Institut d’études avancées de Paris: ‘Cross-border/Cross-discipline/Cross-time: Ancient Science Bypassing Aristotle’

Cross-border/Cross-discipline/Cross-time: ancient science bypassing Aristotle —

Friday 11 June 2021, Institut d’études avancées de Paris (IEA)

Workshop in English. Registration is compulsory. Co-organisers: Mark Geller (IEA, Paris) and Victor Gysembergh (CNRS, Paris, Centre Léon Robin de recherches sur la pensée antique)

The processes of how discovery and thinking and recording of technical knowledge circulated in the Ancient Near East, from the Mediterranean to the Zagros, are not well documented, partly because Aristotle’s Nachlass has dominated studies of ancient science.

The innovative focus of the present workshop will be on examples of ancient science which were not influenced by Aristotle but developed in other contexts and epistemes, from Pre-Socratic philosophy to the Babylonian Talmud. The main question regards what motivated ancient science and how interactions between traditional disciplines may have influenced new thinking and innovation in ancient scholarship. Since innovations are easier to chart in practical applications of knowledge, as new technologies spread around the ancient world, the following examples of scientific knowledge will be of primary interest:

writing it down: scribal arts
figuring it out: astronomy and mathematics
looking for it: divination
making it work: alchemy
locating it: geography
manipulating it: medicine and magic
putting it into context: cosmology

Speakers and Respondents (all times CET)

13:00 – 14:00
Nicla de Zorzi (Vienna)
Respondent: Jean-Jacques Glassner (Paris)
Seeking knowledge: principles of interpretation in Ancient Mesopotamian divination

14:00 – 15:00
Anne-Caroline Rendu Loisel (Strasbourg)
Respondent: Alain Berthoz (Paris)
Understanding sensory experiences in cuneiform sources 

15.30 – 16:30
Madalina Vartejanu-Joubert (Paris)
Respondent: Mark Geller (IEA de Paris)
Aspects of scientific thought in the Babylonian Talmud 

16:30 – 17:30
Marizio Viano (Turin)
Respondent: Glenn Most (Pisa, Chicago)
Babylonian hermeneutics and early Greek thought

18:00 – 19:00
Victor Gysembergh (Paris)
Respondent: Lorenzo Verderame (Rome)
Chaldaean arithmetical astronomy at Plato’s Academy