Call for Papers: The Impact of Learning Greek, Hebrew, and 'Oriental' Languages

THE IMPACT OF LEARNING GREEK, HEBREW, AND ‘ORIENTAL’ LANGUAGES ON SCHOLARSHIP, SCIENCE, AND SOCIETY IN THE MIDDLE AGES AND THE RENAISSANCE

LECTIO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
13-15 December 2017
UNIVERSITY OF LEUVEN (BELGIUM)

In 1517, Leuven witnessed the foundation of the Collegium Trilingue. This institute, funded through the legacy of Hieronymus Busleyden and enthusiastically promoted by Desiderius Erasmus, offered courses in the three ‘sacred’ languages Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The initiative was not the only of its kind in the early 16th century. Ten years earlier, the first Collegium Trilingue had been established in the Spanish Catholic collegium of San Ildefonso, and similar institutes and language chairs were soon to follow. By the end of 1518, the university of Wittenberg offered courses of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin in the regular curriculum, whereas in 1530 king Francis I founded his Collège Royal in Paris after the model of the Louvain Collegium Trilingue. This fascination with Greek and Hebrew did not come out of nowhere, but had its roots in Renaissance Italy, whence it gradually disseminated to other parts of Europe. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that, as early as the beginning of the 14th century, the Council of Vienne had authorized and encouraged the foundation of professorships in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic at four universities (Bologna, Oxford, Paris, and Salamanca), mainly in order to convert Jews, Muslims, and Oriental Christians to the ‘true’ faith. The council and Italian Humanism thus testify to the fact that enthusiasm for learning Greek and ‘Oriental’ (nowadays: Semitic) languages, next to Latin, among Western-European scholars and clergymen clearly predates the 16th century.

What is more, the Humanist connection explains why, even though the study of Greek, Hebrew, and other ‘Oriental’ languages was largely sparked by theological concerns, institutes such as the Leuven Collegium Trilingue reserved a prominent place for pagan (especially Greek and Latin) literature in their curricula as well. Moreover, also the special connection between the study of ancient Greek at institutes like the Collegium Trilingue and the legal practice and thought cannot be overlooked. In the early 16th century, indeed, Greek was the language of the new political and legal ideas. For jurist Reuchlin it was not an ancient language, but the tongue of Constantinople. Then, in the course of the 16th century, Greek culture was reduced to a pre-Christian culture because of its destabilization of Western Christianity, and to an old ‘democratic’ culture because of the influence of Greek imperialism on Western absolutism – a reduction to which also the Collegium Trilingue contributed. Hence, it weighted on legal studies, through professors as Puteanus, who wrote about law and politics. Law professors as Gérard de Courcelles had taught Greek at the Trilingue; Valerius Andreas had studied at this school; Tuldenus attached great importance to Greek literature as well. However, the Greek letters of the Louvain jurists had little to do with love of Antiquity. The study of the Greek language was neutral, and it allowed one to stay in touch with the heritage of Constantinople, which was slowly being absorbed into Western culture.

This year’s LECTIO conference will seize the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Leuven Collegium Trilingue as an incentive both to examine the general context in which such polyglot institutes emerged and—more generally—to assess the overall impact of Greek and Hebrew education. Our focus is not exclusively on the 16th century, as we also welcome papers dealing with the status and functions accorded to Greek, Hebrew, and other ‘Oriental’ languages in the (later) Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period up to 1750. Special attention will be directed to the learning and teaching practices and to the general impact the study of these languages exerted on scholarship, science and society. We therefore look forward to receiving abstracts offering answers to the following questions, inter multa alia:

* What was the interrelationship between the Early Modern initiatives offering education in the three biblical languages, such as the 1508 Spanish Collegium Trilingue, the 1517 Leuven institute, the 1518 Wittenberg program, and the 1530 establishment of the Collège Royal? What is the connection, if any, between the 16th-century establishment of language chairs and the Late Medieval interest in these languages? To what extent are we informed about the teaching practices conducted in these institutes and universities, and about the learning of Greek and ‘Oriental’ languages in Western Europe before the 14th century? How did the institutes impact on university curricula?

* What significance was accorded to ‘antiquity’ and the classical tradition in the Colleges of the Three Tongues, in relation to the interest in biblical literature? To what extent can the confessionalization model be applied to the study of Greek and Hebrew in Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed regions? Whereas the Council of Vienne clearly aimed at “propagating the saving faith among the heathen peoples” (Decrees, 24), the 16th-century humanists had for the most part much less explicit missionary goals with their study of ‘Oriental’ languages. What were their aims, and how did they strike out on this new course? What is the link, if any, with the several polyglot Bibles appearing in Europe in the 16th century?

* Despite the original hostility towards the polyglot institutes out of religious concerns, the study of Greek and Hebrew ultimately found acceptance rather quickly after about one generation, also among Catholic theologians. What circumstances explain and stimulated this process of acceptance? Who were the main protagonists and adversaries in it? Are there abiding differences among the various confessions in Europe regarding the degree they embraced the study of these languages?

* It is often argued that champions of Greek and Hebrew had to overcome several burdens. Not only did students of both languages risk to be suspected of heterodox beliefs, but they also had to surmount material hindrances, since only a minority of publishers were willing to invest in Greek and Hebrew font sets. To what extent can these claims be substantiated? What part did polyglot editions, such as those printed in Alcalà, Antwerp and Paris, play in this?

* How did the study of Hebrew and Greek affect the study and status of Latin? To what extent did the significance attached to both languages stimulate the study of vernacular languages and other ‘Oriental’ languages, such as Aramaic, Syriac, and Arabic? A number of scholars even felt confident enough to compose texts in Greek, Hebrew, and other ‘Oriental’ languages themselves: in what contexts and for what purposes did they do so?

* The study of Greek, Hebrew, and other ‘Oriental’ languages was often pursued by scholars interested in both law and sciences, such as medicine, biology, astronomy, and geography. How did the study of these languages impact on these disciplines and what was the concomitant societal effect? In what way, e.g., did Greek legal thought mark both the Protestant law faculties and the legal rationalism that originated in that world? How did Greek studies contribute to the Law Faculty’s renewed contacts with the Calvinist countries and enabled it to play a foundational part in the development of the legal doctrine, which Pufendorf would turn into ‘Natural Law’ in 1661?

Participants are asked to give 20-minute papers in English, German or French. To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of approximately 300 words (along with your name, academic affiliation and contact information) to lectio@kuleuven.be by 30 April, 2017. Notification of acceptance will be given by 20 May, 2017.
The publication of selected papers is planned in a volume to be included in the peer-reviewed LECTIO Series (Brepols Publishers).

Invited speakers
Luigi-Alberto Sanchi (Institut d’Histoire du Droit Paris)
Saverio Campanini (Università di Bologna)

Venue of the Conference
The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe, Janseniusstraat 1, 3000 Leuven

Organizing committee
Wim François, Erika Gielen, Jan Papy, Toon Van Hal, Pierre Van Hecke, Raf Van Rooy, Laurent Waelkens

CONTACT
LECTIO KU Leuven
Faculties of Arts, Law, Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies
Blijde-Inkomststraat 5
3000 Leuven
BELGIUM

+32 16 32 87 35
lectio@kuleuven.be
www.kuleuven.be/lectio

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(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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 Soldiers carrying banners depicting Julius Caesar's triumphant military exploits, from The Triumph of Julius Caesar

Latinists enjoy ready access to online texts collected under names like Perseus, PHI, and the Latin Library, collections which are now as much a fixture of scholarly workflows as OCTs, Teubners, and Loebs. Descriptive data and statistics about these texts are harder to find. How many times does Lucretius use the future imperative? How many ablatives absolute are there in Cicero’s De amicitia? Where does ensis appear in Caesar’s writings? (Answers at the end of this post.) Opera Latina is a search interface from the Laboratoire d’Analyse Statistique des Langues Anciennes (LASLA) at the University of Liège that draws on over five decades of linguistic research on Latin literature to return the sort of descriptive details posed in the questions above. The database currently includes 154 works from 19 authors: Caesar, Cato, Catullus, Cicero, Horace, Juvenal, Lucretius, Ovid, Persius, Petronius, Plautus, Pliny the Younger, Propertius, Quintus Curtius Rufus, Sallust, Seneca the Younger, Tactius, Tibullus, and Vergil.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 08/21/2017 - 12:00am by Patrick J. Burns.

Lyric and the Sacred, 27 June – July 1 2018, Spetses, Greece

Lucia Athanassaki (University of Crete) and André Lardinois (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) announce the 5th Open Conference which they are co-organizing on behalf of the Network for the Study of Archaic and Classical Greek Song (http://www.ru.nl/greeksong).

The conference will take place on the island of Spetses in Greece from June 27th to July 1st 2018. The topic of the conference is ‘Lyric and the Sacred’.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 08/18/2017 - 10:38am by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers:

Wilderness, Frontiers, and New Worlds in Antiquity

Biennial Classics Graduate Student Conference

New York University

November 4, 2017

Keynote: Prof. Emily Greenwood (Yale University) "Classics and the Travelers' Tool Kit: literature on ancient and modern frontiers"

Unfamiliar, unexplored, and unsettled places captivated the ancient imagination and were of pressing importance not only to poets and prose writers of every genre, but also to merchants, militaries, and governing bodies enticed by the prospects of new sites for trading, settling, and conquering. There has been a swell of critical interest recently in the topics of borders and boundaries in the ancient world, as part of the increased scholarly attention to space over the past few decades. Our conference is interested in spaces beyond borders, and we aim to explore ancient encounters with wilderness, frontiers, and unknown lands.

Possible topics include:

•   Visual representations of wilderness and extreme environments

•   Representations in ancient texts of the landscape, weather, and human adaptation in unexplored lands

•   Narrations and theorizations of journeys undersea, into the sky, or below the earth

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 08/18/2017 - 10:34am by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers for the 2018 Symposium Cumanum:
rerum cognoscere causas: Learning in the Late Republic and the Augustan Age

June 26–30, 2018

Co-Directors: T. H. M. Gellar-Goad (Wake Forest University) and Christopher B. Polt (Boston College)
Confirmed speakers: Barbara Weiden Boyd, Monica R. Gale, Steven J. Green, Alison Keith, James J. O'Hara, and Alessandro Schiesaro

The Vergilian Society invites proposals for papers for the 2018 Symposium Cumanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy.

Learning and teaching were fundamental to Roman literature from the start: Livius Andronicus, the primus auctor of Latin letters, was first a teacher whose pedagogic experiences profoundly shaped his own writing (Feeney, Beyond Greek). Instruction becomes a special interest in the culture and literature of the late Republic and Augustan periods, when attitudes towards education find complex, fluid, and multivalent expressions (Bloomer, The School of Rome). This symposium aims to interrogate the varied, shifting roles that teaching and learning play in this pivotal period, especially with reference to the literary milieu in which Vergil was educated and to which he contributed.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 08/15/2017 - 3:00pm by Erik Shell.
McKeldin Library

(From insidehighered.com)

Scott Jaschik from Inside Higher Ed has written a story about the statement the SCS board released last Fall.

"The statement notes that the ancient world was not monolithic and in fact was influenced by people of different regions and cultures."

You can read the full piece at Inside Higher Ed here, and read the board's original statement from last Fall here.

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(Photo: "McKeldin Library, University of Maryland" by George Williams, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 08/15/2017 - 8:18am by Erik Shell.

Annual Ancient Philosophy Workshop

The Annual Ancient Philosophy Workshop (41st in the series inauguratedand periodically sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin) will be held February 23-24, 2018, at The University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. This workshop is sponsored by the UF Department of Philosophy in coordination with the UF Department of Classics, with support from the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere. Proposals are invited for papers on any problem, figure, or issue in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. Each paper will be allotted forty-five minutes for oral presentation and will be followed by open discussion.

To propose a paper, send a 1-page abstract of 300-500 words to palmerj@ufl.edu under the subject heading “Workshop Proposal.” Please provide contact information in the email but no identifying info in the abstract itself. Proposals are due no later than Friday, December 1, 2017. Proposers will be notified of selections by Friday, December 15. Complete papers will be due to session chairs and respondents by Friday, January 26, 2018.

Proposals or questions to:

palmerj.ufl.edu

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View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 2:45pm by Erik Shell.

Humanities for All:

A National Survey of Public Engagement in the Humanities in Higher Education

CALL FOR ASSISTANCE

The National Humanities Alliance Foundation is currently conducting a national study of public engagement in the humanities at institutions of higher education.

This national study surveys the range of ways that higher ed faculty, students, and administrators have connected with diverse communities through the humanities over the past decade (short abstract available here). We are especially interested in initiatives that have involved collaboration with the wide range of organizations that are also committed to the public humanities.

We are reaching out to ask for examples of projects that connect the humanities with the broader community.

If you have been involved with or know of any projects that fit this description, we would be grateful if you could please contact Daniel Fisher, Project Director (dfisher@nhalliance.org).

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This project has received generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 9:36am by Erik Shell.

This article was originally published in Amphora 11.1. It has been edited slightly to adhere to current SCS blog conventions.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 12:00am by Yongyi Li.

Olympiodorus of Alexandria: exegete, teacher, philosopher

Utrecht University (NL), 14-15 December 2017

Olympiodorus of Alexandria, who is often considered to have been the last leading, non-Christian philosopher of classical antiquity, has also been termed ‘the first classicist’ (Tarrant 1997). His place in the history of thought brings into focus issues of doctrinal difference and toleration, of the value of philosophical tradition, and of pedagogical concern for those coming of age in uncertain times. But there is more to Olympiodorus than the times in which he lived. His commentaries on Plato’s First Alcibiades, Gorgias and Phaedo, and on Aristotle’s Categories and Meteorology are now becoming better known and explored. Recent scholarship has also reopened the question of Olympiodorus’ philosophical calibre. There is reason enough, then, to try to present an all-round picture of Olympiodorus, as this conference intends to do.

Confirmed speakers include:
Bert van den Berg
Michael Griffin
Pauliina Remes
François Renaud
Anne Sheppard
Carlos Steel
Harold Tarrant
Cristina Viano

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 08/10/2017 - 8:21am by Erik Shell.

Please see the following important deadlines for SCS prizes and Annual Meeting Travel Stipend Awards:

Nominations for the Excellence in Precollegiate Teaching Awards are due by September 8.

Nominations for the Outreach Prize are due by September 18.

We are delighted that we will be able to offer a total of $21,000 in funding for graduate students and contingent faculty participating in the Annual Meeting next January.  Of this amount, $12,500 is designated for contingent faculty in accordance with the wishes of a generous donor.  If you are a graduate student or contingent faculty member presenting a paper, organizing a panel, roundtable discussion or workshop, or serving on a SCS committee, and if you will not receive travel funding from your academic institution, you are eligible for these funds.  

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 1:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

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