This research group brings various scholars of Ancient Mediterranean Studies into sustained dialogue on the interrelations between knowledge, authority and personality. Its comparative approach involves discourses, methodologies and technologies of Ancient History, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Greek and Latin Studies, Epigraphy, Old and New Testament Studies, Patristics, Religious Studies and Social Thought. The testimonies at stake range from ca. 500 BC to 500 AD. In particular, the group’s research is concerned with the issue of personal authorization of knowledge in religion and science. Such authorization emerges as a construct from the social interaction of the actors involved. To us, it is clearly visible in textual representations. Interdisciplinary questions to be addressed include, e.g., points of reference (individual, group, polis, state), morphology (e.g. ascendancy vs. descendancy, lists vs. genealogical narrative), networks of places and knowledge (e.g. libraries or other institutions for storing and imparting knowledge), inclusive and exclusive functions of various strategies of personal and non-personal authorization, sociopolitical and religious commissioning and granting of access to bodies of knowledge (e.g. legitimization in political power, embedding in a salvation narrative), as well as trade practices (both discursive and normative) and finally the spatial localization (media, geographical localization) and the performance of personal authorizations of knowledge.

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