The Research Advisory Council (RAC) for the Franciscan Institute met at Saint Bonaventure University on June 24-26, 2014, to set the research agenda for 2015-2017. During this time the RAC finalized a multiyear proposal for a series of symposia/workshops that will be held at the Franciscan Institute in conjunction with the Feast of Saint Bonaventure on July 15th.
The 2015 event will follow up on the Franciscan Institute’s decision in 2014 to promote the insights of Peter of John Olivi. At a time when Pope Francis draws attention to the hope found in the Gospel and the plight of countless people around the globe, the RAC is convinced the Franciscan tradition, as evidenced in Peter of John 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 the nature of legal contracts published by Dr. Sylvain Piron. Noted Franciscan historian, Fr. Michael Cusato, OFM, 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, OFM, is editing Peter of John Olivi’s Questions on Evangelical Perfection. Fr. Flood, who is a resident scholar at Saint Bonaventure University, is recognized worldwide as one of the premier experts in the area of Olivi studies. Dr. Sylvain Piron and Dr. David Burr will be in attendance.
The intent of the 2015 July symposium, tentatively 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 immediate contact person for this 2015 event is Dr. Timothy J. Johnson (email@example.com)
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 as the 2015 gathering, a workshop on Franciscan identity and innovation in the contemporary world will follow the academic exchange. With a Jesuit Pope named Francis, questions of identity and innovation are open to reinterpretation and retrieval. During this workshop, participants will be invited to explore their own experience in light of the centuries-long witnesses of women who, finding inspiration in the stories of Francis, Clare, and others, formed and enfleshed their unique visions. The immediate contact person for this 2016 event is Dr. Lezlie Knox (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 the cultural and religious dynamics that shaped the Seraphic Doctor. Raised in the ancient Etruscan city of Bagnoregio, Bonaventure set out for Paris in his youth, found a home in this 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 form individuals and communities, and what elements of Bonaventure’s own experience and written work may be retrieved in the contemporary world. This will also be the occasion to celebrate the conclusion of the current Works of St. Bonaventure Series. The immediate contact person for this 2017 event is Dr. Joshua Benson (email@example.com)
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