IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 744: Medieval Theology and the Modern Historian

Tuesday 4 July 2017, 14.15-15.45

Organiser:Conor O'Brien, Churchill College, University of Cambridge
Moderator/Chair:Mayke de Jong, Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Universiteit Utrecht
Paper 744-aWhat Did Bede Really Think of Kings?
(Language: English)
Conor O'Brien, Churchill College, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Language and Literature - Latin, Political Thought, Theology
Paper 744-bThe Carolingians, Trinitarian Complexity, and Contemporary Scholarship: Rounding up Some Other Suspects
(Language: English)
Zachary Guiliano, Westcott House, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature - Latin, Theology
Paper 744-cA Person without a Soul?: Using Theology to Understand De generatione hominis
(Language: English)
Elaine Flowers, Faculty of Theology & Religion, University of Oxford
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Medicine, Theology

Historians know of the difficulties presented by hagiography, but the challenges posed by other theological sources remain under-examined. This session addresses both how studying medieval theology enriches the understanding of modern historians and some of the problems it raises. O’Brien investigates how Bede’s exegetical writings can help reconstruct his views on kingship, challenging the evidence of Bede’s most famous work: his Historia ecclesiastica. Guiliano suggests that scholars’ association of Charlemagne’s reign with the introduction of the ‘filioque’ into the Nicene Creed obscures sophisticated Carolingian investigation into Trinitarian doctrine. Smith asks whether we can discuss medieval religious controversy without igniting modern religious sensitivities, examining an attempt to discuss the burning of the Talmud in Paris in 1242 in front of a Christian and Jewish audience. Through a case study of the Anglo-Saxon birth prognostic text De generatione hominis, Flowers assesses the opportunities and obstacles that face the historian when using theological works to understand the more puzzling aspects of the medical Middle Ages.