Panels "in honor of Clare Murphy"
Saturday 29 March
Thomas More and His Circle II: "John Colet"
Daniel J. Nodes - Baylor University, USA
"John Colet, John Chrysostom and Christocentric Humanism"
Abstract of Daniel Nodes's paper
For many reform-minded churchmen of the Renaissance, John Chrysostom’s scripture commentaries and homilies resounded with practical relevance for an authentic life and the organization of the Church. His powerful rhetoric and avoidance of allegorical interpretation were also gratifying to those who joined the new humanism as a reaction to medieval scholasticism. Calvin, for example, wrote a detailed preface to what was to be his own French translation of John’s homilies for Christians with or without higher learning. Chrysostom is always listed among the authors preferred as well by the English cleric John Colet, although the secondary literature recycles the same few citations and testimonies. This study presents new textual evidence of the Greek church father’s presence in the educational and ecclesial visions of Colet, who knew little Greek but who read Chrysostom in Latin translation. Passages from Colet’s Commentary on First Corinthians and the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy are compared with Chrysostom’s homilies.
Jonathan Arnold - Worcester College, University of Oxford, Great Britain
"John Colet and Polydore Vergil: Catholic Humanism and Ecclesiology"
Abstract of Jonathan Arnold's paper
This paper examines the relationship between two early modern Catholic humanists who both wrote extensively on the need for ecclesiastical and clerical reform. Colet, Dean of St. Paul’s (1505–19), and Vergil, Archdeacon of Wells (1508–46), were well acquainted and both members of Doctors Commons. Their written works demonstrate a considerably critical stance on clerical behavior, both Colet’s sermons and lectures as well as in Vergil’s De Inventoribus Rerum. Drawing upon original manuscript and primary sources, I argue that these texts demonstrate a shared desire for a highly clerical, perfected Church that could be immune from lay criticism and that they both entertained conciliarism as a possible solution to the Church’s problems, for which both men received vehement opposition. Although both were ultimately disappointed in their ambitions, I suggest that they held true to their belief that the Church could be morally and spiritually renewed without the need for a Reformation.
Daniel T. Lochman - Texas State University, USA
"Spiritus, ecclesiae anima: Colet, Linacre, and a Galenic Mystical Body"
Abstract of Daniel Lochman's paper
John Colet knew Thomas Linacre for approximately three decades, from their mutual residence in Italy during the early 1490s through varied pedagogical, professional, and social contacts in and around London prior to Colet’s death in 1519. It is not certain that Colet knew Linacre’s original Latin translations of Galen’s therapeutic works, the first appearing in 1517. Yet in several of Colet’s religious writings, elaborations of Paul’s trope of the mystical body point to a general interest, alongside Linacre’s professional one, in Galenic anatomy, physiology, and psychology. This paper will explore the implications for reform of Colet’s adaptation of Galenic principles to the mystical body, wherein clergy (spiritual physicians) were said to sustain the material church’s health as “vital spirits,” analogous to the arterial heat and air concocted in the heart and contingent both to the brain’s refined spirit (Galen’s pneuma) and to the desiderative spirits of less noble bodily functions.