MSS Lunch Lecture Theo van Lint, 'Erecting a Monument Stronger than Bronze: Faith and History in Grigor Pahlawuni Magistros’ Epistolary'

03-05-2019 from 11:30 to 12:30
Gent, Campus Boekentoren, UFO building, Meeting Room Archaeology (1st floor). Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35
Stefan Meysman
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May lunch lecture by Prof. Theo van Lint (University of Oxford) on the early eleventh-century prince and scholar Grigor Magistros

Friday, May 3rd we have the pleasure of hosting Prof. Theo van Lint (University of Oxford) for a Medieval Seminar Series lunch lecture. Prof. van Lint will speak on 'Erecting a Monument Stronger than Bronze: Faith and History in Grigor Pahlawuni Magistros’ Epistolary'

Theo van Lint is Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies and a member of Pembroke College at the University of Oxford. He specializes in Armenian poetry and medieval Armenian literature. Among other projects, he currently works on a translation and commentary of the letters of Grigor Magistros Pahlavuni (985-1058).

Please note that this lunch lecture will start 30 minutes earlier than usual.


The life and work of Grigor Pahlawuni Magistros, who was born around 990 in Bjni, close to Ani, the capital of the Armenian Bagratid Kingdom located just west of the present border between Turkey and the Republic of Armenia, and died in 1058 in Taron, west of lake Van, can be considered both a late and a prime example of the Armenian appropriation and creative transformation of Greek learning, fusing Hellenistic erudition with the Irano-Armenian matrix of Grigor’s cultural world.

Until recently understudied and underestimated, the writings of Armenia’s first layman-scholar present him as an innovator of central importance to Armenian life in heyday and crisis, a nobleman and cosmopolitan apologist of Armenian Christianity, and an extremely well-connected renaissance polymath.

In often dauntingly complex yet well-pitched Hellenising Armenian his ninety-letter epistolary addresses cultural, scientific, political, philosophical and theological issues, many relevant today, within and across faiths, states and nations.

After a brief survey of the erudite’s life and work the presentation will concentrate on his epistolary, its language and literary aspects, its Christian apologetics in light of Islamic polemics, and on the Katholikos as leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church in times of Byzantine pressure.

This medieval lunch lecture matches with a two-day celebratory event of Armenian studies at Ghent University, centered around the poet Taniel Varoujean (1884-1915). For more information on the latter event, please contact Prof. Peter Van Nuffelen (History Department).