Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Secondly, we would like to announce to you that the University of Leuven, Belgium, is going to hold a conference with the title “Authority Revisited – Towards Thomas More and Erasmus in 1516”. The meeting will take place from the 30th of November to the 3rd of December 2016. Papers are invited on a number of relevant topics (listed below). Abstracts of approximately 300 words are to be submitted until the 15th of January 2016. Read the full description of the Lectio International Conference and the full Call for Papers:

In the year 1516, two crucial texts for the cultural history of the West saw the light:
Thomas More’s Utopia and Desiderius Erasmus’s Novum Instrumentum. Both of these works
dealt freely with authoritative sources of western civilization and opened new pathways of
thought on the eve of invasive religious and political changes.

Lectio and the University of Leuven, in collaboration with its RefoRC-partners the
Johannes a Lasco Library Emden and the Europäische Melanchthon Akademie Bretten as well as
other partners, will mark the 500th birthday of both foundational texts by organizing a
conference, from November 30 through December 2, 2016. The university city of Leuven is a
most appropriate place to have this conference organized, since it was intimately involved in the
genesis and the history of both works.

The conference will be devoted to studying not only the reception and influence of Utopia and
the Novum Instrumentum in (early) modern times, but also their precursors in classical
antiquity, the patristic period, and the middle ages. The conference will thus lead to a better
understanding of how More and Erasmus used their sources, and it will address the more
encompassing question of how these two authors, through their own ideas and their use of
authoritative texts, have contributed to the rise of modern western thought.

The conference also explicitly aims at enhancing our understanding of iconographic, book-, and
art-historical aspects of the transmission of the texts under consideration, both before and after
the publication of the two works.

This multidisciplinary Lectio conference wants to bring together international scholars working
in the field of theology, art history, philosophy, history of science and historical linguistics.


More’s colorful description of the allegedly recently discovered island of
Utopia was so influential as to lend its name to a literary genre. At the same
time, although the name Utopia is a neologism invented in More's circle ,
the utopian tradition reaches back to antiquity.

Papers are invited on the following topics:

The best known examples from classical antiquity are Plato’s descriptions of the ideal state.
Yet there are other instances, such as the myth of the golden age, elaborated in many different
ways by numerous ancient writers. In addition, More had a thorough knowledge of the works by
Greek and Roman thinkers such as Plutarch, Lucian, Cicero, and Seneca. The conference aims to
map these ancient representations of the ideal state and to study the way in which More was
influenced by them.
Equally influential is the Christian tradition, most prominently laid down in Augustine’s
City of God, a text of central importance that marks the transition from antiquity to the middle
ages. Augustine’s eschatological view of the perfect City may, for example, be the subject of
contributions to the conference. By extension, the various forms of the mythical account of
Cockaigne enter the picture as possible topics.
Also of direct impact on Utopia were reports about the New World (for example in the
letters of Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher Columbus, or Peter Martyr of Anghiera) and the images
of the New World in Europe. It would be an interesting contribution to the conference to study
in which ways the discovery and description of an “unspoiled” world and its inhabitants inspired
More’s views.
Renaissance humanists also influenced More’s Utopia. The most renowned example is, of
course, Erasmus. But the views of other humanists, like Pico della Mirandola, also shaped More’s
thought. Similarly, the scholastic tradition deserves to be studied in at this juncture.
Renaissance humanism and scholasticism were difficult to reconcile, according to More, and on
more than one occasion he sets one over against the other.
The conference shall also pay due attention to the reception of Utopia in early modern
times, both in the vernacular and in Latin. Authors such as Tommaso Campanella, Vasco de
Quiroga, Francis Bacon, Johann Eberlin, Kaspar Stiblin, and Johann Valentin Andreae may be
investigated in this regard, as well as the genre of the picaresque novel.
Of particular interest are iconographic, book-, and art-historical aspects of the
transmission of Utopia as well as the works of More’s predecessors.

Erasmus’s revision of the New Testament text was groundbreaking. Obviously,
however, Erasmus’s foundational work cannot be properly understood apart
from his predecessors’ endeavors to translate the Bible and to comment on it,
or to deal with the Bible from a text-critical perspective.

Papers are invited on the following topics:

Papers studying biblical exegesis in Christian antiquity and its reception in the works by
Erasmus. More in particular, paper topics may include Jerome’s Vulgata, Origen’s Hexapla, and
relevant commentaries on Scripture, such as those of Chrysostom and others. Erasmus’s
recourse to classical language and culture in the Annotationes to his New Testament may also
be the subject of paper proposals.
Medieval biblical exegesis: Even though self-declared pioneers like Erasmus and the
Renaissance humanists were not keen to be associated with medieval biblical exegesis, this
aspect of possible influences and sources cannot be neglected. The conference invites
contributions on the biblical Renaissance of the twelfth century and later (among others, the
Glossa ordinaria, Hugh of St. Victor and the Parisian Victorines, Peter Comestor, Peter Cantor and
Stephen Langton, Hugh of St. Cher and Nicholas of Lyra). In sum, the conference aims to explore
the extent to which Erasmus and his fellow humanists integrated the progress made by medieval
biblical exegesis.
The link between Erasmus and Renaissance humanism, both in northern Europe (Agricola,
Cornelius Gerardi Aurelius) and in Italy (Lorenzo Valla, Gianozzo Manetti). The main question is
here how Erasmus’s Christian humanism did relate to the broader cultural historical current of
renewed textual criticism.
The reception of Erasmus’s text-critical and exegetical work in the early modern era will be
explored through the establishment of (new) authoritative version(s) of the New Testament and
the debates that accompanied the process (Novum Instrumentum, Vulgata, Textus Receptus) as
well as the elaboration of humanist, Protestant, and Catholic exegesis, from Luther and
Melanchthon through Beza, from Dorpius, Franciscus Lucas Brugensis and Jansenius
Gandavensis, via Estienne, Arias Montanus, through Maldonatus, etc. We further look forward to
receiving papers on how Erasmus’ New Testament was used in the development of early
modern vernacular versions, on all sides of the confessional spectrum.
Of particular interest are iconographic, book-, and art-historical aspects of the
transmission of the texts, both of Erasmus’s predecessors and of Erasmus’s Novum

Papers may be given in English or French and the presentation should take 20 minutes.
To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of approximately 300 words (along with your
name, academic affiliation and contact information) to by January 15, 2016.
Notification of acceptance will be given by the end of March 2016.

The publication of selected papers is planned in a volume to be included in the peer-reviewed
LECTIO Series (Brepols Publishers).

Invited speakers
Gillian Clark (University of Bristol), Henk Jan De Jonge (Leiden University), Günter Frank
(Europäische Melanchthon Akademie), Brad Gregory (University of Notre Dame), Quentin
Skinner (Queen Mary University of London)

Venue of the Conference
The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe, Janseniusstraat 1, 3000 Leuven

Organizing committee
Erik De Bom, Anthony Dupont, Wim François, Jan Papy, Marleen Reynders, Andrea Robiglio,
Violet Soen, Gerd Van Riel

Scientific committee
Rita Beyers (U Antwerpen), Erik De Bom (KU Leuven), Wim François (KU Leuven), Günter Frank
(Europäische Melanchthon Akademie, Bretten), Jill Kraye (The Warburg Institute), Oswyn
Murray (Oxford), Jan Papy (KU Leuven), Andrea Robiglio (KU Leuven), Herman Selderhuis
(Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek, Emden), Violet Soen (KU Leuven), Gerd Van Riel (KU Leuven), Wim Verbaal (U Gent)


Faculties of Arts, Law, Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies
Blijde Inkomststraat 5
3000 Leuven
+32 16 328778

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