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The Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University is preparing a robust program for the next three years of symposia/workshops, focusing on topics of current concern that relate to scholarly teachings in a contemporary world.
Building on an already strong foundation of research and publication, the Franciscan Institute aims to bring together individuals from a variety of backgrounds to enhance discussions and promote dialogue on applying scholarly insight into the challenges of today.
The Research Advisory Council (RAC) for the Franciscan Institute met at St. Bonaventure University from June 24-26 to set the agenda for 2015-2017.
Those present included Dr. Joshua Benson (Catholic University of America), Dr. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., (Siena College), Dr. Mary Beth Ingham, C.S.J., (Franciscan School of Theology), Dr. Timothy Johnson (Flagler College), Br. Gary Maciag, O.F.M., (St. Bonaventure University) and Dr. Amy Neff (University of Tennessee-Knoxville).
Dr. Jacque Dalarun (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris) and Dr. Lezlie Knox (Marquette University), who were both in Italy at the time of the meeting, participated in the council meeting via Skype.
The RAC finalized a multi-year proposal for a series of symposia/workshops that will be held at the Franciscan Institute in July in conjunction with the Feast of St. Bonaventure on July 15. Br. Maciag, director of operations for the Franciscan Institute, served as staff for the meeting.
“The RAC’s robust research agenda for the next three years assures that the Franciscan Institute will continue to foster an ever-deeper appreciation and understanding of the historical, philosophical, and theological riches of the Franciscan tradition,” said Dr. Johnson.
The 2015 event will follow up on the Franciscan Institute’s decision in 2014 to promote the insights of Peter John of Olivi.
At a time when Pope Francis seeks to draw attention to the realities of a faith and action, the RAC is convinced the Franciscan tradition, as evidenced in Peter John of Olivi’s writings, offers a unique voice that needs to be heard, discussed and critiqued.
Work is already underway to translate the critical edition of his text on economics and the nature of legal contracts published by Dr. Sylvain Piron. Noted Franciscan historian Fr. Michael Cusato, O.F.M., is responsible for this translation. Fr. Cusato most recently completed the translation of Andre Vauchez’s Francis of Assisi for Yale University Press.
Simultaneously, Fr. David Flood is editing Peter John of Olivi’s Questions on evangelical poverty. Fr. Flood, who is a resident scholar at St. Bonaventure University, is recognized worldwide as one of the premier experts in the area of Olivi studies.
The intent of the 2015 July symposium, titled “Rich and Poor,” is twofold: 1) to bring a select group of scholars together to analyze the current status of Olivi studies in dialogue with the ongoing project at the Franciscan Institute; and 2) to foster an interdisciplinary exchange among those in the business, educational, and political fields who might be informed by Olivi’s insights and, at the same time, could offer their expertise and experience regarding the challenges and opportunities to faith and action they encounter on a daily basis.
The 2016 July symposium seeks to explore the question of identity, innovation, and women in medieval religious communities while examining, in particular, issues of diversity and uniformity in female Franciscan communities.
Following the same template of the 2015 gathering, a workshop on Franciscan identity and innovation in the contemporary world will follow the academic exchange. With a Jesuit Pope name Francis, questions of identity and innovation are open to reinterpretation and retrieval.
For many scholars, 2017 marks the 800th anniversary of Saint Bonaventure’s birth. The Franciscan Institute intends to celebrate this festive occasion with a symposium dedicated to cultural and religious dynamics of the 13th century that shaped the man from the ancient Etruscan city of Bagnoregio who set out for Paris in his youth, found a home in the intellectual center of Christianity in the West, yet travelled throughout Europe like no other previous Franciscan leader.
The subsequent workshop intends to promote an understanding of how culture and religion forms individuals and communities, and what Bonaventure’s own experience and written work may be retrieved in the contemporary world.
“The members of RAC, who represent various academic disciplines, were of one mind in their desire to promote programs that reflect the decades-long historic mission of the Franciscan Institute,” Dr. Johnson said. “While the stress is on the academic, the RAC wanted to also assure that research results would be shared in various practical and pastoral ways with all those today who look to Francis of Assisi and his followers for inspiration and guidance.”
Coinciding with this multi-year research agenda, the Franciscan Institute will offer three grants of $5,000 in the academic year of 2015. Preference will be given to those proposals that further the symposia/workshop agenda for 2015-2017.
For more information on these symposiums, grants or the Franciscan Institute, contact Br. Maciag at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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