International Conference: “Coordinating the Two Books”


This conference examines the configuration of confessional interests and epistemic concerns at the interface of hermeneutics and science. Current historiography does not appreciate early modern Catholic endeavours in generating knowledge about the Book of Nature and the Word of God in their own right. At best, they tend to be regarded as a stepping stone to the ‘real thing’, the Protestant study of nature as an act of devotion to God. It is high time to re-integrate early modern Catholic intellectual output in the received history of ways of managing religious and natural knowledge. This conference aims to contribute to studying Catholic’s proper trajectory in aligning natural enquiry and textual authority.


22 Nov.
9h00 all welcome at KANTL
(Koningstraat 18, Ghent)
9h15 Steven Vanden Broecke
9h30 Dario Tessicini
‘The Comet and the Plague:
Catholic Astrology, Meteorology and Medicine in Early Modern Venice’
10h00 Steve Matthews
‘The Jesuits, Biblical Hermeneutics, and the Scientific Revolution’
10h30 discussion
11h00 coffee break
11h30 Jonathan Regier
‘On Providence and Natural Cause:
Reading Cardano with the Roman Inquisition’
12h00 Anthony Ossa Richardson
‘Mersenne’s Two Books’
12h30 discussion
13h00 lunch
14h30 Eric Jorink
‘Reading the Book of Nature with Cartesian Glasses:
the Cases of Johannes Swammerdam and Nicolaus Steno’
15h00 Thomas Leinkauf
‘The “Book of Nature” and strategies of persuasion’
15h30 discussion
16h00 coffee break
16h30 KEY-NOTE:
Bernd Roling
‘Return From the Dead:
The Raising of Lazarus in Early Modern Biblical Commentaries and Natural Philosophy’
19h00 dinner
23 Nov.
9h00 all welcome at Sint-Baafshuis
(Biezekapelstraat 2, Ghent)
9h30 Jetze Touber
‘Slime of the Earth:
Biblical Contours of the Human Body as Microcosm in the Early 17th century’
10h00 Sietske Fransen
‘The Role of Catholicism in the Lives and Works of Father and Son Van Helmont’
10h30 discussion
11h00 coffee break
11h30 Steven Vanden Broecke
‘Belief, Piety and Erudition in Low Countries Baroque Science:
The Case of Govaert Wendelen (1580-1667)’
12h00 Florence Hsia
‘Biblical History and the Challenge of Chinese Astronomy’
12h30 discussion
14h00 lunch
14h30 Elena Rapetti
‘Reason in the limits of Faith:
Pierre-Daniel Huet, André Graindorge, and the making of science at the Académie de physique de Caen
15h00 Scott Mandelbrote
‘Newtonian philology:
Co-ordinating the two books in early eighteenth-century Europe’
15h30 discussion
16h00 coffee break
Jetze Touber
‘Concluding Discussion’

Organized by Jetze Touber and Steven Vanden Broecke (History Department, Ghent University), in conjunction with the IEMH.

To register, please contact Jetze Touber at


I@H Digitizing Humanities lecture on Tudor Networks of Power

On Wednesday 7 November from 3-5pm, guest speaker Dr. Ruth Ahnert, Senior Lecturer at the Queen Mary University of London will give the second lecture of the I@H lecture series on Digitizing the Humanities: Tudor Networks of Power.

Location: Faculteitsbibliotheek in the Library Lab II Mangel Wing, Rozier 44.


Dr. Ahnert’s research employs digital methods from the field of Complex Networks to study Tudor letters. By examining the structure of the social networks of sixteenth-century correspondents, she manages to recuperate the roles of people who tend to be ignored in more traditional historical research. A famous writer or politician might have caught the headlines with a book or argument, but it often took a range of facilitators to keep the message alive. Students will learn about network analysis and see that through this method, scholars of Humanities can gain insights into complex relational processes. The approach that Dr. Ahnert will discuss in her talk is applicable for literary studies – (re)mapping actors/characters, relations to explain power through texts.

This lecture is in English. Registration is required: And

The I@H Digitizing the Humanities lecture series is targeted to all students, and staff of UGent from bachelor and masters students, PhD candidates, researchers, professors, and support staff. The goal of the lecture series is to raise awareness of the state-of-the-art digital methods currently being used and developed by humanities scholars and empower researchers to put these to work themselves. With the financial support of I@H. Please see: for more information.