Bentham and Colombia

By Kris Grint, on 29 July 2013

Bentham and Colombia posterIn July 2013 we welcomed Professor Gonzalo Ramírez from the Universidad Externado de Colombia to the Bentham Project as part of UCL’s International Teaching Excellence Bursary Scheme. In the course of his stay, Professor Ramírez  delivered two fascinating seminars on the subject of Jeremy Bentham and the influence of his philosophy on Colombia.

Professor Ramírez’s first seminar attracted scholars from a wide range of disciplines, from legal philosophers and historians to to those with interests in South American studies. Commencing with an overview of the constitutional history of nineteenth-century Colombia, Professor Ramírez went on to trace the specific influence of Bentham’s thought on this topic. Although Bentham himself never visited Latin America, his philosophy was diffused via the Spanish translation of Dumont’s Traités (published in 1821) and through his extensive correspondence with important Latin American political figures, such as General Francisco de Miranda, Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander. The seminar also included a survey of scholarly work which has hitherto focused on Bentham and Colombia, and several hints at where future research should be directed. We are excited to see where this line of study will take Professor Ramírez in the hopefully not-too-distant future!

Gonzalo Ramírez at UCL

In the second seminar, focus switched from the historical to the pedagogical, with Professor Ramírez discussing the novel teaching methods he has employed whilst teaching a course on Bentham at the Universidad Externado de Colombia. Highlighting the use of blogs, social media and podcasts, Professor Ramírez offered valuable advice on how to adopt and utilize these new technologies for teaching purposes. Indeed, perhaps the most impressive feature of the Colombian Bentham course is the weekly podcast produced by the students, which both builds upon the ideas discussed in the seminars and allows distant learners to develop a taste for Bentham scholarship. The seminar also featured a video of Professor Philip Schofield’s (Director of the Bentham Project) recent Skype appearance at the Universidad Externado de Colombia – another example of the innovative use of new technology in academic teaching.

The Bentham Project wishes to thank Professor Ramírez for his excellent contributions whilst at UCL and Ciarán Moynihan and Lorraine Dardis at UCL’s Office for International Affairs for their assistance in organizing the visit.

View or download the slides for these seminars: Bentham and Colombia slides 1Bentham and Colombia slides 2

 

Not Paul, but Jesus Vol. III

By Kris Grint, on 30 April 2013

 

The Bentham Project is pleased to announce the publication of a preliminary edition of Jeremy Bentham’s Not Paul, but Jesus Vol. III.

This is the first time that the third volume of Not Paul, but Jesus has been published in any form. The first volume, appearing in 1823, was published under the pseudonym Gamaliel Smith. In the work as a whole, Bentham aimed to drive a wedge between the religion of Jesus and the religion of Paul — between Christianity and Paulism. In this third volume, he focused on sexual morality. This version will eventually be superseded by an authoritative version in the complete edition of Not Paul, but Jesus in the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.

Not Paul, but Jesus Vol. III by Jeremy Bentham, edited by Philip Schofield, Michael Quinn and Catherine Pease-Watkin, is now freely available to view online, and can also be downloaded as a PDF. An XML version of the text is also available.

Encoding text with XML to the standards of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) has been a practice at the heart of the Bentham Project’s research ever since the launch of Transcribe Bentham in 2010. Since that time, Bentham’s manuscripts have been transcribed directly into TEI-compliant XML by volunteers using our Transcription Desk software. We are also converting our legacy transcripts (over 13,000 folios) into this format to ensure their preservation and future usability. These transcripts, along with high-resolution photographs of the original manuscripts, are collected together in UCL’s online digital repository. Not Paul, but Jesus, however, marks the first time an edition of Bentham’s work suitable for publication has been encoded into XML. It has subsequently been transformed, via XSLT, into online and PDF versions. This process posed numerous technical challenges, some of which will be described in subsequent blog posts.

We are grateful to the Leverhulme Trust whose generous grant has made possible the online publication of this important work. We are also grateful to University College London Library for permission to reproduce this transcript of manuscripts in their possession.

We would welcome any comments or feedback about this electronic edition of Not Paul, but Jesus Vol. III. Please send them to k.grint [at] ucl.ac.uk.