I started off Friday morning with Session 244 “Language Matters in the Insular World”. I’m sure the papers were quite good; they got several positive comments but it was way too early in the morning for me to worry about the grammar of dead languages. When they got down to counting participles (pre-present participles vs. post-present participles) in Aldhelm’s poetry, I zoned out. Who ever decided that you can do statistics on grammar has a cruel streak.
Friday afternoon was full of medieval science both sponsored by the 14th century society.
Session 277: Poison and Medicine in the Fourteenth Century
Defining poison, ca 1300-1600 by Frederick Gibbs
Poison and Medicine in the Western World before the Appearance of the Treatises about Poisons (End of the Thirteenth Century) by Franck Collard
Poison, Medicine and the Medieval Apothecary by Marie Kelleher
This session was so packed that more people could not cram into the room. The speakers had to climb over people sitting on the floor to reach the podium! Again, they were all interesting papers. I don’t know enough about the topic to say much more. I think my favorite talk was Kelleher’s on apothecaries.
Session 321: Science and Religion in the Fourteenth Century
Optic Humor(s) and Optic Theology: Opting for God’s Light in Late Medieval Poetry by Josephine Bloomfield
Swooning in Fourteenth Century Medical and Religious Texts by Daniel Thomas Moore
The Physics of Angels in Fourteenth-Century Theology by James Byrne
So I couldn’t pass this one up but its so far out of my usual time period that I really can’t say much about these talks. It was an interesting view into the medieval mind. In the first and third paper the medieval people discussed seemed to be struggling with reconciling religious paradigms of the day with a desire to understand how things work. The second paper talked about attitudes toward fainting (swooning) by religious and medical authorities. And no, apparently they weren’t concerned how many angels can dance on the head of a pin in the medieval period.
Friday evening concert:
Chanterai pour mon courage: Spiritual Renewal in the Time of the Crusades
Anne Azema and Shira Kammen, St Luke’s Episcopal Church, Kalamazoo.
The concert was really soothing and sorrowful. Since I don’t know the languages, I can only get so much out of the music, though they provided a translation. They did a superb job. Hard to believe that someone can sing loud enough to be easily heard throughout the church without a microphone but they did. St Luke’s Episcopal Church is a beautiful church with good acoustics.
Overall it was a good day and surprisingly late medieval for me. Oh well, we go to learn new things right.