Scholarship, Science, and Religion in the Age of Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614) and Henry Savile (1549-1622): Merton College, 1-3 July 2014

April 7, 2014


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.

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