Session Title

Discernment and Proof: Strategies of Authentication in the Middle Ages

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Medieval Studies Workshop, Univ. of Chicago

Organizer Name

Claire Jenson, Matthew Vanderpoel

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Chicago, Univ. of Chicago

Presider Name

Claire Jenson, Matthew Vanderpoel

Paper Title 1

Labeling Relics and Managing Doubt in Early Medieval Gaul

Presenter 1 Name

Jake Purcell

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Columbia Univ.

Paper Title 2

Trial by Poison: Sainthood, Discernment, and Authenticity

Presenter 2 Name

Jennifer Timmons

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Chicago

Paper Title 3

Rules of Discernment for Gold Threads in Late Medieval Paris

Presenter 3 Name

Nancy G. Feldman

Presenter 3 Affiliation

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Start Date

16-5-2015 3:30 PM

Session Location

Schneider 2335

Description

What makes a text, an image, an object, or an idea authentic in the Middle Ages? This question forms the basis for this panel’s investigation. The pre-modern, pre-critical world exhibited a diversity of methods for classifying evidence, weighing testimony, judging truth, and drawing conclusions. We recognize debates on authenticity ranging from the genuine provenance of relics to ontological disputes on the existence of universals. Further, our own scholarly reading of documents begs theses questions, just as the medieval sources reflexively do. What strategies were deployed to write an object as genuine, true, or authentic? How do such approaches, from different spheres of the medieval world, relate to or depart from each other? What were the qualifications to pronounce such judgments of authenticity? How were these claims contested? Under what circumstances is the authentic tested, and at what points is it found to fail? We welcome proposals from all disciplines that analyze strategies of authentication, broadly construed, in the Middle Ages.

Claire E. Jenson

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May 16th, 3:30 PM

Discernment and Proof: Strategies of Authentication in the Middle Ages

Schneider 2335

What makes a text, an image, an object, or an idea authentic in the Middle Ages? This question forms the basis for this panel’s investigation. The pre-modern, pre-critical world exhibited a diversity of methods for classifying evidence, weighing testimony, judging truth, and drawing conclusions. We recognize debates on authenticity ranging from the genuine provenance of relics to ontological disputes on the existence of universals. Further, our own scholarly reading of documents begs theses questions, just as the medieval sources reflexively do. What strategies were deployed to write an object as genuine, true, or authentic? How do such approaches, from different spheres of the medieval world, relate to or depart from each other? What were the qualifications to pronounce such judgments of authenticity? How were these claims contested? Under what circumstances is the authentic tested, and at what points is it found to fail? We welcome proposals from all disciplines that analyze strategies of authentication, broadly construed, in the Middle Ages.

Claire E. Jenson