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Appel à contributions : Conference on Distinctiones in the context of medieval preaching

Lieu : Prague (République tchèque)

Dates : 23-25 avril 2020

Date limite de réponse à l’appel : 1er janvier 2020

The study of medieval preaching – and its main source, the sermon – offers a privileged insight into intellectual work and its techniques. Through this source, we can approach the persuasion strategies, and also the tools used by the preachers in their intellectual work. Among those tools was the distinctio. This technique, extremely widespread in the Middle Ages from the late 12th c. onwards, consisted of considering a word according to its various senses, properties or characteristics, and supporting them with biblical citations. Distinctiones were a key ingredient of sermons from the early 13th c. onwards, just like exempla (short narratives used for persuasion), but contrary to the latter, distinctiones have never been studied in depth or even surveyed properly. They did not benefit from an authoritative study tracing the origins and developments of the technique, its relationship with rhetoric or dialectics, the actual use of distinctions in preaching and beyond, etc. It is probably the sheer immensity of the task ahead and the paucity of reference works and finding aids that discouraged new research so far.

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