Markus Vinzent's Blog

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Patristics under threat in Italy

From the many messages, related to the 16th International Conference on Patristic Studies, I received the following one on the precarious state of Patristics in Italy, a message so full of passion, hope and despair that I thought I should share it with you:

Dear Markus,
I regret to confirm that I cannot -- at least physically -- participate at the present Conference. I am very very sad for this: I prepared an intriguing communication according to your indications and I was very joyful all the time expecting such an occasion to "breath" the Patristic pure air. Unfortunately, the economic status of my University is close to a "default" -- so to use an instant term. In the last biennium I reserved a short amount of euros just for my Oxford's expenses and also for any other necessity connected to the event. However, a Rector 's decree prevented me (and, of course, other associate professors) from using money to subscribe for congresses and for inviting colleagues. One might wonder: Is this not a harakiri for a university? Anyway, this is for the being time Italy. Moreover, the academic situation of Patristic studies -- and, in general, of the whole Classical realm -- is marching towards a collapse. The whole idea of Classical Studies is under attack in the Italian context dominated by (dis-)human scientists and, especially, by paedagogists and docimologists. Plus, the danger is not overt, but concealed in the political usual manner. The energies and food to resist such a globalized attack are poor and random-like, at least as for those scholars who -- like me -- do not have academic power and/or academic relations capable of yielding "apotropaic" fear...  What one might oppose to this? I have not but my personal efforts and scientific honesty. ...
As I usually say, my job is working "in partibus infidelium", and this is an interesting task for a scholar as well as for a christian. However, despite the number of papers written by me in the last years, I did not have my very chance to show in an appropriate context my account of Greek Patristic philosophical approach. This is the topic I was prepared to submit to your judgement at Oxford.
The state of affairs prevented me from having this opportunity. At least, for the the moment. I hope I could have another chance.
Finally, you could give me a great joy taking me, next week, as a "virtual" participant to the Conference: be sure that every day during the conference I will be spiritually unite to each participant by praying and studying Fathers in my room as it is possible.
Economy robbed me the joy to stay with you: however, it cannot robbe me the joy of connecting my soul with yours, Colleagues of any Country, as friendly as possible. 

1 comment:

  1. We forgo our history. We forgo our future understanding. Our human self is based on such learnings. We strive for greater material gain and find that money has no worth. That Gold is but a Metal within the stuff that is everything, but gold itself is nothing. Dust may gather on great volumes. But another curious mind will blow the layer and read. And so we learn.