Our new publication from the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ‘A thirteenth-century theory of speech‘, introduced by its principal author, Joshua Harvey…
As we come to the end of the OxNet Access Summer School the students on Ordered Universe strand have been working very hard across the week with the three treatises by Grosseteste that we read through collaboratively. On the Impressions of the Elements, On the Six Differentiae, and On the Rainbow find Grosseteste at his most intriguing, and in some sense difficult. Approaching these texts is a complex exercise; the complexity itself is a significant part of why the Ordered Universe methodology works through bringing lots of disciplinary perspectives together. The historical context has to be borne in mind – who was Grosseteste, where was he, who was he writing for; the source-base for which he was working and his access to particular works – when, for example, did he encounter Ibn Rushd/Averroes? when did he extended journey through Aristotle’s natural philosophy begin?; what are the phenomena he studies, and why?. How Grosseteste made his investigations took place is another area with a whole series of questions implied, what, for instance did optics mean for Grosseteste? why is astrology in his period sometimes approved of, sometimes condemned?, why does his universe have the shape and structure that he does? And to that we can add both the nature and understanding of the phenomena that he studies – what is a rainbow? colour? sound? a comet?
And the Access students, very much as part of the project, have taken a collaborative approach, and offered their own interpretations, analyses, and insights – some of which were entirely new to the team members teaching this week. As an example of what university research can be (amongst its may and varied and exciting forms) the project is well suited to capture the imagination. What has been so much more encouraging is the way that the students have responded – taking the past on its own terms, seeking out its different values, but at the same time using all of their prior experience, and skills, asking different questions, and trying to answer them, to see the research exercise as a whole. It is an enriching environment, and one that we hope will inspire future directions and choices – and horizon broadening!
As part of the preparations for the second volume in our series, various members of the Ordered Universe team gathered towards the end of July at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, hosted by Tom McLeish. This was a different sort of meeting for the group from our collaborative reading and translating symposia. This time we met to share progress on chapter and section writing for the new volume, and to plan in more detail how sections might knit together, be juxtaposed, and how different interpretations and analyses of the same text might best sit together. Continue reading
A quick update on Ordered Universe and related publications: we were delighted to see the Compotus by Grosseteste, edited and translated by Philipp Nothaft and Alfred Lohr make its appliance earlier this year. To this we will be able to the first volume of our series on the other scientific works. Knowing and Speaking Continue reading
It has been a busy summer season already for the Ordered Universe project. July began with the International Medieval Congress at Leeds. An annual gathering for medievalists, and one of the largest, busiest, and most dynamic in the field, the congress took as its 2019 theme ‘Materialities’. Which suited the project very well. A series of four sessions and a round-table were proposed and accepted – all on Tuesday 2nd July. Tom McLeish, Nicola Polloni, and Francesca Galli led off on Grosseteste and light, from considerations of his view on matter, to light and preaching manuals, and the treatises On Light and On the Six Differentiae. The second session featured Hannah Smithson and Giles Gasper on different aspects of sight and optics, covering the treatises On Colour, On the Rainbow, On the Liberal Arts, On Lines and Angles and On the Nature of Places, as well as some of Grosseteste’s Dicta.
After lunch our third session involved Brian Tanner, Philipp Nothaft, and Anne Mathers on comets, Grosseteste’s Compotus, and weather prediction. The new edition of the Compotus is out and available from OUP, and other booksellers! Anne also has a new book on medieval meteorology out with CUP soon. The fourth and final session focused on Grosseteste and sound, with Joshua Harvey and Sigbjørn Sønnesyn, exploring the experimental and source critical aspects to On the Generation of Sounds. So, we covered quite a lot of Grosseteste’s scientific corpus!
Our final presentation was a round-table, chaired by Tom McLeish, and involving representatives of the wide range of disciplines that compose the project: Laura Cleaver (Art History), Brian Tanner (Physics), Cate Watkinson (Glass Art), Clive Siviour (Engineering), and Giles Gasper (History). A wide-ranging discussion of the implications of inter- or multi-disciplinarity, the evolution of the project, outputs and experience, and the delight that we all share in learning more about each other’s work and insights, the past, and the world around us. Thank you very much to all of the participants, the audiences for talks and round-tables, and the IMC for selecting our proposals! More to come soon…
Watch Tom McLeish talking through Grosseteste on Colour and the Rainbow at the Royal College of Art, for a conference on Colour through Time: Enjoy!
News on the first volume of six from the Ordered Universe presenting the scientific works of Robert Grosseteste. The first volume is avialable for pre-order from both the Oxford University Press website and at Amazon (UK and others). The first volume has a shipping weight of 739 grams and is 640 pages in total, and features 19 co-authors (it is not an edited volume but a co-authored monograph, under the aegis of Ordered Continue reading
As followers of the Ordered Universe will know the project will be represented in four sessions and a round-table at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds. All sessions take place on Tuesday 2nd July, and work around the conference theme of materiality. We move from the physics of light and dimensions of materiality, to theories of vision, Continue reading
The medieval ecclesiastical calendar rested on the foundation of two interlocking calendrical cycles, which were represented by the Julian calendar, with its 28-year cycle of weekdays, and by a 19-year cycle of ‘epacts’ for tracking the phases of the Moon. Monks and clerics who sought to learn more about the scientific background of these cycles, or simply to familiarize themselves with their use, could do so by turning to books Continue reading
Our next Ordered Universe symposium, the eighth under the aegis of our current funding from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, and 24th overall in a series stretching now over a decade, takes place 13-16 May, at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincon. It has been a fascinating journey, and from tomorrow, we broach the two treatises remaining for all of Grosseteste’s shorter scientific works to have been edited, translated, and patiently and collaboratively read. On Lines, Angles, and Shapes, and On the Nature of Places, brings the canon to its completion, with reading on-going for On the Movement of Celestial Bodies, and a final read-through of On Bodily Motion and Light. Two symposia remain for our current sequence which will revise the latest treatises and revist On Colour and On the Rainbow.
The programme for the symposium is available for downloand here and online:
It is a great pleasure to be back at Bishop Grosseteste University. BGU has been a fabulous partner, supporter, and advocate for the Ordered Universe project, principally through the energy and tremendous good offices of Dr Jack Cunningham. We will look forwad to the hospitality and welcome at BGU, and getting on to the most stimulating experience of collaborative reading and exploring the world of early 13th century science.