Dates of stay in Oxford: January-July 2021 and May-July 2023
Position: Leverhulme Visiting Professor
Position(s) held at other institution(s): Full Professor in Armenian Studies at the University of Geneva and corresponding member of the Institut de France (Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres).
Dr Valentina Calzolari is Full Professor in Armenian Studies at the University of Geneva and corresponding member of the Institut de France (Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres). In the past, she was a visiting scholar at Harvard University (2013-2014) and at the NYU (2012), and Maître de conférence invitée at the EPHE (1995). She is currently President of the Association Internationale des Etudes Arméniennes (2007–) and of the Association pour l'Etude de la Littérature Apocryphe Chrétienne (2010–). With prof. Theo M. van Lint (University of Oxford), she is co-founding director of the series Armenian Texts and Studies (Brill) and, with prof. Jonathan Barnes, of the Commentaria in Aristotelem Armeniaca. Davidis Opera, a sub-series of the series Philosophia Antiqua (Brill); she is also currently (co-)leading the Corpus Christianorum Series Apocrypha (Brepols).
She extensively published on ancient and modern Armenian literature. She is the author of Apocrypha Armeniaca I: Acta Theclae, Prodigia Theclae, Martyrium Pauli (CCSA 20, Turnhout, Brepols 2017), of the Les apôtres Thaddée et Barthélemy. Aux origines du christianisme arménien (Turnhout, Brepols 2011) and of the The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles in Armenian (Leuven, Peeters 2022); she is (co-)editor of different volumes, including Les Arts libéraux et les sciences dans l’Arménie ancienne et médiévale (Paris, Vrin 2022);Armenian Philology in Modern Era: From Manuscript to Digital Text (Handbook of Oriental Studies VIII/ 23, Leiden & Boston, Brill, 2014).
Professor Calzolari’s double background in Classics and Armenian Studies informs her expertise in the “Hellenising School” of Armenian literature and in the transmission of Neoplatonism in Armenia, both part of the transmission of the Greek heritage in Armenia.
Leverhulme Visiting Professorship's Project
Over the centuries, Armenia played an important role in the preservation and transmission of the Greek cultural heritage, of which the corpus of the logical works of Aristotle, Porphyry, and their later Greek commentators, including David the Invincible constituted a fundamental part. The main aim of Professor Calzolari’s Leverhulme project is to create a common discourse on the transmission of Neoplatonism in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, with a decentralized perspective, focusing not only on the Greek original texts, but also on their reception in the Oriental languages, particularly in Armenian and, comparatively, in Syriac. The ultimate aim of the professorship is to add the Armenian area to the multifaceted and complex cartography of the transmission of the "Libraries of the Neoplatonists", stressing that at the time of the so-called “translatio studiorum” a same bulk of works and knowledge, linked to the Neoplatonic School of Alexandria, circulated in Armenia too, as well as in neighbouring Syria, and receive a new vitality. Studying the conditions of the reception of Greek philosophical thought after the closing of the Greek schools in the Oriental areas means to give the study of “Byzantium” a more dynamic and decentralized perspective, which ultimately helps to better understand the history of Byzantium itself beyond some traditional perspectives still too centralized.
Seminars and Public Lectures
Text-reading Seminar: Hilary and Trinity Terms
During the Hilary and Trinity Terms, Prof. Calzolari will offer a text-reading Seminar on the Armenian translation of the commentaries of David, and especially of the Prolegomena, open to all staff and students in Armenian Studies, Classics, History of Philosophy, Linguistics, and others who might profit from them. The text will be translated and commented in English in order to make it accessible also to people without Armenian or Greek, but interested in the content of the works and in the modalities of the transmission of Greek thought. They are all very much welcome. The original texts will be available both in Armenian and in Greek, and commented upon, for people mastering one or both of these languages.
Hilary Term (NB days changed)
Thursday, 2 pm - 4 pm, Weeks 6-8: February 25, March 4, 11
Trinity Term (NB days changed)
Thursday, 2 pm - 4 pm, Weeks 1-5: April 29, May 6, 13, 20, 27
In order to get a sense of the size of the online seminar, all interested are kindly requested to write to Prof. Calzolari: email@example.com
Leverhulme public lectures on “The Reception of Neoplatonism in Armenia” and other talks
Trinity Term 2023
1. Book Launch & Discussion
Tuesday, June 6, 5pm, Pembroke College, SCR Parlour (Fellows’ Staircase, Chapel Quad)
Valentina Calzolari | The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles in Armenian (Studies on Early Christian Apocrypha 18), Leuven, 2022
Speaker: Prof. Valentina Calzolari
Discussant: Dr. Sebastian Brock, Reader Emeritus in Syriac and Aramaic, University of Oxford.
This talk will give a short overview of the Christian Apocrypha in Armenian and will stress the importance of the apocryphal writings as evidence for a better understanding of ancient Christianity in Armenia in its different facets and in its relations with the neighboring Christian communities. Focus will be placed on the apocrypha related to the apostles of Armenia (Thaddaeus and Bartholomew) and their relations with the Syriac traditions about old Christianity of Edessa. Special attention will be also devoted to the legend of St Thecla (the disciple of the apostle Paul according to the apocryphal Acts of Paul) and to the different paradigms of holiness (virgin, martyr, apostle, and patroness of Nicaean orthodoxy) that she embodies in the ancient Armenian historiographical literature of the fifth century.
2. Leverhulme Lecture & Book Launch
Tuesday, June 13, 5pm, Pembroke College, Mary Hide Eccles Room
Prof. Valentina Calzolari | The Reception of Neoplatonism in Armenia
This fifth Leverhulme Lecture will stress how late ancient Neoplatonism was received and transmitted in Armenia over the centuries. Special emphasis will be placed on the corpus of the Armenian translations of the Greek commentaries on Aristotelian logic by David, a Neoplatonist who taught at the School of Alexandria in the sixth century. Moreover, it will examine the construction of the legend of David, called the “Invincible”, in the Armenian tradition. The Armenian reception of Greek thought is part of a collective volume recently published by V. Calzolari on the liberal arts – including philosophy – in Armenia: Les arts libéraux et les sciences dans l’Arménie ancienne et médiévale (Textes et Traditions 36), Paris, Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 2023. This volume’s publication will be celebrated with a book launch following the presentation.
Trinity Term 2021 (May-June) On Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/93981829974?pwd=UlJZR25McnV1ZzVWaGdtcnJpSkxvdz09).
Thursday, May 27, 5pm
The “Libraries of the Neoplatonists” in Armenia(n): When, How, and Why Did Greek Texts Studied at the Neoplatonic School of Alexandria Find their Way to the Armenian World?
Thursday, June 3, 5pm
The Armenian Translations of David the Invincible’s Works and the Pioneering Role of the Translators: David’s Introduction to Philosophy
Thursday, June 10, 5pm
The Reception of the Neoplatonic Works in Armenia in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period
Thursday, June 17, 5pm
The Construction of the Legend of David the “Invincible” in the Armenian Tradition in the Middle Ages and the Modern Era
The four Leverhulme Lectures will stress how late ancient Neoplatonism was received and transmitted to Armenia over the centuries. Special emphasis will be placed on the corpus of the Armenian translations of the Greek commentaries on Aristotelian logic by David, a Neoplatonist who taught at the School of Alexandria in the 6th century. Moreover, they will examine the construction of the legend of David in the Armenian tradition, and its contribution to the fashioning of Armenian identity, both cultural and national ̶ a contribution which endured to the end of the 19th century.
Organiser and contact: Theo M. van Lint, Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies, The Oriental Institute: firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 2LE
E-mail address: email@example.com; permanent E-mail address: Valentina.Calzolari@unige.ch
Research interests: Classics and Armenian Studies, Armenian literature, Neoplatonism in Armenia, Greek heritage in Armenia.
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