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Through a Glass, Darkly: Third Annual UCCS Symposium on Apocalyptic

The notion of Apocalypse is charged with manifold meaning, and has gained currency over the last two decades with the approach and passing of Y2K. It is a genre that spans cultures, time and space, and one that resists easy categorical definition. In Through a Glass Darkly, scholars and artists will deliver presentations at the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities: Lorenzo DiTommaso (Concordia University), Kevin Hughes (Villanova University), Jesse Hoover (Baylor University), Nathaniel Kidd (Marquette University), Francis Gumerlock (Providence Theological Seminary), Jessica Hunter-Larsen (Colorado College), Suzanne MacAulay (UCCS) and Colin McAllister (UCCS). Each will present dynamic aspects on the notion of Apocalyptic, as well as join the class HUM 3990: Visions of Darkness: Apocalypse and Dystopia in Literature, Art & Film for a concluding roundtable discussion.

Through a Glass, Darkly is generously underwritten by the UCCS Humanities Program, the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities, the UCCS Department of Visual and Performing Arts, the UCCS Department of History and the UCCS Center for Religious Diversity and Public Life.


SCHEDULE **all events held at the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities, except the final meeting with HUM 3990**


Monday, 20 March 2017

3:30-4:30pm                Suzanne MacAulay (UCCS) + Jessica Hunter-Larsen (Colorado


                                    Outsider Art and Apocalyptic Visions


4:30-6:00 pm               Opening Reception 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


Tuesday, 21 March 2017 

9:30-10:00 am Coffee and Pastries, Meet and Greet

10:00-10:15am Welcome and Introduction (Colin McAllister, UCCS)

10:15-11:00am Jesse Hoover (Baylor University)- Tyconius and the Children of Noah: Two Donatist Apocalyptic Trajectories

11:00-11:45 am Nathaniel Kidd (Marquette University) - The Apocalyptic Imagination in Byzantium

11:45am-12:30 pm Kevin Hughes (Villanova University) - There are Many Antichrists: The Elements of an Apocalyptic Tradition

12:30-2:00 pm lunch at the Heller Center

2:00-2:45pm Colin McAllister (UCCS) and Francis X. Gumerlock (Providence Theological Seminary) - The Cambridge Gloss on the Apocalypse of 
John and the Lost Commentary: Notes, Problems & Principles

2:45-3:30 pm Lorenzo DiTommaso (Concordia University) - Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic

4:45-7:00 pm HUM 3990 Class Session, roundtable discussion with all presenters - in University Hall 109


Suzanne MacAulay and Jessica Hunter Larsen
Outsider Art and Apocalyptic Visions

This panel discussion is designed to discuss and create interest in outsider, visionary artists inspired by apocalyptic or dystopian themes. Public participation is encouraged.

Suzanne MacAulay is an art historian and folklorist. She is Professor and Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). Before UCCS, she developed a culturally oriented art history program for New Zealand’s Whanganui Polytechnic Institute and became Head of the Fine Arts School. Research interests include South Pacific and Spanish Colonial textiles, ethnoaesthetics, performance theory and personal narratives, memory, diaspora, globalization and social class, as well as the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Jessica Hunter-Larsen received a BA from Colorado College (1990) and an MA from the University of Colorado (1995). Previous positions include: Executive Director and Curator of Art at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art (1996- 2006) and instructor of Art History at the University of Great Falls (2004 – 2006). She became the inaugural Curator of the IDEA program at Colorado College in June of 2006, where she also teaches Contemporary Art and Museum Studies courses. In 2016 she became Director of Academic Engagement for Colorado College/Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.


Jesse Hoover
Tyconius and the Children of Noah: Two Donatist Apocalyptic Trajectories

I’ll begin with a basic intro to Donatist political and theological history, with a special emphasis on Tyconius and Parmenian’s responses to the Macarian persecution and how the Donatist church begins to evolve a more parochial self-perception. Then I’ll get to the main point of my talk: how Tyconius’ divergence from other Donatists over the question of whether the church has died out in the overseas provinces manifests itself in two very different apocalyptic trajectories. On the one hand, what we might call “mainstream” Donatism begins to view itself as a prophesied southern remnant, the few who have remained faithful to Christ after the prophesied apostasy. Tyconius, on the other hand, evolves a more nuanced position: the Donatist-Caecilianist schism was indeed eschatologically-relevant, but not as an end in itself. Rather, for Tyconius, the emergence of the Donatist communion prophetically foreshadows the coming separation between true and false believers within the worldwide church. 

Jesse Hoover received his Ph.D. in Religion from Baylor University in 2014, where he teaches as a part-time lecturer. He specializes in the development of early Latin Christianity with a particular emphasis on the apocalyptic theology of minority religious traditions in late antiquity – including the subjects of his recent dissertation, the Donatist church of North Africa. His published work includes peer-reviewed articles in Vigiliae Christianae, Studia Patristica, the Journal of Early Modern Christianity, and Reformation and Renaissance Review, and he is currently polishing his dissertation for academic publication. 


Nathaniel Kidd
The Apocalyptic Imagination in Byzantium

In this paper, I will summarize three major trajectories along which apocalyptic themes tended to travel late ancient and medieval Greek thought: the political or historiographical apocalypse (the Apocalypse of Pseduo-Methodius being the primary example), the moral or mystical apocalypse (the Apocalypse of the Theotokos, Apocalypse of Anastasia), and the "theological apocalypse," wherein apocalyptic imagery is muted and reinterpreted within a broader cosmic and philosophical framework. The bulk of my textual analysis will consist of a reading of apocalyptic themes in John of Damascus, which, while it properly falls under the third form of theological apocalyptic, draws substantially on the moral/mystical form, and to a certain extent on the political/historiographical as well. I will also trace John's apocalyptic framework forward into the hesychastic controversy of the 14th C, suggesting that John's approach to apocalyptic themes may have served as an important framework for Athonite mystical traditions as they were articulated and defended by Gregory Palamas.

Nathaniel Kidd is an Anglican priest and PhD candidate at Marquette University, where he is completing his course of study in Greek Patristic and Byzantine theology with a dissertation on demonology in John of Damascus. 


Kevin Hughes
There are Many Antichrists: The Elements of an Apocalyptic Tradition

The figure of Antichrist is not really found in the Bible; instead, the “character” of Antichrist develops over time as Christian writers think through scriptures about evil and the end of time and try to apply it to their own lives. This presentation will explore the facets of this tradition from the early church even up to present-day thinkers. The figure of Antichrist emerges as a rather sophisticated medium through which Christian thinkers ponder fundamental questions of good and evil, enemies and community, time and history. Who (and what) is Antichrist? And what difference does it make? 

Kevin L. Hughes is Associate Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University. The author of numerous articles and books, his publications include Church History: Faith Handed On, Constructing Antichrist: Paul, Biblical Commentary, and the Development of Doctrine in the Early Middle Ages and a translation of Second Thessalonians: Two Early Medieval Apocalyptic Commentaries.


Colin McAllister & Francis X. Gumerlock
The Cambridge Gloss on the Apocalypse of John and the Lost Commentary: Notes, Problems & Principles

The anonymous commentary on the Apocalypse of John (Cambridge Library, Dd. X. 16) was discovered in 1995, and a critical edition was published by Roger Gryson (CCSL, Brepols) in 2013. For the past 18 months, we have been engaged with a two-fold project: first, to translate this commentary into English and provide notes; second, to re-construct an earlier lost gloss upon which the Cambridge MS and two other related texts - the Irish Reference Bible and the commentary of Theodulph of Orleans - are all based. We will examine the Latin of the author, postulate a date for composition, discuss our working methodology, and look at possible sources. Sample chapters of both the translation and reconstruction will be provided.

Francis X. Gumerlock (Ph.D. Historical Theology, Saint Louis University, 2004) teaches historical theology at Providence Theological Seminary and as visiting professor of Latin at Colorado College. He is the author of eight books including Tyconius. Commentary on the Apocalypse (forthcoming), Early Latin Commentaries on the Apocalypse (2016), Revelation and the First Century (2013), and The Seven Seals of the Apocalypse (2009).

Colin McAllister engages deeply with cross-disciplinary ideas in the humanities, particularly the intersection between music and history, classics and theology. His research interests are centered on third and fourth century apocalyptic literature, the early medieval commentary tradition on the Revelation of John, and apocalyptic paradigms in music. He is the editor of the Cambridge Companion to the Apocalyptic (forthcoming 2019) and is Music Program Director and Lecturer in Humanities at UCCS.


Lorenzo DiTommaso
The Post-Apocalyptic Trope

The post-apocalyptic trope entered the global vocabulary in the 1980s. Since then it has morphed into a catchword used to describe a fictional setting or a perceived or expected state of affairs. Both senses have become commonplace, to the point that each influences the other in terms of content and contexts. The latter has been particularly acute in assessments of the recent U.S. presidential election. But what does “post apocalyptic” actually mean in popular parlance? What is “apocalyptic,” and how can anything be post-apocalyptic? This presentation explores the conceptual roots of the trope and the contours of its expressions, and offers some ideas as to the bases of its current popularity.

Lorenzo DiTommaso is Professor of Religion at Concordia University Montréal. He has published widely on apocalyptic thought, from the ancient biblical apocalypses to apocalyptic themes in contemporary media. His next book, The Architecture of Apocalypticism, the first volume in a projected trilogy, is scheduled to be published by Oxford UP in 2017.


About the Course

HUM 3990: Visions of Darkness: Apocalypse and Dystopia in Literature, Art & Film is a course in the UCCS Humanities program. Taught by Colin McAllister & Michaela Steen, the course addresses a wide range of topics under the general rubric of Apocalypse and Dystopia as manifested in various ways and through a variety of media, including written texts in various genres (prophecy, poems, short-stories, novels), visual art (painting, wood-cuts, tapestry, digital imagery), music and film. The chronological and cultural scope is vast: from the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, Israel and Egypt, through Islamic/Jewish and Christian perspectives in the Medieval and Renaissance to the modern day. Throughout the course, students are asked to relate notions of apocalypse and dystopia that have arisen throughout history to current events and perspectives.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 10:00am to 7:00pm
This is a past event.

Heller Center for Arts & Humanities
1250 North Campus Heights, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Event Type

Lectures & Forums


Departments & Programs, Visual and Performing Arts

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Event Contact

Colin McAllister

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