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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

Workshop: The Monastic Experience of Time in the European Middle Ages.

18th April 2019, 09:00 to 19th April 2019, 17:00, History, Seminar Room 2, Various

Members of monastic communities experienced time in various ways during the European Middle Ages. Devotional life was organised around the daily rhythm of monastic hours, weekly and monthly rounds of liturgical readings, and an annual re-enactment of the cycle of Sacred Scriptures. Monastic intellectuals strove to uncover God’s plan for mankind by interpreting a succession of historical events contained in the temporal framework of the Bible, while other scholars applied the study of computistics to monitor the passage of time and accurately deliver the required programme of liturgical and memorial worship rituals.

Our network seeks to explore the ways in which these practices allowed monastic audiences to develop their understandings of time. Key questions include:

  • What were the contexts and settings of engagement with time
  • What monastic practices necessitated thinking about time?
  • How did audiences conceptualise time (its measurement, place in a temporal/historical landscape, etc.)?
  • How did medieval thinkers attempt to explain time in text, diagrams, and images?

We aim to develop our understanding of these questions through the study of multiple source types, including:

- Organisational texts such as calendars and liturgical books.

- Texts on the reckoning of time and diagrams/tables related to their use.

- Use and description of dating systems within historical texts.

- Diagrammatic depictions of time, such as tables of historical events, cycles of planetary movement, genealogies, etc

All IMEMS-affiliated staff and students are welcome to attend, free of charge.

Please pre-register by emailing Dr Charlie Rozier:

Contact for more information about this event.