Reading Group on Theories of Matter

~ Winter Semester 2018 ~

(Re-)Shaping the Tradition: 
Narratives of Matter in Calcidius and Ibn Gabirol

Venue: Institut für Philosophie (HU Berlin), Invalidenstrasse 110

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Contact: nicola.polloni@hu-berlin.de

HU Agnes Website

The reading group discusses a set of relevant texts on matter and materiality authored by some of the most original thinkers of the Middle Ages. Special attention will be paid to two main works presenting rather divergent “paradigms” of materiality. They are Calcidius’s Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus (Treatise “De silva”) and Ibn Gabirol’s Font of Life (books 1 and 2). These writings elaborated and discussed some of the most successful theories of matter. Notwithstanding some theoretical tensions affecting them, the accounts of matter and materiality therein expounded would spread throughout the Middle Ages (and beyond). Reading and discussion of these works will be accompanied by excursions on further medieval authors who have appropriated, problematised, or superseded some of the shared theories of matter of their time.

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Manuscript of Plato’s Timaeus translated by Calcidius

~ Meetings Calendar ~

26 Oct 2018, 10am, R241: Calcidius, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, §275-279 (Hebrews)

2 Nov 2018, 10am, R241: Calcidius, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, §280-288 (Aristotle)

8 Nov 2018, 10am, R241: Calcidius, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, §289-294 (Stoics)

13 Nov 2018, 10am, R241: Calcidius, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, §295-301 (Pythagoreans and Plato).

23 Nov 2018, 10am, R241: Calcidius, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, §302-307 (Calcidius on Matter I)

30 Nov 2018, 10am, R241: [Vortrag] Fabio La Stella (HU), Remarks on Aristotle’s Notion of Intelligible Matter

10 Dec 2018, 2.30pm, R228: Calcidius, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, §308-317 (Calcidius on Matter II)

17 Dec 2018, 2.30pm, R228: Calcidius, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, §318-320 (Calcidius on Matter III) and §345-348 (Knowability of Matter)

11 Jan 2019, 10am, R241:  POSTPONED TO JAN 18th!

18 Jan 2019, 10am, R241: [Vortrag] Nicola Polloni, Ibn Gabirol and Universal Hylomorphism. Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book I, 

28 Jan 2019, 2.30pm, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book I, §1-13 

1 Feb 2019, 11am, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book I, §14-17

4 Feb 2019, 2.30pm, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book II, §1-4

15 Feb 2019, 11am, , R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book II, §5-8 + Final Remarks

~ Used Texts ~

Calcidius, On Plato’s Timaeus. Translated by John Magee. Cambridge-London: Harvard University Press, 2016 (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 41).

Solomon Ibn Gabirol, The Font of Life (Fons vitae). Translated by John A. Laumakis. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2014.

To have copy of the material and secondary literature, please write to:
pollonin@hu-berlin.de