Session Title

No/Thing: Medieval Art and Apophasis

Sponsoring Organization(s)

International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA)

Organizer Name

Alexa Sand

Organizer Affiliation

Utah State Univ.

Presider Name

Alexa Sand

Paper Title 1

Empty Spaces

Presenter 1 Name

Elina Gertsman

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Case Western Reserve Univ.

Paper Title 2

The Vercelli Roll: The No-Thing That It Is and the Thing It Might Be

Presenter 2 Name

Evan Gatti

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Elon Univ.

Paper Title 3

"Farai un vers de dreyt nien": Guillaume IX, Troubadour Caskets, and the Apophasis of Courtly Love

Presenter 3 Name

Anne F. Harris

Presenter 3 Affiliation

DePauw Univ.

Paper Title 4

The “Fascinating Presence of Absences” in the Vita of Hedwig of Silesia

Presenter 4 Name

Jacqueline E. Jung

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Yale Univ.

Start Date

10-5-2014 3:30 PM

Session Location

Bernhard 210

Description

“We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being.” John Scot Erigena, writing of the nature of the divine, struck at the troubling aporia at the center of religion; to borrow the words of another, much more recent sage, there is no there there. This problem was not limited to medieval Christianity – Islam and Judaism also struggled to reconcile the non-thing-ness of the divine other with the created world. Thing theory – which is not as its name suggests so much concerned with cultural artifacts and their social meanings as it is with the places of slippage and failure of thing-ness and meaning – has some strong parallels to the negative theology by which such thinkers as Erigena, Wasil ibn Ata, and Maimonides sought understanding of the divine; in thing theory, as in medieval apophasis, the sites of unknowing or unknowability exercise their gravitational force. The four papers that make up this panel deal respectively with aesthetic, material, poetic, and performative aspects of nothingness in medieval artistic contexts.

Alexa K. Sand

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May 10th, 3:30 PM

No/Thing: Medieval Art and Apophasis

Bernhard 210

“We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being.” John Scot Erigena, writing of the nature of the divine, struck at the troubling aporia at the center of religion; to borrow the words of another, much more recent sage, there is no there there. This problem was not limited to medieval Christianity – Islam and Judaism also struggled to reconcile the non-thing-ness of the divine other with the created world. Thing theory – which is not as its name suggests so much concerned with cultural artifacts and their social meanings as it is with the places of slippage and failure of thing-ness and meaning – has some strong parallels to the negative theology by which such thinkers as Erigena, Wasil ibn Ata, and Maimonides sought understanding of the divine; in thing theory, as in medieval apophasis, the sites of unknowing or unknowability exercise their gravitational force. The four papers that make up this panel deal respectively with aesthetic, material, poetic, and performative aspects of nothingness in medieval artistic contexts.

Alexa K. Sand