The purpose and point of learning were questions that kept Grosseteste awake at night and dominate his surviving writings. From the treatise on the liberal arts, the first paragraph of which stresses the place of the arts in leading human operations to perfection by correcting the, to the sermons, dicta and later theological writings, the ends to which learning are directed are never far from the surface of Grosseteste’s thought. In this he was hardly unique, although his questions and reflections provoke particular interest. As Sigbjørn Sønnesyn showed in his fascinating seminar to the Durham Medieval Thought Seminar, the ways in which twelfth century western thinkers raised questions on the purpose of learning were connected intimately to their knowledge of, and engagement with, ancient models and lived experience in community. Continue reading
Sigbjørn Sønnesyn will be delivering a talk in Durham this week, on subjects related to the background to Grosseteste’s intellectual formation. Speaking in the Medieval Mind Lecture Series organised by Dr Thomas Ball and Dr Sara Uckelman, of the Philosophy Department at Durham, Sigbjørn’s paper is entitled:
‘Words Incarnate: Spirituality, Experience and Epistemology in Twelfth-Century Thought’.
The talk takes place on Thursday 28th January in Engineering Room 102, between 15.00 and 16.30. All are welcome, for what is sure to be a fascinating discussion of 12th century knowledge and conceptual frameworks. And all very much relevant to the later pastoral, preaching and intellectual projects of Grosseteste. If you are in Durham or environs, we’d be delighted to see you.