News of All Sorts

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.
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Bernardo Carlos Bazán dies

I have just learned from Jean-Baptiste Brenet that Carlos Bazán has died today, after an extended period of illness.

In view of his many distinguished contributions to medieval philosophy in general, and Thomas Aquinas in particular, it is surprising that there is essentially no information available on the internet about Professor Bazán’s career. Comments to this post might be a suitable venue for such information, if anyone would like to offer a contribution.

Peter Adamson and Other Opportunities

  • 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.

 

The SMRP

Congratulations – and thanks! – to Therese Cory, who has agreed to serve as the president (elect) of the Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy, taking over from Tamar Rudavsky. Thanks as well to John Inglis and Sayeh Meisami, who have joined the executive committee. [Subsequently added clarification: although Therese was just elected as president-elect, that makes her vice president for the next few years, and marks the start of Tamar’s term as president. So our most proximate thanks should probably go to Tamar!]

I learned this information from an email sent out to members, announcing the news and inviting members to complete a brief survey about what role the SMRP should play in the future. In completing the survey, I discovered that I have rather strong feelings on the subject, which in a rabble-rousing spirit I thought that I would share here. (I won’t, however, share the link to the survey, since it may be that the folk organizing the survey would like it to be limited to SMRP members.)

It seems to me that there is one overriding thing the SMRP ought to begin doing, which it has not done in the past, and that this is to organize its own conference. Currently, the SMRP hosts sessions at the APA and sometimes other conferences, but these sessions are often poorly attended, and do a poor job bringing together the medieval community. The sessions, by themselves, are not enough to tempt medievalists to come to an APA (unless they have other reasons to attend), and because they are typically scheduled in the evening, in depressing hotel conference rooms, attendance typically feels more like a duty than a pleasure.

There is, however, very little else out there by way of general medieval philosophy conferences in North America. Cornell and UCLA and Toronto all put on regular events, which tend to be by invitation only, and there are a few more specialized things, but the field badly needs an annual flagship conference that would bring the community together. Such a conference might rotate around North America on an annual basis, organized by different institutions, year by year, always with the financial and institutional support, and prestige, of the SMRP.

Some of you will recognize that I write this with the thought in mind of the conference that just concluded here in Boulder. Despite my advertising the event essentially not at all, 70-some medievalists came together for 3 days of non-stop medieval philosophy in Boulder. The success of the event speaks to the need for more such occasions.