(PD Dr. Dirk Rohmann)

DFG-Forschungsprojekt (Eigene Stelle) PD Dr. Dirk Rohmann

Kulturtransfer zwischen Hellenismus und antikem Christentum

The transmission of texts by Greek historians from the Hellenistic period is in shatters. The academic state of the art arising from this source material is therefore naturally limited. An investigation into the conditions determining the preservation of these texts can lay new methodological groundwork suited to expand the current state of the art. Accordingly, it is high time to start exploring the very conditions determining the preservation of these texts during the later Roman Empire (from the first to the sixth century). This holds true especially for Christian authors – as these authors share a lot of common groundwork – and for the question of how they reviewed and passed on Hellenistic histories. On one hand, the Fragments of Greek Historians initiated by Felix Jacoby authoritatively assemble these sources and provide a quantitative breakdown of the material in question. On the other hand, neither the edition itself nor its accompanying comments are meant to provide qualitative results on the textual contexts of, and the specific interests in, the later reception of Hellenistic history (c. 336 – 31 BC). Because this material of historical fragments and of the covering texts has most recently been included in digital databases, it is therefore more accessible to academic research than it was before.


The act of historical remembrance tends to be affected by the emergence of new groups that share common religious or ethnic beliefs. Christians were aloof from the cultural framework of their pagan surrounding since they regarded as holy, canonical, and sacrosanct texts which they passed on to future generations. Moreover, the emergence of Christianity is traditionally linked to the Hellenistic world in which Greek culture and ideas spread out to the entire Mediterranean area and beyond. Building on these two perspectives, the proposed research shall take advantage of innovative approaches to shed new light on the confluence of Christian and Hellenistic cultures. The central objective of the project is to produce a monograph which investigates the different factors, such as content, religion, genre and location, involved in determining how Christian authors selected what kind of knowledge and which traditions to pass on from the early Imperial Period to Late Antiquity. This monograph will include introductions to, and comments on, the fragments which are to be arranged in the order of the cover texts. It will also analyse the context, language and knowledge situations of these fragments and, in so doing, create new approaches to the world of Hellenism.

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