Professor Nicholas Scott Baker will present “Separating Time from Eternity in the Early Renaissance” as part of the Columbia University Seminar on Medieval Studies. During the Renaissance, Italians principally articulated the experience of time’s passing and concepts of the future in terms of Providence and fortuna (Fortune). These constituted the principal lexicon by which authors made sense of and gave meaning to the unknowability of time-yet-to-come. In the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, the allegorical force of these ideas conceived of Fortuna as subordinate to, and an agent of, Providence. Over the course of the fifteenth century, Professor Baker argues a process of gradual, never complete, disentanglement between these two allegorical concepts occurred, as part of a larger process that separated time from eternity, and witness the development of new temporalities by the last quarter of the fifteenth century.
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Nicholas Scott Baker is a Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the Macquarie University, Australia, specializing in the late medieval and Renaissance history of Italy and currently a fellow at the IAS, Princeton. His first book is entitled The Fruit of Liberty: Political Culture in the Florentine Renaissance, 1480-1550 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013). He is now writing a book provisionally entitled In Fortune’s Theater: Thinking About the Future in Renaissance Italy.