02. RESPUBLICA LITTERARIA: HUMANITIES, ARTS AND SCIENCES (Before the Specialization of Knowledge)

Panel Convenors

Sophie Conte (University of Reims) [sophie.conte01@gmail.com]

Margarida Miranda (University of Coimbra - Centre of Classical and Humanistic Studies) [mmirandafluc@gmail.com]

The study of Greco-Latin culture reaches its full meaning in a historical perspective that goes from Antiquity to the modern world through the Middle Ages and Renaissance Humanism.  

The concept of Respublica litteraria, used for the first time by Francesco Barbaro in a letter written to another humanist, Poggio Bracciolini (1417), reflects the links between the humanities, the arts and the sciences under the sign of the unity of knowledge, before the irreversible "divorce" between the humanities and the sciences took place.

It designated an ideal community (not socially or legally institutionalized, but real), that gathered all those who were united by the bonds of letters, study and knowledge, and carried out work useful for the common good, especially in the field of education.

Within Christian humanism, this cosmopolitan community brought together men and women from different nations and creeds, and developed mainly thanks to the activity of the press and the multiplication of schools and colleges.

The Jesuit study program reflects an Aristotelian epistemological model, but rejects the traditional opposition between scholastic education and humanistic teaching, making them complementary knowledge, not rival. Thus, theologians were also grammarians, poets, playwrights, speakers, philosophers, scientists, advisers to monarchs and confessors. Missionaries were preachers but also anthropologists, linguists, doctors, astronomers and lawyers.

Respublica Litteraria (or Litterarum) transcended all doctrinal differences and became a new spiritual power.


Respublica Litteraria: humanities, arts and sciences (before the specialization of knowledge) welcomes proposals from scholars of any research area, such as literature, philosophy, art, history (mainly history of science, history of education), religious studies, linguistics, theology, dealing with the following guidelines:

Organization of knowledge, scientific writing and science itself until the Early Modern period (which includes humanism and post-humanism), in relation to epistemological models inherited from Antiquity.

1. The Arbor scientiarum, or organization of knowledge

  • The unity of knowledge: Studia humanitatis, arts and sciences

  • Organizing knowledge: Encyclopedism and hierarchy of knowledge.

  • Looking for the division of sciences (and fields of knowledge) in humanistic and Jesuit literary production

2. Scientific writing

  • Rhetoric and Natural Philosophy. Natural philosophy as text.

  • Researching nature: classical tradition and scientific discourse 

  • Literary discourse and scientific discourse in the knowledge of Nature

  • science and rhetoric: scientific writing in modern times

3. Science itself

  • Nature, man and kosmos, from Aristotle to the Conimbricenses

  • Aristotelianism and experimentalism

- Abstracts shoud be sent to mmiranda@fl.uc.pt;  sophie.conte@univ-reims.fr 
- Languages accepted: English, Portuguese ; Spanish; French; Italian 

- Duration of the paper:  20min

Abstracts should have:

- Title of communication

- E-mail

- University

- Abstracts (max 250 words)

- Keywords (5 to 10 words)