Bibliography

Willemien
Otten
s. xx / s. xxi

31 publications between 1986 and 2019 indexed
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Works authored

Otten, Willemien, The anthropology of Johannes Scottus Eriugena, Studies in Intellectual History 20, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1991. 242 pp.  
abstract:
This book deals with Eriugena’s anthropology in the general context of his thinking on universal nature.

At the outset the role of man seems to be conditioned by nature's dynamic development through the Neoplatonic stages of procession and return. As man is located at the turning- point between procession and return, he is not only governed by nature's unfolding, but can also exercise control over it. Thus it is shown that man should be seen as much more independent than the cosmological structure of Eriugena's philosophy of nature seems to indicate.

The study of Eriugena's anthropology urges a re-evaluation of the position of man in the early medieval period. Although man characteristically possesses a sinful, created state, Eriugena shows that this does not prevent him from entertaining a free and direct relationship with God and the surrounding universe. In dealing with the problem of human sin, Eriugena brings out Christ’s saving role, but it seems counterbalanced by man’s intrinsic potential as the "divine image" to rehabilitate himself. In this respect Eriugena’s flexible method of reasoning – his handling of negative theology, theophany and allegorical exegesis – serves as a remarkable example of human independence in what has so often been portrayed as the "static" early-medieval world.
(source: Brill)
abstract:
This book deals with Eriugena’s anthropology in the general context of his thinking on universal nature.

At the outset the role of man seems to be conditioned by nature's dynamic development through the Neoplatonic stages of procession and return. As man is located at the turning- point between procession and return, he is not only governed by nature's unfolding, but can also exercise control over it. Thus it is shown that man should be seen as much more independent than the cosmological structure of Eriugena's philosophy of nature seems to indicate.

The study of Eriugena's anthropology urges a re-evaluation of the position of man in the early medieval period. Although man characteristically possesses a sinful, created state, Eriugena shows that this does not prevent him from entertaining a free and direct relationship with God and the surrounding universe. In dealing with the problem of human sin, Eriugena brings out Christ’s saving role, but it seems counterbalanced by man’s intrinsic potential as the "divine image" to rehabilitate himself. In this respect Eriugena’s flexible method of reasoning – his handling of negative theology, theophany and allegorical exegesis – serves as a remarkable example of human independence in what has so often been portrayed as the "static" early-medieval world.
(source: Brill)

Works edited

Otten, Willemien, and Michael I. Allen (eds), Eriugena and Creation: proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Eriugenian Studies, held in honor of Edouard Jeauneau, Chicago, 9–12 November 2011, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014.  
abstract:
Unjustly ignored as a result of a thirteenth-century condemnation, the thought of Johannes Scottus Eriugena (ca. 810-877) has only been subject to critical study in the twentieth century. Now, with the completion of the critical edition of Eriugena’s masterwork - the Periphyseon - the time has come to explore what is arguably the most intriguing and vital theme in his work: creation and nature. In honor of Edouard Jeauneau - Institute Professor at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, University of Toronto and Honorary Research Director at the C.N.R.S. in Paris - to whom the field of Eriugenian studies is enormously indebted, this volume seeks to undertake a serious examination of the centrality of Eriugena’s thought within the Carolingian context, taking into account his Irish heritage, his absorption of Greek thought and his place in Carolingian culture; of Eriugena as a medieval thinker, both his intellectual influences and his impact on later medieval thinkers; and of Eriugena’s reception by modern philosophy, from considerations of philosophical idealism to technology.
comments: Includes a bibliography of Eriugenian Studies, 2000–2014
abstract:
Unjustly ignored as a result of a thirteenth-century condemnation, the thought of Johannes Scottus Eriugena (ca. 810-877) has only been subject to critical study in the twentieth century. Now, with the completion of the critical edition of Eriugena’s masterwork - the Periphyseon - the time has come to explore what is arguably the most intriguing and vital theme in his work: creation and nature. In honor of Edouard Jeauneau - Institute Professor at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, University of Toronto and Honorary Research Director at the C.N.R.S. in Paris - to whom the field of Eriugenian studies is enormously indebted, this volume seeks to undertake a serious examination of the centrality of Eriugena’s thought within the Carolingian context, taking into account his Irish heritage, his absorption of Greek thought and his place in Carolingian culture; of Eriugena as a medieval thinker, both his intellectual influences and his impact on later medieval thinkers; and of Eriugena’s reception by modern philosophy, from considerations of philosophical idealism to technology.
comments: Includes a bibliography of Eriugenian Studies, 2000–2014
Hellemans, Babette, Willemien Otten, and Burcht Pranger (eds), On religion and memory, New York: Fordham University Press, 2013.  
abstract:
This volume takes up the challenge implied in Augustine’s paradox of time: how does one account for the continuity of history and the certitude of memory, if time, in the guise of an indivisible ‘now,’ cuts off any extension of the present? The thinkers and artists the essays address include Augustine, Abelard, Eriugena and Thoreau, Calvin, Shakespeare, De Rancé, Stravinsky and Messiaen, Rubens and Woolf.
(source: Publisher)
abstract:
This volume takes up the challenge implied in Augustine’s paradox of time: how does one account for the continuity of history and the certitude of memory, if time, in the guise of an indivisible ‘now,’ cuts off any extension of the present? The thinkers and artists the essays address include Augustine, Abelard, Eriugena and Thoreau, Calvin, Shakespeare, De Rancé, Stravinsky and Messiaen, Rubens and Woolf.
(source: Publisher)
Vos, N. M., and Willemien Otten (eds), Demons and the Devil in ancient and medieval Christianity, Leiden: Brill, 2011.
Otten, Willemien, Arjo Vanderjagt, and Hent de Vries (eds), How the West was won. Essays on literary imagination, the canon, and the Christian Middle Ages for Burcht Pranger, Leiden: Brill, 2010.
Treschow, M., Willemien Otten, and W. Hannam (eds), Divine creation in ancient, medieval, and early modern thought. Essays presented to the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Crouse, Leiden: Brill, 2007.
McGinn, Bernard, and Willemien Otten (eds), Eriugena: east and west. Papers of the Eighth International Symposium of the Society for the Promotion of Eriugenian Studies, Chicago and Notre Dame, 18–20 October, 1991, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994.

Contributions to journals

Otten, Willemien, “The fate of Augustine's Genesis exegesis in medieval hexaemeral commentaries: the cases of John Scottus Eriugena and Robert Grosseteste”, Studia patristica 98 (2017): 51–70.
Otten, Willemien, “Le langage de l’union mystique: le désir et le corps dans l’oeuvre de Jean Scot Érigène et de Maître Eckhart”, tr. Geneviève Lachance, Les études philosophiques 104 — Érigène (2013): 121–141.  
abstract:
L’article propose une analyse comparative de la pensée mystique de Jean Scot Érigène (810-877) et de Maître Eckhart (1260-1328). Nuançant les critiques contemporaines relatives au rôle joué par l’expérience dans le mysticisme médiéval, il défend la position selon laquelle il est préférable d’instaurer une comparaison sémantique détaillée de la pensée de ces deux auteurs plutôt que de diviser le mysticisme médiéval en fonction de l’influence mystique augustinienne ou dionysienne décelable chez chacun d’entre eux. L’auteure mène une telle analyse en se reposant sur l’utilisation du concept d’incarnation comme principe sémantique fécond et non comme doctrine théologique. Tandis qu’Érigène utilise ce concept pour engager la conversation avec le divin (utilisation « horizontale »), Eckhart s’en sert pour donner naissance à une vision mystique plus incisive (utilisation « verticale »). Nuançant également l’idée selon laquelle l’apophase est une caractéristique commune de la tradition néoplatonicienne médiévale, l’auteure montre qu’Érigène et Eckhart utilisent l’apophase pour obtenir des effets fort différents. Guidés par leur désir de percer tout mécanisme de la contemplation mystique sans pour autant discréditer l’expérience en tant que telle, Érigène et Eckhart ne conçoivent pas l’apophase en contradiction avec la corporalité, mais l’utilisent pour affirmer l’ordre sous-jacent et le caractère commun de la nature et de la vie.
abstract:
L’article propose une analyse comparative de la pensée mystique de Jean Scot Érigène (810-877) et de Maître Eckhart (1260-1328). Nuançant les critiques contemporaines relatives au rôle joué par l’expérience dans le mysticisme médiéval, il défend la position selon laquelle il est préférable d’instaurer une comparaison sémantique détaillée de la pensée de ces deux auteurs plutôt que de diviser le mysticisme médiéval en fonction de l’influence mystique augustinienne ou dionysienne décelable chez chacun d’entre eux. L’auteure mène une telle analyse en se reposant sur l’utilisation du concept d’incarnation comme principe sémantique fécond et non comme doctrine théologique. Tandis qu’Érigène utilise ce concept pour engager la conversation avec le divin (utilisation « horizontale »), Eckhart s’en sert pour donner naissance à une vision mystique plus incisive (utilisation « verticale »). Nuançant également l’idée selon laquelle l’apophase est une caractéristique commune de la tradition néoplatonicienne médiévale, l’auteure montre qu’Érigène et Eckhart utilisent l’apophase pour obtenir des effets fort différents. Guidés par leur désir de percer tout mécanisme de la contemplation mystique sans pour autant discréditer l’expérience en tant que telle, Érigène et Eckhart ne conçoivent pas l’apophase en contradiction avec la corporalité, mais l’utilisent pour affirmer l’ordre sous-jacent et le caractère commun de la nature et de la vie.
Otten, Willemien, “Eriugena’s dialectic of the return”, Harvard Theological Review 84 (1991): 399–421.
Otten, Willemien, “The interplay of nature and man in the Periphyseon of Johannes Scottus Eriugena”, Vivarium 28 (1990): 1–16.
Otten, Willemien, “Some perspectives in Eriugenian studies: three recent publications”, Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie 37 (1990): 515–526.
Otten, Willemien, “The influence of Eriugenian thought: report on the International Eriugena Colloquium, Bad Homburg, 26–30 August 1985”, Studi Medievali, 3rd series, 27 (1986): 461–473.

Contributions to edited collections or authored works

Otten, Willemien, “Suspended between cosmology and anthropology: natura’s bond in Eriugena’s Periphyseon”, in: Guiu, Adrian (ed.), A companion to John Scottus Eriugena, Brill's Companions to the Christian Tradition 86, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2019. 189–212.
Otten, Willemien, “Eriugena on natures (created, human and divine)”, in: Moulin, Isabelle [ed.], Philosophie et théologie chez Jean Scot Érigène, Publications de l'Institut d'études médiévales de l'Institut catholique de Paris, Paris: VRIN, 2016. 113–133.
Otten, Willemien, “Eriugena and Emerson on nature and the self”, in: Otten, Willemien, and Michael I. Allen (eds), Eriugena and Creation: proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Eriugenian Studies, held in honor of Edouard Jeauneau, Chicago, 9–12 November 2011, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. 503–538.  
abstract:
In this article I try to gain deeper insight into Eriugena’s mysteriously attractive concept of nature as developed in the Periphyseon. The article attempts to gain this deeper insight by performing a series of steps. In the first of these I see anthropology and physiology as inseparably connected in the Periphyseon but refuse to see their integration as representing a case of premodern idealism. In search of both a modern parallel for and an alternative explanation of Eriugena’s integration of nature and self I turn to R.W. Emerson’s Nature and his discussion, followed by a dismissal, of idealism, as for Emerson nature only comes into itself at the command of spirit. Seeing an analogous evasive playfulness undergirding both Emerson’s circular thinking and Eriugena’s prolixity, serving in each case the goal of protrepsis, I develop in the third part of the article a new reading of Eriugena’s natura. This new reading casts the role of the Periphyseon as that of the first western natural theology, a theology that Augustine could have developed based on his theory of signs but never actually did. Whereas Augustine is the first master of self-analysis and introspection in the history of western thought, it is fitting to see Eriugena as the first master not just of natural theology but of the eloquentia rerum, as in the end nature for him is not just about conversation, but is itself conversation with the divine.
abstract:
In this article I try to gain deeper insight into Eriugena’s mysteriously attractive concept of nature as developed in the Periphyseon. The article attempts to gain this deeper insight by performing a series of steps. In the first of these I see anthropology and physiology as inseparably connected in the Periphyseon but refuse to see their integration as representing a case of premodern idealism. In search of both a modern parallel for and an alternative explanation of Eriugena’s integration of nature and self I turn to R.W. Emerson’s Nature and his discussion, followed by a dismissal, of idealism, as for Emerson nature only comes into itself at the command of spirit. Seeing an analogous evasive playfulness undergirding both Emerson’s circular thinking and Eriugena’s prolixity, serving in each case the goal of protrepsis, I develop in the third part of the article a new reading of Eriugena’s natura. This new reading casts the role of the Periphyseon as that of the first western natural theology, a theology that Augustine could have developed based on his theory of signs but never actually did. Whereas Augustine is the first master of self-analysis and introspection in the history of western thought, it is fitting to see Eriugena as the first master not just of natural theology but of the eloquentia rerum, as in the end nature for him is not just about conversation, but is itself conversation with the divine.
Otten, Willemien, “Creation and epiphanic incarnation. Reflections on the future of natural theology from an Eriugenian-Emersonian perspective”, in: Hellemans, Babette, Willemien Otten, and Burcht Pranger (eds), On religion and memory, New York: Fordham University Press, 2013. 64–88.
Otten, Willemien, “Overshadowing or foreshadowing return: the role of demons in Eriugena’s Periphyseon”, in: Vos, N. M., and Willemien Otten (eds), Demons and the Devil in ancient and medieval Christianity, Leiden: Brill, 2011. 211–229.
Otten, Willemien, “Does the canon need converting? A meditation on Augustine’s Soliloquies, Eriugena’s Periphyseon, and the dialogue with the religious past”, in: Otten, Willemien, Arjo Vanderjagt, and Hent de Vries (eds), How the West was won. Essays on literary imagination, the canon, and the Christian Middle Ages for Burcht Pranger, Leiden: Brill, 2010. 195–223.
Otten, Willemien, “Eriugena, Emerson, and the poetics of universal nature”, in: Berchman, R., and J. Finamore (eds), Metaphysical patterns in Platonism: ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and modern times, New Orleans: University Press of the South, 2007. 147–163.
Otten, Willemien, “Nature, body and text in early medieval theology: from Eriugena to Chartres”, in: Treschow, M., Willemien Otten, and W. Hannam (eds), Divine creation in ancient, medieval, and early modern thought. Essays presented to the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Crouse, Leiden: Brill, 2007. 235–256.
Otten, Willemien, “Anthropology between imago mundi and imago Dei: the place of Johannes Scottus Eriugena in the tradition of Christian thought”, in: Young, F., M. Edwards, and P. Parvis (eds), Augustine, other Latin writers. Papers presented at the Fourteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 2003, Studia Patristica 43, Leuven: Peeters, 2006. 459–472.
Otten, Willemien, “The pedagogical aspect of Eriugena’s eschatology: Paradise between the letter and the spirit”, in: McEvoy, J., and M. Dunne (eds), History and eschatology in John Scottus Eriugena and his time. Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference of the Society for the Promotion of Eriugenian Studies, Maynooth and Dublin, August 16–20, 2000, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (series 1), Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2002. 509–526.
Otten, Willemien, “Realized eschatology or philosophical idealism: the case of Eriugena’s Periphyseon”, in: Aertsen, J. A., and M. Pickavé (eds), Ende und Vollendung: eschatologische Perspektiven im Mittelalter, New York, Cologne: De Gruyter, 2001. 373–387.
Otten, Willemien, “The parallelism of nature and scripture: reflections on Eriugena’s incarnational exegesis”, in: Riel, Gerd van, Carlos Steel, and James J. McEvoy (eds), Johannes Scottus Eriugena. The Bible and hermeneutics. Proceedings of the Ninth International Colloquium of the Society for the Promotion of Eriugenian Studies held at Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, June 7–10, 1995, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy 1.20, Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1996. 81–102.
Otten, Willemien, “Eriugena’s Periphyseon: a Carolingian contribution to the theological tradition”, in: McGinn, Bernard, and Willemien Otten (eds), Eriugena: east and west. Papers of the Eighth International Symposium of the Society for the Promotion of Eriugenian Studies, Chicago and Notre Dame, 18–20 October, 1991, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994. 69–93.
Otten, Willemien, “Eriugena and the concept of eastern versus western patristic influence”, in: Livingstone, E. A. [ed.], Other Latin authors, Nachleben of the Fathers, Index Patrum. Papers presented at the Eleventh International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 1991, Studia Patristica 28, Louvain: Peeters, 1993. 217–224.
Otten, Willemien, “Between damnation and redemption: the dynamics of human nature in Eriugena’s Periphyseon and Alan of Lille’s Anticlaudianus”, in: Westra, Haijo Jan (ed.), From Athens to Chartres: neoplatonism and medieval thought. Studies in honour of Édouard Jeauneau, Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters 35, Leiden: Brill, 1992. 329–349.
Otten, Willemien, “The universe of nature and the universe of man: difference and identity”, in: Beierwaltes, Werner [ed.], Begriff und Metapher. Sprachform des Denkens bei Eriugena, Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1990. 202–212.
Otten, Willemien, “The role of man in the Eriugenian universe: dependence or autonomy”, in: Leonardi, Claudio, Giovanni Scoto nel suo tempo. L’organizzazione del sapere in eta carolingia. Atti del XXIV Convegno storico internazionale, Todi 11–14 ottobre 1987, Spoleto: Centro italiano di studi sull'alto medioevo, 1989. 595–609.
Otten, Willemien, “De zondeval; over rationalisme en verbeelding bij Johannes Scottus Eriugena”, in: Harbers, Marjan, and G. M. Naarden (eds), Tussen Nijl en Herengracht: een bundel t.g.v. het afscheid van prof. dr. M. S. H. G. Heerma van Voss, Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Godgeleerdheid, 1988. 115–121.