren, sailed down the Meuse river and took possession of the strategically important city of Dordrecht, in an attempt to seize the rule of Holland. Duke Jan succeeded magnificently and ousted the competing pretenders, his niece Jacoba and her husband, the Duke of Brabant, within a year. In the ensuing negotiations, Jan was confirmed as the de facto ruler of the county but agreed to relinquish the comital title, which he had used briefly, in favor of an epitheton that styled him ‘Son of Holland’. At the outset of his campaign, Jan van Beieren had enlisted the services of Count Johann von Nassau, who joined the invading army with his own war-band and fought at Jan’s side in Dordrecht and Rotterdam. But once the war was over, things went sour between the two. Count Johann claimed that Duke Jan had broken his word and the terms of their contract, as a result of which he had suffered very substantial financial losses, most likely because the townspeople of Dordrecht had taken his valuable prisoners of war and ransomed them to their own benefit. Johann went at great length to seek compensation from Jan van Beieren, who had promised to reimburse him, but all his legal actions came to naught. When all else had failed the Count of Nassau sought recourse to a measure of last resort and issued a brutally crude letter of defamation in which he denounced Duke Jan, in word and image, as a perjurer and a man without honor. The letter was distributed widely in the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of France and survives in one copy. The surviving letter depicts Jan van Beieren pressing his seal on the ass of a sow, as a token of the untrustworthiness of Jan’s sealed promise and to signal the utter contempt in which he was held by his former comrade in arms. Johann announced that he would tie this shameful image to his lance and thus fly the Son of Holland’s color.

Hugo van Velden is Rijksmuseum Professor of Medieval Art at the University of Amsterdam. His Jan van Eyck in Holland will be published in 2015.

Monday, November 7th, 16:00

Forum Images Cinema (Hereplein 73), Room 1

Amans the Memorious

R. F. Yeager, University of West Florida

Prof. R.F. Yeager is based at the University of West Florida. His publications include: John Gower’s Poetic: The Search for a New Arion; John Gower: Contemporary Views (ed.); Gower’s Shorter Latin Poems; and Who Murdered Chaucer? (co-authored with Python Terry Jones). Prof. Yeager’s talk will focus on Gower’s major English poem, the Confessio Amantis.

21 January, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 123

Jerome and the Hebraica Veritas: Or, How the Hebrew Bible Became a Christian Book

Frans van Liere, Calvin College, Grand Rapids

The idea of the Hebraica Veritas is the belief that the Hebrew Bible, as it was transmitted in rabbinical circles in the first centuries of the Common Era, was the “original” Old Testament text. As obvious as this may seem to modern biblical scholars, we have to appreciate how novel this idea was when the church father Jerome first introduced it in the church of Late Antiquity, when Greek versions and their Latin translations were regarded as the “common versions”. The idea meant that, to recover the original text, one needed to turn to the Jews, who were guardians both of the sacred text itself and of the language in which it was written. Medieval exegetes inherited this paradoxical idea, and adapted it to the specific circumstances of the Christian middle ages. It shaped Christian conceptions of textual authority, and influenced Christian attitudes towards the Jews of their own time. Through the steady growth of medieval Christian Hebraism, one could indeed say that by the end of the Middle Ages, not only had the idea of Hebraica Veritas triumphed, but, indeed, the Hebrew Bible had become a Christian book.

Prof. Frans van Liere is the director of medieval studies at Calvin College. His An Introduction to the Medieval Bible was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014.

1 February, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

Intersubjectivity in Early Modern Philosophy: A Case Study on Spinoza’s Philosophy of Mind

Martin Lenz, University of Groningen

In this paper, I would like to defend the claim that Spinoza endorses an intersubjective or, more precisely, an interactionist view of the mind. What does this mean? The basic assumption of such a view is that our minds do not cognize things prior to our relation to others. This means that the content of our thoughts is determined by our mind’s relation to other minds.

But why should you care whether Spinoza held such a view? Like most other early modern philosophers, Spinoza is portrayed as an individualist or subjectivist who adheres to the Cartesian view of the mind as a private place with private mental states. On this reading, early modern philosophy is pervaded by the idea that thinking requires nothing beyond an individual mind, a self that thinks; indeed, the cogito is the starting point for building up true knowledge. In contrast to this reading, I would like to show that quite a number of early modern authors endorsed an intersubjectivist view of the mind, a view that would deny the sufficiency of a subjective cogito. In this paper, I will confine myself to Spinoza who, as I see it, defends an intersubjective view that is rooted in his metaphysics, defining the individual by means of interrelations to others.

Prof. Martin Lenz is the chair of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Groningen. He works in the area of medieval and early modern philosophy.

15 February, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

Ship and Iterate: Colonialism as a Recursive Process

Mark Thompson, University of Groningen

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).

4 April, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

Sebastain Castellio, Hero of Modern Religious Tolerance? The question of Jews and Judaism in Castellio’s concept of tolerance

Hans Martin Kirn, Protestant Theological University

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.

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

Double Seminar

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.

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

Political Transformations in the Batavian Republic (1750-1850)

Joris Oddens, University of Leiden

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’.


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

Amsterdam and its Holy Place

Charles Caspers, Radboud University

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 very inception onward, 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).


Monday, October 6th, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

The Appropriation of the Church Fathers in the Devotio Moderna

Mathilde van Dijk, University of Groningen

The adherents of the Devotio Moderna wished to revive the devotio antiqua as practiced by Jesus Christ, the apostles and early church saints such as the martyrs. The Church Fathers were their most important sources regarding how they could go about this: as authorities, the Fathers offered trustworthy information about what imitation actually meant. Van Dijk will discuss how the devout dealt with patristic texts and how they appropriated these to find a feasible way of being truly pious after the model of their early church forebears.

Dr Mathilde Van Dijk is a lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen and one of the convenors of the Agricola Seminar.

Tuesday, November  18th, 16:00, Oude Boteringestraat 38, Courtroom

The First Traces of Humanism in the Southern Low Countries: Italian Manuscripts and Classical Texts in Brabant and Flanders

 Michiel Verweij, Royal Library of Belgium

Proto-Humanism was essentially an individual matter. In the Southern Low Countries neither the court of the Dukes of Burgundy nor the University of Leuven were very active as centres of humanism in the 15th century. Latin manuscripts of Italian provenance, destined for the Dukes’ library, were translated into French and transformed in luxurious volumes, richly decorated. In Leuven, it was the abbey of Park which showed an interest in classical texts. Its abbot, Diederik van Thulden, had lived in Rome for years, and he must have brought something of the new learning to the north. A similar case is that of the Bruges merchant Anselmo Adorno, who went to Italy in 1470 and returned with a very nice volume of the historian Rufus Festus. The present paper is part of a study into early humanists’ interest in classical authors and the way this interest shows in the manuscripts.

Dr Verweij is the Curator of Manuscripts at the Royal Library of Belgium. His most recent book is Adrianus VI (1459-1523): de tragische paus uit de Nederlanden (2011).

Monday, December 1st, 16:00, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

Eye to Eye, Text to Image? Jan Provoost’s Sacred Allegory, Jan van Ruusbroec’s Spieghel der ewigher salicheit and Mystical Contemplation in the Late Medieval Low Countries

Geert Warnar, University of Leiden

The Sacred Allegory, an enigmatic painting ascribed to the Bruges artist Jan Provoost (ca. 1525), seems to be an expression of ideas that circulated in mystical writings from the fourteenth century onwards, especially Jan van Ruusbroec’s Spieghel der eeuwigher salicheit. The question is how to consider these connections between painting and literature.

Models of contemplation and speculation found in religious writing help to understand the role of images in meditative practices. Metaphors, allegories or exegesis that shape religious literature help to decode the symbolic meaning of devotional imagery. In this way art historians have opened up a very promising field of research, but also raised a number of methodological problems. What are we talking about when speaking of the interaction of words and images? How do texts and images relate to each other in terms of source material? Do we really need external sources like texts to understand visual arts? Or do the mystical dimensions of paintings only exist if we use texts to interpret visual images? Or does it work the other way round: do images help us to understand texts, as they make visible the abstract notions, discussed in theological terms? And finally: how do we decide which texts are relevant for what paintings?

Dr Warnar is a member of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Leiden. He specialises in Dutch medieval literature.


Monday, January 26th, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

Computer-assisted analysis of 18th-century texts: Using Voyant Tools to read François Adriaan van der Kemp’s revolutionary sermons from 1782

Michael Driedger, Brock University

Abstract: This talk highlights the techniques and benefits of “distant reading”. In the past several months I have been experimenting with the tools of digital research for my project on Doopsgezinden in the Enlightenment (see My presentation uses F.A. van der Kemp’s Elftal kerkelyke redevoeringen (1782) to demonstrate my methods. Van der Kemp, a former student of RUG, is significant for his leading role in the Patriottenbeweging of the 1780s and his controversial place in Mennonite history.

Michael Driedger is associate professor of history at Brock University in Canada. He is a specialist in the history of Dutch and German Anabaptism. His current project is about the relationship between the Radical Reformation and the Radical Enlightenment in the Netherlands.

Monday, February 2nd, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

A Glimpse of Heaven
Kees van der Ploeg, University of Groningen

In recent years attention has been paid to the church space as a stage for the performing of (para)-liturgical acts of a more or less theatrical character (Hans-Joachim Krause, Johannes Tripps). Though it might appear from these publications that such performances were first and foremost popular in the German speaking world, new evidence has come to light which indicates that the use was equally wide-spread in the Netherlands, and moreover at a relatively early point in time. My paper will pay particular attention to two rather spectacular examples: the para-liturgical performances around Easter and Pentecost in Utrecht Cathedral from the early thirteenth to the late fifteenth centuries (including a farting devil preceding live doves and burning torches as the re-enactment of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost) and the performance on Ascension Day in the collegiate church of St Lebuinus in Deventer around 1500.

Dr Kees van der Ploeg works on the history of architecture for the faculty of arts of the University of Groningen. His research focuses on the history of the restoration and preservation of monuments.

Monday, March 2nd, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

The Force Stones: Vitalism and Gemstones in Eighteenth-century Dutch Medicine

Marieke Hendriksen, University of Groningen

Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738), professor of Botany, Chemistry and Medicine at Leiden University, was considered ‘the teacher of all of Europe’ in his time. In the eighteenth century, metals and (gem)stones were still commonly used in medicine, but new chemical research by Boerhaave and others seems to have changed this. My current research explores how Boerhaave’s chemical research changed first his own ideas on the vital properties and thus the medical usefulness of metals and (gem)stones, and subsequently those of his contemporaries and students. Of particular interest here is the influence of vitalism, or the hypothesis that matter within or outside a vegetable or animal body can have active, living properties, which may influence the vital powers and thus the functioning of bodies.

Dr Hendriksen is a post-doctoral researcher in ICOG (Faculty of Arts).

Tuesday, March 31st, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 125

How to Experience Origins and Remember Infancy in Seventeenth-Century England

Timothy Harrison, University of Chicago

Since the experiences that may have accompanied birth and infancy are not disclosed to memory, they remain opaque and unknown. This common sense view—influentially formulated by St Augustine and many other theologians and philosophers—was challenged by a variety of seventeenth-century English poets who developed verbal strategies for articulating the felt valences of early human life. Such poets as John Donne, John Milton, Thomas Traherne, and John Dryden composed imagined or remembered first-person accounts of birth and infancy. In this paper, I argue that these accounts are significant for two reasons: first, they shed light on one of the period’s most persistent fantasies, the coalescence of absolute naivety and full maturity; and second, they reveal historically-specific presuppositions about the nature of the human condition, about what aspects of experience are most fundamental.

Timothy Harrison is Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, where he has worked since finishing his PhD in the summer of 2014 at the University of Toronto. His current book project, Forms of Sentience in Early Modernity, explores the verbal expression of how it feels to be alive in the work of authors ranging from Montaigne to Milton. He is also co-authoring a book with Elizabeth Harvey, entitled John Donne’s Physics.

Monday, May 4th, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

The Baltic Drug Trade (1650-1850)

Jan Willem Veluwenkamp, University of Groningen

This paper will analyze the development of the size and the structure of some of the major medicines imported in and exported from the Baltic Sea ports via the Danish Sound between about 1650 and 1850, namely rhubarb and sarsaparilla. Use will be made of Sound Toll Registers Online (STRO: The development of commerce in medicines can be an indication of the development of medicine consumption and therefore of health care.

Dr Veluwenkamp is an associate professor of history at the University of Groningen. His specialisation is early modern social and economic history.

Monday, June 22nd, 16:00-18:00, Courtroom, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38

Contemplation in Action

Prof. Bernard McGinn, University of Chicago

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) is one of the most noted mystics in Christian history and was declared the first female doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI. Teresa’s teaching on contemplation and union with God, especially as set forth in her Life and The Interior Castle, remains extremely influential. What is sometimes neglected is that Teresa was also an active reformer of the Carmelite Order, who established seventeen reformed houses in the period between 1562 and 1582. Her own active life led her to reflect on the issue of the relation of contemplation and action, a major theme in Christian mysticism, and to work out a new theory of how to be a contemplative in action, as is evident in her masterpiece The Interior Castle.

Bernard McGinn is Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He has written extensively in the areas of the history of apocalyptic thought and, most recently, in the areas of spirituality and mysticism. His current long-range project is a seven-volume history of Christian mysticism in the West under the general title The Presence of God, four volumes of which have appeared: The Origins of MysticismThe Growth of MysticismThe Flowering of Mysticism; and The Harvest of Mysticism in Medieval Germany.


Monday, September 9th, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

John Peyton’s A Relation of the State of Polonia and the Accession of King James I, 1598-1603

Prof. Sebastian Sobecki, University of Groningen

Prof. Sobecki works at the Department of English Language and Culture of the University of Groningen. His publications include The Sea and Medieval English Literature (2008) and, as editor, The Sea and Englishness in the Middle Ages (2011). He is currently editing vols. 1 and 2 of Richard Hakluyt‘s Principal Navigations, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation for OUP’s edition of Hakluyt. His Unwritten Verities: The Making of England’s Vernacular Legal Culture, 1463-1549 is forthcoming from the University of Notre Dame Press.

The lecture will reveal the author behind the first English description of Poland-Lithuania and unfold an historical detective story.

Monday, October 14th, 16:00, Academiegebouw, room A3

Latin literature in the crusader states

Julian Yolles, Harvard University

Mr Yolles is a William R. Tyler Fellow in Byzantine Studies at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library. He is currently finishing a PhD dissertation on ‘Reading and writing in the Latin East: Latin culture in the Crusader States (1099-1187)’ in the Department of the Classics at Harvard University. Together with Jessica Weiss he is preparing the first English translations of several medieval Latin lives of Muhammad for a volume in the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library.

Monday, December 2nd, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

What happened to astrology?

Prof. Rienk Vermij, University of Oklahoma

The development of modern science is normally described as the discovery of new knowledge, but the discarding of old ideas was as least as important. In seventeenth century Europe, astrology rather suddenly ceased to be an important part of learned culture, which it had been since ancient times. This development  is still not well understood. The lecture will discuss this problem with a focus on the situation in the Dutch Republic. As will be shown, the marginaliation of astrology did not follow in the wake of new scientific insights, but rather preceded them.

Monday, February 3rd, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

Papal Propaganda and ‘Damnatio Memoriae’: The Fate of Lorenzo Valla

Dr Jan de Jong, University of Groningen

Around 1500, the position of the papacy as the supreme head of the spiritual power, superior to all secular authority, was seriously challenged, on both theological and historical grounds. The Italian scholar Lorenzo Valla (c. 1405-57) had disproved one of the papacy’s main claims to supremacy over secular power – the so-called Donation of Constantine – as a forgery. As a retaliation, Valla’s writings were put on the Index of Forbidden Books. But what to do with Valla’s tomb monument, which was standing on a prominent place in the pope’s own cathedral of St John Lateran in Rome?

Dr Jan L. de Jong is Senior Lecturer of Italian Renaissance Art at the University of Groningen. After his dissertation on the interpretation of themes from Classical mythology in Italian Renaissance painting, particularly in Rome, he has focused on papal propaganda in the 15th and 16th centuries. This has resulted in a book that has recently been published by Penn State University Press: The Power and the Glorification. Papal Pretensions and the Art of Propaganda in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Together with Sjef Kemper, he is now working on an edition of Arnoldus Buchellius’s Iter Italicum, from 1587-88.

Monday, April 7th, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130.

Community: Faith and Political Practice in Groningen During the Age of the Reductie (1594)

 Prof. Arjo Vanderjagt, University of Groningen

The so-called Reductie of Groningen in 1594 secured what had been Catholic-Spanish Groningen for the Protestant States General of the Dutch Republic. That transition was relatively calm (the siege by the States’ forces was short; there was no violent iconoclasm [Beeldenstorm], although images were indeed removed from the churches; monasteries were disbanded but their denizens were allowed to live in them until their death; etc.). How did the various faithful – Catholics, Evangelicals, Mennonites – relate to each other before 1594? How did the magistracy regulate public devotion? What changed under the new Protestant authority? What ‘freedom’ was there under the Catholic magistrate for Evangelicals and Mennonites, and under Protestants for Catholics and Mennonites? How did Protestants seek continuity with the Catholic tradition of Groningen (e.g. with the ideas of Wessel Gansfort (1419-1489))? What limits were there to ‘freedom of religious conscience’? In this context, attention will also be given to the socio-political thought of the Calvinist jurist Johannes Althusius (1563-1638) of Emden. He was a good friend of Ubbo Emmius, influential humanist of Groningen, rector of the Latin school and then first Rector of the newly founded university.

Monday, April 28th, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130.

Identity Formation in the Foundational Documents of the Religious Orders (1050-1300)

Dr Krijn Pansters, Tilburg University

This paper, dealing with the birth process of the New religious Orders of the long twelfth century, focuses on two key issues:
1. The translation of the main spiritual principles “from intuition to institution”. By studying the primary documents of the main Orders such as the Cistercians, Carthusians and Franciscans from a comparative perspective, the paper aims to demonstrate their fruitful application of spiritual principles within authoritative structures, and their fruitful transformation of spiritual ideas into rational structures and organizational practices.
2. The constitution of identity in this process. The Order’s identity is directly related to the development of the spiritual, constitutional, and social program of a religious group. This program, which was based on a spiritual Leitidee, defined the community’s identity in terms of the moral and social qualities that members should nurture and aim to realize – individually and collectively.

Dr Pansters works in the Franciscan Study Centre in the School of Theology of Tilburg University. He is the author of Franciscan Virtue. Spiritual Growth and the Virtues in Franciscan Literature and Instruction of the Thirteenth Century (Brill, 2012). He is currently writing Spiritual Morality. The Religious Orders and the Virtues in Medieval Europe, 1050-1300 (Brill).

Monday, June 2nd, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 125.

Henry More on Time, Physics and God

Dr Emily Thomas, University of Groningen

Absolutism about time holds that time is eternal, immutable, and independent of human minds and change. The theory arguably emerged in the seventeenth century, and in English thought it was uniquely supplemented by two further theses: time is substantial, a kind of substance-like ‘thing’; and time is divine. Although this kind of absolute time came to prominence in the work of Newton, it can also be found in Henry More, Isaac Barrow, and Samuel Clarke. This paper explores the /first/ English account of absolute time, in the ‘Cambridge Platonist’ More, and argues that two pressures led More to develop it: Cartesian physics, and theology. This work throws new light on More’s metaphysics, and on the influence More had on the English thinkers who followed him.

Dr Thomas is a researcher in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. She works on time, space and substance in the history of philosophy and contemporary metaphysics. Her current project is an examination of the shifting conceptions of time and change in early modern British metaphysics.


Monday, October 8th, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Room 125.

Holiness in the Lay World

Dr Anneke Mulder-Bakker (em. University of Leiden)

Anneke Mulder-Bakker taught at the universities of Leiden and Groningen. She is the author of Sanctity and Motherhood; The Invention of Saintliness; The Prime of Their Lives: Wise Old Women in Pre-Industrial Europe (together with Renée Nip) and Lives of the Anchoresses: The Rise of the Urban Recluse in Medieval Europe.

Monday, November 26th, 16:00, Academy Building A8.

Enlightenment Doctors, Peculiar Powers: On the Vitalist Medicine of the Boerhaave School

Dr. Rina Knoeff and Dr. Marieke Hendriksen, Universities of Groningen and Leiden

Dr. Rina Knoeff and her postdoctoral researcher Dr. Marieke Hendriksen (University of Leiden and University of Groningen) work on the history of  anatomy in relation to early modern philosophy, theology, the history of collections, and art. Dr. Knoeff, who holds a doctorate in the History of Medicine from Cambridge University, previously engaged in post-doctoral research at the universities of Cambridge, Maastricht and Leiden. She is the recipient of a 2012 Vidi/Aspasia grant for the project ‘Vital Matters. Boerhaave’s Chemico-Medical Legacy and Dutch Enlightenment Culture.’

Monday, December 10th, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Room 130.

Questioning the “Republican Paradigm”: Evangelical Reform and Bible Reading in France before the Reformation

Dr Margriet Hoogvliet, University of Groningen

Dr Margriet Hoogvliet is a Groningen postdoctoral researcher working on the project: ‘Holy Writ & Lay Readers. A Social History of Vernacular Bible Translations in the Late Middle Ages’. She works on the cultural and religious history of France (from the Middle Ages to the 17th century), on text-image discourses and on the history of cartography.

I will argue that modern historical narratives about the prohibition of vernacular French Bibles and the exclusion of laypeople are not only based on the “Protestant Paradigm”, but that in France, it is coupled by a “Republican Paradigm”, according to which, during the Ancien Régime, the Church and nobility both had a great interest in preventing laypeople to acquire knowledge in order to exclude them from religious and political participation. Modern historical research has completely overlooked texts that from the period between ca. 1400 and 1520 that advocate reading and studying the vernacular Bible (most notably the Gospels) by laypeople as a necessary way leading to personal conversion, societal improvement and religious reform. Furthermore, historical evidence shows that merchants, artisans and sometimes even the poor did possess Bibles and biblical texts. Consequently, as I will argue, it can be concluded that the sixteenth-century reform movement in France, now know as l’Évangélisme, was largely a continuation of the religious reading culture of the late Middle Ages.

Monday, 25 February, 16:00, Zittingzaal, Faculteit Godgeleerdheid en Godsdienstwetenschap, Oude Boteringestraat 38.

Rudolf Agricola: Licht uit het Noorden: Mini-symposium en boekpresentatie

Iedereen is van harte welkom bij de feestelijke opening van het nieuwe Rudolph Agricola Premodern Seminar.

16.00-16.30: prof. dr. Marc van der Poel (RU Nijmegen) over De inventione dialectica.
16.30-17.00: dr. Fokke Akkerman (em. RU Groningen) over levens van Rudolf Agricola.
17.00-18.00: Presentatie van Fokke Akkerman ed., Rudolph Agricola: Six Lives And Erasmus’ Testimonies (Assen, 2012) aan Max van den Berg, Commissaris van de Koningin in Groningen. Vervolgens discussie.
18.00: Borrel.

Voorzitter: prof. dr. Arjo Vanderjagt (em. RU Groningen).

Marc van der Poel en Fokke Akkerman zijn experts op het gebied van Rudolf Agricola en het Noordelijk humanisme.

Monday, March 11th, 16:00. Academy Building, A7.

Reviewing the Spectatorial Turn: Witnessing Drama from the Cycle Plays to Shakespeare

Prof. Greg Walker, University of Edinburgh

Greg Walker is the Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English at the University of Edinburgh. He works on late medieval and Renaissance literature. His publications include: The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama, co-edited with Thomas Betteridge (Oxford University Press, 2012); The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature, co-edited with Elaine Treharne (Oxford University Press, 2010); Writing Under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation (Oxford University Press, 2005, 2007); ed. Medieval Drama: An Anthology (Blackwell, 2000); The Politics of Performance in Early Renaissance Drama (Cambridge University Press, 1998; paperback, 2006); ed.: John Skelton (Everyman Poetry Library, 1997); Persuasive Fictions: Faction, Faith, and Political Culture in the Reign of Henry VIII (Scolar Press, 1996);Plays of Persuasion: Drama and Politics at the Court of Henry VIII (Cambridge University Press, 1991); John Skelton and the Politics of the 1520s (Cambridge University Press, 1988, 2002).