Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies Symposium. Symposiarchs: Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Brown University and Margaret Mullett, Dumbarton Oaks
Byzantine culture was notably attuned to a cosmos of multiple domains: material, immaterial; bodily, intellectual, physical, spiritual; human, divine. Despite a prevailing discourse to the contrary, the Byzantine world found its bridges between domains most often in sensory modes of awareness. These different domains were concretely perceptible; further, they were encountered daily amidst the mundane no less than the exalted. Icons, incense, music, sacred architecture, ritual activity; saints, imperial families, persons at prayer; hymnography, ascetical or mystical literature: in all of its cultural expressions, the Byzantines excelled in highlighting the intersections between human and divine realms through sensory engagement (whether positive or negative).
Byzantinists have been slow to look at the operations of the senses in Byzantium, especially those of seeing, its relation to the other senses, and phenomenological approaches in general. More recently work on smell and hearing has followed, and yet the areas of taste and touch—the most universal and the most necessary of the senses—are still largely uncharted. Nor has much been done to explore how Byzantines viewed the senses, or how they envisaged the sensory interactions with their world. A map of the connections between of sense-perceptions and other processes (of perception, memory, visualization) in the Byzantine brain has still to be sketched out. How did the Byzantines describe, narrate or represent the senses at work? It is hoped to further studies of the operations of individual senses in Byzantium in the context of all the senses, and their place in what the Byzantines thought about perception and cognition. Recent work on dreaming, on memory and on the emotions has made advances possible, and collaborative experiments between Byzantinists and neurological scientists open further approaches. The happy coincidence of a Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Landscape symposium on ‘Senses in the landscape: non-visual experiences’ and of a forthcoming exhibition at the Walters Art Museum on the five senses enable some cross-cultural comparisons to be made involving gardens in Islamic Spain, Hebrew hymnography, Syriac wine-poetry, Mediterranean ordure, and Romanesque and Gothic precious objects—that were not just looked at but also touched, smelled, heard. Architects, musicologists, art historians, archaeologists, philologists, all can contribute approaches to the revelation of the Byzantine sensorium.
The international conference Exegetical Crossroads –Understanding Scripture in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the Medieval Orient will focus on the mutual influences between the three exegetical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It aims at uncovering the traces of rich exchange between Near Eastern religious communities and disclosing its impact on the scriptural interpretations in the medieval period. Highly recognized experts on Church History, Oriental studies, Judaic Studies, Theology and Medieval History will present their research findings from different perspectives.
The conference is organized by the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in cooperation with the University of Münster and the University of Marburg and will be the initial part of an international conference series.
Lives, Relics, and Beneficial Tales in Byzantium and Beyond, a conference organized in honor of John Duffy, Emeritus Professor of Byzantine Philology and Literature in the Department of the Classics at Harvard University, and Senior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection
Harvard University November 8–9, 2013
The conference will take place at Harvard on Friday, November 8, and Saturday, November 9. The event is free and open to the public. In addition to the 10 scheduled papers, there will be a celebratory reception at the Harvard Faculty Club on Friday, November 8, from 5:30-7 p.m, where all participants are warmly invited to join us in raising a glass to John, a valued scholar and teacher in the field of Byzantine Studies, and a much-loved member of the Harvard community.
To monitor any updates or changes to the schedule, please check the website of the Department of the Classics at Harvard, where final program information will be available closer to the event through the "announcements" sidebar.
- Emmanuel Bourbouhakis (Princeton University) - "Romancing the Saints: Is There Such a Thing as Fictional Hagiography?"
- Panagiotis Roilos (Harvard University) - “Saintly Simplicity and Rhetorical Opulence: Writing Hagiography in the Komnenian Renaissance”
- Sarah Insley Say (Brown University) - “‘Those who teach in love’: Modeling Asceticism in The Lausiac History”
- Saskia Dirkse (Harvard University and Dumbarton Oaks) - “The Posthumous Experiences of Bodies in the Early Byzantine Religious Tales”
- Michael Zellmann-Rohrer (University of California, Berkeley) - "'The Jewish Boy Legend' and its Variants in Byzantium and Beyond"
- Ivan Drpic (University of Washington and Dumbarton Oaks) - “Manuel I Komnenos and the Stone of Unction”
- Ioli Kalavrezou (Harvard University) - "Bread for the Liturgy: Images of Controversy"
- Stratis Papaioannou (Brown University) - “A Performance in the Church of the Virgin at Chalkoprateia”
- Alice-‐Mary Talbot (Dumbarton Oaks) - “The Four Lives of St. Maximos the Hutburner"
- Nikos Panou (Brown University) - "Sovereignty and the Sacred in Post-Byzantine Hagiography"
The Transformation of Romanness: Regions & Identities, an international conference
October 29–31, 2013
Institut für Mittelalterforschung (Seminar Room, Ground Floor)
Wohllebengasse 12-14 - Vienna
The program looks great. Papers of particular interest to Byzantinists include
- Annick Peters-Custot, Between Rome and Constantinople: the Romanness of Byzantine Southern Italy (9th-11th centuries)
- Roland Steinacher, Staying and Becoming Roman as well as the Other Way Round: Africa in the First Millennium
- Johannes Koder, Remarks on the Linguistic Romanness in Byzantium
- Ioannis Stouraitis, "Byzantine Romanness: Ethnic, National or Class Identity?
- Jack TannouS, Romanness in Arabic and Syriac Sources in Late Antique/Early Islamic Syria
- Bernhard Palme, Rhomaioi, Hellenes, and Barbaroi in Late Antique Egypt
ICONEA 2013. The Reliability of Transmission in Musical Theory texts from Ancient World Sources to Present Day: Mesopotamia, Ancient Turkey, the Levant, Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Byzantium and the Occident and beyond
University of London, Senate House. December 4–6
Speakers include Piotr Michalovski (University of Michigan), The Travails of a Tradition: Continuity and Change in Mesopotamian Texts Concerning Music, Leon Crickmore (Indendent Scholar), Mind your p’s and q’s! Is Plimpton 322 Musical?, Irving Finkel (The British Museum), From Babylonia to Greece, and Richard Dumbrill (University of London), Comparative evidence analysis of Greek and Babylonian texts.
The Edict of Milan and its Context, a round table
American Research Center in Sofia, 75 Vasil Petleshkov Str. in the Hadji Dimitar district. October 25 from 10:00am–5:30pm
The “Edict of Milan”, overseen by Constantine the Great, was one of the earliest decrees to legalize Christianity and to return confiscated property to Christians in the Roman Empire. The round table commemorating the 1700th anniversary of the “Edict of Milan” is hosted by the American Research Center in Sofia and organized by the Orbita Byzantina Foundation.
Complete program here.
À la suite de Paul Lemerle - L’humanisme byzantin et les études sur le XIe siècle quarante ans après, an international collquium
October 23-26, 2013
Collège de France (Salle Lévi-Strauss)
52 rue du Cardinal Lemoine - Paris 5e
Complete program here.