Mathematics for University Reform: Lefèvre d’Étaples in Classroom and Print

1 June 2015, 13:00 - 14:00

CRASSH Meeting Room, Alison Richard Building

Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work in Progress seminar series. All welcome, but please email Michelle Maciejewska if you wish to attend and to request readings.   Sandwich lunch and refreshments provided.

Dr Richard Oosterhoff

Around 1500, the humanist Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples and a circle of colleagues at the University of Paris renovated the medieval university arts curriculum. Experimenting with the technology of print, they fashioned new commentaries and introductions for logic, physics, psychology, metaphysics—and mathematics. Lefèvre himself was hailed as a brilliant humanist restorer of Aristotle, and in later years became an important voice for evangelical reform in France. But time and again he returned to mathematics as a key touchstone in the reform of the university as well as society. In so doing, he offered a vision of knowledge that can be compared with Lutheran universities, Jesuit schools, and seventeenth-century philosophers who centred on mathematics to reform the university disciplines.

The work in progress for this seminar will come from a study of this early effort to use mathematics as the starting point for interdisciplinary reform.

For administrative enquiries please contact Michelle Maciejewska.

Richard Oosterhoff is a postdoctoral research fellow on the five-year ERC-funded project Genius before Romanticism: Ingenuity in Early Art and Science.

He has worked on the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe, especially France, in the areas of science, the book, and religion. Richard completed his PhD at the University of Notre Dame, where he focused on how the Paris circle of humanists around Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples deployed the new printing presses to reimagine medieval university culture. He has held fellowships at the Huntington Library, Houghton Library, and the Warburg Institute, and the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study.