Interpretive Conflations: Exegesis and the Arts in the Middle Ages. Nov. 7-9, 2013

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University of British Columbia
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Deadline for submission of an abstract: 15 September 2012

Biblical exegesis, though at the centre of the intellectual enterprise in the Middle Ages, is often neglected by modern scholars since it is primarily seen as a vehicle of theological thought. We contend, however, that biblical exegesis had a much more profound effect: it created the hermeneutic system for the Middle Ages and its influence was pervasive. Medieval scholars or artists trained on biblical exegesis would not abandon these thought-patterns when they composed or read other texts such as epics, hagiography, or historiography, regardless of whether these texts were written in Latin or the vernacular; nor did medieval artists neglect the hermeneutical patterns of exegesis when they turned to other endeavours such as painting, sculpture, or even music. Conversely, biblical exegesis was not exclusionary, but admitted secular, even pagan, literature as supporting material for its interpretation of the Bible, or made
reference to historiography and even grammars.

The workshop will explore this interrelationship between biblical exegesis on the one hand and other medieval artistic products on the other. We invite papers that deal with the influence of biblical exegesis on other forms of medieval art, and with the influence of these other forms of art on exegesis. Papers that examine the interrelationship between Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist exegetical works and other artistic endeavours will also be welcome. All papers should remain within the time frame of the Middle Ages, i.e. approximately from 400 to 1500.

Given the multidisciplinary audience who will be in attendance at this workshop, we invite interested scholars to submit both a paper proposal (300 words) and a brief introductory statement placing their topic in the context of the medieval world and medieval studies more broadly. Participants at the workshop will also be expected to provide such introductory context in their papers at the time of delivery. There will be a time limit of 20 minutes per paper.

Please submit an electronic copy to Professor Gernot Wieland, UBC English (