Medieval Studies Global Virtual Seminar Series

International Virtual Seminar series run in collaboration with New York University, the University of Oslo and Middlebury College.

Location: Verdon-Smith Room, Institute for Advanced Studies, Royal Fort House

Session 1:

5 December 2014, 3.15 pm 
Dr Beth Williamson (University of Bristol): 'Representing and Embodying the Virgin in a Trecento Reliquary Tabernacle'.

Session 2:

13 February 2015, 3:15 pm
Professor Louisa A. Burnham, Middlebury College

The Subtlety and Philosophy of Limoux Nègre's Coagulating Cosmos
Abstract: In 1329, Limoux Nègre was burned at the stake as an unrepentant heretic who claimed mystical inspiration for what he called his "subtlety" and his "philosophy." The beliefs he professed were unlike any the inquisitors of Carcassonne had ever heard: skeptical and materialist, but also blasphemous, fantastical, and difficult for inquisitors and scholars alike to untangle. In this paper, I will argue that his mystical revelations bloomed on an alchemical substrate and that his most outrageous assertions regarding Jesus's death and resurrection were based on the science of the Pseudo-Llullian Testamentum.

Session 3:

27 February 2015, 3:15pm
Professor E.A.R. Brown, Professor Emerita, City University of New York

A la recherche de Marguerite Porete -- Searching for Marguerite Porete
Abstract: I have been searching for Marguerite Porete for five years. My quest began at a conference in Paris, held on 31 May and 1 June 2010 to commemorate the burning on 1 June 1310 at the Place de Grève of Marguerite Porete, alleged author of a heretical book on the soul’s relationship to God. Just one contemporary chronicler recorded her execution, presenting it with the burning the same day of a relapsed converted Jew convicted of spitting on images of the Virgin and the harsh punishment of Marguerite’s companion Guiard de Cressonessart, who called himself the Angel of Philadelphia.  Since 1944, owing to the scholar Romana Guarnieri, Marguerite has been acclaimed as the author of the mystical treatise, The Book of Simple Souls, which since at least 1911 had been known to scholars (and attributed to a male author). Intrigued by Lydia Wegener’s challenge at the conference to consider Marguerite apart from this work, I have spent the intervening years looking at every scrap of evidence that survives – which turns out to be the six acts now preserved in a carton (with documents relating to the Albigensians) at the Archives nationales in Paris.  Having published articles challenging the usefulness to understanding Marguerite of remarks made by the English Carmelite John Baconthorpe († 1347) and Jean Gerson (1363-1429), I am continuing my search for Marguerite Porete – and her companion Guiard de Cressonessart, too often overlooked but the subject of equal attention in the documents.  In the seminar I will describe the approaches I am using, which include using the tools of integral paleography described by Leonard Boyle and deconstructing chronicle sources to establish their biases and perspectives.  In the seminar, through dialogue with other scholars interested in Marguerite and her work, I will try to explain why I consider the search worthwhile and why I have no intention of abandoning it.

Session 4:

8 May 2015, 3:15pm
Professor Kristin B. Aavitsland, MF Norwegian School of Theology

Jerusalem in Medieval Scandinavia: The integration of the north in the Oikumene of Latin Christendom
Abstract: The paper presents a new research project, Tracing the Jerusalem Code: Christian cultures in Scandinavia, hosted by MF Norwegian School of Theology and starting up in August 2015. The project aims to explore the structuring significance of Jerusalem in Scandinavian history. Through a interdisciplinary and cross-period investigation of literal and visual sources and with the changing idea of Jerusalem as a lens, the project partners want to develop new theoretical perspectives on the history of Christianity in Scandinavia. Project leader Kristin B. Aavitsland will present the objectives of the project as a whole, before addressing some of the issues concerning medieval Jerusalem interpretations in Denmark and Norway, especially during the 11th century.