Past Event

Columbia Medieval Studies Seminar: William North (Carleton College)

November 27, 2018
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Columbia University Faculty House

William North (Carleton College), "Controversy, Council, and the Articulation of Public Orthodoxy: The Examples of Paschal II and Calixtus II "

Scholars have long observed that orthodoxy and heresy stand in a dynamic relation to one another, the boundaries and qualities of one shaping those of the other. And though it is readily acknowledged, and indeed historically undeniable, that orthodoxy can and does change, such changes often are often portrayed in our sources, and at times in the scholarship, as happening comprehensively: a church council meets, debates, and revises the orthodox view of X. In such treatments, orthodoxy emerges as the product of debate over positions that are, in a sense, treated as “pre-orthodox”, implicitly treating "orthodoxy" as a category that applies only after the institutional church has made its collective decision. Through the examination of two conciliar settings—the councils surrounding the so-called Pravilegium Controversy of Pope Paschal II (1111-1116) and the council of Reims in 1119 led by Calixtus II—this paper seeks to show that the institutional and intellectual process involved in the making of orthodoxy was more complicated and more fraught than we may have fully acknowledged and, furthermore, that it may be productive as historians to acknowledge the existence of “private orthodoxy” as a critical component in the institutional processes of articulating orthodoxy.


The event will be held in Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive. The cost for dinner following the talk at 7:00, payable by check only, is $30.  When you RSVP please indicate whether or not you plan to come to dinner; please give 10 days advance notice.