Reading Group 2018-19

 

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Lektüreseminar

Shaping a Shadow:
Matter and Materiality in the Middle Ages

Wintersemester 2018(Re-)Shaping the Tradition: Narratives of Matter in Calcidius and Ibn Gabirol
Sommeremester 2019:
Venue: Institut für Philosophie (HU Berlin), Invalidenstrasse 110, Raum 241 and Raum 228
Contact: nicola.polloni@hu-berlin.de

HU Agnes Website


~ Wintersemester 2018 ~

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

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of these works will be accompanied by excursions on further medieval authors who have appropriated, problematised, or superseded some of the shared theories of matter of their time.

~ 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: [Vortrag] Nicola Polloni, Ibn Gabirol and Universal Hylomorphism.

18 Jan 2019, 11am, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book I, §1-13

21 Jan 2019, 2.30pm, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book I, §14-17

1 Feb 2019, 11am, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book II, §1-8

4 Feb 2019, 2.30pm, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book II, §5-8

15 Feb 2019, 11am, , R228: 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 nicola.polloni@hu-berlin.de


~ Sommersemester 2018 ~

Structures of Materiality:
Roger Bacon and the Problems of Prime Matter

Following the discussion of the texts read during the first part of the reading group, the second semester will engage with some main aspects of the thirteenth-century debate on prime matter through the examination of a very special thinker, Roger Bacon (ca. 1214-1292). Excerpts from Bacon’s earlier works (the Parisian questions on Aristotle) will be contrasted with later developments of Bacon’s theories of matter and materiality. Special attention will be paid to his doctrine of species (in consideration of both Bacon’s ontology and gnoseology) and to the “alchemical problem” of a reduction to prime matter.

~ Meetings Calendar ~

12 April 2019, 10am, Room TBC: Introduction to Roger Bacon

15 April 2019, 2.30pm, Room 228: Questions on Aristotle’s Physics, qq. 56-66

3 May 2019, 10am, Room TBC: Questions on Aristotle’s Physics, qq. 67-77

17 May 2019, 10am, Room TBC: General Principles of Natural Beings (Communia naturalium) I, 2, dist. 1, §1-4; dist. 2, §1

31 May 2019, 10am, Room TBC: General Principles of Natural Beings (Communia naturalium) I, 2, dist. 2, §5-6; dist. 3, §1; 3

14 June 2019, 10am, Room TBC: On the Multiplication of Species I, §1-2

28 June 2019, 10am, Room TBC: On the Multiplication of Species I, §3-4

12 June 2019, 10am, Room TBC: General Remarks

~ Editions of Texts ~

Roger Bacon, Quaestiones supra libros octo Physicorum Aristotelis, ed. Delorme, Oxford 1935. English translation provided.

Roger Bacon, Communia naturalium, I, ed. Steele, Oxford 1911. English translation provided.

Roger Bacon, De multiplicatione specierum, ed. Lindberg, Roger Bacon’s Philosophy of Nature, Oxford 1983.

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