“Commentating as Philosophy and the Abrahamic Interpreters” started today at Sismanoglio Megaro (Istiklal Cd), continues at Heybeliada on Thursday, and then back to SM for Friday and Saturday. All welcome!
***Call extended to March 14, 2014**
Commentating as Philosophy and the Abrahamic Interpreters
July 2-5, 2014, Istanbul
“Commentating as Philosophy and the Abrahamic Interpreters” is a conference second in a trilogy, entitled, “The Abrahamic Trilogy”. The trilogy is about the development and reception of Greek philosophy in the Abrahamic traditions. While the first conference was about Proclus, and his influence, the present conference will focus on the form of philosophy that was dominant until the early modern period.
The Abrahamic religions have a set of revealed holy texts which are intended to reveal the nature of God, creation, man’s place in it and his true destiny. As such, believers or those entrusted to guide the believers can or ought to have recourse to these texts to explain the nature of things. The intellectual and moral life was framed in interaction with a text. Parallel to this, one can view a similar tendency with the philosophical movement known as middle Platonism: here, philosophy was done by turning to the texts of Plato and Aristotle and either making commentaries on them or employing their texts liberally in independent treatises. These two threads meet powerfully, for example, in the Jewish philosopher from Alexandria, Philo. What is unique about Philo is how he used the philosophical concepts and systems of Plato and, to a lesser extent, Aristotle, to explain the Torah. Augustine claimed only to understand the Bible after reading the works of the Platonists and whose Biblical commentaries dominated the Latin west. Ibn-Sina also wrote many commentaries on Aristotle and developed his own system in that dialogue. Thus, for 1600 years, whether by a pagan or Abrahamic philosopher, the dominant mode of philosophising was done by means of writing commentaries.
The conference will, thus, explore the development of the commentary tradition within the ancient pagan world and the influence of that Greek commentary among Jews, Christians and Muslims and will focus on what it means to philosophise in a necessary interaction with a set texts that marks it off from early modern philosophy.
Prof. Richard Sorabji, CBE, FBA, (Wolfson College, Oxford and Emeritus, King’s College, London) will give the key-note lecture. Prof. Zev Harvey (Emeritus Prof. at Hebrew University and Columbia University) will give the plenary lecture on Jewish account and Prof. Thomas Leinkauf (Westfälischen Wilhelms Universität Münster) on the Christian account and Asst. Prof. Olga Lizzini (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) the Islamic account.
Please submit an abstract of approximately 500 words by March 14, 2014 to https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=cpai14 [You must create an account there to upload your paper.] Notification of acceptances will be rolling. For further questions, please contact David Butorac at davidbutorac<atgoeshere>arxai.org and Marie-Élise (Lise) Zovko at lisezovko<atgoeshere>gmail.com. Papers will be 20-25 minutes long, although there may be some flexibility given some merit. Please see the conference website: http://www.arxai.org
The conference will take place at Sismanoglu Megaro (Greek Consulate) and Halki Seminary, Halki Island / Heybeliada, Istanbul from July 2-5, 2014.
Plato Society of Zagreb
Institute of Philosophy (Zagreb)
The Onassis Foundation
The Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul
The Consulate General of Israel in Istanbul
Halki Seminary – Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate
I’ll be giving a talk at Istanbul University in the department of philosophy tomorrow (Wednesday), Oct 30 (Seminar room 206, starting at 15:30). The talk is entitled, “‘The heavens declare the glory of the Lord’? Reflections on the instability of Nature in the Ancient and Mediaeval World”. The paper will discuss both the positive and negative sides of the pre-early modern concept of nature, where, on one hand, everything is full of gods (Thales) and nature is considered as divine (Greek) or created ‘good’ (Abrahamic). One would think that, as such, it provides the mind with a stable object of thought. However, on the other hand, I will argue it is precisely its possession of some imbued content, even if it is divine, that renders nature unstable. Flight from nature is the result. I will argue that Descartes by reducing the natural world to res extensa resolves precisely this instability and which thereby allows the secrets of nature of be revealed.
As a part of the conference, Arxai: Proclus Diadochus of Constantinople and his Abrahamic Interpreters, Prof. Dominic O’Meara (Université de Fribourg) will present a public lecture entitled, “Geometry as an Image of the Divine in Proclus and in the Architecture of Hagia Sophia”. The lecture will take place on Saturday December 15, 2012, at 8pm at Santa Maria Draperis Church on Istiklaal. (In the direction of Tunel, the church is about 160 m past Galatasaray Lisesi, on the left, down a set of stairs.)
Together with the lecture, the CorISTAnbul Chamber Choir and Orchestra, featuring Kevork Tavityan, baritone.
For further information about the choir, see http://coristanbul.com/.
About the conference:
The conference as a whole is sponsored by the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as a part of the celebration of “400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey”, and the Consulate General of Israel in Istanbul. The university sponsors are Fatih University, Bogazici University and Yildiz Technical University. The conference takes place under the auspices of the ISNS.
For further information, see http://arxai.org/conferences/abrahamictrilogy/program and for questions, email David Butorac at email@example.com.
As a part of the conference, Arxai: Proclus Diadochus of Constantinople and his Abrahamic Interpreters, Prof. Tzvi Langermann will present a lecture on “Proclus and his Cameo Appearances in Jewish Writings”. The lecture will be held at Bogazici University, on Thursday, Dec 13th, at 5:30, in the Büyük Toplantı Salonu / Albert Long Hall (South Campus).
Tzvi Langermann earned his PhD in History of Science at Harvard. He teaches now at Bar Ilan University, and he publishes widely on science, philosophy, and religious thought in Judaism and Islam. His dissertation, Ibn al-Haytham’s On the Configuration of the World, was later published by Garland. Some of his publications were published in a volume in the Variorum Collected Studies series, entitled The Jews and the Sciences in the Middle Ages(1999). His most recent books are two collections, Avicenna and his Legacy: A Golden Age of Science and Philosophy, (Brepols, Turnhout, 2010), and Monotheism and Ethics: Historical and Contemporary Intersections between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, (Brill, 2011; Studies on the Children of Abraham, vol. 2).
Only with some generosity can one call Proclus a minor figure in writings connected to the Jewish tradition. In medieval times, only one Proclan text was read, though it was not known that he was the author. Rarely can one argue for a specifically Proclan influence, rather than a more general Neoplatonic one, on a given thinker. The situation changes somewhat much later. In the seventeenth century, much of Proclus was available in Latin, and Greek, and a few Jewish intellectuals made use of them. I will have a look at the man who was most familiar with Proclus, Joseph Solomon Delmedigo, a student of Galileo, who cites Proclus’ commentary to Euclid, his ideas on eternity of the world, and his theory of light.
The conference as a whole is sponsored by the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as a part of the celebration of “400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey”, and the Consulate General of Israel in Istanbul. The university sponsors are Fatih University, Bogazici University and Yildiz Technical University.