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.
Dr. Daniel Werning has an education in Egyptology, General Linguistics and Computer Sciences. The subject of his dissertation was the textual history and the textual grammar of an Egyptian Netherworld Book (Höhlenbuch).
In Topoi I, he researched the semantic space of spatial prepositions in Ancient Egyptian from a typological perspective, comparing it with the corresponding semantic spaces in English, German, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, and – in cooperation with Dr. Ulrike Steinert – in Akkadian (see this feature).
In Topoi II, he is scientific Coordinator of Topoi Lab, Area C (Perception and Representation). In this context, he also executes a research project on the diagrammatic representations of space and time as we find them in the Ancient Egyptian treatments of the imaginary topography of the netherworld from the Egyptian New Kingdom (later 2nd mill. BCE).
Main Research interests: Ancient Egyptian Grammar, Hieroglyphic writing system, Language typology, Construction Grammar, Spatial linguistics; Textual criticism; Egyptian Netherworld Books, Theology of the Egyptian New Kingdom.
As a Doctoral Fellow of Research Group C-I-1 “Spaces in Language”, Sebastian Fischer is working on the linguistic means by which spatial relations are expressed in Hurrian, a cuneiform-scripted language of the ancient Near East. The linguistic material to be researched derives from the 2nd Century B.C.. A better understanding of the individual languages – of Hurrian in this case – is a contribution to the expansion of knowledge of the history and culture of the Ancient Orient.
Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum is Professor of Assyriology (Languages and History of the Ancient Near East) at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests include Assyrian language, history, and culture, the edition of cuneiform texts, the economic, social and political history of Ancient Mesopotamia and adjacent regions, the perception of time and time-keeping in early societies and the “Wirkungsgeschichte”, that is tradition, impact, transformation of Ancient Near Eastern civilizations including aspects of the history of science. Furthermore, Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum is directing partner in the ANR-DFG cooperative research initiative HIGEOMES. Within Topoi, Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum is member of the Executive Board, spokesperson of Area B ‘Historical Spaces’, and member of several research groups.