The conceptions of space and time which developed from the late antiquity through the Middle-Ages up to the early modern age are deeply impressed by ideas of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. Nevertheless a general survey of the Old Testament terms of space and time is still missing. It should take account of the Hebrew Bible as well as the textual basis and the late antique Greek and Latin bible translations (Septuagint, Vetus Latina, Vulgate) as an essential mediator of Hebrew and also Ancient Near Eastern imaginations into the Greek-Roman world and by this into the New Testament and into the Christian area. The research project aims at a lexical and semantic recording of all the terms of space and time and at their diachronic classification into the language- and literary history of the Hebrew Bible. A main emphasis is put on the transformation of space-time terminology and on the question, which linguistic-historical and intellectual-historical factors are responsible for the transformation of terms of time into terms of space (comp. e.g. Hebr. ‘ôlām, „most distant time“→ „eternity“→ „world“). It should be considered under which linguistic and intellectual historical background the exchange of terms and metaphors for space and time can be explained (comp. e.g. Hebr. qädäm as a term for „primeval times“ and for „east“ or Hebr. ‘acharôn as a term for „future“ or „west“ or the word field „light/darkness“ as a description of hopeful/fateful times and spaces). This implies the interpretation of the Israelite-Jewish constructions of space and time, in which space and time are mainly qualified, not quantified and the correlation of both terms to the world of god and the gods, inasmuch as space and time can be classified to the categories „holy“ and „profane“ (comp. e.g. Hebr. bajit „house, tempel“ or mo’ed „fixed time/celebration time“). The research project extends to all spatial and chronological words (nouns, verbs, prepositions) of the Hebrew Bible and also deals with the characteristics of the old-Hebrew tempus-system. The investigation will assemble the results of the previous research of the historical etymology and grammar of the treated words in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin and the literary contexts using the single words. The result will be a general depiction of the understanding of space and time in the antique Judaism and in early Christianity that we find in the different canonical text-corpora. At the moment, a synopsis of all terms of time and space in the Hebrew Bible, in the Septuagint and in the Vulgate is in preparation by Markus Witte and Miriam von Nordheim-Diehl.
Markus Witte is member of the Excellence Cluster Topoi since October 2009. In Topoi, his main field of research is the construction of space and time in the Hebrew Bible and in its ancient translations in Greek (Septuagint) and Latin (Vetus Latina, Vulgate). This theme is a part of preparing a revised edition of the „Hebräisches und Aramäisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament“ (in cooperation with Dr. J.F. Diehl).
Other research topics of Witte in Topoi are the history of the Jewish literature of the hellenistic era (esp. the wisdom books), the anthropology and theology of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and genealogical systems in Jewish-hellenistic writings.
Deborah Jacobs has studies Theology and Jewish Studies in Berlin before completing a Master’s degree in Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford in 2008. She has been working on her doctoral thesis titled “Images of Space in the Third Sibylline Oracle”, a Jewish pseudepigraph from approximately the first century BCE, since. The thesis focuses on how space and dominion of space are structured within the text and how this may shed light on the socio-historical environment of the author.
Christiane Zimmermann is an outside lecturer at the theology department of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She is researching the spread of early Christianity in the first few Christian centuries in northern Lycaonia, on the basis of literary, epigraphic and archaeological sources. She also contributes to the work of group B-III-2, “Diversity of Spaces”.
- Early Christian representations of God
- Pagan Hellenic representations of God
- Early Christianity in Asia Minor, especially Lycaonia and Galatia
Christoph Markschies, born 1962 in Berlin, studied Theology, classical Philology and Philosophy in Marburg, Jerusalem, Munich and Tübingen. He holds the chair of Ancient Christianity at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He is member of the Academy of Sciences of Berlin, Erfurt and Heidelberg as well as the European Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Akademia Europea. From 2006 to 2010 he was president of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Christoph Markschies researches the forms of ecclesiastical organization and transfer of knowledge in Ancient Christianity. Christianity competed successfully with older cults and other forms of organization of the public sphere. Ancient Christianity organized itself according to the existing religious and civil forms of organization and adapted to the regional or national structures. Some of the main questions of his research are: What mechanisms did Christianity develop to reorganize public space as Christian space? What strategies where used to represent Christianity in public space?
Frauke Krautheim, born in 1981, studied Protestant Theology at the Philipps-Universität Marburg, at the Humoldt-Universität Berlin and at the Hauptuniversität Wien. In 2008 she passed her Ecclesiastical Examination. Currently she is writing her doctoral thesis on “The public appearance of Christianity in late Antique Antioch” within the project “The Organization of Diversity in the Ecclesiastical Space of Antiquity” (Topoi B-III-2).