University of Rochester
Ferrari Humanities Symposia

Reformations in Western Thought

SYMPOSIUM FOCUS WEEK (April 8–11, 2013)

Diarmaid MacCullochDiarmaid MacCulloch, University of Oxford

Keynote Address: "Toleration in Reformation Europe: Laughter Versus Tidy-Mindedness"
April 10, 4:00pm, Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush-Rhees Library
The Role of Religion in Contemporary Culture
A conversation with Diarmaid MacCulloch moderated by Russell A. Peck, John Hall Deane Professor of English
April 9, 7:00 pm, Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Avenue

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford (since 1997) and Fellow (formerly Senior Tutor) of St Cross College, Oxford (since 1995). He studied history at Churchill College, Cambridge, where he obtained a BA degree in 1972 and an MA degree in 1976. During that period, he was also organ scholar at the college. He then completed a Diploma in Archive Administration at Liverpool University in 1973 and then returned to Cambridge to complete a PhD degree in Tudor history in 1977.

MacCulloch was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He furthermore received a DD degree at the University of Oxford. His book Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490–1700 (2003) won the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2004 British Academy Book Prize, adding to his earlier success in carrying off the 1996 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Thomas Cranmer: A Life. His History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, was published in September 2009 with a related 6-part television series called A History of Christianity, which first aired on BBC 4 in 2009 and then on BBC 2 and BBC 4 in 2010. The book won McGill University's Cundill Prize, a $75,000 award which is the largest history book prize in the world. In 2012, he wrote and presented How God Made the English, a three-part documentary series, tracing the history of English identity from the Dark Ages to the present day.


Susan SchreinerSusan Schreiner, University of Chicago

"'God Promised not to let me err': experience, certainty, and authority in the Reformation"
February 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Hawkins-Carlson Room

Professor of the History of Christianity and Theology in the Divinity School
M.Div. (Harvard University), Ph.D. (Duke University)

Susan Schreiner is an historian of early modern Europe (14-16th centuries). Her research and teaching interests include the Protestant Reformation, early modern Catholicism, and the Renaissance. Her first book, The Theater of His Glory, examined John Calvin’s understanding of creation, providence, and the created order. Her second book, Where Shall Wisdom be Found? Calvin’s exegesis of Job from medieval and Modern Perspectives analyzes the history of the interpretation of Job in such figures as Gregory the Great, Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and modern figures such as Jung, MacLeish, and Kafka. Her most recent book, Are You Alone Wise? The Search for Certainty in the Early Modern Era, focuses on the various epistemological and theological debates from Ockham to Shakespeare, including Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Münster, Franck, Hubmaier, Teresa of Avila, Montaigne and Shakespeare. Her courses include: Readings in Luther, Luther and the Old Testament, Calvin’s Institutes, Renaissance and Reformation, The Problem with Time, Seminar: Luther, Montaigne, and Shakespeare, and Early Modern Catholicism.

James SimpsonJames Simpson, Harvard University

Taking Liberties: Why and When “liberties” became “Liberty” in Early Modern England
March 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Hawkins-Carlson Room

James Simpson is the Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English at Harvard University (2004-). He was formerly based at the University of Cambridge, where he was a University Lecturer in English (1989-1999) and Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English (1999-2003). He is a Life Fellow of Girton College and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Prof. Simpson was educated at Scotch College Melbourne, Melbourne University (BA) and the University of Oxford (MPhil). He holds a doctorate from the University of Cambridge. His books include: Piers Plowman: An Introduction to the B-Text (Longman, 1990) (second, revised edition, 2007); Sciences and the Self in Medieval Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 1995); Reform and Cultural Revolution, volume 2 in the Oxford English Literary History (Oxford University Press, 2002) (winner of the British Academy Sir Israel Gollancz Prize, 2007); and Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents(Harvard University Press, 2007). His book Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition was recently published by Oxford University Press (2010).

Relevant Fall semester courses:

Spring semester course:

CAS 131, "Reformatio: Reformations in Western Thought"

The Reformation—the 16th-century schism in Christianity—led to bloody warfare and profound changes in both religious and secular thought. The Reformation was responsible not only for the rise of Protestantism, but also for the corresponding Catholic Counter-Reformation. Equally important, however, are the technological, social, political, and economic changes that the Reformation helped usher in. Among the many advances associated with the Reformation are those in science, medicine, law, art, education, and moral and ethical thought. Furthermore, the new Christian sects contributed to the visibility of women as preachers and as religious leaders.

This 2-credit course, which begins immediately after spring break, is taught by 10 faculty members from the departments of English, History, Modern Languages and Cultures, Philosophy, and Religion and Classics. This interdisciplinary investigation of the religions, history, politics and philosophy of the Reformation will also examine the Counter-Reformation and the heresy that some found modern science to be. Students will have the option of registering for additional credit and pursuing further research.


About the Ferrari Humanities Symposia

Bernard T. Ferrari, M.D. ’70, ’74M (MD) and Linda Gaddis Ferrari established the Ferrari Humanities Symposia to broaden the liberal education of the University’s undergraduates, enhance the experience of graduate students, and expand the connections of University faculty with other scholars from around the world. The Ferrari Humanities Symposia includes a lecture to be held each academic year by a visiting senior scholar of humanistic thought with an emphasis on the Renaissance period, an intensive short course taught by faculty members from across the University, and focused study in reading groups and similar endeavors.