Lincoln – Annual Grosseteste Day 2016

Friday 7th October saw the the Annual Grosseteste Day lecture at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln, on Friday 7th October. In succession to another Ordered Universe stalwart, Michael Huxtable, whose tour of Grosseteste’s rich and layered Anglo-Norman poem the Chateau d’Amour was the subject of the 2015 lecture, Giles Gasper explored the second of Grosseteste’s scientific treatises, the De generatione sonorum – On the Generation of Sounds. The occasion was a double celebration since it marked the formal book launch of the volume of essays deriving from the International Grosseteste Society Conference, which took place at BGU in 2014. Edited by Jack Cunningham and Mark Hocknull, Robert Grosseteste and the Pursuit of Religious and Scientific Learning in the Middle Ages is published by Springer, and represents an exciting range of essays, from Grosseteste and Bacon, to modern scientists’ engagement with medieval thought (with several members of the Ordered Universe included).

The lecture Sounding a Sonativum presented some of the Ordered Universe’s latest research on the treatise, especially on the context, dating and wonder intellectual environment of Grosseteste’s work. Where he was, perhaps, when it was composed, how the treatise engages with Aristotle’s treatise On the Soul, and comparison to contemporaries, are all questions whose consideration are central to the interpretation of Grosseteste’s methods and evolving interests. Interest in the soul and its capacities was an interest he shared with others of the period, although Grosseteste is unusual in the focus he gives to sounds. The density of the text, its range of reference, and subtle testing of written authorities and Grosseteste’s own thinking, came through once more. The question session was very lively, insightful and instructive, and from a full audience!  The lecture was filmed, and will be available online soon. It was an enormous privilege to give the lecture for the annual Grosseteste Day, and to be back at BGU, which has given considerable and very valuable support to the project. It was exciting to learn also about new ventures at BGU on the educational front and a project in pilot stages which will  use Grosseteste’s thinking as a springboard for modern pedagogical thinking. Watch this space.

The book launch was very moving, and it was excellent to see some of the contributors, as well as Mark and Jack – Brian Tanner, Tom McLeish, Angelo Silverstri and Dómnall McGinley. It was a great testament to Jack Cunningham that the volume was so smoothly and swiftly (for Arts and Humanities) produced. The whole occasion was marvellously organised by Jack and the BGU team, and we look forward, very much, to the next Ordered Universe symposium there in 2018.

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