Visitors to the Bodleianxavileexhib9 Library can still catch the exhibition accompanying the CEMS conference on ‘Scholarship, Science and Religion in the Age of Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614) and Henry Savile (1549-1622)’ (Merton College, 1-3 July). The conference was a truly international and interdisciplinary event, devoted to scholars who have never previously been commemorated by conferences in their own right. Though posterity does not look kindly on Savile’s sense of himself as Casaubon’s superior, the two men had much in common. Both studied Latin and Greek texts from the classical era to late antiquity, both were interested in secular and sacred historiography, and both faced complex choices between gaining support for their scholarship from religious and secular authorities and the intellectual independence essential for scholarship. As in all CEMS conferences there was a strong emphasis on local library resources – the Bodleian houses many of Casaubon’s as well as Savile’s manuscripts. The current exhibition, curated by Thomas Roebuck, brings to light some fascinating and under-studied sources. There are marginal notes in an edition of Euclid, drafts of his University lectures in astronomy, and scientific manuscripts he collected. Fascinating from the perspective of book history are printer’s copies of his translation of Tacitus and his edition of Chrysostom. A world of scholarship is opened up. Catch the exhibition before it closes on 3 August.

Trinity Term 2013

April 25, 2014

Welcome to another event-crowded term. In addition to the regular Trinity Term seminars, this term Professor H. R. Woudhuysen delivers the Lyell Lectures on ‘Copying Books in England, 1600-1900’ and the Josephus seminar continues to bring an international and interdisciplinary range of speakers to Oxford. Professor Tiffany Stern will give the British Academy Shakespeare Lecture, ‘“The two hours’ traffic of our stage”: Time for Shakespeare’, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe, London, Wednesday 21 May, 6 – 7.15pm. The CEMS conference on ‘Scholarship, Science, and Religion in the Age of Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614) and Henry Savile (1549-1622)’ will be held on 1-3 July and the CSB conference on ‘Error and Print Culture, 1500-1800’on 5 July.


casaubon savile squareHenry Savile (1549-1622) and Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614) are two contrasting giants of late humanist culture. Both helped bring classical historians to Renaissance Europe: Savile with his translation of Tacitus’s Histories into English, Casaubon with his edition of Polybius. Both produced massive scholarly works on Christian antiquity: Savile’s pioneering Greek edition of the works of St John Chrysostom, Casaubon’s learned attack on Cesare Baronio’s authorized Catholic ecclesiastical history (in which he reconstructed religion in 1st century CE Palestine). Both are philologists: Savile in his work reconstructing fragmentary ancient Greek mathematicians, Casaubon in his editions and commentaries on the encyclopaedic works of late antiquity. But there are important differences too: Savile was a scientist, helping to bring the new heliocentric views of Copernicus to England. His works were directly engaged in political controversy (especially the rebellion of the Earl of Essex), and his reforms of the institutions in which he worked had lasting legacies. Casaubon, on the other hand, never found a permanent institutional home for his scholarship: his restless journey across Europe led him to England, where he was never fully absorbed into scholarly culture. 2014 is the 400th anniversary of Casaubon’s death and the 750th anniversary of Merton’s foundation (the institution Savile shaped), and therefore it is the ideal moment to bring together the vibrant recent scholarship on both these figures and early modern learned culture for the first time. Speakers include Mordechai Feingold, Robert Goulding, Anthony Grafton, and Joanna Weinberg. Registration and further details can be found here.

Hilary Term 2014

January 20, 2014

Welcome to a new year and a term again packed with early modern events.There are seminars on early modern English, French, German and Italian literature, history and music, with many other events in related disciplines, including a seminar on ‘The reception of Josephus in the early modern period’. Professor David Wootton, Professor of History, York, will deliver the Carlyle Lectures on ‘Power and Pleasure, 1513-1776’. Over the vacation (31 March-2 April) there will be a conference in honour of Ian Maclean: ‘Transforming the Republic of Letters: Literature, Learning, Logic, Books’. Of interest to many will be the new interdisciplinary programme on Comparative Criticism:


This seminar, organized by Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies, will assemble experts from many different disciplines to survey the reception of this important scholar and historian throughout Europe. It will be held on Wednesdays (exept week 2, Monday), 2.30-4pm, in Exeter College.

The speakers will be:

Nigel Wilson (Lincoln College, Oxford), Professor Walter Stephens (Johns Hopkins University), Dr Meir Ben Shahar (Hebrew  Univ. of Jerusalem), Dr Joanna Weinberg (Oriental Institute, Oxford), Professor Tessa Rajak (Somerville College, Oxford), Scott Mandelbrote (Cambridge), Dr Theodor Dunkelgrun (Cambridge), Dr Jan Machielsen (New College, Oxford), Dr Joshua Teplitsky (St Peter’s College, Oxford), and Dr Philipp Nothaft (The Warburg Institute).

Details will be posted on the CEMS website.

The first launch of an exciting new digitized project can be found here: Bibles and biblical texts from the Bodleian and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV), including Gutenberg Bibles and Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. There is an accompanying blog.

Lucy Hutchinson Conference

November 1, 2013

Lucy Hutchinson: Life Writing, Religion and Politics

St Edmund Hall, Oxford, Thursday 28 November 2013

Lucy Hutchinson is well-known to seventeenth-century historians and literary scholars as the author of Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, a classic biography which sets the momentous life of her husband, a committed Puritan, republican and regicide, against the wider backdrop of the English Civil War and Restoration. The work has been more or less continually in print since it was first published from manuscript in 1806. Only recently, however, has the scale and range of her interests been recognized: like her contemporary – and political rival – Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, Hutchinson aspired to the new European model of the woman intellectual. She engaged with her times in fascinatingly contradictory ways: a pioneering woman author who held with tenacity to the Pauline doctrine of female subordination; a strong opponent of the emergent sceptical Biblical criticism who had herself brought into English Lucretius’ De rerum natura, the most passionate atheistic text of antiquity; a fierce opponent of idolatry who was nonetheless deeply attracted to the world of visual images as well as to the poetic imagination. The climax of her literary career was Order and Disorder, a major Biblical poem on a parallel subject to Milton’s Paradise Lost.

This conference will be the first ever occasion devoted to Hutchinson’s writings. It will bring together many scholars who are working on a new edition of her collected works ( and others with an interest in seventeenth-century literature, politics and women’s writing. As the second volume of Lucy Hutchinson’s works nears completion, the first-ever conference on Lucy Hutchinson will offer a chance to take stock and look forward. The conference will present work for the second volume that throws new light on Hutchinson’s politico-theological positions, and will also engage with her representation of the Civil War in the Memoirs and with questions of gender and representation in her poetry. Speakers will include Penelope Anderson, Martyn Bennett, Mark Burden, Elizabeth Clarke, Cassie Gorman, Jonathan Gibson, Crawford Gribben, Elaine Hobby, Sarah Hutton, Erica Longfellow, David Norbrook, Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Mihoko Suzuki, Susan Wiseman, and Blair Worden.

Registration (£30, graduate students £15) at Inquiries to David Norbrook,