‘Nova hosts PMR

Jill Frederick

Villanova hosted the 33rd annual Patristic, Medieval and Renaissance Conference (“patristic” referring to early Christianity). The PMR conference met over the weekend of Oct. 10. A variety of discussions and talks were held, all based around a central theme.

Founded in the 1970s by Thomas Losoncy, the conference has long been a meeting place for scholars and experts of medieval studies. The PMR Conference puts out an open call for papers and proposals, accepting the top 15 or 20 pieces each year.

Originally centered around philosophy and theology, the program has grown in recent years to become more multi-faceted and include subjects such as literature, history and art history. The conference also serves to bring scholars of different interests and studies together.

The theme for this year’s conference was “The Angel and the Muse: Inspiration, Revelation and Prophecy.” The conference always has two plenary speakers who join together on the final day of the conference for a round-table discussion and debate. This year, the first speaker was Brenda Schildgen, an expert on Dante and his “Divine Comedy.” The second speaker, Michael Sells, is an expert on the history of Islam. The event was not just for those of the academic community. Several ACS classes attended, and all events were open to students.

The PMR rounded up the weekends events with an open discussion and debate on Sunday. The setting was informal and allowed for relaxed discussion.

“We’ve made an effort to make it an intimate and welcoming environment,” Dr. Hughes said.

The discussion settled on a point particularly relevant in today’s world: the relationship between religion and violence.

“A great way to find out is through analyzing the classical texts,” Hughes said.

Bringing different ideas together is one of the PMR’s main goals. “Scholars of medieval Islam, Judaism and Christianity often work separately,” Hugh said. “We’re trying to create a forum to bring them into convergence.”