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Constructing Hellenism in Classical Islam and Renaissance Europe
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11/21/2014 to 11/22/2014
When: 11/21/2014

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Constructing Hellenism in Classical Islam and Renaissance Europe

Location: TOPOI Building Berlin Mitte, Hannoversche Straße 6, room 1.03

Dates: 21-22.11.2014

Organizer: Han Lamers

Co-Moderator: Lukas Muehlethaler


The spread of Hellenism from the Hellenistic period onward has often been viewed in terms of a cultural transfer in which ancient Greek art, literature and philosophy are ‘received’ by non-Greek cultures. Taking Classical Islam and Renaissance Europe as rich case studies for the reception of Greek learning, this conference explores alternative paradigms (e.g. appropriation, construction and transformation) to understand the spread of Hellenism from the Byzantine world to the Arabic and European cultural spheres. Participants are invited to reflect on the theorization of Hellenism in their fields of study, examine conceptual strengths and pitfalls in the scholarship and explore new avenues of research in a cross-cultural and comparative context.

All are welcome to participate! Places are limited, so registration is required. To register, please e-mail Han Lamers before 15 November 2014 (

Conference Program

21 November 2014

09:00 Registration and coffee 

09:30 Welcome and introduction 

10:00 DIMITRI GUTAS – Yale University, New Haven CT, USA. “Deconstructing Hellenism, Constructing Scientism in Early Islam.” 

10:45 Break 

11:05 MARIA MAVROUDI – Department of History, University of California, Berkeley. “Translations from Greek into Latin and Arabic during the Middle Ages: Searching for the Classical Tradition.” 

11:50 GERALD SANDY – Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies, University of British Columbia. “Guillaume Budé (1467-1540) and the Uses of Greek.” 

12:35 Lunch break 

14:35 NATASHA CONSTANTINIDOU – Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus, Nicosia. “Constructions of Hellenism through Teaching and Editorial Choices: The Case of Adrien de Turnèbe (1512-1565).” 

15:20 HAN LAMERS – Institut für Klassische Philologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin & Ghent University. “Humanist Geography and the Spatial Construction of Hellenism in the Later 16th Century.” 

16:05 Break 

16:25 BERND ROLING – Institut für Griechische und Lateinische Philologie, Freie Universität Berlin. “Joshia Apoll: Edmund Dickinson’s Delphi phoenicizantes and the Biblical Origins of Hellenism in 17th-Century England.” 

17:10 ASAPH BEN-TOV – Forschungszentrum Gotha, Universität Erfurt. “The Role of Greek and Greeks in Early Modern Oriental Studies: Some Case Studies.” 

17:55 Discussion

22 November 2014

09:15 Welcome 

09:20 OLGA L. LIZZINI – Faculty of Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. “The Question of Truth in Greek Logic and Islamic Revelation. Some Remarks about Avicenna.” 

10:05 PHILIPPE VALLAT – Institut français du Proche-Orient, Paris. “The Corpus Hermeticum, the Exhortation of Hermes to the Fallen Soul (10th century?) and Abū Bakr al-Rāzī’s Newly Discovered Fragments: A Doctrinal Comparison.” 

10:50 Break 

11:10 FILIPPOMARIA PONTANI – Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia. “Hellenic Verse and Christian Humanists: The Case of Markos Mousouros.”

11:55 Closing discussion 

12:30 Farewell lunch

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