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Beyond Modern Science I: Basic Terms of Ancient Scholarly Knowledge and Practices - 09-10/01/2020, Mainz (Germany)



Our conference focuses on concepts and contexts of epistemological terms used in Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern texts. In addition the Egyptian and Mesopotamian scholarly terminology will be compared with that of Greek, Latin, Chinese and Sanskrit texts. The individual lectures will examine the lexical and semantic field of terms connected with knowledge and the practices of scholars in theses cultures. The aim of the conference is to expand the current definitions of the individual lexical terms and to examine previously disregarded scholarly disciplines in a fresh way, by rejecting a pre-classification, that was based on modern scientific disciplines.


FECHA/ DATE/DATA: 09-10/01/2020


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Erbacher Hof (Mainz, Germany)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Annette Imhausen (Goethe University Frankfurt); Tanja Pommerening (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz)


INFO: web -




Inscripción online / registration online / registrazione online




Thursday, January 9, 2020

9:00-9:30  Welcome

9:30-10:30  Annette Imhausen (Frankfurt) & Tanja Pommerening (Mainz): Introduction

10:30-11:00  Coffee Break

Section I: Ancient Egypt

11:00-11:45  Friedhelm Hoffmann (München): rḫ and ḫm – “to know” and “not to know”. But what does this mean?

12:00-13:30  Lunch

13:30-14:15  Hans-Werner Fischer-Elfert (Leipzig): Cognitive verbs and their distribution in ancient Egyptian scientific texts

14:20-15:05  Nadine Gräßler (Mainz): ‘Creative speech’ and ‘knowledge in the heart’ – The terms ḥw and sj3 in ancient Egyptian texts

15:05-15:30  Coffee Break

15:30-16:15  Stefan Baumann (Trier): From Artistry to Erudition. The meaning of the verb ḥmw in Egyptian

Section II: India

16:20-17:05  Kim Plofker (New York): Śāstra and jyotiḥśāstra:  the ‘science of light’ in Sanskrit learning

17:10-17:55  Agathe Keller (Paris): ‘Showing a connexion’, some reflexions on the use of yukti by Śaṅkara Vāriyar (fl. 1540) in relation to other attested use of this term in medical and philosophical texts in Sanskrit

Friday, January 10, 2020

Section III: Mesopotamia

9:00-9:45  Jim Ritter (Paris): nēpešu and the heart of Mesopotamian rational practices

9:50-10:35:  Guido Pfeifer, Steffen Jauß (Frankfurt): tba (dīnu)

10:35-11:00  Coffee Break

11:00-11:45  Ulrike Steinert (Mainz): nēmequ & co: Akkadian terms for wisdom and knowledge

11:45-13:30  Lunch

13:30-14:15  Nils Heeßel (Marburg): General terms to express knowledge in the Ancient Near East

14:20-15:05  Daliah Bawanypeck (Frankfurt): ‘Sign’ and ‘(its) interpretation’ - the Akkadian terms ittu and pišru in scholarly texts from Mesopotamia

15:05-15:30  Coffee Break

15:30-16:15  Mathieu Ossendrijver (FU Berlin): Seeing, watching, measuring: observational terms in Mesopotamian scholarship

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Section IV: Ancient Greece and Rome

9:00-9:45  Chiara Ferella (Mainz): The Notion of Sophia beyond Philosophy

9:50-10:35  Jochen Althoff (Mainz): ἐπιστήμη (episteme)

10:35-11:00  Coffee Break

11:00-11:45 Annemarie Ambühl (Mainz): The Art of Science? Origins and usages of the terms ars and scientia in Latin technical texts

11:45-13:30  Lunch

Section V: China

13:30-14:15  Ole Döring (FU Berlin): How gewu zhizhi / 格物致知  means „Wissenschaft“? A tri-lingual hermeneutic approach to translation of basic concepts of philosophy

14:15-15:30  Final discussion and Round Table for Publication

15:30-16:00  Coffee


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