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Institute of Advanced Study

The Creation of Time: a Dynamic Present

The focus of this sub-theme will be a one-day international workshop on the subject of Time in the theological, scientific and medical writings of the Early and Central medieval periods. Particular account will be taken of the Hexaemeron - a commentary on the 6 days of creation in the first Genesis account of creation.  The workshop will examine hexaemeral writing in the medieval tradition. The theme of Time is absolutely central to the ancient and medieval hexaemeron: the act of creation establishes the temporal frame – all other aspects of existence flow from this establishment. 'In the beginning...' presents themes of time and rupture, time and sin, and how different qualities of time might exist. How God creates, how time functions, whether God exists in a dynamic present, are key questions from antiquity to the early modern period, as are the extent and power of time before the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden. How these themes are played out in scientific literature and how they are intimately related to conceptions of moral reform and medical learning will form the second focus for the workshop. The works of Bede and of Alexander Nequam will form the basis for discussion. The workshop will be led by Professor Faith Wallis (McGill University, Montreal)  an international expert in the major scholarly traditions of commenting on the six days of creation in Genesis, as well as medieval science and medicine. 

The workshop will take place on 25th October 2012 at the Institute of Advanced Study. 

For additional information please contact Giles Gasper (History) at

For full details of all the events please visit the Events Listing