Lecture Series

Villanova Center for Liberal Education presents:
The Robert M. Birmingham Luncheon Series


"A Conversation With..."


Helena Tomko, Humanities Department

"Europe Imagined in the German Catholic Inner Exile, 1933-1945"


Wednesday, February 10,  2016, St. Augustine Center-300


12:00-1:30, Lunch will be provided

This  talk will focus on how Europe figures in the social imaginary of the German Catholic inner exiles during the Third Reich.  The inner exiles were writers, artists, and thinkers who lived under National Socialism between 1933 and 1945 and who attempted, in their writing, art, and in crypto-public spaces, to resist intellectual and moral conformity to the regime.   This project describes how inner exiles turned to the past for imagined surrogates for the religious dynamics that had shaped European culture throughout the ages and the forces that had led to the emergence of the Third Reich.  My focal point is the logic of European identity as articulated by prominent Catholic inner exiles, in particular the cultural critic Theodor Haecker and the novelist Gertrud von le Fort. My project explores how their shared conviction that German Catholics must respond to Nazism by acknowledging the failed legacy of Europe-as-Christendom anticipates postwar crises of European identity, in particular German Catholics' complicated acceptance of their place in a secularizing post-1945 country and continent.



Wednesday, February 24, 2016-St. Augustine Center, Room 300


Wednesday, April 6, 2016-St. Augustine Center, Room 300

12:00-1:30, Lunch will be provided

What can forgeries tell us about canonical authors and their works? For over 250 years, from ca. 1230-40 to 1498, readers of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy—an influential meditation on human suffering and divine transcendence written while Boethius awaited execution—believed that the author turned from the Consolation’s transcendent vision to reminisce on his school days and to offer mundane and humorous advice to students. This talk resituates the little known Pseudo-Boethian forgery De disciplina scolarium in its proper place in the medieval Boethian corpus in order to reveal both a transformed Boethius and critical blind spots surrounding the reception of forgeries.  


Value of the Center

“The opening of the Center marks a turning point for the University. Now, for the first time in the University’s history, the liberal arts, which form the heart of Villanova’s academic mission, will be presented to our students in such a way as to enable them to see the interconnections between the many disciplines of the arts.”

John A. Doody, Ph.D.
Director of the Center
Robert M. Birmingham Chair in Humanities
Professor, Philosophy

More Information

For more information on the Villanova Center for Liberal Education, please contact Dr. John Doody, Director of the Center, at 610.519.4691.