Meetings 2015

Seminar: 7 Dec 2015, 7-9 pm St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park, CA

  • Members night: share with us what you've been working on, what you've been reading, or where you've been traveling.

Seminar: 9 Nov 2015, 7-9 pm St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park, CA

  • Christina Smith: The depiction of music and musical instruments on misericords in England

Medieval Matters: 14 Oct 2015, 7:30pm Stanford, CA (event info)

  • DAVID NIRENBERG: Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism Medieval and Modern
  • The long history of multi-religious communities in Europe has revealed a great deal about the significance of social contact and lived experience for shaping identity and perception. The various religious cultures conceived differently while being part of the same larger geographical space in earlier centuries. Detailed investigations reveal the nuanced and complex treatment of minorities by the Christian majority in late medieval Spain, showing especially how violence serves to formalize, maintain, and even reaffirm power imbalances.
  • In his brilliant and widely praised book, AntiJudaism: The Western Tradition, David Nirenberg has convincingly demonstrated how crucial Judaism has been to the formulation of Western thought and society broadly, partly by promulgating ideas that perpetuate a hatred and suspicion of Judaism. In this lecture, Nirenberg will discuss his latest book, Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism Medieval and Modern, which raises critically important insights into the complicated interdependence of the three religions—the conversations, conversions, vitality, and violence involved in their long histories.
  • David Nirenberg is Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Social Thought and Dean of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. He specializes in an interdisciplinary approach to religious history, focusing particularly on the complex interrelationships of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. He received a PhD from Princeton.

Potluck: 26 Sept 2015 Kreigh home

Seminar: 18 May 2015, 7-9 pm St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park, CA

  • Update on the Salisbury Cathedral library -- ELAINE TREHARNE (Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities Professor of English, Stanford. Co-Director of the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS))
  • In addition to her regular duties as a Stanford professor and program chair, Elaine is one of the key advisors to the Dean of Salisbury and the Salisbury Cathedral Library, helping to bring the Library into the 21st Century. This year she designed and taught one of the very first humanities courses offered as a MOOC through Stanford Online. This summer she will lead a travel study course for undergraduates to Salisbury, London and Wales, focusing on the age of Magna Carta. More information:
  • Elaine's Stanford profile page

Medieval Matters Public Lecture: 28 April 2015, 7:30pm, Stanford

Visions and voices: what sense do we make of them? -- TANYA MARIE LUHRMANN (Watkins University Professor of Anthropology, Stanford. Author of When God Talks Back (2012), a NY Times Notable Book and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year; frequent NY Times op-ed contributor)

“I saw an angel close by me, on my left side, in bodily form,” Teresa of Avila recounts in her Autobiography. Medieval and early modern texts are full of accounts of sensory encounters with beings whom many modern readers assume are not materially present. Modern readers might even doubt that the beings exist at all.

We can no longer interview the people who left these records, but a rich understanding of modern experience may shed some light on what they might have seen and heard. Stanford anthropologist Tanya Marie Luhrmann has over three decades of ethnographic and experimental research on the visionary and voice-hearing experiences of people who struggle with psychosis, and also of people who are religious and who have no signs of illness.

Special Collections visit: 19 March 2015, 7-9 pm at Stanford Green Library

JOHN MUSTAIN (Special Collections Librarian): Medieval Treasures and Other Delights. This year's session will feature:

  • a selection of Rudolf Ackerman's color plate books
  • John Gerard's Herbal (1597)
  • Smith's Italy (1817)
  • Horsley's lavishly illustrated history of Roman Britain (1733)
  • Latham's Gardens of Italy
  • Scott's Border Antiquities, and
  • Full color facsimiles of two medieval psalters


Medieval Matters Public Lecture: 25 Feb 2015, Stanford

  • Magna Carta at 800
  • DAVID CARPENTER (Professor of Medieval History, King’s College London) - a leading authority on Britain in the Middle Ages and author of a new translation and history, Magna Carta.
  • and
  • JACK RAKOVE (Professor of History, American Studies & Political Science, Stanford) - Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution.
  • 1215 was a landmark year in England’s constitutional history, when feudal barons forced King John to agree to the charter known as Magna Carta. Magna Carta decreed that taxes were not to be levied without the consent of the kingdom, and it established that no one was to be denied justice. Above all, Magna Carta asserted a fundamental principle: the king was subject to the law.
  • Four centuries later, England’s concepts of liberty were transplanted to the American colonies. Did the Framers have Magna Carta in mind as they crafted the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and our own Bill of Rights?
  • On the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, two noted historians discuss the original context of Magna Carta in medieval England, its legacy down the centuries in Britain, and its role in the founding of the United States.

Seminar: 29 Jan 2015, 7-9 pm at St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park (6-7 brown-bag)

  • ALLAN LANGDALE: Art & architecture of Normal Sicily.
  • During the Middle Ages, Sicily was the crossroads of the Mediterranean. Its art reflects both Western and Eastern influence in surprisingly harmonious styles blending Norman, Byzantine, and Arab designs. This combination is especially well preserved in Palermo, seat of the Norman rulers. More information: Allan's bio and upcoming projects.

Potluck: 10 Jan 2015 Jones's house, Los Altos Hills