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Symposium: Seeing the Medieval: Realms of Faith/Visions for Today. MOBIA & Fordha

Friday, May 30 and  Saturday, May 31, 2008

Invitation to a Two-Day Symposium: Seeing the Medieval: Realms of Faith/Visions for Today.

A Collaboration between MOBIA and The Fordham Center on Religion and Culture

Europe’s Middle Ages were a time of violence, persecution, clashing cultures, economic metamorphoses and astounding breakthroughs in ideas and imagination–in other words, a time like today. But medieval men and women inhabited a world permeated by faith and populated by spiritual forces, from demons to miraculous objects. For many people today, religion no longer saturates their lives. They may admire the art of that earlier world for aesthetic reasons but scarcely understand its religious meaning and uses.

In a two-day symposium co-sponsored by the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and the Museum of Biblical Art, scholars from diverse perspectives will reconsider the connections between art, religion and culture in the Middle Ages while asserting the era’s revelance to the present day.

Mayor support for this symposium has been provided by the Henry Luce Foundation


R.S.V.P. or call 212.636.7347

Currently on View
Friday, 30 May 2008 4 – 7:30 p.m.

Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, Pope Auditorium

113 West 60th St., New York City.


Why the Medieval Matters: How do the Middle Ages – in all their creativity, diversity, faith and, yes, violence – speak to twenty-first century humanity?


Peter Steinfels, Co-director, Fordham Center on Religion and Culture


Francis Oakley, President Emeritus and Professor of the History of Ideas, Williams College; author of studies of medieval governance in church and state.

Kathryn Kueny, Director, Religious Studies Program, Fordham University; author of comparative studies of Islam and other religions.

Charles Reid Jr., Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas Law School; author of studies of the medieval sources of family law and individual rights.

Nina Rowe, Assistant Professor of Art History, Fordham University; specialist in Christian representations of Jews and Judaism in the high Middle Ages.


Thomas Cahill: Life and Art in the Middle Ages

Thomas Cahill, acclaimed author of Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe and How the Irish Saved Civilization.

Saturday, 31 May 2008 10 a.m – 3 p.m.

Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway (at 61st Street), New York City.


Medieval Objects from Different Viewpoints: What happens when scholars from different disciplines look at the same works of art?


Ena Heller, Executive Director, MOBIA 


Margot Fassler, Robert Tangeman Professor of Music History and Liturgy, Yale University

C. Griffith Mann, Director, Curatorial Division, The Walters Art Museum

Mary C. Moorman, Ph.D. Candidate in Systematic Theology, Southern Methodist University

Xavier Seubert, Professor of Art and Theology, St. Bonaventure University


Teaching Techniques for Medieval Studies: From the museum, to the divinity school, to the university classroom, how do we present the Middle Ages?


Patricia C. Pongracz, Adjunct Professor , Art Department, College of Saint Elizabeth


Dirk Breiding, Assistant Curator, Department of Arms & Armor, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Robin Jensen, Luce Chancellor’s Professor of the History of Christian Worship and Art, Vanderbilt Divinity School

Laura Weigert, Associate Professor, Rutgers University

Nancy Wu, Associate Museum Educator, The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friday, 30 May and Saturday, 31 May 2008

Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway (at 61st Street), New York City.

Special Tour of the Exhibit

If you are planning to attend the symposium, please join us at MOBIA for a tour of Realms of Faith: Medieval Art from the Walters Art Museum.

Friday tour begins promptly at 3 p.m. at MOBIA (tour will conclude in time to attend the symposium at Fordham).

Saturday tour begins promptly at noon at MOBIA.

To be eligible for this offer, you must R.S.V.P. for the symposium via e-mail only, Space is extremely limited.

Tour reservations are on a first come, first served basis, and you will receive confirmation via e-mail.

THE FORDHAM CENTER ON RELIGION AND CULTURE sponsors public discussion of questions where religion intersects with politics, law, science, literature, the news media, art, drama and film.

Major support for this symposium has been provided by The Henry Luce Foundation.

This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

This exhibition is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

Directions to MOBIA

Subway: Take the 1, B, D, A, or C subway to 59th Street, Columbus Circle. Walk to 61st Street and Broadway (MOBIA is located on the northwest corner).

By Bus: Take the M7, M11, or M104 bus to 61st Street and Broadway (MOBIA is located on the northwest corner).

Directions to Fordham

Subway:Take the A, B, C, D, and 1 subway trains. All stop at 59th Street/ Columbus Circle. The campus is located one block west.

By Bus: Take the M5, M7, M10, M11, M31, M57, or M104. All stop close to Columbus Circle or Lincoln Center.

To reach the Lincoln Center campus by car, please visit

Image Credit: St. Catherine Converting the Scholars, Flanders ca. 1480, oil on panel, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (37.2487, gift or Dr. R. Walter Graham, Jr., 1972.)


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