- Proceedings of the patristic, medieval, and Renaissance Conference (vol. 12/13 — 1987/1988) (review)
- Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Inc.)
- Volume 9, Number 1, June 1991
- pp. 176-177
- View Citation
- Additional Information
176 Reviews Proceedings of the patristic, medieval, and Renaissance Conference (vol. 12/13 - 1987/1988), Villanova, Augustinian Historical Institute, 1989; pp. ii, 279; R. R. P. ? This volume brings together papers from the twelfth and thirteenth annual international conferences on patristic, medieval and Renaissance Studies sponsored by the Augustinian Historical Institute of Vdlanova University. The two general sessions at the 1987 conference were devoted to themes in Augustine. Thus R. A. Markus writes on pride and the common good in the De Civitate Dei and Jaroslav Pelikan discusses Augustine's trinitarian hermeneutics in a paper which focuses on the much neglectedfirstpart of the De Trinitate. Topics in Shakespeare provide a rather different focus for the two corresponding sessions at the 1988 conference. Jill E. Levenson treats of dramatic and poetic forms in Romeo and Juliet interpreted as a 'tragical-comicallyrical history'. Jeanne Addison Roberts considers the portrayal of women in Shakespeare in terms of the ancient triple Hecate 'with her aspects of the virginal Diana, the maternal Juno or Lucina, and Proserpina, goddess of the underworld'. To these leading papers are added sixteen others on a variety of topics. While one cannot look for much unity in a collection of this sort, it is worth noting that there are two other papers with an Augustinian focus: F. Van Fletteren on themes in the De Trinitate and D. F. Donnelly on an obscure seventeenth-century tribute to Augustine. Furthermore, I. Dobbs-Weinstein's account of Maimonides on the nature of biblical language fits in well with Pelikan's paper. Feminist themes, developed in Roberts' paper on Shakespeare, emerge in some other papers in different contexts, notably in Christine ClarkEvans ' discussion of reading and writing in the Renaissance poetry of Pemette Du Gudlet and Louise Labe" and in Albrecht Classen's account of royal women in Middle High German romances. Papers on Plotinus and Ibn Gabirol, Renaissance cartography, scholastic traditions in the fourteenth century, Rhineland mysticism, Chaucer's version of the Man of Law's Tale, the fragmentary old English Life of St Christopher, and the story of Pilate in a number of Old Norse-Icelandic manuscripts, contribute to the variety of the coUection (without exhausting it). Nothing in this collection is outstanding, but there are many good papers and none that are bad so far as I can judge. Anyone with an interest across the patristic, medieval, and Renaissancefieldsis bound to find a good number of instructive papers. Philosophers are particularly well served in having Kevin Corrigan's very good paper on theories of matter in Plotinus and Ibn Gabirol, C. Ocker's guide to scholastic traditions in the fourteenth century, and the papers on Augustine and Maimonides. The four papers from the plenary sessions of the conference are all of considerable interest as might be expected. I wiU say a concluding word about the papers on Augustine by Markus and Pelikan. Reviews 111 PeUkan's treatment of Augustine's canonical rule (or rules) of interpretation in relation to the doctrine of the Trinity is both learned and accessible. But, in a short paper, Augustine's blend of confident theological affirmation on the one hand and negation on the other (to speak of God is 'to think things unspeakable') is not subjected to much critical analysis. It is not clear that a negative or apophatic theologian can speak quite so positively about the divine as Augustine does. R. A. Markus' paper deals with themes of intense interest in Augustine's social and political thought: the legitimacy of the respublica, the nature of political obligation, the significance of social and pubhc life, pride of empire as the vehicle of oppression at the expense of peace and justice, pride in the individual as the isolation of self from community and the desire for private goals at the expense of sociability and the common good. This is an excellent paper which is aU too short. Paul Crittenden Department of General Philosophy University of Sydney Tracey, James D., Holland under Habsburg rule, 1506-1566: the formation of a body politic, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990; cloth; pp. ix, 330; 4 maps, 12 tables; R. R. P. US$45.00. This is a prologue to...