Category Archives: Agricola Lectures

“#Medieval: ‘First-World’ Medievalism and Participatory Culture”: by Andrew B.R. Elliott

November 5th, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Courtroom, 16.00-18.00

This event is organised in collaboration with the Centre for Religion and Heritage and the Research School for Medieval Studies. For the former, it is the annual event on Religion and Heritage. Before the event, a master class will be organized for graduate students.

Theorists of media often refer to ‘participatory culture’, an online creativity facilitated by the rapid expansion and adoption of communication technologies, as a symptom of a broader phenomenon of networked democracy. They often argue that these technologies have brought about a ‘third wave’, a technological democracy or a Web 2.0 revolution in which users are no longer passive absorbers of content, but active creators of meaning. Such a revolution is often implicitly understood as a modern, digital forum, or a democratic enaction of Habermas’ ‘public sphere’, levelling the playing field for all, even if it is neither as open, nor as inclusive, as has been argued.

For the purposes of medievalism, however, such an ‘always-on’ culture poses important new questions about who gets to own, control, and write medieval history. As I have argued elsewhere, the challenge to authority in the writing of history has important ramifications for identity politics. This lecture will thus challenge both the rhetoric of convergence and the effect of such imbalances on the communication of medieval ideas, thoughts, beliefs and ideologies.


Andrew B.R. Elliott is Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Lincoln, where he works on the representation of history in film, television and video games. Author of Remaking the Middle Ages (on medieval film), and editor of The Return of the Epic Film and Playing with the Past (on the 21st-century epic and historically-themed video games, respectively), he has published on a number of aspects relating to historical film, television and video games, from the classical world to the Middle Ages. His recent research focuses on medievalism in online culture, political discourse and films from Tarkovsky to Tavernier. His most recent book is Medievalism, Politics and Mass Media: Appropriating the Middle Ages in the Twenty-First Century (Boydell and Brewer, 2017).



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The Dedicated Spiritual Life of Upper Rhine Noble Women by Anneke B. Mulder-Bakker

28 May, 16:00-18:00, Arts Faculty, Room 0316

Deze is gewijd aan haar recent verschenen boek: The Dedicated Spiritual Life of Upper Rhine Noble Women. A Study and Translation of a Fourteenth-Century Spiritual Biography of Gertrude Rickeldey of Ortenberg and Heilke of Staufenberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017).

Mulder-Bakker doceerde Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis en Mediëvistiek aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Zij stelt nieuwe vragen en demonstreert eigen benaderingen in het onderzoek naar religieuze ontwikkelingen in de late middeleeuwen.

The seminar will be in Dutch.

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“What is the Arabic for zoon politikon? Ethics and politics in Ibn Ṭufayl (d. 581/1185)” by Corrado La Martire

19 March, 17.30-18.45
Oude Boteringestraat 38, Court Room

All welcome.

“What is essential in a human being?” This timeless philosophical enigma is at the heart of the thought of Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Ṭufayl al-Qaysī, known in Christian Europe as Abubacer. To ask “what is essential in a human?” or “what is a human essentially?” is to ask what a human really is, what predicates are applied to humans, and what role a person has in society.

Prevailing academic views of Ibn Ṭufayl’s Ḥayy b. Yaqẓān (Philosophus autodidactus) can be divided into two types: either the work is a realistic look at isolated human being amidst a morally bankrupt population, harking back to the teachings of Plato’s Republic, or it portrays a pure and abstract ideal of the spiritual life in the footsteps of the natural first man, and insists on the moral imperative of isolation.

Ibn Tufail (Latinized to Abubacer) - Most famous for Hayy ibn YaqdhanThe difficulty with both of these interpretations is that they preclude any possibility of happiness for a the human person living in a society, because they assume that every society is corrupt and imperfect. In other words, they tend to interpret Ḥayy b. Yaqẓān as an attempt to demonstrate that the human person is not essentially social. However, the intellectual and spiritual perfection sought through isolation cannot be separated from a practical purpose. The isolation of the human being is not undergone in order to distinguish him or herself from imperfect human societies. On the contrary, such isolation is undertaken in order to conduct to a higher accomplishment that is properly both practical and political.

On this basis, this paper argues that Ibn Ṭufayl’s human is comparable to the Aristotelian zoon politikon. Through a comparison of Ibn Ṭufayl’s Ḥayy, and Aristotle’s social animal we shall see how Ibn Ṭufayl reuses the concepts and the vocabulary of al-Fārābī and transposes them from the plan of the city to that of the individual. By comparing the relevant terminology, it becomes possible to illustrate how the concept of zoon politikon has entered into Arabic philosophy, and particularly in Ibn Ṭufayl’s conception of the human through the lenses of al-Fārābī’s virtuous man and Ibn Bājjah’s solitary.

Dr Corrado La Martire is head editor for the Averroes Project at the Thomas-Institut, University of Cologne. He was a lecturer at the Humboldt University in Berlin between 2015 and 2017. The topics of his research are intellectual controversies in the medieval Islam and charity, endowments and charitable institutions.

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The Sound of the Word: The Bible in Medieval Chant

12 February, 17:00-18:00, Courtroom, Faculty of Theology

The Sound of the Word: The Bible in Medieval Chant

Harald Buchinger (University of Regensburg)

In the Middle Ages, liturgy was the most important site of for the reception of Scripture. The Bible was not only read in church; it was also the major source of chant texts, thus shaping culture and spirituality of the congregants. This is particularly true for the Roman Rite and therefore for much of the Medieval West. The lecture investigates the liturgical mechanisms and reflects the hermeneutical principles that lie behind the use of Scripture in the Gregorian core repertoire, and it sheds light onto the distinctive theology and characteristic spirituality of the Roman Rite.

Professor Buchinger is Chair of Liturgical Studies (Liturgiewissenschaft) at the University of Regensburg. He specializes in liturgy in Late Antiquity, chant, the liturgical reception of the Bible, processions, the relationship between Jewish and Christian liturgy, and the liturgical year (especially Pesach and Pascha). His numerous writings include a two-volume prize-winning monograph Pascha bei Origenes, and the entry for “Psalm (liturgisch)” in the Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum. He is also Principal Investigator of the DFG Centre for Advanced Studies 2770 “Beyond the Canon: Heterotopies of Religious Authority in Late-Antique Christianity.”

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Degree Zero of Sound & Image, c.1000-1800

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September 7, 2017 · 9:38 am

Erasmus’ edition of the Disticha Catonis – Prof. Martin Bloomer

Date and time: 12 June, 16:00-17:00

Venue: Courtroom, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38

Erasmus’ edition of the Disticha Catonis was one of his greatest printing successes, with over 100 editions printed in his lifetime, not all of course with his approval or participation. He treated this Roman collection of aphorisms as a species of ancient wisdom literature and represented this approach as a radical break from his predecessors’. Erasmus told his readers why his edition was so much better than his rivals. Were these stated principles in fact important for the success of his work? What were his educational goals and his philological methods?  Image result for erasmus

Martin Bloomer is professor at the University of Notre Dame. His chief areas of research lie in Roman literature, ancient rhetoric, and the history of education. His books include Valerius Maximus and the Rhetoric of the New Nobility (Chapel Hill 1993), Latinity and Literary Society at Rome (Philadelphia 1997), The Contest of Language (Notre Dame 2005), The School of Rome (Berkeley 2011), and A Companion to Ancient Education (Chichester and Malden, MA 2015).

This lecture is given in collaboration with the Medieval Research School.

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Chaucer’s London/London’s Chaucer – Paul Strohm

Time and venue: 7 June, Offerhauszaal, Academy Building, 17:00-18:00

Prof. Strohm is the Anna S. Garbedian Professor Emeritus of the Humanities at the Department of English & Comparative Literature in Columbia University, New York. He was previously J.R.R. Tolkien Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. His publications include: Social Chaucer (Harvard, 1994); Hochon’s Arrow: The Social Imagination of Fourteenth-Century Texts (Princeton, 1992); England’s Empty Throne: Usurpation and Textual Legitimation, 1399-1422 (Yale, 1998) and Theory and the Premodern Text (Minnesota, 2000).

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Hadewijch’s ‘books’? Tracing the (non-)publication tactics of a thirteenth-century beguine writer – Veerle Fraeters

18 January, Courtroom, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, 14:30-16:30

Veerle Fraeters is Professor at the Ruusbroec Institute of the University of Antwerp. She specializes in medieval mysticism, with a special focus on the Middle Dutch tradition, on visionary literature, on women authors and on the Brabantine mystic Hadewijch. Recent publications include, as author, the chapter ‘Visio’ in the Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism (2012), and, as editor (with M.-E. Gongora and Th. de Hemptinne), the volume Speaking to the Eye. Sight and Insight through Text and Image (1150-1650) (Brepols, 2013) and (with Imke de Gier), Mulieres Religiosae: Shaping Female Spiritual Authority in the Medieval and Early Modern Times (Brepols, 2014). She is editor, with Frank Willaert, of the new edition with Dutch translation and commentary of Hadewijchs Verzamelde Werken (Complete Works) of which the prize-winning first volume Liederen (Songs) came out in 2009 (Historische Uitgeverij Groningen).

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Surprised by Joy: Scholarly Discoveries in Latin Medical Literature, 800-1200 – Eliza Glaze

Venue and time: 12 December, Courtroom, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, 14:30-16:30 (note time)

Speaker: Prof. Eliza Glaze (Professor of  History,  Coastal Carolina University, USA)

Abstract: Specializing in the articulation of new knowledge based upon the evidence of medieval Latin medical manuscripts and healthscapes, Prof. Glaze’s research explores the processes by which medical knowledge was transmitted from the ancient Mediterranean into Western Europe via classroom experiences, textual media and contextualized practices. Her ultimate interest is two-fold: to recover and identify the transmission, interpretations and use of specialized material from the Mediterranean world, and to explore the social aspects of medical thought and practice manifest in surviving codices.

Masterclass: Prof. Glaze’s lecture will be preceded by a masterclass from 11:15, which is intended for REMA and PhD-students. If you would like to participate, please contact

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‘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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