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Metaphysics of Conversion from Late Antiquity to Early Modernity Research Seminar at McGill

When Jul 28, 2018 09:30 AM to
Aug 25, 2018 05:15 PM
Where Birks Building, McGill University
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Seminar leaders:

Torrance Kirby, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, School of Religious Studies, McGill University
Douglas Hedley, Professor of Hermeneutics and Metaphysics, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge


Sponsored by The Early Modern Conversions Project, McGill University, and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Metaphysics of Conversion from Late Antiquity to Early Modernity” is a monthlong summer research seminar that will address conversion by focusing on the theme of the anagogy of soul and cosmos in the western intellectual tradition. The seminar will explore conversion not only as a philosophical and religious phenomenon, but also as an approach to early modern thinking about hermeneutics, psychology, and cosmology. In particular we will seek to examine the sources of Renaissance and Early Modern thought (e.g. of Nicholas Cusanus, Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Desiderius Erasmus, Descartes, and the Cambridge Platonists) in the philosophia perennis of Antiquity (Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Proclus). The key premise of the seminar is that the western intellectual tradition constitutes a continuous unfolding conversation within which ‘conversion’ provides an underlying concept of critical significance.

Usually meeting on weekday afternoons, the seminar will include discussions of readings and analysis of various philosophical and literary sources as participants work on refining their own projects. Participants will be invited to make presentations of their research. Fieldtrips during the seminar will include a visit to the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Benoit-du-Lac.

Seminars will be held at the School of Religious Studies in the Birks Building. McGill offers helpful resources for research and study including the McLennan Library and the Birks Reading Room. There are additional accessible research facilities at Concordia University, Université de Montréal, and the Jesuit Archives at Collège Ste-Marie.


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