- The Università della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano) is offering a new MA program, in English, focusing on a mix of analytic philosophy and the history of philosophy. Some quite distinguished scholars are involved, including, in our field, John Marenbon and Pasquale Porro. They expect to hold lectures on campus this fall. For application instructions go here. Some scholarship support is available and although some deadlines have passed, I am told interested students may be able to get an extension to that deadline.
- I’ve recently discovered the website of the Red Latinoamericana de Filosofía Medieval, which contains a great deal of useful information about their activities, members, et cetera.
- The University of South Bohemia, in beautiful České Budějovice, hopes to host a conference on February 11-13, 2021, on Cognitive Issues in the Long Scotist Tradition. The Cfp deadline is the end of July 2020. Let’s all hope the Scotists will be drinking their fill of Budweiser in February.
- Peter Adamson’s latest column in Philosophy Now argues for the value of studying minor figures in the history of philosophy.
- Jeffrey Brower (Purdue) is giving an online talk tomorrow (May 26, 2020) at 15:30 in Berlin, to the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. For information about how to participate, contact email@example.com.
- The Lumen Christi Institute is sponsoring an online panel discussion on Christians in Times of Catastrophe: Augustine’s City of God, featuring Jennifer Frey (Univ. South Carolina), Russell Hittinger (Lumen Christi Institute), and Michael Sherwin (Fribourg). That’s on June 9, 2020.
- Lydia Schumacher‘s (King’s College London) conference on thirteenth-century Franciscans has moved online, and will run over a series of 4 Fridays in late July and early August. For details see here.
- There’s a one-week online Latin paleography course being offered this July through the Central European University, for a reasonable tuition. It’s offered at both a beginning and an intermediate level, and there’s also two levels of Greek paleography available. July 6-10, 2020.
- Scott Williams’ newly-published collection of papers on Disability in Medieval Christian Philosophy and Theology (Routledge, 2020), is available as a free ebook until June 11th, here.
- There is — believe it or not — a Roger Bacon Research Society. Perhaps there has always been such a society, since 1292, and it has only recently emerged from its long occultation. At any rate, note that they sponsor an online reading group.
- Definitely not in occultation is Christina Van Dyke (Calvin College), who has been making philosophical videos since March for her online courses. The chef d’oeuvre is perhaps part two of the Julian of Norwich series. Take-home quote: “She doesn’t need to be a Zombie queen to be interesting.”
Here are various news items that I’ve gathered. This will probably be my last post until the end of the summer.
- This coming week, there’s an impressive conference in Poland on Mind and Body: Aspects of Medieval Natural Philosophy (Lodz, June 13-14, 2019).
- The 5th Rio Colloquium on Logic and Metaphysics in the Later Middle Ages is coming later this month, on Distinctions and Priorities in the Later Middle Ages (Rio de Janeiro, June 24-26, 2019). (Apparently there’s no information on the internet, but anyone interested should contact the organizer, Professor Rodrigo Guerizoli.)
- A conference on Naturaleza y Teoría Política en el Pensar Medieval y Renacentista will take place this summer at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina (Buenos Aires, August 26-28, 2019)
- There’s an International Graduate Conference on the History of Philosophy scheduled for September on Platonism and Aristotelianism in the History of Philosophy (Pavia, Sept. 16-17, 2019). The cfp deadline is July 15.
- The University of Notre Dame is hosting a conference in September on Cusanus Today: Prospects for Philosophy, Theology, and Mysticism (Sept. 19-21, 2019)
- A conference with a focus on translation will take place next spring: Traduction… trahison? Textes, représentations, archéologie, autorité et mémoire de l’Antiquité à la Renaissance (Université de Picardie-Jules Verne, March 11-13, 2020)
- Another conference on the later medieval emergence of vernacular thought will take place later in the spring: El diálogo de las lenguas: la emergencia del pensamiento en vernáculo (siglos XIII-XVI) (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, May 11-13, 2020)
- I’ve stumbled upon an interesting attempt to collect information about medieval texts in translation, at HMAOT: Haut Moyen Age Occidental en Traduction. The focus is on the earlier Middle Ages, and runs well beyond philosophy.
- The Averroes Edition Project in Cologne is looking to fill a three-year PhD position in Arabic philosophy. Details here.
- There’s an interesting interview with Thomas Williams at 3:16. He talks there, among many other things, about his new translation of the Confessions.
- There’s a special issue of Theoria in the works, devoted to medieval skepticism. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2019.
- The 24th Annual Colloquium of the SIEPM will take place in Varna (Bulgaria) this coming fall, on the subject of the Dionysian Traditions (September 9-11, 2019).
- The Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group is sponsoring a meeting in Pisa, June 18-21, 2019, on “Intellect, Experience and More.” Details here.
- There’s an interview with Peter Adamson (LMU Munich) at the What Is It Like … series.
- The Albert the Great Center is holding a week-long summer theology program on St. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, drawing on Aquinas’s commentary. Details here (Wausau, Wisconsin, Aug. 12-16, 2019).
- The University of Pennsylvania libraries are advertising one-month visiting research fellowships for 2019-2020, aimed at their large collection of premodern manuscripts. The application deadline is May 15, 2019. Information here.
- The Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy is taking submissions for its annual Founders’ Prize, for the best paper in the field by an emerging scholar. The deadline is May 1, 2019. Details here.
- I’m sorry to report that Loome Theological Books, in Stillwater, Minnesota, formerly the world’s greatest bookstore for medieval philosophy, has gone out of business.
Here are some random opportunities and happenings that I’ve been collecting for a while now:
- Students who might be interested in pursuing a career teaching high school Latin in the United States should check out the Quintilian Society. (Thanks to Caleb Cohoe for the pointer.)
- For some months now, Loome Booksellers in Stillwater, Minnesota has been running a Go Fund Me drive, in an effort to keep open the world’s greatest bookstore for medieval philosophy and theology. You can support it here.
- There’s a new open access journal in the works, The European Journal for the Study of Thomas Aquinas. It is a joint initiative of the Thomas Instituut Utrecht, the Faculty of Theology of Nicolaus Copernicus University of Toruń, and the Saint Thomas Aquinas Institute for Theology and Culture of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Fribourg. Issues will appear annually.
- The Lumen Christi Institute has announced its slate of summer seminars, and as always there are things here for medievalists. There’s a seminar for undergraduates, led by Russell Hittinger, in Oakland, on Augustine on Self, God, and Society, and a seminar in Chicago, for PhD students, on Metaphysics and the Soul in Thomas Aquinas, led by Stephen Brock. Bear in mind that these programs offer generous funding. Details here.
- UC Louvain is advertising a one-year postdoc, tied to their project studying commentaries on Avicenna’s Qaṣīdat al-nafs. Candidates must have strong Arabic and the ability to work with manuscripts. I have not found information on the web, but queries can be sent to Cécile Bonmariage.
- The SIEPM has just announced an interesting initiative: “a stipend to support junior individual researchers (up to and including the postdoc level) to visit and work with senior individual researchers. Each year, two Stipends are available. The amount for each Stipend is € 1.500.” See further details here. Note that both scholars, junior and senior, must be members of SIEPM. Note as well that, if you’re a junior SIEPM member, and looking for a senior scholar to visit, I’m always glad to have visitors in Boulder! (Having said that, I guess I’d better pay up my membership.)
Here’s a guest post on the medieval survey class from Scott Williams (UNC Asheville). Scott sent me an email with some of these thoughts, and I thought it was so interesting that I asked him to write it up in a form I could post.
I have been enjoying Bob’s series of posts on syllabi in Medieval Philosophy. When the call went out for these I was teaching a course called “Islamic Philosophy” and so I sent in that syllabus. I also teach a course called “Medieval Philosophy” that’s more general. I want to say two things about what I learned recently in teaching the Medieval Philosophy course.
First, in the past I taught this course by covering lots of authors from different times and traditions (Pagan Neo-Platonists, Christians, Jews, and Muslims). In Spring 2018 I tried an experiment – I slowed things way down. This decision was inspired in part by the book The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy that I had read with other faculty members in other departments. I developed a short list of authors, and students spent more time on those authors than they would have in a standard survey. When the course was over and I read the Course Evaluations, I found that students gave the course the highest scores that can be given in numerous categories. Students wrote that they really really appreciated the slow approach. They were tired of “whiplash” courses. In my judgement, these students came to understand the authors much more than past students had. They came to see how different parts of a philosopher’s texts fit together. It’s one thing for students to learn discrete facts about e.g., Al-Farabi on the moral virtues, it’s another thing for students to see how this moral theory fits into an overall model of the place of human beings in the cosmos and in political life. So, instead of having students read only Part 1 (as found in Philosophy in the Middle Ages) of Al-Farabi’s The Political Regime (also called The Principles of Existing Things), they read Part 1 and Part 2.
Here’s one way, among many ways, that slowing down the medieval philosophy course can look. There are many other authors/texts that can be used. (Note: I teach Maimonides in my Islamic Philosophy Course and in some semesters he’s in the general Medieval Phil. course.) This is but one suggestion:
- Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy. Trans. Joel C. Relihan. Hackett, 2001.
- Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies and Other Writings. Trans. Ineke Hardy. Hackett, 2018.
- Al-Farabi, The Political Writings, Volume 2. Trans. Charles E. Butterworth. Cornell University Press, 2015.
- Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Happiness, Treatise on Human Acts, Trans. Thomas Williams, commentary by Christina van Dyke and Thomas Williams. Hackett, 2016.
- John Marenbon, Medieval Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford Univ. Press, 2016
- Document on Moodle (includes Porphyry’s Isagoge. I am contemplating whether to have 2 weeks on Porphyry in the future; we’d likely read On Abstinence from Killing Animals. This contrasts nicely with Boethius’s Treatise Against Eutyches and Nestorius on the rationality condition for ‘persona’).
- 1 1/2 weeks on Augustine, with 1 day on Porphyry
- 2 1/2 weeks on Boethius (we read all of The Consolation of Philosophy, and, Treatise Against Eutyches and Nestorius (personhood is the main topic; in a forthcoming publication I argue that Boethius likely invents personhood as a distinct general category (it’s in Person: A History, ed. Antonia LoLordo (OUP))
- 2 weeks on Christine de Pizan (read most of The Book of the City of Ladies, plus selections from other texts- see the powerpoint for references)
- 3 weeks on Al-Farabi (we read all of The Political Regime, plus other texts)
- 6 weeks on Aquinas (we read all of the Treatise on Happiness, Treatise on Human Acts with Commentary)
Second, in most standard surveys of Medieval Philosophy we find no women taught. (I found no women in Bob’s earlier posted list of commonly taught authors, for example.) This is not good, and for several reasons. My attempt to address this was to spend a week on the early 15th c. philosopher Christine de Pizan. Many of my students loved reading her. And, her texts allowed me to address some of the social contexts of medieval (esp. scholastic) philosophers. The way I framed her The Book of the City of Ladies was that it is Christine’s “summa” in defense of the feminine sex against centuries and centuries of sexism. I had a very positive experience in teaching Christine and plan to continue to teach her in the future and more of her texts. (Hackett has recently published a new translation of Christine de Pizan; so we have a reasonably priced new text to assign.) (I gave a lecture to a general humanities course recently on Christine, and covered highlights of the sorts of things that I discussed in Medieval Philosophy. I’ve attached the powerpoint here.)
I’m writing all this because Bob has been talking to/with those of us who teach Medieval Philosophy, and I thought I should say that we need to teach philosophers who happen to be women too. Not just because they are women, but because they have interesting and important things to say and that we need to learn. My students got more interested in medieval philosophy by reading e.g., Christine de Pizan. By keeping it a male-only affair, I believe we signal to our students that we professors are either ignorant of women philosophers or that we don’t believe they are important enough to teach.
Hopefully in a few years time we will find the most popular medieval philosophy textbook that is assigned in our survey courses to include philosophers like Christine de Pizan. It’s a good idea, and for many good reasons.
Here’s a bunch of news items I’ve been collecting for some time now, which means that some of these entries are rather old news:
- As of this fall, Catarina Dutilh Novaes has left Groningen to take up a position at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam.
- This past summer, Francis Feingold won the SMRP Founder’s Award (best paper by a younger scholar) for “Aquinas’s Discussion of Aristotle’s Claim That Knowing Does Not Alter the Knower.” Honorable mention went to Fedor Benevich, Joseph Stenberg, and Nicolas Faucher.
- Also over the summer, the Vatican announced the opening of the digital Vatican Library, with 15,000 some manuscripts currently available (out of a total collection, in case you were wondering, of 80,000 codices).
- Scott Williams has compiled an online bibliography for Henry of Ghent. It runs to 156 pages. (Actually, although the bibliography is what Scott asked me to advertise, it’s just one among many very useful things pertaining to Henry of Ghent that are assembled on this web page.)
- Scott also said: just like Tobias Hoffmann’s online bibliography for John Duns Scotus. So check that out too. It runs to 396 pages.
- While I’m on the subject of bibliographies, Thérèse Bonin continues to keep her Aquinas in English bibliography up to date, though it now has a new URL.
- Someone else who’s been doing amazing work online is Jeffrey Witt (Loyola Univ. Maryland). A good place to start is with his Scholastic Commentaries and Texts Archive. But that’s really just the start. He’s working toward a comprehensive initiative that would enable cooperative open access publishing ventures aimed at scholastic texts.
- For a very different sort of online presence, check out — if you haven’t already — Martin Lenz’s blog. He’s been steadily posting, for the last five months, on all sorts of topics, but especially on the history of philosophy.
- I mentioned this a few years ago, but since it continues to grow, let me mention again that Dag Hasse and colleagues continue to build an online Arabic and Latin Glossary, aimed to offer a comprehensive guide to the vocabulary used in medieval Latin translations of Arabic texts (philosophical, medical, scientific).
- Finally, in honor of Thanksgiving in this part of the world, our friends at the Franciscan Institute are offering 40% off all of their publications this weekend: Nov. 23 – Nov. 26. Use the code THANKS18. It’s a great opportunity to acquire some essential volumes in any medieval philosophical library.
- It’s not quite too late, though only a few hours are left, to submit a paper to the SMRP’s Founder’s Award Prize. Graduate students and PhDs within the last five years are eligible. Deadline is today, May 1.
- Congratulations to Peter Adamson, whose History of Philosophy without any gaps podcast has just made its way to the end of the Middle Ages, and posted its 300th episode, not counting the 62 episodes he’s completed on Indian philosophy, and a few more in the newly started series on African philosophy. Next up is Byzantium, which I suppose means he isn’t really done with the Middle Ages. And doubtless there’s still Renaissance scholasticism to look forward to. Lest you think this a quixotic project, you might like to know that the total number of podcast downloads stands at 21 million. What’s your citation index?
- While I’m congratulating Peter, I might as well mention that he also recently won a large European Research Council grant for his project on animals in Islamic philosophy.
- Also, check out Peter’s interview on the APA Blog, in which he talks about diversifying the canon. (I myself recently weighed in on this topic, in an interview at 3am.)
- The British Journal for the History of Philosophy is looking for a new associate editor who would oversee submissions in medieval philosophy. Application deadline is May 25, 2018. (Thanks to Caleb Cohoe for the pointer. I’m told Peter Adamson will NOT be applying for this job.)
- I’ve discovered a remarkable web page devoted to medieval commentaries on the Bible at big.hypotheses.org/. It contains much information about the medieval Latin Bible, the common gloss, and various later medieval commentaries, including, among much else, a working electronic edition of Aquinas’s Catena aurea. For the electronic version of the Glossa ordinaria, see here.
- The folks at the Aquinas Institute, who have been busily publishing big bilingual editions of Aquinas’s Opera, are now starting to make available ebooks, formatted to be read on your Kindle or other such device. For a small fee, you get a Latin-English text that is designed to be read on a portable reader, and that even lets you look up Latin vocabulary on your screen.
- I don’t usually post information about medieval jobs that are advertised at philjobs.org, but Jeff Brower asked me to call attention to the very attractive three-year postdoc that Purdue University is advertising, specifically in medieval philosophy! The application deadline is the end of December. Details here.
- As the Daily Nous reported a few weeks back, a couple of medievalists have recently won grants of around $2M from the European Research Council.
- Dragos Calma (Cambridge) won for his project: “Neoplatonism and Abrahamic Traditions. A Comparative Analysis of the Middle East, Byzantium and the Latin West (9th-16th Centuries).”
- Catarina Dutilh Novaes (Groningen) won for her project: “The Social Epistemology of Argumentation.” (This is evidently not an historical project, however.)
- Enrique Alarcón is directing a conference this spring: “Inteligencia y voluntad en Tomás de Aquino” (April 26-27, 2018, Pamplona).
- The Maimonides Centre in Hamburg is organizing a summer school for graduate students on “Sceptical Strategies, Methods, and Approaches in the Middle Ages: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Traditions” (July 29-Aug. 3, 2018, in Hamburg). Details here.
- The Lumen Christi Institute is organizing a summer seminar for doctoral students on “St. Thomas Aquinas on Free Choice” (June 24-July 4, 2018, Chicago), and a second on “Truth and Authority in Augustine’s City of God” (July 21-28, 2018, Berkeley). Details here.
- The Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec (near Cracow) is hosting a conference next fall: “Altiora te ne quaesieris (Sir. 3, 22): The medieval pursuit of wisdom” (September 2-7, 2018). Cfp deadline is March 31.
- A useful Aquinas resource to know about is the Aquinas Institute‘s online version of their bilingual editions. Everything they’ve published is available free here, in an easy-to-use, searchable bilingual format. As of now, that consists in Sent. IV dd. 1-25, ST, In Job, In Matt., In Johan., and all of the Pauline commentaries. For scholars, the Corpus Thomisticum is still clearly much better, but for students this could come to be a very useful resource.
Here’s another of my occasional series of guest posts from prominent folk in the field, describing what they’ve been up to of late. This post is from Rega Wood (Indiana University):
I’m currently in the final stages of editing Richard Rufus’ Sententia cum quaestiones in libros de anima Aristotelis, which will be about 650 pages in length. I say “I” despite the fact that my name appears second in the list of editors (Ottman, Wood, Lewis, & Martin), because mine is the last job, preparing camera-ready copy. Jennifer Ottman’s name appears first because she is responsible for most of the apparatus of notes which provides a wealth of information about the philosophers whose commentaries show an awareness of Rufus. Her work allows our edition to introduce not only Rufus but the early Latin commentary tradition on De anima. My name comes second because I’m also responsible for most of the 200-page introduction.
Neil Lewis’ philosophical astuteness and constant attention to argumentative structure as well his great knowledge of Rufus’ hero, Robert Grosseteste, make an enormous contribution. The brilliant Christopher J. Martin not only reads over and comments on the whole work and offers great insight into Rufus’ text of Aristotle, but also provides me with the LaTeX tools I use in typesetting. Finally the comments of Olga Weijers, Alan Code, and his student Santiago Melo Arias also improve the edition, especially when we grapple with problem passages. We’ve also had help from Dorothea Frede, Michael Smith, and Max Etchemendy, whose remarkable recreation of Rufus’ outline of the work can be viewed online.
The introduction has five sections. I begin by introducing some of the exciting topics Richard Rufus discusses. In the second section I establish the genre of the commentary, its date, and its influence (the last with lots of help from Jennifer). Not surprisingly, the third section establishing the authenticity of the work is the longest. Next, I provide an account of Rufus’ views on sensation with particular attention to his understanding of ‘spirituality’. The introduction closes with a statement of the editorial method we follow.
A summary of the fourth section of the introduction will appear as an article entitled, “Spirituality and Perception in Medieval Aristotelian Natural Philosophy.” Yes, I know the title is too long. But nonetheless, it will appear in good company in a volume edited by Elena Baltuta: Theories of Sense-Perception in the 13th and 14th Centuries.
Other contributors to the volume are Dominik Perler, Juhana Toivanen, Filipe Silva, Paolo Rubini, Daniel de Haan, Andrew LaZella, Lukas Licka, Andre Martin, Martin Klein, and Mattia Mantovani. Their papers cover not only Rufus, but also Thomas Aquinas, Peter Olivi, Duns Scotus, the Perspectivists, Robert Kilwardby, John Buridan and Jean of Jandun; its “themes range from the singularity of perception to accidental perception, immateriality and spirituality in perception and causation.”
Supposing I ever finish numbering variants that extend to more than one line and sundry other such exciting chores, I will make a push this summer to finish Richard Rufus of Cornwall: Metaphysics, Epistemology, & Natural Philosophy. I’ve long had drafts of the first two parts on his life, works, and manuscripts. I also have drafted the sections of part three on metaphysics, epistemology, and natural philosophy. But I’ve only just begun the sections on logic and theology, where I will lean heavily on Rufus’ development of the formal distinction. Work on the book is my excuse for not giving a mini-seminar on medieval philosophy at Stanford this year, which I usually manage with help from Peter King. Last summer Peter and I managed not only to introduce Ockham and his razor but also to check out jazz hot spots in San Francisco.
Of course, even skipping out on my Stanford gig, I probably won’t finish the book this summer. And whatever happens I will have to revise the whole thing. So lots of work to do, but next year I will have some help from graduate students at Indiana University enrolled in “Richard Rufus and the Scholastic Tradition.” Last time I did this, the students had to agree that after reading Duns Scotus, Rufus looks like a model of clarity and simplicity.
Alas, quite often the Rufus book has had to take a back seat to my duties as Rufus’ general editor. And this year we were fortunate enough to receive another three-year NEH grant for this purpose, owing in part to Rufus’ program officer, Ann Meyer. With a little help from Lydia, Ann answers all my questions about budget and bureaucracy. The 2017-2020 grant will fund work on publishing the edition of Rufus’ 1000-page metaphysics commentary, Scriptum in Metaphysicam Aristotelis. Fortunately, since this work’s authenticity isn’t controversial, it won’t need such a long introduction. At the same time we will begin establishing the text of his Oxford theology lectures. Medievalists interested in Richard Rufus are always welcome to request PDFs of our preliminary and provisional editions.
The Richard Rufus Project (RRP) website hosts the project’s critical editions of the works of Richard Rufus of Cornwall. Though we are still hard at work on the project, much is already available either on our website or in print via the British Academy’s Auctores Britannici Medii Aevi series directed by John Marenbon. Our website hosts our edition of Rufus’ Memoriale in Metaphysicam Aristotelis as well as the Redactio brevior of the De anima commentary and much of the Scriptum in Metaph, mostly the Redactio brevior but also a snipet from the Redactio longior.
The site also provides aids such as a search engine of the editions on the site, a bibliography of primary and secondary sources, a biography of Rufus, translations of selected works, and a list of the known manuscripts that contain Rufus’ works, along with the works’ incipits. RRP’s site also provides an overview of the process of creating a critical edition, including brief biographies of the editors.
Another highly useful resource is the list of works that RRP cites in its editions. For those works which previously existed only in manuscript form RRP provides transcriptions. Found there are complete transcriptions of Adam Buckfield’s influential De anima commentary and a transcription of Roger Bacon’s unedited, but almost certainly authentic commentary on Aristotle’s De generatione et corruptione. Not to be forgotten is Robert Andrews’ indispensable compilation of sententiae attributed to Boethius, but not actually found in his works, Boethius dicit.
RRP’s outreach project, Bartholomew’s World, is an introduction to the world of scholasticism aimed at students of Latin in 6th through 12th grades. It offers a brief overview of some scholastic authors along with Latin lessons based on their works, divided into three sections – topics in Human Science, Divine Science, and Natural Science. Other useful resources include extensive indices relating to etymology, grammar, paleography, chronology, and medieval imagery. Neither website would be possible without RRP’s webmaster, Eva St. Clair, for whose good sense, wit, and love of all things medieval I give thanks daily — or at least as often as unintelligible directives from computer authorities on high force me to call on her assistance.