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2023 Midwest Medieval History Conference

Academics / Departments & Programs / Medieval Studies / Midwest Medieval History Conference

The 2023 Midwest Medieval History Conference

Calvin University, Grand Rapids
October 20-21, 2023

Plenary Speaker: Thomas Burman, Notre Dame University,
“Leaving the Mediterranean: Ramon Martí and the Peoples of Many Books.”


Registration is $104 per person* and includes the Business Lunch and President's reception on Saturday. 

Register here

*Students can apply for an MMHC bursarship. For more information on that, please email Professor Matthew Phillips at

Conference program

The conference program has now been finalized. Click here to view the conference program.

For questions about the program or the conference in general, please contact conference organizer Professor Frans van Liere at

Keynote speaker

Thomas Burman (Notre Dame University): 
"Leaving the Mediterranean: Ramon Martí and the Peoples of Many Books"

This keynote talk will be held on Friday, October 20, 3:30-5:00 PM, in the Meeter Center Lecture Hall. This talk is open to the public.

The thirteenth-century Dominican friar, Ramon Martí, was the most learned scholar of Islam and Judaism of the Latin Middle Ages. His linguistic virtuosity--he knew Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic all exceptionally well--and his early works were very much a product of his life-long residence on a Mediterranean frontier in eastern Spain where he could learn from Muslim and Jewish teachers, read texts in Semitic languages, and have access to sources no one else in Latin Christendom knew, such Arabo-Coptic refutations of Islam and al-Ghazali's celebrated spiritual autobiography. Yet to understand his work fully, we have to see him as eventually leaving the Mediterranean intellectually as he was drawn more and more into northern European intellectual movements. In particular, this lecture will show that much of Martí's later work is unintelligible without recognizing that he had embraced a key strand in northern-Latin Biblical interpretation--the practice of 'extended-literal' exegesis which stressed that the Christian theological meaning of the Hebrew Bible must be evident in its literal, rather than spiritual, sense. 


Thomas E. Burman is Robert M. Conway Director of the Medieval Institute and Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.  He is the author of Reading the Qur'an in Latin Christendom, 1140-1560 and co-author of The Sea in the Middle: The Mediterranean World, 650-1650.



Calvin University is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn more about the location here

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On-campus lodging is available at Calvin's Prince Conference Center. A restricted number of rooms are available at the special conference rate of $110, until September 28. (Double queen and king rooms available.)

Please see this document for instructions about how to reserve lodging in the reservation block. Then reserve online at

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