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Foerster Lectures on the Immortality of the Soul
Charles M. and Martha Hitchcock Lectures
Howison Lectures in Philosophy
Jefferson Memorial Lectures
Bernard Moses Memorial Lecture
Carl O. Sauer Memorial Lecture
Barbara Weinstock Lectures on the Morals of Trade
October 21, 2009
— 4:10 PM
UC Berkeley Campus
In the period between 1150 and 1550 a number of Christians in western Europe made pilgrimage to places where material objects--among them paintings, statues, relics, pieces of wood, earth, stones, and Eucharistic wafers--allegedly erupted into life by such activities as bleeding, weeping, and walking about. In this lecture, Prof. Bynum will describe the miracles themselves and probe the basic philosophical and scientific assumptions about nature and matter that lay behind them.
Caroline Bynum is renowned for her contributions to the study of the middle ages in Western Europe, with particular interests in women’s piety, the history of theology and philosophy, and the social background of ideas. She has written on the concepts of immortality, resurrection, heaven and hell, and the afterlife during the Middle Ages, and explored how these conceptions shaped contemporary views of the body, gender and self. Her current work is on the role of transformation miracles in late medieval piety. Bynum’s most recent publication, Wonderful Blood (2007), studies blood piety in the fifteenth-century northern Germany in its larger European context. The book has received the American Academy of Religion’s 2007 Award for Excellence in the Historical Studies category and the Gründler prize of the Medieval Institute for the best book in any area of Medieval Studies published in 2007. Bynum received her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1962 and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1963 and 1969, respectively. She has taught at Harvard University, the University of Washington, and Columbia University. In 1999, Bynum became the first woman to be appointed University Professor, Columbia’s highest honor, a position she held until her departure in 2003 for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She is now Professor of The Western European Middle Ages at the Institute’s School of Historical Studies. Bynum has previously served as President of both the American Historical Association and the Medieval Academy of America. Bynum has been the recipient of multiple awards and honors during her career. She was a MacArthur Fellow from 1986 to 1991, and in 2001 was awarded the Centennial Medal of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She holds honorary degrees from thirteen American and foreign universities.