Writings of Early Scholars in the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece

Interdisciplinary and international conference,
Johannes Gutenberg University, 27-29 July 2009
The historiography of the sciences in antiquity (including Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures) has changed fundamentally during the past 40 years. Changing methodologies and aims have led to a focus on recognition and reconstruction of ancient scientific concepts, which can differ significantly from “similar” modern concepts. As a way of bringing these changes to light in a useful way, the conference will focus on the problem of translations.

Translations are directly affected by respective cultural beliefs of the translator. How then can ancient concepts that differ from our modern ones be expressed in modern languages? And how can these differences be understood by a modern reader?  Currently, some translations which are likely to mislead a historian of science, a scientist or a mathematician may still be accepted as correct by the philologists of the individual cultures.

The conference aims to explore problems involved in translating ancient scientific texts and to create a methodological framework to improve the quality of future translations. To achieve this goal, we aim to bring together leading representatives and junior researchers with a philological background or a background in history of science (Egyptology, Assyriology, Classics, editors of ancient scientific texts and scholars using them).

After an attempt to determine characteristic features of individual sciences in antiquity, and how they can be distinguished from non-scientific texts, specific examples will be used to enable interdisciplinary and intercultural discussion.

Interested participants are invited to join the conference and contribute to the discussions. Please register by 31 May 2009 at [email protected].
The conference fee of 15 € to compensate for expenses is to be paid in advance (registration).

Location: Senatssaal der Naturw. Fakultät, Johann-Joachim-Becher-Weg 21, 55099 Mainz, 7. Stock, Raum 07-232

Organized by: Prof. Dr. Annette Imhausen (am Historischen Seminar der Universität Frankfurt)  & Dr. Tanja Pommerening (am Institut für Ägyptologie und Altorientalistik der Universität Mainz)

in Cooperation with the Zentrum für interkulturelle Studien (Center for Intercultural Studies)