Wednesday, June 30, 2010

“John Selden : Scholarship in Context” Conference

Magdalen College in Oxford hosted the “John Selden : Scholarship in Context” Conference from 24th-26th June, a tribute to England’s “Chief of learned men”.
C.J.Toomer’s magnificent intellectual biography “John Selden : A Life in Scholarship” was at the center of the conference. This book provided the leading themes for the lectures: Selden and Hebraica, Selden and Antiquarianism, Selden and Literature, Selden and Libraries, Selden in Law and Politics, Selden and Theology, Selden in the Republic of Letters, Selden and the History of Scholarship.
Keynote speakers Jason Rosenblatt (author of “Renaissance England's Chief Rabbi: John Selden”), Peter Miller, Mordechai Feingold and Richard Tuck enwrapped the audience of about 90 participants in an intellectual discourse. The panels, structured around the keynote speakers deepened and enlivened the debate on Selden as Hebraic law specialist, orientalist, jurist, specialist on ancient English law, politician, member of parliament, librarian and theologian.

For the Peace Palace Library Selden is an important author in the field of international law. Grotius, his contemporary, is called the Father of International Law, but Selden is no less entitled to recognition a “ the Father of International Law in England” (See Fletcher in his article : "John Selden (author of Mare Clausum) and his Contribution to International Law).

Selden’s Mare clausum (1635) was a direct response to Grotius’ Mare Liberum (1609). The library has a modest collection of Selden’s works (keyword : john selden 1584-1654 ). A wiki-styled guide on Selden on the library’s website offers a quick and updated overview of all the material (books, articles, book-items, and electronic information) available on Selden.

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