About Monastic Sciences

The Leeds Monasticism Conference will be held this year at the University of Leeds, West Yorkshire on the 8-9 May 2015. The title for the event is ‘Monastic Sciences: Medicina, Mechanica, Philosophia.

Personification of Geometry teaching students (BL Burney 275 f. 293r.)

Personification of Geometry teaching students (BL Burney 275 f. 293r.)

Each year this conference concentrates on a different aspect of the religious enterprise, inviting fresh perspectives on how those in consecrated life conducted their professed mission(s). The focus for the upcoming event is the way that religious life, particularly monasticism, accommodated what in the modern world is termed ‘science’. The monks and other religious of medieval Europe were in a privileged position to study humanity’s interaction with the natural world, and did so by pursuing a great and varied range of disciplines, notably those pertaining to medicine (medicina), technology (ars mechanica), and the rationalisation of the natural world (philosophia; philosophia naturalis). The exact definition of fields, disciplines and areas of expertise we leave to the speakers and delegates, but we believe that the proffered themes provide a solid base from which to begin.

We hope that scholars studying the Middle Ages (and beyond) will come together to discuss the contributions which the religious made to these various forms of knowledge, how their religious vocation(s) informed their theories and practices, and what differences emerged between secular and religious understanding of these disciplines.

For more information on specific topics/questions we covered by the conference please refer to our call for papers via the link below.

Monastic Sciences 8-9 May 2015

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