The American Cusanus Society will sponsor two sessions at Western Michigan University’s 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, May 12-15, 2016. We welcome proposals for the sessions below. Please send the title of your proposed paper and a brief abstract to Donald Duclow (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than Saturday, August 15, 2015.
1. Apocalypticism in the Age of Cusanus: In Memory of Louis B. Pascoe, S.J.
The fifteenth century was an era of rampant apocalyptic speculation in medieval Europe: from papal schism to Muslim invasion to efforts at ecumenical reconciliation, many events were taken as signs of the End Times, and many earlier apocalyptic schemes revised to fit current situations. Nicholas of Cusa found time amidst philosophy, humanism, comparative religion, and church reform to pen a brief tract, Conjecture about the Last Days, in which he strove to read contemporary history through the narrative of Christ’s life on earth. This session is open to explorations of Cusanus’ eschatology and its relationship to his better-known intellectual endeavors, but we also welcome new perspectives on other apocalyptic thinkers of the fifteenth century. This panel is dedicated to Louis B. Pascoe, S.J., our friend and colleague who died April 27, 2015.
2. Nicholas of Cusa’s Theology of the Word
Cusanus's idea of verbum has elements that draw from Neoplatonism, Aristotelianism, Rhineland mysticism (including Eckhart), and from the new philology of Renaissance humanism. It is at once a philosophy of language and a theological conception of the Verbum creans. Besides attempting his own synthesis of these varied strands, Cusanus sought to grasp the meaning of the proclaimed Word both in his philosophical speculations as well as in several of the sermons that deal explicitly with the exegetical and theological problem of communicating a divine word to a mixed human audience. This session will focus on the multi-facetted concept of verbum in Cusanus, a topic that has a particularly lively history of reception in European, U.S., and Latin American philosophy and theology from the middle of the twentieth century to the present.