Author Archives: Andrew J. Hicks

Charles Burnett to lecture on Abu Ma’shar, Thursday 3/9, 4:30, Goldwin Smith G22

The Medieval Cosmologies Working Group is back for our 2017 lecture – our fifth since we began in 2013!  We are pleased to announce the visit of Charles Burnett, Professor of the History of Arabic/Islamic Influences in Europe, Warburg Institute, University of London. Professor Burnett will give a public lecture on Thursday, March 9, at 4:30 PM in Goldwin Smith G22, entitled “The Worldview of Abu Ma’shar of Balkh (Albumasar).”  A reception will follow at 6:00 PM in the History of Art Gallery.

Abu Ma‘shar Ja‘far ibn Muhammad al-Balkhi (787-886 AD), known as Albumasar in the West, was the eminent Arabic astrologer of the Middle Ages. Throughout his Great Introduction to Astrology, which was translated twice into Latin in the twelfth century, is an integrated worldview, embracing not only prognostication, but also cosmology, astronomy, physics, geography, medicine and ethics. This lecture addresses Abu Ma‘shar’s ideas of the position of man within his world and how they were subtly changed in the process of transmission from Arabic into Latin.

Near Eastern Studies Lecture: Paul M. Cobb (University of Pennsylvania) on Wednesday, February 11

Please join us on Wednesday, February 11th for the First Event of the Near Eastern Studies Spring 2015 Lecture Series.


Paul M. Cobb from the University of Pennsylvania will be presenting “Johann Schiltberger’s Excellent Adventure: Crusade, Captivity and the Marvelous East in the Later Middle Ages” at 4:30 p.m. in 110 White Hall.


Thursday, March 13: Peter Casarella (Notre Dame)

Dr. Peter Casarella from University of Notre Dame will be giving a talk on March 13 at 4:30 at Lewis Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall, entitled “Vis vocabuli: Nicholas of Cusa’s Disputed Contesting of Nominalism.”

Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) was a polymath who lived in a dynamic age in which scholasticism, humanism, and nominalism were often in fierce competition. His mystical theology leaned heavily on Neoplatonic sources and legitimated a turn to apophaticism in theology. He was thus categorized as a nominalist by early followers, a trend continued by a number of contemporary interpreters. A more careful study of his thinking about the nature of language and the expressiveness of the work of art, however, reveals a more complicated and interesting scenario.