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Erudition, Antiquity, and The Enlightenment in Rome, c.1600-c.1800

June 7th 2018

Lightfoot Room, St John’s College, Cambridge


9.30 am - 6.45 pm

The principal objective of the conference is to examine the connections between erudition, antiquity, and the Enlightenment in early-modern Rome. It takes place at a propitious moment, as a series of notable recent studies have shown how erudition informed many significant intellectual transformations in this period: the proto-anthropology associated with the age of exploration; the destabilization of the Biblical text; the florescence of political thought in the wake of the Thirty Years’ War; and the emergence of textual ‘diplomatics’ and the state-administered archive.

Although the Catholic world remained at the forefront of erudition throughout the period, this fact is only now being given the acknowledgement it deserves, in place of the assumption – often unconsciously drawn from contemporary Protestant polemic – that Catholic scholarship was intellectually misguided. By bringing together eminent and rising names in the field, the conference will provide an opportunity for reflection on how Rome can be fitted within this new scholarly landscape particularly as it relates to four developments: the status of erudition in the ‘Age of Confessions’; the role of the erudite ‘Republic of Letters’ in fostering pan-European bonds of intellectual exchange; the intrusions of government censorship on scholarly practices; and the place of erudition in the emergence of the European Enlightenment.

Participants include Alexander Bevilacqua, Piet van Boxel, Maria Pia Donato, Theo Dunkelgrün, Jan Machielsen, Kirsten Macfarlane, Scott Mandelbrote, Timothy Twining, John Robertson, Daniel Stolzenberg, Felix Waldmann, and Joanna Weinberg.

Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required.

Please use this Eventbrite page to RSVP or e-mail

The conference has been generously supported by the Trevelyan and Lightfoot Funds (History Faculty, Cambridge), Christ's College, Cambridge, and St John's College, Cambridge.

 EAER Poster Image


9.30 am - Registration

10.00 am - Opening Remarks

Session 1

Moderator: Kirsten Macfarlane

10.15 am - Theodor Dunkelgrün

10.50 am - Piet van Boxel

11.25 am - Jan Machielsen

12.00 pm - Discussion

12.30 pm - Lunch

Session 2

Moderator: Joanna Weinberg

1.45 pm - Timothy Twining

2.20 pm - Daniel Stolzenberg

2.55 pm - Alexander Bevilacqua

3.30 pm - Discussion

4.00 pm - Tea break

Session 3

Moderator: John Robertson

4.30 pm - Scott Mandelbrote

5.05 pm - Maria Pia Donato

5.40 pm - Felix Waldmann

6.15 pm - Discussion

6.45 pm - Closing Remarks