Conceptions and images of men, world and god were frequently constituted with recourse to other religious cultures: through interreligious or intrareligious discourses and by drawing on educational content that originated in non-religious contexts or different religious denominations. Such processes call for investigation with regard to occasions and mechanisms, including discursive constructions of alterity and identity. Aims and concepts of religions education were communicated among religions and at the same time transformed. Often, nonetheless, traces of origin remained identifiable and are therefore accessible to investigation. The continuing effects of Greco-Roman education in Judaism and Christianity can in this way be understood as a process of demarcation and transgression of boundaries that gathered momentum anew by the rise of Islam.
Religion occupies a prominent place in Cicero’s educational program. Making it a central topic of several of his philosophical dialogues, Cicero establishes a link between philosophy and religion. This project’s main aim is to address the question of how arrangement of discourse and religious knowledge interact in Cicero’s works as well as the questions concerning his independence from his Greek precursors.
Religion in Educated Discourse: The Evangelist Luke and the Orator Dion of Prusa
Like no other text of New Testament scriptures Luke-Acts demonstrates the endeavor of Early Christianity to impart its message to the educated circles of the Greco-Roman world. At the same time, rhetoric popularizes a philosophy which turns its attention more and more towards religious topics. Therefore, contemporary rhetoric and especially Dion as its most important representative in early imperial times lends itself to analyze the chances and limitations of Early Christian inculturation into the educated world of Later Antiquity.
Arabic /Islamic Studies
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Günther
Research Fellows: Dr. Yassir El Jamouhi, Ali Rida Rizek, Enrico Boccaccini, Dr. Christian Mauder
Ethical Instruction as Educational Discourse: The Muslim Moral Philosopher and Historian Miskawaih (d. 1030) between Reception and Transformation
This project analyzes the oeuvre of the classical Muslim scholar Miskawaih from two perspectives. On the one hand, it examines how the ideas of ancient pagan and early Jewish, Christian and Muslim authorities on ethics and education were received, adapted, and re-contextualized by Miskawaih from the standpoint of his own views on God, humanity, and the world. On the other hand, it studies Miskawaih’s use of discourse in communicating his own key ideas concerning ethics and education, and shows how these teachings were received and further developed by later Muslim scholars.
Profiling Religious Identity in Learned Discourses. The Role of Education in References of 12th-century Christian Authors to Jews and Muslims
There are numerous writings from the 12th century in which western Christians refer to Jews and Muslims, often in the literary form of a dialogue. The topic of ‘education’ is often explored in that context. Starting from selected authors and their writings (Petrus Alfonsi: Dialogus; Petrus Venerabilis: Contra sectam Sarracenorum, Adversus Iudaeorum inveteratam duritiem; Petrus Abaelardus: Collationes), this sub-project will, in an exemplary manner, study what function education had in such references to Jews and Muslims.