Nature and Creation: Reassessing Concepts

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Sara Ritchey and Willemien Otten: Society for the Promotion of Eriugenian Studies
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Nature and Creation in the Middle Ages: Reassessing Concepts

This session examines from a variety of perspectives theological and spiritual discussions about the natural and created world in the twelfth century. While most scholars agree with M.D. Chenu that the social and cultural transformations of the long twelfth century included critical changes in human concepts of nature and the natural, there remains a lack of clarity as to what these changes entailed. Consequently, scholars in medieval studies often appear to be discussing vastly different subjects under the ill-defined category of nature. We seek papers that aim to clarify this nebulous category by exploring premodern definitions and concepts of nature and the created world, as well as distinctions between these two entities. Papers may address key texts, the vocabulary of nature, or continuities and discontinuities among authors such as William of Conches, Hildegard of Bingen, Alain of Lille, Bernard Silvestris, Herrad of Hohenbourg, and others.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 350 words as well as a Participant Information Form ( ) to Sara Ritchey ( and Willemien Otten ( by September 1.