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  • Author or Editor: Bernd Roling x

Locutio angelica

Die Diskussion der Engelsprache als Antizipation einer Sprechakttheorie in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit


Bernd Roling

The question of how pure spiritual beings like angels communicate had already been discussed by the Church Fathers. How could an angelic speech-act take place, if it does not follow the laws of ordinary language? The scholastic philosophers conducted an extensive and rather controversial debate about the language of angels ('locutio angelica'), which covered pragmatics, aspects of the 'Language of Mind' and the theory of truth and meaning. This debate was already very complex in the Middle Ages, but in Jesuit circles (and in Baroque Scholasticism more generally), discussions of angelic communication became a leading field of interest in the philosophy of language influencing such eminent thinkers as Leibniz.
This study reconstructs the 1500 years of controversy on the language of angels as a striking example of the longue durée of European intellectual history.

Victorious Virgin: Early Modern Mary Epics between Theological-Didactical and Epic Poetry (Virgo Victrix: Frühneuzeitliche Marienepik zwischen theologischem Lehrgedicht und Epos)

On the Three Books of Mary by Julius Caesar Delphinus († 1564) (Die Mariados libri tres des Julius Caesar Delphinus († 1564))

Bernd Roling

This paper deals with a neglected subgenre of biblical poetry, namely with epic poems on the life of the Blessed Virgin. After an introduction into the poetic treatment of Mary in early modern latin poetry in general, one single epic poem is discussed in detail, the Mariados libri tres of the Italian-German scholar Giulio Cesare Delfini. As it will be demonstrated, Delfini’s poem included long explanations of medico-theological problems, like the digestion of the Divine Virgin or her intellectual skills, which the poet treated in addition in separate glosses. As result the poem presents itself as hybrid between didactic and epic poetry. In addition the study contains as an Appendix a list of (approximately) all accessible Latin poems, written between 1550 and 1650, on the incarnation and birth of Christ.

Drachen und Sirenen

Die Rationalisierung und Abwicklung der Mythologie an den europäischen Universitäten


Bernd Roling

What kind of being did a sailor see, when he was confronted with a mermaid? A demon, a fairy, a monster, or only an extraordinary marine mammal? Transmitted by the tradition of ancient natural history the European universities faced many creatures belonging to natural science as well as to mythology, which still could be observed throughout the world. While medieval sholarship treated those beings as subjects for demonology, early modern scholars started to rationalize the sirens and satyrs and developed new models of explanation. Throughout hundreds of academical disputations the debate on hybrid creatures can be followed up to the time of Linné and Buffon and the zoological classifications of the 18th century.
This study reconstructs the discussions of hybrid creatures as part of the Early Modern change of paradigms and the longue durée of ancient and medieval natural history with the help of five examples, sirens, satyrs, giants, pygmies, and dragons.