Oct. 21, 1999
Vol. 19 No. 3

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    Medieval Studies conference to focus on role of bishops in medieval Europe

    By Arthur Fournier
    News Office

    The University of Chicago Medieval Studies Workshop will host an international conference devoted to bishops, an elite who played a varied and far-reaching role in Europe’s religious, social and political life.

    Historians agree on the pivotal contribution bishops made in early medieval Europe. At Chicago, scholars from numerous disciplines and with varied regional interests will come together to discuss their research and exchange ideas on episcopal ideals and realities in 10th- and 11th-century Europe.

    The conference, Genus Regale et Sacerdotale: The Image of the Bishop Around the Millennium, will address the conception of the bishop in the years between 900 and 1050, a period of dramatic change. The forum also will provide an unprecedented occasion in North America to examine comprehensively the changing function and significance of the bishop during this period. The sources and methods represented at the conference will reflect the whole of contemporary discourse on bishops and their own self-expression in politics, historiography, law, theology, sacred and secular ritual, the arts, architecture and literature.

    Scholars of all levels and from both sides of the Atlantic will come together for three days of presentations. Each day of the conference will begin at 9 a.m. with a keynote lecture by an eminent senior academic.

    • Arnold Angenendt, professor of medieval and modern church history at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universitäts, Münster, Germany, will deliver a lecture titled “Between Authority and Charisma: The Bishop as Vir Dei” on Thursday, Oct. 28. Angenendt is the author of numerous articles and monographs on the history of the early medieval church. He has taught and researched at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton.
    • Hiltrud Westermann-Angerhausen, director of the Schnütgen-Museum in Cologne––one of Germany’s leading museums of medieval art––will present “How Egbert of Trier Would Have Liked to Appear: Role Models of an Ottonian Patron” on Friday, Oct. 29. Westermann-Angerhausen is an expert on the history of medieval art from the early and high Middle Ages.
    • Michael Parisse of the Université de Paris I-Sorbonne, France, will deliver the lecture “The Bishop Around the Year 1000: Prince and Prelate” on Saturday, Oct. 30. Parisse is a leading scholar of the history of medieval France. He is an author, editor and translator of numerous texts on the history of the medieval aristocracy, religious communities and the Church.

    “The community of medievalists here at the University is delighted to be hosting such a renowned group of scholars,” said Sean Gilsdorf, conference organizer. “The remarkable response to the conference, like the dynamism of our Medieval Studies Workshop and the recent hiring of medievalists in many departments, speaks volumes about the strength and interdisciplinary vitality of Medieval Studies at Chicago,” he added.

    Michael Allen, Assistant Professor in Classical Languages & Literatures, will introduce Angenendt at the conference. Allen, a medieval paleographer and Latinist who came to the University in 1996, said Angenendt’s visit to Chicago is evidence of how successful the Medieval Studies Workshop has been in advancing Medieval Studies at the University. “Eminent scholars in the field are coming to recognize the workshop’s commitment to producing dialogue between the associated disciplines that comprise medieval studies,” he said. “The Medieval Studies Workshop really exemplifies and institutionalizes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the Middle Ages.”

    Genus Regale et Sacerdotale: The Image of the Bishop around the Millennium has been made possible by support from the Divinity School, the Humanities Division and The Franke Institute for the Humanities.

    Conference events will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30, in Swift Hall, 1025 E. 58th St. Conference sessions are free and open to the public.

    For more information, call (773) 702- 4562 or visit the Medieval Studies Workshop Web page at http://humanities.uchicago.edu/medieval/bishops/.