Challenges of European Humanism 2017 — Participants and Abstracts

Gábor Almási

MTA-ELTE Lendület research group

Gábor Almási is inter­est­ed most­ly in 15–18th-century his­to­ry of ideas. He pub­lished a book on The Uses of Human­ism: Johannes Sam­bu­cus (1531–1584), Andreas Dudith (1533–1589), and the East Cen­tral Euro­pean Repub­lic of Let­ters (Lei­den: Brill, 2009). He stud­ies intel­lec­tu­al and infor­ma­tion net­works (the Repub­lic of Let­ters), intel­lec­tu­al and polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy, court cul­ture and court careers, patron­age, social advance­ment and mobil­i­ty, reli­gion and pol­i­tics, reli­gious atti­tudes of intel­lec­tu­als, ear­ly mod­ern patri­o­tism and ‘oth­er­ness’.

Education and Discipline: Work Ethic in the 16th Century

By today the prin­ci­ple the­ses of Max Weber’s The Protes­tant Eth­ic and the Spir­it of Cap­i­tal­ism have most­ly been reject­ed, although Weber’s approach and many obser­va­tions con­tin­ue being influ­en­tial. If we have a look at the world of learn­ing in the 16th cen­tu­ry, we find extra­or­di­nary exam­ples of dis­ci­plined learn­ing and work. The pro­found belief in the uses of edu­ca­tion shared by human­ists and the new mod­els of schol­ar­ly life and habi­tus appear to have con­tributed to a new cul­ture of work that last­ed until the 20th cen­tu­ry. Although these mod­els had medieval sources as well, many facets of a new work­ing cul­ture were just being exper­i­ment­ed with in the 16th cen­tu­ry. By call­ing atten­tion to human­ist ideas on dis­ci­pline and edu­ca­tion and the trans­for­ma­tions of schol­ar­ly habi­tus through a num­ber of exam­ples, this paper attempts to argue that human­ism had a cru­cial role in the mak­ing of ear­ly mod­ern (and mod­ern) work cul­ture.


Manca Erzetič

Nova revi­ja Insti­tute of Human­ist Stud­ies

Man­ca Erzetič is PhD can­di­date at Fac­ul­ty of Arts UL and a young researcher at the Nova revi­ja Insti­tute of Human­ist Stud­ies; among her awards are Alum­nus Primus, Prešeren Award for Mas­ter degree from Phi­los­o­phy and Com­par­a­tive lit­er­a­ture and lit­er­ary the­o­ry; three inter­na­tion­al awards for essays, Lirikon­festov zlát. She writes crit­i­cal and research papers; par­tic­i­pates in dis­cus­sions at gov­ern­ment ses­sions about lan­guage and cul­ture; and is active as ecol­o­gist.

Testimony of Being Human

Speak­ing about human­ism and being-human in 21st cen­tu­ry seems para­dox­i­cal from many view­points: (1) because of the his­tor­i­cal sit­u­a­tion that human­i­ty wit­nessed in 20th cen­tu­ry in the pres­ence of total­i­tar­i­anisms, rad­i­cal ide­o­log­i­cal pro­pa­gan­da, exter­mi­na­tion and con­cen­tra­tion camps; (2) because human con­di­tion is deter­mined by tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment, which took over the edu­ca­tion­al, cul­tur­al and polit­i­cal sphere (with a con­se­quence that human­ism is under­stood only as an attribute of humankind); (3) because of the expec­ta­tions of change brought by the new mil­len­ni­um (includ­ing the prob­lem of under­stand­ing »human­ism« in the per­spec­tive of glob­al­iza­tion; and prof­it con­cen­tra­tion ver­sus human­i­tar­i­an regres­sion). – We are now con­front­ed with the fol­low­ing philo­soph­i­cal con­tem­pla­tion: do humans find them­selves in a con­tro­ver­sial sit­u­a­tion between pro­duc­tion and prax­is? Is this para­dox­i­cal sit­u­a­tion caused by humans them­selves or are they as humans put in the sit­u­a­tion of para­dox?


Aleksandar Gatalica

Insti­tute for Lit­er­a­ture, Bel­grade

Alek­san­dar Gatal­i­ca has pub­lished trans­la­tions of Aeschy­lus, Sopho­cles and Euripi­des, Sap­pho, Mim­n­er­mus, Solon, Archilochus, Hip­pon­ax and Anacre­on, as well as nov­els The Lines of Life in 1993 (Miloš Crn­jan­s­ki Award and Gior­gio la Pira Award), Down­sides in 1995, The End in 2000, Death of Euripi­des (Euripi­do­va smrt) in 2003, and The Invis­i­ble in 2008 (Ste­van Sremac Award), The Great War (NIN Award). He has also authored sev­er­al books on music. He is edi­tor of numer­ous antholo­gies in Ser­bian and oth­er lan­guages.

The Twentieth Century – The Century that Chose to be Art Itself

His­to­ry teach­es us – and that includes his­to­ry being made at present – that the world of those who decide our fate is ruled by quite sim­i­lar rules as in the Greek tragedies. All or almost all of the sig­nif­i­cant moves of the few peo­ple who make deci­sions on behalf of many, are in most cas­es led by con­vic­tion. We can safe­ly say that this world is not ruled by scoundrels. What is the por­trait of the crook? The crooks know that their moral views are deplorable, and on account of jeal­ousy or some oth­er mali­cious rea­sons, and they want to destroy the whole nation and admit it to them­selves either with some delay or flat out. Does this match the descrip­tion of any impor­tant per­son in human his­to­ry, whether they had a large­ly pos­i­tive or large­ly neg­a­tive impact? No. Almost with­out excep­tion, con­crete deci­sions of con­crete deci­sion-mak­ers are made out of con­vic­tion.


Sibil Gruntar Vilfan

Depart­ment of Medieval Stud­ies, CEU, Budapest

Sibil Grun­tar Vil­fan got her BA and MA in Eng­lish and Latin Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture and is cur­rent­ly enrolled at the Depart­ment of Medieval Stud­ies, Cen­tral Euro­pean Uni­ver­si­ty, Budapest. Her under­grad­u­ate the­sis on Latin Phrase­o­log­i­cal Units in Eng­lish and Sloven­ian: a Study Based on Eras­mus’ Ada­gio­rum Chil­i­ades won Prešeren Stu­dent Award and in 2017 she won Best Aca­d­e­m­ic Achieve­ment Award at the Depart­ment of Medieval Stud­ies at the CEU in Budapest. Her trans­la­tion of the Dia­logues by Sulpi­cius Severus is to be pub­lished in 2017.

Quasi nani super humeros gigantum? Reusing Classical and Medieval Quotations in Hagiographic Discourse

There is a ten­den­cy to per­ceive the tenth cen­tu­ry as an intel­lec­tu­al­ly less impor­tant peri­od due to the lack of writ­ten sources. How­ev­er, Liège was known as the Athens of the north. This paper analy­ses its cathe­dral school as one of the impor­tant intel­lec­tu­al and edu­ca­tion­al cen­tres with empha­sis on one of the rep­re­sen­ta­tive texts cre­at­ed at that time, Vita Remacli Secun­da (Vita II). The aim of this paper is three-fold. First­ly, to illus­trate the fact that clas­si­cal quo­ta­tions were not used mere­ly as pet­ri­fied forms of ancient wis­dom, but rather as raw gems which were pol­ished to fit into the pat­tern of rhymed prose in which the ded­i­ca­to­ry epis­tle and Vita II were writ­ten. Sec­ond­ly, to point out that the old­er edi­tions neglect­ed the styl­is­tic aspect of rhymed prose in the saint’s life result­ing in a dis­tort­ed image of the text. Third­ly, to pro­pose an alter­na­tive way of edit­ing hagio­graph­ic texts writ­ten in rhymed prose.


Matej Hriberšek

Depart­ment of Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy, Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana

Matej Hriberšek is assis­tant pro­fes­sor for Greek and Latin lan­guage at the Depart­ment for Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy (Fac­ul­ty of Arts) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana. He got his PhD in Latin in 2003; and has stud­ied in Zürich, Tübin­gen, Göt­tin­gen and Vien­na. His main areas of inter­ests are Latin and Greek gram­mar, ancient rhetoric and met­rics, didac­tics of clas­si­cal lan­guages, medieval and neo-Latin lit­er­a­ture, lex­i­cog­ra­phy, and trans­la­tion from clas­si­cal lan­guages (Thomas Aquinas, Tac­i­tus, Plutarch, Galileo, Pliny the Elder, Aris­to­tle, Her­ber­stein etc.).

Literary Production of Slovenian Humanists of 15th and 16th Century and the Echoes of Ideas of European Humanism

Dur­ing the 15th and the 16th cen­tu­ry, polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic con­di­tions in the present-day Sloven­ian regions were not favourable for the spread of human­ist ideas. Nonethe­less, two impor­tant groups of human­ist intel­lec­tu­als were formed and they con­sti­tut­ed the nucle­us of human­ist learn­ing in the area: one in the coastal cities of the region of Pri­mors­ka and one in Vien­na. The lat­ter con­tributed sig­nif­i­cant­ly to the expan­sion and devel­op­ment of human­ism in the Hab­s­burg lands. Sloven­ian human­ists based in Vien­na held impor­tant posi­tions in the Church or worked as pri­vate tutors or as uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sors; some entered the diplo­mat­ic ser­vice, while oth­ers estab­lished their careers as coun­sel­lors, anti­quar­i­ans or writ­ers of fic­tion­al and non-fic­tion­al works. Among the most promi­nent were Bish­op Thomas Prelokar, edu­ca­tors Bernard Perg­er and Bric­cius Pre­prost, teacher and philoso­pher Matthias Hvale, anti­quar­i­an and epig­ra­ph­er Augusti­nus Prygl (Tyfer­nus), Johannes Rott, diplo­mat and writer Sigis­mund von Her­ber­stein and many oth­ers. Of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance were also some non-Sloven­ian human­ists who dealt with this area, such as Aeneas Sil­vius Pic­colo­mi­ni.


Katarzyna Jerzak

Pomeran­ian Uni­ver­si­ty in Słup­sk

Katarzy­na Jerzak stud­ied Com­par­a­tive Lit­er­a­ture at Brown Uni­ver­si­ty and Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty (PhD 1995). Between 1995 and 2012 she taught com­par­a­tive lit­er­a­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Geor­gia in Athens, GA. In 1999/2000 she was a Rome Prize Fel­low in Art His­to­ry at the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my in Rome. In 2013 she was NEH Dis­tin­guished Vis­it­ing Pro­fes­sor at SUNY Pots­dam, NY. She is now Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish Philol­o­gy at the Pomeran­ian Uni­ver­si­ty in Słup­sk, Poland. Her main research inter­est is exile.

The Medicine Cabinet and the Bookshelf: PTSD and Other Anxiety Disorders in Martin Buber, Mikhail Bakhtin, Boris Cyrulnik, and Jonathan Shay

Despite its osten­si­ble state of peace, con­tem­po­rary West­ern soci­ety is plagued by dis­or­ders com­mon in com­bat zones: PTSD and oth­er anx­i­ety dis­or­ders, depres­sion, sui­cide. Arnold Wein­stein, in his A Scream Goes through the House: What Lit­er­a­ture Teach­es Us About Life, oppos­es the med­i­cine cab­i­net to the book­shelf. In over twen­ty years of uni­ver­si­ty teach­ing I have seen that works focus­ing on trau­mat­ic events, be it indi­vid­ual (Hiroshi­ma mon amour by Duras) or col­lec­tive (Jew­ish War by Gryn­berg), can have a ther­a­peu­tic effect on stu­dents. In a cul­ture in which Dis­ney sup­plant­ed both the Bible and Greek tragedies, the lack of a human­ist edu­ca­tion deprives indi­vid­u­als of a mean­ing­ful way of address­ing their “moral injuries” out­side of psy­chi­a­try prop­er. My paper seeks to elu­ci­date this phe­nom­e­non by using the con­cepts and approach­es worked out by Mar­tin Buber, Mikhail Bakhtin, Boris Cyrul­nik and Jonathan Shay. I pro­pose to con­sid­er select­ed works by Janusz Kor­czak, Albert Cohen, Mar­guerite Duras, and Hen­ryk Gryn­berg, as well as their recep­tion among Amer­i­can and Pol­ish uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents. My the­sis is that in a soci­ety in which most basic human needs are met for the major­i­ty of its mem­bers, there is nonethe­less a human­ist lacu­na which con­tributes to the cur­rent psy­cho­log­i­cal cri­sis.


Petar Jevremović

Depart­ment of Psy­chol­o­gy, Fac­ul­ty of Phi­los­o­phy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Bel­grade

Petar Jevre­mović (born 1964) teach­es at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bel­grade, Ser­bia, Depart­ment of Psy­chol­o­gy, Fac­ul­ty of Phi­los­o­phy. Among his research inter­ests are psy­cho­analy­sis, phi­los­o­phy, the­ol­o­gy, and lit­er­a­ture. Pub­lished books: Psy­cho­analy­sis and Ontol­ogy, Bel­grade 1998; Lacan and Psy­cho­analy­sis, Bel­grade 2000; Psi­hoanal­iza, hermenevti­ka, cerkveni očet­je, Kud Logos, Ljubl­jana 2006; Body, Phan­tasm, Sym­bol, Bel­grade 2007; LOGOS/ POLUTROPOS: Towards hermeneu­tics of the oral dis­course, Bel­grade 2013; Being/Dispersal, Bel­grade 2014.

Thinking as Subversion

The present state of affairs in the world makes it a mat­ter of high­est pos­si­ble pri­or­i­ty to rethink our own his­tor­i­cal sit­u­a­tion. This rather demand­ing task implies a neces­si­ty for crit­i­cal rethink­ing of the idea of cul­ture. We live in the world of trag­i­cal decline of the clas­si­cal idea of cul­ture and its ideals, in the world of the ide­ol­o­gy. This ide­ol­o­gy is deeply root­ed in the meta­physics of eco­nom­ic prag­ma­tism, media-obscu­ran­tism, and the seduc­tive rhetorics of human rights and new-age hap­pi­ness. All these changes in our world had made a tremen­dous impact on our indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive lives. Lib­er­al sci­ences and arts are in seri­ous decline. Europe, being with­out its inher­ent human­is­tic ideas, is no more than a cas­trat­ed corpse. Every­body is look­ing for infor­ma­tions, try­ing to get adapt­ed to the nor­ma­tive log­ic of the big net­work. Crit­i­cal think­ing is some­thing des­per­ate­ly need­ed. But there is no real crit­i­cal think­ing and  no pos­si­ble sub­ver­sion of any kind of repres­sive meta­physics with­out its being deeply root­ed in the tra­di­tion of the human­ist edu­ca­tion and its his­tor­i­cal tra­di­tion.


Markus Kersten

Uni­ver­sität Ros­tock, Hein­rich Schlie­mann-Insti­tut für Alter­tum­swis­senschaften, Ros­tock

Markus Ker­sten stud­ied clas­sics as well as math­e­mat­ics at the uni­ver­si­ties of Ros­tock and Gronin­gen. In 2015 he was based at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford as a Vis­it­ing Schol­ar. In 2017, he com­plet­ed his PhD course at Ros­tock, focus­ing on Lucan’s recep­tion of Vergil’s Geor­gics. He is cur­rent­ly work­ing as a lec­tur­er. His research inter­ests are Roman epic and bucol­ic poet­ry, par­tic­u­lar­ly com­po­si­tion­al details like metapo­et­ic allu­sions and cryp­togrammes. His new book will inves­ti­gate Har­ry Kessler’s recep­tion of clas­si­cal lit­er­a­ture.

Humanism That Has Gone Sour? The Status of ‘Classical’ Literary Culture in Historical Roman Poetry

Augus­tan poet­ry, des­tined to become what may be called the ‘most clas­sic of all Euro­pean clas­sics’, not only dealt with sub­lime hero­ism, but was also obsessed with the latent dan­ger of cul­tur­al break­down. In estab­lish­ing the ide­al­ist vision of a return­ing Gold­en Age, Vergil ‘didac­ti­cal­ly’ pro­mul­gat­ed the idea of a cul­tur­al renew­al under – or just in spite of? – the prin­ci­pate. Often, this lit­er­ary vision of grad­ual advance (back) to ancient peace and pros­per­i­ty has tak­en cen­tral stage in the process of defin­ing Euro­pean human­ism. – Yet only some decades after Augus­tus, Lucan haunt­ing­ly dis­played human cru­el­ty and crime in his Civ­il War as if to demon­strate that clas­si­cal didax­is has been of no worth at all and that human­ism can­not be taught by let­ters. This may be inter­pret­ed as anti-clas­si­cist and, hence, anti-human­is­tic. But can the ideals of civ­i­liza­tion and human­i­ty in fact be proved wrong? – I shall show that ques­tion­ing the cul­tur­al impact of the ‘clas­sics’ is indeed at issue in Roman his­tor­i­cal poet­ry – how­ev­er rather as a defense than as a chal­lenge. In acute­ly reflect­ing the impact of their ref­er­ence texts these poems have made a dis­tinc­tive con­tri­bu­tion to the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of the clas­sics and devel­oped a mod­el still applied today: satir­i­cal redemp­tion.


Matic Kocijančič

Depart­ment of Com­par­a­tive Lit­er­a­ture, Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana

Mat­ic Koci­jančič is Young Researcher at the Depart­ment of Com­par­a­tive Lit­er­a­ture and Lit­er­ary The­o­ry, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana, Slove­nia. His research inter­ests include ancient Greek dra­ma, phi­los­o­phy of tragedy, and Sloven­ian post-war the­atre. He won the Mari­bor The­atre Fes­ti­val award for the best essay in 2006. His first book, Knji­ga pohval in pri­tožb – a col­lec­tion of film, book and the­atre reviews – was pub­lished in 2016.

Heidegger’s Reading of Antigone and His Critique of Humanism

Hei­deg­ger and his Brief über den “Human­is­mus”, 1946, deci­sive­ly influ­enced philo­soph­i­cal debates on human­ism, espe­cial­ly in France. The emer­gence of Hei­deg­ger’s text was prompt­ed by Jean Paul Sartre’s L’ex­is­ten­tial­isme est un human­isme, 1946, and the French pub­lic accept­ed Heidegger’s con­cerns as a con­vinc­ing cri­tique of Sartre’s the­ses, which were even­tu­al­ly aban­doned by Sartre him­self. From the Renais­sance through the Enlight­en­ment to the post-mod­ern era, the French intel­lec­tu­al mil­lieu devel­oped a high­ly pro­filed and con­tin­u­ous dia­logue with human­ist think­ing – a rela­tion­ship that, with its inten­si­ty, is unique with­in the Euro­pean philo­soph­i­cal tra­di­tion. As Tom Rock­more proves in his study on Hei­deg­ger and French phi­los­o­phy, 1995, Heidegger’s high-pro­file tem­ati­za­tion of human­ism is cru­cial for the immense pop­u­lar­i­ty of phi­los­o­phy in post-war France. Heidegger’s work also shares French fas­ci­na­tion with Sopho­cles’ Antigone. Under the influ­ence of Hei­deg­ger – and, of course, Hegel – this was also shared by Jacques Der­ri­da and Jacques Lacan. In recent decades, Lacan’s read­ing of Antigone became a cen­tral philo­soph­i­cal ref­er­ence. Hei­deg­ger unveiled his read­ing of Antigone in his Ein­führung in die Meta­physik, a series of lec­tures from 1935 pub­lished twen­ty years lat­er. At the time of their emer­gence, there was a vig­or­ous debate about human­ism in Ger­many, in which Hei­deg­ger took part both philo­soph­i­cal­ly and polit­i­cal­ly. My paper will high­light the links between Heidegger’s the­ma­ti­sa­tions of human­ism and his read­ing of Antigone, focus­ing on their poten­tial – and actu­al – polit­i­cal con­se­quences.


Dean Komel

Depart­ment of Phi­los­o­phy, Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana

Dean Komel is pro­fes­sor of con­tem­po­rary phi­los­o­phy and phi­los­o­phy of cul­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana, Fac­ul­ty of Arts, and is the head of research activ­i­ties at the Nova Revi­ja Insti­tute for Human­i­ties. In 2003 he received the Zois Award of the Repub­lic of Slove­nia for schol­ar­ly achieve­ments in the field of phi­los­o­phy. He pub­lish­es in phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal and hermeneu­ti­cal phi­los­o­phy, and is also the ini­tia­tor of sev­er­al human­is­tic insti­tu­tions with­in schol­ar­ly com­mu­ni­ty. He par­tic­i­pat­ed in a num­ber of con­fer­ences and sym­posia and has helped orga­nize about forty of them.

The Crisis of “Humanism” and the Contemporality of Human Sciences

The actu­al rela­tion­ship between the cri­sis of human­i­ty  and today’s sit­u­a­tion of human sci­ences is with­in the pro­posed dis­cus­sion encom­passed in the con­cept of “con­tem­po­ral­i­ty” with the intent to dis­tin­guish the the­o­ret­i­cal use from the fac­tu­al usage of the term “con­tem­po­rane­ity”, which oth­er­wise still retains its cul­tur­al val­ue, as well as its the­mat­ic rel­e­vance with­in human­is­tic sci­ences. This is of great impor­tance pre­cise­ly, if we place the theme of con­tem­po­rane­ity in rela­tion to the con­text of under­stand­ing, as it has been devel­oped espe­cial­ly by the mod­ern hermeneu­tic method­ol­o­gy of human­is­tic sci­ences.

In human­i­ties, essen­tial ques­tions can­not be sim­ply con­struct­ed; we are exis­ten­tial­ly placed in front of them. “Knowl­edge soci­ety”, which is co-defined by “under­stand­ing in cul­ture”, presents gen­er­al chal­lenge to which it is not enough to respond, we have to answer to it.  This seems espe­cial­ly impor­tant when we take into con­sid­er­a­tion the resur­gence of polit­i­cal ten­sions on the bor­ders of the EU, the inse­cure social and eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion with­in the EU and the posi­tion of the EU with­in the glob­al counter-bal­anc­ing of pow­er.


Robert Kuret

Inde­pen­dent researcher, Ljubl­jana

Robert Kuret stud­ied Sloven­ian philol­o­gy and fin­ished his stud­ies in 2016 with a study on mimet­ic desire in Vit­o­mil Zupan’s nov­els. He worked as a jour­nal­ist and web edi­tor at Info­drom. He writes cri­tiques and essays about lit­er­a­ture and film where he tries to fuse psy­cho­analy­sis and mimet­ic the­o­ry. Twice he was among the Sodobnost’s nom­i­nees for the best Sloven­ian essay. He is a coor­ga­niz­er and a found­ing mem­ber of Pre­branec, a month­ly event ded­i­cat­ed to new Sloven­ian prose.

The Individuum as a Consequence of the Relationship with the Other and towards the Other: The Other as a Better Me, the Other as an Imperfect Me

In his the­o­ry of mimet­ic desire, Rene Girard argues that human auton­o­my is illu­so­ry. Human per­son is not an indi­vidu­um, but rather an interindi­vidu­um: it exists only in rela­tions with oth­ers. A case in point is the nov­el by Vit­o­mil Zupan called Jour­ney to the End of Spring. The nar­ra­tor of the nov­el, who is pro­fes­sor of Sloven­ian, exists pri­mar­i­ly in rela­tion to his stu­dent Tajsi. In this con­text, the subject’s depen­dence on the oth­er means depen­dence of his desire on the oth­er: he wants what the oth­er wants or what the oth­er has. Tajsi rep­re­sents life untamed, an ide­al iden­ti­ty that he wants for him­self. The pro­fes­sor per­ceives Tajsi as some­one who does not lack any­thing, so he con­sid­ers him – in terms of Girard’s mimet­ic the­o­ry – as his mod­el. He begins to imi­tate him more and more; he wants to become like him. He imi­tates Tajsi so much that at some point he meta­morphs into him: the speak­er is no longer the pro­fes­sor him­self, it is Tajsi who speaks through him. The sub­ject gives pri­or­i­ty to the admired mod­el. But such a project is doomed to fail. Even more, the per­fect oth­er does not exist. Pro­fes­sor realis­es this at the end of the nov­el, dur­ing his final encounter with Tajsi, when he dis­cov­ers that Tajsi’s iden­ti­ty is also based on the imi­ta­tion of some­one whom Tajsi clear­ly admires. Thus the sub­ject moves from the per­cep­tion of the oth­er as one­self in the sense of some ide­al iden­ti­ty to per­cep­tion of the oth­er as one­self who also expe­ri­ences defi­cien­cies.


Adam Łukaszewicz

Insti­tute of Archae­ol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw

Adam Łukaszewicz, archae­ol­o­gist, papy­rol­o­gist and his­to­ri­an of antiq­ui­ty, pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw, is head of a Pol­ish archae­o­log­i­cal expe­di­tion in Egypt, deputy chair­man of the Com­mit­tee for the Study of Antiq­ui­ty (Pol­ish Acad­e­my of Sci­ences), mem­ber of the Insti­tute for Advanced Study, Prince­ton N.J. etc. Among his pub­lished works are Les édi­fices publics dans les villes de l’É­gypte romaine (1986), Aegyp­ti­a­ca Antonini­ana (1993), Świat papirusów (2001), Kleopa­tra (2005), Egipt Greków i Rzymi­an (2006).

Ambiguity of Knowledge and the Challenge of Humanism

Speak­ing from the field of research, how is one to under­stand the max­im of Socrates that the start of wis­dom is in know­ing one knows noth­ing? It is a pop­u­lar mis­con­cep­tion that the human­i­ties and the sci­ences have lit­tle in com­mon, espe­cial­ly in the area of exac­ti­tude, cred­i­bil­i­ty, and accu­ra­cy. How­ev­er, mod­ern research method­olo­gies in the human­i­ties ensure a high lev­el of cred­i­bil­i­ty and strength of evi­dence, based on schol­ar­ly rea­son­ing. The results of sol­id research in the human­i­ties are far from unac­count­able, undoc­u­ment­ed, or friv­o­lous.


Ewa Łukaszyk

Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw, Fac­ul­ty of “Artes Lib­erales”

Ewa A. Łukaszyk (1972), Ph.D. Habil., Roman­ist and Ori­en­tal­ist, spe­cial­ized in Por­tuguese and Luso­phone as well as Mediter­ranean stud­ies and is pro­fes­sor at the Fac­ul­ty “Artes Lib­erales” (Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw) and LE STUDIUM fel­low 2017–2018 (Loire Val­ley, France). Cur­rent­ly she devel­ops a project “The search for the Adam­ic lan­guage and the emer­gence of tran­scul­tur­al aspi­ra­tion in the after­math of the Euro­pean mar­itime dis­cov­er­ies”, financed in the frame­work of the Euro­pean Union’s Hori­zon 2020 research and inno­va­tion pro­gramme.

Congregatio mundi Today: Neohumanist Perspectives of Guillaume Postel (1510–1581)

Guil­laume Pos­tel (1510–1581), a French poly­math and utopi­anist, teach­ing Greek, Hebrew and Ara­bic at the new­ly cre­at­ed Col­lège de France, pre­ferred to define his pro­fes­sion as con­gre­ga­tor mun­di. Build­ing on his com­pe­tence as a lin­guist and reflect­ing on the par­a­dis­i­cal ori­gin of lan­guage, he grad­u­al­ly devel­oped the the­sis on the pos­si­bil­i­ty of achiev­ing a uni­ver­sal har­mo­ny beyond the diver­si­ty of cul­tures, eth­nic­i­ties and faiths, as well as a gen­er­al resti­tu­tion of the world to its orig­i­nal, unspoilt con­di­tion (resti­tu­tio omni­um). At the same time, the resti­tu­tion of the unspoilt, pri­mor­dial, Adam­ic lan­guage would put us back on the path of truth, wis­dom and knowl­edge (via ver­i­tatis perdi­ta). – The aim of this paper is to reflect on the per­spec­tives of a crit­i­cal return to cer­tain aspects of the Postelian her­itage. Cer­tain­ly, his equa­tion (com­mu­ni­ca­tion = con­cor­dia) remains gen­er­al­ly valid to the present day, even for those who do not share his Adamitic and cab­bal­is­tic con­cep­tions of lan­guage. On the oth­er hand, his con­cept of con­gre­ga­tor mun­di appears as a valu­able start­ing point for the dis­cus­sion on the role and pre­rog­a­tives of the intel­lec­tu­al as a medi­a­tor between human soci­eties and the tran­scen­dent sphere.


Marko Marinčič

Depart­ment of Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy, Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana

Marko Mar­inčič is pro­fes­sor of Roman and Greek lit­er­a­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana. His main fields of inter­est and pub­li­ca­tion are Hel­lenis­tic and Roman poet­ry (Cat­ul­lus, Vir­gil, Appen­dix Vergiliana, Ovid, Sta­tius), Greek prose fic­tion (Life of Aesop, Achilles Tatius) and the recep­tion of ancient lit­er­a­ture (e.g. Petrar­ca, Chénier, Baude­laire, Prešeren). He trans­lates Latin, Greek and French lit­er­a­ture into Sloven­ian (Greek lyric poet­ry, espe­cial­ly Sap­pho; Aeschy­lus, Euripi­des; Plau­tus, Ter­en­tius, Cat­ul­lus, Vir­gil, Ovid, Ter­tul­lian; Racine, Claudel).

Pier Paolo Vergerio: An Apostle of Translation between Homer and South Slavic Reformation

In the intro­duc­tion to his trans­la­tion of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apos­tles into Sloven­ian (1557), the protes­tant reformer Pri­mož Trubar paid rev­er­ence to Pier Pao­lo Verg­e­rio the Younger, a promi­nent human­ist and the for­mer papal nun­tio, as the indi­vid­ual who was, “besides God, the most impor­tant insti­ga­tor” of his work. In spite of this dec­la­ra­tion, the con­tri­bu­tion of Verg­e­rio to the emer­gence of first trans­la­tions of the Bible into Sloven­ian is usu­al­ly down­played in his­to­ries of lit­er­a­ture and in text­books, which tend to idolise the reli­gious pro­pa­gan­da of the Protes­tants in the spir­it of lib­er­al roman­tic nation­al­ism. This con­tri­bu­tion shows that an inter­na­tion­al­ly rel­e­vant “earth­ly” intel­lec­tu­al con­text for Trubar’s over-mythi­fied trans­la­tions is pro­vid­ed by Vergerio’s spir­i­tu­al biog­ra­phy, his devel­op­ment from an Eras­mi­an human­ist who sup­port­ed Andreas Divus’ Latin trans­la­tion of Homer and scorned Luther for his bad Latin to a mil­i­tant reformer who acqui­esced to fos­ter and super­vise trans­la­tions of the Bible from Luther rather than from the orig­i­nal.


Olga Markič

Depart­ment of Phi­los­o­phy, Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana

Olga Mark­ič is pro­fes­sor of phi­los­o­phy at the Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana. She is lec­tur­ing at the Phi­los­o­phy Depart­ment and at Mei:CogSci pro­gram. Her main areas of research are Phi­los­o­phy of Mind, Phi­los­o­phy of Cog­ni­tive Sci­ence, and Neu­roethics. Her two main books are Cog­ni­tive sci­ence: Philo­soph­i­cal Ques­tions (Aris­tej, 2011, in Sloven­ian) and Mind in nature: from sci­ence to phi­los­o­phy (with M. Uršič and A. Ule, Nova Sci­ence Pub­lish­ers, 2012).

Challenges to the Humanistic Image

It is only recent­ly that neu­ro­sci­en­tists have been able to inves­ti­gate cog­ni­tive phe­nom­e­na that are the hall­marks of what it is to be human. Advances in the­o­ret­i­cal and clin­i­cal neu­ro­sciences open a path to a bet­ter under­stand­ing of men­tal process­es but at the same time raise the wor­ry that under­stand­ing how brains cause behav­ior will rad­i­cal­ly change our under­stand­ing of the mind. Flana­gan (2002) has described two com­pet­ing images of who we are: the human­is­tic image and the sci­en­tif­ic image. The human­is­tic image is much in accor­dance with our every­day think­ing about the mind and has its roots in peren­ni­al phi­los­o­phy, while the sci­en­tif­ic image por­trayed humans as nat­ur­al sys­tems and focus­es on sub-per­son­al process­es. Some sci­en­tists and sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly ori­ent­ed philoso­phers are rad­i­cal and think that many con­cepts employed by the human­is­tic image are just illu­sions with­out real ref­er­ence, thus under­min­ing our views about free will and, con­se­quent­ly, about moral respon­si­bil­i­ty. The paper will deal with the ques­tion of the rela­tion­ship between these two images and sug­gest a pos­si­ble solu­tion to bridge the gap.


Dávid Molnár

MTA-ELTE Human­ism in East Cen­tral Europe Research Group

Dávid Mol­nár is a his­to­ri­an of lit­er­a­ture and phi­los­o­phy, inter­est­ed in Pla­ton­ic move­ment in Europe and Hun­gary. After defend­ing his PhD the­sis Furor est cum can­tat: Mar­silio Fici­no and the Hun­gar­i­an Pla­ton­ists “in love” in the age of Matthias Corv­i­nus, he has been affil­i­at­ed as a research fel­low in the “Human­ism in East Cen­tral Europe” Research Group (MTA-ELTE HECE). He is cur­rent­ly work­ing on a mono­graph on the Sienese Pietro Illi­ci­no (Petrus Illici­nus).

The Humanist Interpretation of Erotic Dreams

This paper explores the per­cep­tion of erot­ic dreams in the works of 15–16th-century human­ists. Erot­ic dreams were cer­tain­ly a del­i­cate theme which human­ists attempt­ed to treat sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly in order to nat­u­ralise it, chiefly in their med­ical works. The appear­ance of erot­ic dreams, most often dreams about sex­u­al acts, was sup­posed to indi­cate the imbal­ance of humours in the human body. In oth­er words, human­ists argued that these dreams were not a sign of devil’s work, tempt­ing peo­ple to sin, but a diag­nos­able and cur­able phys­i­o­log­i­cal process. More­over, erot­ic dreams did not sim­ply help diag­nos­ing the imbal­ance of humours but could also have heal­ing pow­er because they could restore the appro­pri­ate pro­por­tion of bod­i­ly flu­ids. Through con­tem­po­rary human­ist med­ical trea­tis­es, I will out­line how erot­ic dreams were con­nect­ed to bod­i­ly and men­tal dis­eases – espe­cial­ly to melan­choly – and to love fren­zy.


David Movrin

Depart­ment of Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy, Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana

David Movrin is assis­tant pro­fes­sor at the Depart­ment of Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana. He holds an MA in Medieval Stud­ies from the CEU in Budapest and a PhD in Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana. He has pub­lished a mono­graph on the his­to­ry of trans­la­tion, trans­lat­ed and adapt­ed a set of Latin text­books and work­books, writ­ten a mono­graph on the rela­tion­ship between pagan and Chris­t­ian biog­ra­phy in Late Antiq­ui­ty, and chaired a research project enti­tled “What Good is Latin to Social­ism?” at the Sloven­ian Research Agency.

Chommoda and hinsidias: Catullan Shaming of the Parvenu between Antiquity, Renaissance and Modernity

In his poem 84, Cat­ul­lus presents Arrius, a par­venu of hum­ble ori­gins, who com­pul­sive­ly aspi­rates his words in order to appear edu­cat­ed; he thus pro­nounces “chom­mo­da” and “hin­sidias” instead of “com­mo­da” and “insidias”. There were strong social impli­ca­tions and speak­ers of Latin who dropped their aspi­rates incurred a social stig­ma; as Nigid­ius Figu­lus remarked, “rus­ti­cus fit ser­mo si aspires per­per­am”. But why com­mo­da? Why insidias? These might just be two ran­dom words, and indeed some of the com­men­ta­tors argue that there is no rea­son to search for an addi­tion­al lev­el of mean­ing; entia non sunt mul­ti­pli­can­da praeter neces­si­tatem. The poem has a long his­to­ry of less-than-excit­ing inter­pre­ta­tions and trans­la­tions; it was only renais­sance edi­tors who under­stood that the man­u­scripts actu­al­ly lacked the aspi­rates and it was only in the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry that the pun at the end of the epi­gram was dis­cov­ered. Build­ing on this tra­di­tion, the paper will argue that the poem hides anoth­er lay­er of mean­ing which pro­vides a unique insight into Cat­ul­lan under­stand­ing of the human nature.


Petra Mutlova

Depart­ment of Clas­si­cal Stud­ies, Masaryk Uni­ver­si­ty, Brno

Petra Mut­lo­va got her PhD in His­tor­i­cal Sci­ences (2007, Masaryk Uni­ver­si­ty, Brno) and in Medieval Stud­ies (2011, Cen­tral Euro­pean Uni­ver­si­ty, Budapest); she is an Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor at the Depart­ment of Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy, Masaryk Uni­ver­si­ty in Brno, work­ing on medieval Latin lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture. She is involved in a long-time project of prepar­ing crit­i­cal edi­tions of the Mag­istri Ioan­nis Hus Opera omnia series for the Cor­pus Chris­tiano­rum, Con­tin­u­a­tio Medi­ae­valis for the Bre­pols pub­lish­ers.

Jan Hus as an Inspiration in the Twenty-first Century

A medieval priest, church reformer and a sem­i­nal fig­ure of the Bohemi­an Ref­or­ma­tion of the 15th cen­tu­ry, Jan Hus (d. 1415) was one of the key Czech rep­re­sen­ta­tives of medieval Chris­t­ian ideals com­pat­i­ble with the tra­di­tion of Euro­pean human­ism devel­oped in clas­si­cal antiq­ui­ty. The paper will focus on some aspects of Hus’s teach­ings and con­vic­tions expressed at the height of his aca­d­e­m­ic career and the end of his life. I will present exam­ples from texts that Hus com­posed in jail at the Coun­cil of Con­stance as well as from his per­son­al cor­re­spon­dence. Mod­ern schol­ars often stress the fact that some issues that Hus elab­o­rat­ed on – such as his empha­sis on the role of per­son­al con­science, free­dom of speech, obe­di­ence to human com­mands and author­i­ty in gen­er­al – have the poten­tial to res­onate even in the present. Although, giv­en the cur­rent state of Euro­pean soci­ety, these issues seem rather top­i­cal, the per­cep­tion of Hus in Czech soci­ety is com­plex. Is it indeed pos­si­ble to see Hus as a cul­tur­al and his­tor­i­cal phe­nom­e­non with whom even the sec­u­lar part of soci­ety can share the val­ues of Euro­pean human­i­ty? And do we real­ly need him?


Elżbieta Olechowska

Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw, Fac­ul­ty of “Artes Lib­erales”

Elż­bi­eta Ole­chows­ka is a clas­si­cal philol­o­gist and tex­tu­al crit­ic (Claudian’s De bel­lo Gildon­ico publ. by E. J. Brill, Cicero’s man­u­script tra­di­tion by Osso­lineum, three Cicero’s speech­es from 54 B. C. in Bib­lio­the­ca Teub­ne­r­i­ana), as well as media expert (Chal­lenges for Inter­na­tion­al Broad­cast­ing, vol. I‑VI, The Age of Inter­na­tion­al Radio). She worked at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Gene­va, Insti­tute for Advanced Study in Prince­ton, Cana­di­an Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, and cur­rent­ly at the Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw focussing on his­to­ry of Clas­sics and recep­tion of clas­si­cal antiq­ui­ty.

Innovative Diversity of Academic Offer as a Response to Audiovisual Propagation of Second-Hand Knowledge of the Classical Humanities

Instead of lament­ing the dis­ap­pear­ance of Greek, Latin, and Clas­si­cal Antiq­ui­ty from school cur­ric­u­la, we may take a pro-active approach and, in addi­tion to tra­di­tion­al sub­jects in clas­sics, offer uni­ver­si­ty edu­ca­tion that takes advan­tage of what stu­dents already know of the clas­si­cal human­i­ties, and build on that aware­ness which results basi­cal­ly from ear­ly expo­sure to myth­i­cal (or his­toric) heroes and nar­ra­tives in audio-visu­al pro­duc­tion for chil­dren and young adults. Explor­ing the cre­ative process of recep­tion behind films and tele­vi­sion series inspired by clas­si­cal themes known to cre­ators only from sec­ondary sources or in trans­la­tion – most often gen­res such as fan­ta­sy, sci­ence fic­tion, or com­ic books – and invit­ing stu­dents to active­ly trace and ana­lyze such themes in con­tem­po­rary audio-visu­al cul­ture, will allow them to grasp the sig­nif­i­cance, rel­e­vance, and con­ti­nu­ity of uni­ver­sal val­ues, con­flicts, and char­ac­ters the twen­ty-first-cen­tu­ry youth shares with antiq­ui­ty.


Áron Orbán

MTA-ELTE Human­ism in East Cen­tral Europe Research Group

Áron Orbán is an assis­tant research fel­low in the MTA-ELTE Human­ism in East Cen­tral Europe Research Group (Budapest). His research area is human­ist lit­er­a­ture in Hun­gary, Aus­tria, and Ger­many, espe­cial­ly its nat­ur­al philo­soph­i­cal aspects. His pub­li­ca­tions that have appeared so far focus main­ly on astro­log­i­cal mat­ters. His dis­ser­ta­tion dealt with “Solar-astral Sym­bol­ism and Poet­i­cal Self-Rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Con­rad Celtis and his human­ist cir­cles.”

Variations for Micro-macrocosmical Relations in Conrad Celtis’s Amores

In the Latin poet­ry of Con­rad Celtis (1459–1508), a pio­neer­ing fig­ure of Ger­man Human­ism, one of his basic ideas is that of the micro- and macro­cosm, a net­work of cor­re­spon­dences that hold the uni­verse togeth­er. My paper will show how Celtis could cre­ate such a “mag­ic” uni­verse in his chief poet­i­cal work, the Amores. The poet demon­strates his (or his sodales’, his patrons’) astro­log­i­cal­ly favor­able birth with horo­scopes or allu­sions to cer­tain plan­e­tary posi­tions. The solar sym­bol­ism has a key role in Celtis. Oth­er mytho­log­i­cal fig­ures, such as Orpheus, Bac­chus etc., also par­tic­i­pate in this cos­mo­log­i­cal-poe­t­o­log­i­cal sym­bol­ism, the ideas of which have their clas­si­cal, medieval, or Ital­ian Renais­sance (espe­cial­ly Pla­ton­ic) tra­di­tions, and their par­al­lels in con­tem­po­rary Ger­man intel­lec­tu­al life. Witch­craft-motifs could serve as pow­er­ful, spec­tac­u­lar sym­bol­ic means con­tribut­ing in many ways to the con­struc­tion of mean­ing in the Amores, express­ing, first of all, the ambiva­lent nature and the dan­gers of love and mag­ic, two pow­ers whose close affin­i­ty – oth­er­wise an age-old idea – became an impor­tant issue in sev­er­al Renais­sance schol­ar­ly the­o­ries and art­works.


Žarko Paić

School of Fash­ion Design, Fac­ul­ty of Tex­tile Tech­nol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Zagreb

Žarko Paić is asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at the School of Fash­ion Design at the Fac­ul­ty of Tex­tile Tech­nol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Zagreb, where he teach­es aes­thet­ics, fash­ion and media the­o­ry and visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion. He is the edi­tor of Fort, jour­nal for the­o­ry, cul­ture and visu­al arts. He has won sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al awards for lit­er­a­ture. His research inter­ests are com­pre­hen­sive and range from the­o­ries of glob­al­i­sa­tion and iden­ti­ties, aes­thet­ics, phi­los­o­phy of art, phi­los­o­phy of pol­i­tics, and media phi­los­o­phy.

Technosphere and the End of Subject: The Culture That is Left

In con­sid­er­a­tion of the rela­tion­ship between the basic notions that define the con­tem­po­rary econ­o­my – pol­i­tics – cul­ture my attempt is to artic­u­late three start­ing points. The first deter­mines the accel­er­a­tion of com­plex dig­i­tal age that I will call tech­nos­phere. That cir­cuit includes tech­no-sci­ence, infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies and the new media. The sec­ond is relat­ed to changes in the bios­phere and it belongs to the phys­i­cal­i­ty, ani­mal­i­ty and com­plex orga­ni­za­tion of human life in cyber­net­i­cal mod­el of eco-sys­tem and envi­ron­ment. Glob­al cap­i­tal­ism cur­rent­ly moves through a third point. I call it medios­phere. This term refers to the increas­ing role of medi­a­tion in every­day life. From tech­no­log­i­cal gad­gets to com­put­er equip­ment, the land­scape of postin­dus­tri­al soci­eties is rep­re­sent­ed by the new visu­al arch­i­pel­ago of net­works. The paper will artic­u­late some crit­i­cal stand­points on the foot­steps which Fou­cault and Deleuze direct­ed towards an analy­sis of the prob­lems of pow­er and free­dom in soci­ety today, where cul­ture dis­plays new pat­terns of con­trol instead of eman­ci­pat­ing the sub­ject.


Edoardo Pecchini

Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw, Fac­ul­ty of “Artes Lib­erales”

Edoar­do Pec­chi­ni is a child neu­ropsy­chi­a­trist, work­ing at the Bolzano Hos­pi­tal with­in the Spe­cial­ist Psy­chi­atric Health Clin­ic dur­ing the Child­hood and Devel­op­ment Peri­od, tak­ing care of chil­dren and young peo­ple with depres­sions, sui­ci­dal dis­or­ders, dis­tur­bances of per­cep­tion of real­i­ty, atten­tion deficit dis­or­ders, dis­tur­bances of social behav­ior, and autis­tic spec­trum dis­or­ders. He is also a doc­tor­al stu­dent at the fac­ul­ty of Artes lib­erales, Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw.

Promoting Mental Health through Classics: Hercules as Trainer in Today‘s Labours of Children and Young People

Her­cules’ myth will be dis­cussed in my pre­sen­ta­tion on the ground of select­ed psy­cho­log­i­cal and ped­a­gog­i­cal the­o­ries. The hero will be com­pared with oth­er char­ac­ters, along with the pros and the cons of their use as mod­els in psy­cho-edu­ca­tion­al sit­u­a­tions. I will reflect on pos­si­ble appli­ca­tions of Her­cules’ Twelve Labours cycle in clin­i­cal and edu­ca­tion­al con­texts, and par­tic­u­lar­ly in cas­es such as high-func­tion­ing autism, dis­rup­tive behav­iours, and con­duct prob­lems.


Gregor Pobežin

Uni­ver­si­ty of Pri­mors­ka, Kop­er; Insti­tute of Cul­tur­al His­to­ry, Research Cen­tre of Sloven­ian Acad­e­my, Ljubl­jana

Gre­gor Pobežin obtained his PhD in 2009 with his the­sis on nar­ra­tive focus in Sallust’s Con­spir­a­cy of Cati­line and War of Jugurtha. Since 2008 he has been employed by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Pri­mors­ka, where he holds the posi­tion of Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor, and by the Insti­tute of Cul­tur­al His­to­ry of the Research Cen­tre of SAZU in Ljubl­jana, where he holds the posi­tion of the head of depart­ment. He con­cen­trates most­ly on the research of Greek and Roman his­to­ri­og­ra­phy and the ques­tion of sources employed by Greek and Roman his­to­ri­ans.

Magna enim est spes de pace: Pierpaolo Vergerio And His Thoughts on the Council of Trent

The Actiones duae sec­re­tarii pon­tif­icii writ­ten in 1556 by the bish­op of Iusti­nop­o­lis (Kop­er) and lat­er the protes­tant author Pier­pao­lo Verg­e­rio raise ques­tions relat­ed to the Coun­cil of Trent. The trea­tise in two vol­umes (Quarum altera dis­pu­tat, an Paulus Papa IIII debeat cog­itare de instau­ran­do Con­cil­lio Tri­denti­no;  Altera vero, an vi et armis pos­sit deinde imper­are Protes­tan­tibus ipsius Con­cilii dec­re­ta) is a rare and, so far, most­ly over­looked doc­u­ment, which sheds light on the excep­tion­al­ly inter­est­ing aspect of Vergerio’s life after his excom­mu­ni­ca­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing his years in Tübin­gen when he act­ed as the advi­sor to Duke Christo­pher of Würt­tem­berg  and an emis­sary to Poland (1556 and 1559). The younger of the two Verg­erii, both from Iusti­nop­o­lis, Pier­pao­lo found him­self on the junc­tion of two worlds – name­ly Human­ism and Ref­or­ma­tion; even though he is inter­est­ing as a man of let­ters, his trea­tis­es are of cru­cial impor­tance to the con­text of  the Ref­or­ma­tion, includ­ing the two vol­umes (joined lat­er by the third one – Acces­sit ter­tia, qua utrunque caput com­plec­ti­tur, ac definit, Con­cil­i­um non posse instau­rari, 1559) pro­posed to be addressed in the paper.


Marco Russo

Uni­ver­si­ta degli Stu­di di Saler­no

Mar­co Rus­so is Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of The­o­ret­i­cal Phi­los­o­phy at Uni­ver­si­ty of Saler­no (Italy). He stud­ied in Naples (MA), Cata­nia (Phd), Hum­boldt Uni­ver­sität zu Berlin (Phd), Tech­nis­che Uni­ver­sität Darm­stadt (Post-grad­u­ate Fel­low­ship), and Freie Uni­ver­sität Berlin (Post-doc). His works join the the­o­ret­i­cal analy­sis with his­tor­i­cal exper­tise. His areas of com­pe­tence are Philo­soph­i­cal Anthro­pol­o­gy, Epis­te­mol­o­gy of Human Sci­ence, and Meta­physics. Since 2011 he is Vice Prasi­dent of Hel­muth Pless­ner Gesellschaft, an inter­na­tion­al net­work for the pro­mo­tion of the Philo­soph­i­cal Anthro­pol­o­gy.

What Is It Like to Be a Humanist?

There are many human­ist asso­ci­a­tions in Europe, in Amer­i­ca and around the world. They car­ry out var­i­ous social, polit­i­cal, cul­tur­al activ­i­ties on the basis of a spe­cif­ic philo­soph­i­cal view out­lined in var­i­ous pro­gram­mat­ic writ­ings. In my con­tri­bu­tion, I ana­lyze this vision to try to under­stand if there is a human­is­tic way of liv­ing, there­fore if it is pos­si­ble to prac­tice and not just the­o­rize human­ism – or even less, to under­stand it as a mere lit­er­ary phe­nom­e­non. This approach enables us to eval­u­ate the com­pli­cat­ed and some­times con­tra­dic­to­ry rela­tion­ship that links human­ism with reli­gion, ethics, and sci­ence. And it also allows us to go beyond the ide­o­log­i­cal rage that char­ac­ter­ized the debate on human­ism in the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, in order to assess the long-last­ing rel­e­vance of this cen­tral term of west­ern civ­i­liza­tion.


Brane Senegačnik

Depart­ment of Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana, Fac­ul­ty of Arts

Brane Sene­gačnik is a clas­si­cal philol­o­gist, poet, essay­ist, trans­la­tor and edi­tor. He has PhD from Uni­ver­stiy of Ljubl­jana and is cur­rent­ly assis­tant pro­fes­sor at the Depart­ment of Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy. His main research inter­est is Greek tragedy. He pub­lished trans­la­tions of sev­er­al Greek and Roman tragedies, works of late Sto­ic and Renes­saince philoso­phers and com­plete extant poems of Pin­dar. In addi­tion to six col­lec­tions of poems he authored and co-authored sev­er­al mono­graphs on Sloven­ian cul­ture.

Humanist Understanding of Human: Humanist Readings of Antigone

(Ear­ly) human­ist recep­tion of Greek tragedy is char­ac­ter­ized by Aris­toteliz­ing intepre­ta­tions of tragedy accord­ing to con­tem­po­rary under­stand­ing of Poet­ics (Lurie, Mola); in this frame Sopho­cles’ Antigone was more or less flat­tened into a moral object les­son about the pun­ish­ment of a tyrant abus­ing his pow­er; human­ist com­men­ta­tors and trans­la­tors showed lit­tle inter­est in the play’s lit­er­ary and philo­soph­i­cal com­plex­i­ty that made it one of the admired and influ­en­tial texts of the West­ern cul­ture over the past three cen­turies. How­ev­er, one should not over­look the exces­sive ten­den­cy towards intel­lec­tu­al­i­sa­tion of tragedy, char­ac­ter­is­tic of many major mod­ern read­ings (M. Heath), on the one hand, and the expec­ta­tions of the orig­i­nal audi­ence on the oth­er. In both its lit­er­ary and polit­i­cal con­text, tragedy was sup­posed to teach (N. Croal­ly). Admit­ting that there is a moral to Antigone does not ino­volve using sim­ple moral­is­tic terms like those used by Cam­er­ar­ius, for instance; one could rather see it as a hint at indis­pens­abil­i­ty of indi­vid­ual human being, both for the cor­rect under­stand­ing of human nature and for eth­i­cal being in the world.


György E. Szönyi

Cen­tral Euro­pean Uni­ver­si­ty, Budapest; Uni­ver­si­ty of Szeged

Györ­gy E. Szönyi is pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish and cultural/intellectual his­to­ry. His inter­ests include cul­tur­al the­o­ry, the Renais­sance, the West­ern eso­teric tra­di­tions, and con­ven­tions of sym­bol­iza­tion – ear­ly mod­ern and (post)modern.  Among his recent mono­graphs are Pic­tura & Scrip­tura: 20th-Cen­tu­ry The­o­ries of Cul­tur­al Rep­re­sen­ta­tions (Szeged, 2004); Gli angeli di John Dee (Rome, 2004); John Dee’s Occultism (Albany, 2004, paper­back 2010). He is on the edi­to­r­i­al board of Aries and Aries Mono­graph Series (E. J. Brill) and sev­er­al oth­er nation­al and inter­na­tion­al jour­nals.

Broadening Horizons of Humanism

It is a com­mon­place about the Renais­sance that it broad­ened the hori­zon of the Medieval Euro­peans in more than one direc­tion. Lok­ing back­ward they redis­cov­ered the cul­tur­al and intel­lec­tu­al her­itage of the clas­si­cal Antiq­ui­ty; look­ing upward they dis­cov­ered the true struc­ture of the skies and the place of the Sun and the plan­ets; look­ing for­ward they found new geo­graph­i­cal hori­zons and dis­cov­ered new lands, new races; and even look­ing around them­selves they opened their eyes to nature – the low­er stra­ta of the Great Chain of Being, from the min­er­als through plants to the ani­mal king­dom, thus forg­ing the birth of the nat­ur­al sci­ences. There was a spe­cial intel­lec­tu­al group in the hub of all these changes: the human­ists. Some of them were pri­mar­i­ly sci­en­tists, oth­ers edu­ca­tors, or artists, but com­mon in them was that their enthu­si­asm toward the clas­si­cal her­itage often con­nect­ed with an inter­est in the new, the unknown, the futur­is­tic. I am going to reflect on the long debate con­cern­ning the def­i­n­i­tion of human­ism and the human­ists. Then I shall revis­it a few case stud­ies in which we can observe the com­bi­na­tion of philol­o­gy, his­tor­i­cal inter­est, and the propo­si­tion of new ideas – often inspired by a widen­ing hori­zon result­ing from trav­el.


Alen Širca

Depart­ment of Com­par­a­tive Lit­er­a­ture, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana, Fac­ul­ty of Arts

Alen Šir­ca, PhD, is the assis­tant pro­fes­sor of com­par­a­tive lit­er­a­ture and lit­er­ary the­o­ry at the Fac­ul­ty of Arts at Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana. His research focus­es on pre­mod­ern West­ern lit­er­ary his­to­ry and method­ol­o­gy of lit­er­ary stud­ies. He is the author of two schol­ar­ly mono­graphs on mys­ti­cal poet­ry.

Dante’s “Transhumanism” And Its Implications for Contemporary Poetry

Tra­suma­nar, one of the key words in Dante’s Divine Com­e­dy, is dif­fi­cult to trans­late, yet it indeli­bly points to tran­scend­ing of what is mere­ly human. Dante’s vison of human per­son is clear­ly direct­ed upwards; for him, human per­son as via­tor is always already locat­ed in the coor­di­nates of mys­ti­cal ascent. Yet could not such a rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of ancient epics per­tain sole­ly to the Mid­dle Ages, to that irrev­o­ca­bly dis­lo­cat­ed dark­ness of some past era? Could Com­me­dia, as one of the undis­put­ed cen­tral texts of the West­ern canon (irre­spec­tive of the prob­lem­at­ic notion of “canon­ic­i­ty” in con­tem­po­rary lit­er­ary stud­ies) still speak to us in its inher­ent alter­i­ty? Alter­i­ty that means rad­i­cal open­ness for the Oth­er, not on hor­i­zon­tal, cul­toro­log­i­cal, his­toris­tic, or mate­ri­al­is­tic lev­el, but on ver­ti­cal lev­el, as open­ness for tran­shu­man com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Absolute. By “tran­shu­man­is­tic” inter­pre­ta­tion of Dante’s epic poet­ry, the paper will seek to demon­strate var­i­ous endeav­ours in con­tem­po­rary poet­ry which are open for deifi­ca­tion, for the pos­si­bil­i­ty of fusion between human and tran­shu­man.


Igor Škamperle

Depart­ment of Soci­ol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana, Fac­ul­ty of Arts

Igor Škam­per­le is an assis­tant pro­fes­sor in Soci­ol­o­gy, Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana. His research fields are Renais­sance cul­ture, soci­ol­o­gy of knowl­edge and sci­ence, epis­te­mol­o­gy, and the­o­ry of sym­bol­ic foma­tions. Apart from his stud­ies on var­i­ous authors in the field of phi­los­o­phy (Cusanus, Pico del­la Miran­dola, Euge­nio Garin, Cor­pus her­meticum, Hans Blu­men­berg, Augus­tine, Jeleazar M. Meletins­ki, Gas­ton Bachelard) he pub­lished sev­er­al nov­els and screen­plays.

Pico della Mirandola and Human Formation of Their Own Image: The Lure of the Border and the Renaissance

The paper will out­line the inno­v­a­tive idea devel­oped by the human­ist and philoso­pher Gio­van­ni Pico del­la Miran­dola. His alle­go­ry claims that the great­est gift of God to humans was the fact that Adam and his descen­dants were not giv­en a final shape, nor a spe­cif­ic pur­pose and objec­tive, char­ac­ter­is­tic of all oth­er beings in the uni­verse; rather, God has giv­en us an inde­ter­mi­nate nature and the pos­si­bil­i­ty to choose and cre­ate. One can come close to the angel­ic and divine nature; but this option can be also be wast­ed and your life can drop to a lev­el of low­er crea­tures. This free­dom of choice, says Pico, was the great­est gift of God that was received at the cre­ation. How can one under­stand this idea of ​​rad­i­cal free­dom today? In an era when cri­te­ria of human exis­tence is becom­ing less clear and when we are wit­ness­ing a pre­dom­i­nance of inter­ven­tions in genet­ics, while open­ly talk­ing about a post-human­ist future, marked by wide­spread use of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence?


Andrej Tomažin

Inde­pen­dent researcher

Andrej Tomažin grad­u­at­ed in Com­par­a­tive Lit­er­a­ture and Sloven­ian Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture from the Fac­ul­ty of Arts in Ljubl­jana. He is a writer and a com­par­a­tivist as well as coed­i­tor of Idiot, a lit­er­ary mag­a­zine, and Šum, a mag­a­zine for con­tem­po­rary art. To date he pub­lished two books. His research focus­es on the soci­ol­o­gy of lit­er­a­ture, espe­cial­ly as it con­cerns ques­tions of the twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry Sloven­ian nov­el and con­tem­po­rary world lit­er­a­tures in rela­tion to the phi­los­o­phy of tech­nol­o­gy.

Literature after Finitude: Reza Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia and the Genre of Theory-fiction

There has been a surge of empha­sis on deep time, where human beings hold lit­tle val­ue – from the empha­sis on non­hu­man tem­po­ral­i­ties by spec­u­la­tive real­ists attempt­ing to for­mu­late a non-cor­re­la­tion­ist phi­los­o­phy to the post-apoc­a­lyp­tic sce­nar­ios of cli­mate change debates. One of the works of fic­tion which the­ma­tizes this is Negarestani’s Cyclono­pe­dia (2008), a post­mod­ern nov­el and a detailed philo­soph­i­cal study in the Deleuze-Guat­tar­i­an vein of con­ti­nen­tal phi­los­o­phy. Cyclono­pe­dia is the par­a­dig­mat­ic text of the new­ly emerg­ing genre and it presents its engage­ment with deep time, geol­o­gy, war, the Mid­dle East, oil, and a vari­ety of oth­er non­hu­man enti­ties in explic­it­ly lit­er­ary terms, in terms of poet­ics and nar­ra­tive, which emerge from a spe­cif­ic philo­soph­i­cal milieu, where, as Negarestani puts it, “in order to think nar­ra­tion in a world that is devoid of any nar­ra­tive neces­si­ty […] first we must rede­ploy the hier­ar­chy of thought in nature as the view point or locus of spec­u­la­tion and nar­ra­tion.” How – if at all – do poet­ics and nar­ra­tives of fic­tion engage with the real­i­ty of con­tem­po­rary world, where tra­di­tion­al notions of human con­scious­ness and moral­i­ty are being rewired dras­ti­cal­ly?


Bojana Tomc

St. Stanislav’s Insti­tu­tion, Dioce­san Clas­si­cal Gym­na­si­um, Ljubl­jana

Bojana Tomc teach­es Span­ish and Latin lan­guage at the Dioce­san Clas­si­cal Gym­na­si­um in Ljubl­jana. She is co-author of the Latin-Sloven­ian dic­tio­nary and of the hand­book El cuen­to his­panoamer­i­cano en el exa­m­en de matu­ra (Car­los Fuentes y Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez). Her research focus­es on read­ing strate­gies in teach­ing lit­er­a­ture as well as on recep­tion of Antiq­ui­ty in lat­er peri­ods, and par­tic­u­lar­ly on ancient motifs in the Span­ish dra­ma of the Gold­en age, which was also the top­ic of her PhD the­sis, defend­ed in 2016.

The Motif of Freedom, Human Dignity, and Awareness of a Common Human Destiny in Antiquity, the Renaissance, and in Cervantes

Ancient lega­cy is a con­stituent part of Cer­vantes’ opus. The vicin­i­ty of the clas­si­cal imag­i­nar­i­um, with which Cer­vantes became acquaint­ed at school and while liv­ing in Italy, is shown in the use of ancient ele­ments, top­ics and motifs. The human­is­tic note in the work of Cer­vantes how­ev­er is most notice­able in his con­stant defence of free­dom and human dig­ni­ty. Free­dom, accord­ing to Rey Hazas, becomes a key ele­ment and cor­ner­stone of Cer­vantes’ poet­ics, link­ing to the Renais­sance tra­di­tion, extend­ing from Fer­nán Pérez de Oli­va (before 1531) to the essence of the Renais­sance Ital­ian thought on human dig­ni­ty and free­dom – Gian­noz­zo Manet­ti (1452) and Pico del­la Miran­dola (1486). Cer­vantes express­es the premise of human free­dom and its fun­da­men­tal val­ue in Don Quixote: ”Free­dom, San­cho, is one of the most pre­cious gifts that heav­en has bestowed upon men; no trea­sures that the earth holds buried or the sea con­ceals can com­pare with it.” Pro­nounced ori­en­ta­tion of Cer­vantes towards free­dom may also be relat­ed to his dif­fi­cult cap­tiv­i­ty in Alge­ria which essen­tial­ly marked his char­ac­ter; many would argue that it was this cap­tiv­i­ty which con­tributed to his real­i­sa­tion that lit­er­a­ture shall change his fate. He start­ed to write in order to sur­vive and to main­tain the clar­i­ty of mind and spir­it.


Tomaž Toporišič

Acad­e­my for The­atre, Radio, Film and Tele­vi­sion, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana

Tomaž Toporišič is a dra­maturge and the­atre the­o­reti­cian, as well as pro­fes­sor in Dra­ma and Per­for­mance Stud­ies at Acad­e­my for The­atre and Fac­ul­ty of Arts at Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana.  He is author of four books. His lat­est essays include: The new Sloven­ian the­atre and ital­ian futur­ism: Delak, Černigoj and the his­tor­i­cal avant-garde in Venezia Giu­lia (2014); (Re)staging the rhetorics of space (Neo­he­li­con, 2014); and Decon­struc­tive read­ings of the avant-garde tra­di­tion in post-social­ist retro-avant-garde the­atre (Aes­thet­ics of Mat­ter, 2013).

Whatever Happened to Humanism in Today’s Performance Art?

Using the ter­mi­nol­o­gy of a sem­i­nal Hans-Thies Lehmann’s book Post­drama­tis­ches The­ater we will recon­sid­er his the­sis that the the­atri­cal form of dra­ma is no longer in tune with the mod­ern medi­a­tised world. If the human­ist sub­ject invent­ed by the Enlight­en­ment with its dis­tinc­tion between the body and soul has been replaced by a con­cept of the posthu­man­ist sub­ject, this very con­cept is now in dan­ger of replac­ing the body with a tech­no­log­i­cal sub­sti­tu­tion. Does the post-dra­mat­ic the­atre share with post-human­ism a more chaot­ic and emer­gent struc­ture than is known either in dra­ma or in human­ism? Should we cel­e­brate the emer­gence of the posthuman(ism) and of a cyber world, or insist on the order and integri­ty of mean­ing con­sti­tut­ed in human­ism and tele­o­log­i­cal dra­ma? Can we say that con­tem­po­rary tech­no­log­i­cal per­for­mances offer a posthu­man­ist way of being that sur­ren­ders hege­mon­ic con­trol, and pro­pos­es, in its place, a mutu­al and inter­de­pen­dent intel­li­gent action between beings and objects? Or can we claim that human being in today’s post-demo­c­ra­t­ic and post-dra­mat­ic soci­ety is not replaced by a mechan­ic, or glob­al self, but is seen to be both inscribed and inter­rupt­ed as an enti­ty that is at the same time sin­gu­lar and a being-in-com­mon in the sense of Jean-Luc Nan­cy?


Marko Uršič

Depart­ment of Phi­los­o­phy, Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana

Marko Uršič (1951), PhD., is pro­fes­sor of log­ic, phi­los­o­phy of nature and the Renais­sance stud­ies in the Fac­ul­ty of Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana. He wrote on Matri­ces of Logos (1987), Pil­grim­age to Ani­ma (1988), and Gnos­tic Essays (1994). His recent work is the tetral­o­gy Four Sea­sons, series of philo­soph­i­cal dia­logues and mono­logues between the­o­ret­ic dis­course and lit­er­a­ture, pub­lished between 2002 and 2015 by Cankar­je­va založ­ba. He is co-author of Mind in Nature, from Sci­ence to Phi­los­o­phy (New York, 2012).

Pico della Mirandola on the Dignity of Man

In his Ora­tion of the Dig­ni­ty of Man (1486), Pico del­la Miran­dola, a human­ist, philoso­pher and poly­math, rais­es the Renais­sance claim that the high­est dig­ni­ty of human per­son, the real “excel­len­cy of human nature”, is not present in any spe­cif­ic human qual­i­ty or abil­i­ty, nor in the role of the human soul as the “tie of the world” (cop­u­la mun­di), as Mar­silio Fici­no has taught, since even high­er of this emi­nent human role is the free­dom of humans to choose their role and task for them­selves. Pico believes that humans were cre­at­ed in the image of God, not deter­mined in advance: human free will reflects God’s free will. From the point of the main­stream mod­ern dual­ism, this is a para­dox, even a con­tra­dic­tion. I argue just the oppo­site: human free will is nowa­days, as it was in the Renais­sance, com­pat­i­ble with the belief in God – how­ev­er, only if God does not com­mand humans, and does not demand any­thing of us – any­thing except love. By this only “com­mand­ment”, vio­lence and killing are eo ipso pro­hib­it­ed, espe­cial­ly in the name of faith. So it seems that free­dom and faith are per­fect­ly com­pat­i­ble, even more, that mod­ern humans are fatal­ly unfree either in the sec­u­lar “rad­i­cal­iza­tion” of faith or in the athe­is­tic sec­u­lar­iza­tion of the world – unfree on the ground of their exis­tence (Dasein), enslaved by the Angst of “mere noth­ing.”


Sonja Weiss

Depart­ment of Clas­si­cal Philol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana, Fac­ul­ty of Arts

Son­ja Weiss is an Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor at the Depart­ment of Clas­sics, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana. Her research focus­es on ancient phi­los­o­phy, par­tic­u­lar­ly on the Pythagore­an, Pla­ton­ic and Neo­pla­ton­ic philo­soph­i­cal tra­di­tions, and on their recep­tion in medieval and human­is­tic lit­er­a­ture. She wrote a mono­graph on the role of Myth in Plot­i­nus, and is cur­rent­ly work­ing on the first inte­gral Sloven­ian trans­la­tion of the Enneads.

Le fiere d’Orfeo: Side Paths in the Myth of the Humanization of Mankind

The pre­sen­ta­tion takes up the fig­ure of Orpheus in sam­ple texts, rang­ing from Antiq­ui­ty to the Enlight­en­ment, in which the inter­preters of the myth focused on two of its most wide­spread themes (Orpheus’ and Eurydice’s love sto­ry and the singer’s influ­ence over Nature) in the con­text of human cul­tur­al his­to­ry and spir­i­tu­al devel­op­ment. In all these inter­pre­ta­tions, the singer-poet is undoubt­ed­ly regard­ed as bear­er or even founder of cul­ture and civ­i­liza­tion. More­over, his asso­ci­a­tion with Christ had giv­en him dis­tinct mes­sian­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics. How­ev­er, the rela­tion of the Orpheus Myth to Dionysian rites, as well as to the cult of Apol­lo, have giv­en an ambiva­lent char­ac­ter to the myth­i­cal hero, which had already puz­zled ancient mythog­ra­phers and inter­preters. The con­flict con­cern­ing his role of the bear­er of civ­i­liza­tion con­tin­ues to reap­pear in lat­er authors, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the inter­pre­ta­tions regard­ing the Orpheus-Eury­dice rela­tion­ship, the alle­gor­i­cal mean­ing of both fig­ures and the dubi­ous suc­cess of the poet’s descent into the under­world.


Blaž Zabel

Depart­ment of Clas­sics and Ancient His­to­ry, Durham Uni­ver­si­ty

Blaž Zabel is a grad­u­ate stu­dent at the Durham Uni­ver­si­ty, Fac­ul­ty of Clas­sics. Pre­vi­ous­ly, he was a researcher at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljubl­jana, Fac­ul­ty of Edu­ca­tion. His research inter­ests include Home­r­ic schol­ar­ship, world lit­er­a­ture, and phi­los­o­phy of edu­ca­tion. His cur­rent research projects focus on “Home­r­ic Epic and World Lit­er­a­ture: A Com­par­a­tive Study of Method, and Val­ues,” as well as social cohe­sion in edu­ca­tion.

The Future of Classical Studies in Globalised World

Dur­ing the last fifty years, lit­er­ary stud­ies have been great­ly chal­lenged by post­colo­nial­ism. Schol­ars such as Edward Said or Gay­a­tri Chakra­vorty Spi­vak crit­i­cised tra­di­tion­al lit­er­ary stud­ies for their explic­it and implic­it colo­nial­ist and Euro­cen­tric con­vic­tions. More recent­ly, world lit­er­a­ture stud­ies have attempt­ed to con­cep­tu­alise lit­er­a­ture in a glob­al per­spec­tive. Schol­ars such as Fran­co Moret­ti, David Dam­rosch and oth­ers have been attempt­ing to grasp lit­er­a­ture in its glob­al pre­sent­ness. Since it is impos­si­ble to read and dis­cuss all that has ever been writ­ten, our deci­sions of what we read (as well as how we read it) nec­es­sar­i­ly influ­ence what con­sti­tutes world lit­er­a­ture. World lit­er­a­ture is thus not a par­tic­u­lar body of texts, but rather a set of prob­lems. This, I believe, applies equal­ly to clas­si­cal stud­ies, since clas­si­cal lit­er­a­ture is a part of world lit­er­a­ture as well. I will thus argue that clas­si­cal stud­ies should embrace a more glob­al per­spec­tive. To this end, I will dis­cuss recent and past trends in recep­tion stud­ies, the com­par­a­tive approach to oral lit­er­a­tures, and stud­ies of lit­er­ary influ­ences between Greek and Near East­ern lit­er­a­tures.


Neža Zajc

Insti­tute of Cul­tur­al His­to­ry, Sci­en­tif­ic-Research Cen­tre of Sloven­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences and Arts

Neža Zajc got her PhD in Cul­tur­al His­to­ry at Uni­ver­si­ty of Nova Gor­i­ca and is Research Fel­low at the Insti­tute of Cul­tur­al His­to­ry at Sci­en­tif­ic-Research Cen­tre of Sloven­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences and Arts. She wrote five books on old Slav­ic his­to­ry, cul­ture, and lan­guage: The Hagiog­ra­phy of the Pro­topope Avvakum (2009); The World­views of Slav­ic Word in 16th Cen­tu­ry (2011); The Image of Slav­ic Word in Chris­t­ian Texts of 16th Cen­tu­ry (2012); The Intro­duc­tion to the Poet­ics of Anna A. Akhma­to­va (2015); The Etudes, Vari­a­tions and Rhymes of A. V. Issatchenko (2015).

The Concept of Humanistic Individuum in the View of St. Maxim the Greek and Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini

The paper will exam­ine the view of the indi­vid­ual being, one enti­tled to share a per­cep­tion of the divine light which is pre­sent­ed in the sec­u­lar world, and at the same time acces­si­ble from the King­dom of Heav­en – as it was formed in the­o­log­i­cal opus of St. Max­im the Greek and in the works of Aeneas Sil­vius Pic­colo­mi­ni. The con­cept of human­ist man, in the views of both authors, was char­ac­ter­ized with a spe­cial under­stand­ing of lan­guage, as it was estab­lished in the ear­ly Renais­sance peri­od, at the junc­tion point between the her­itage of the East­ern and West­ern Chris­t­ian tra­di­tions in north­ern Italy. The cor­re­la­tion between these thinkers is part­ly attest­ed to by the fact that St. Max­im the Greek, around 1524 when in Moscow, was trans­lat­ing the text of a let­ter writ­ten less than half a cen­tu­ry pri­or, in which Pope Pius II wrote, in 1461, to the Turk­ish Sul­tan, Mehmed II. There­fore, it is high­ly expres­sive of the the­o­log­i­cal views of both St. Max­im the Greek, as well as Aeneas Sil­vius Pic­colo­mi­ni, con­sid­er­ing the free will of the indi­vid­ual who, based on a sec­u­lar life expe­ri­ence, will­ing­ly opts for faith in a Chris­t­ian God in the Holy Trin­i­ty.


Rafał Zawisza

Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw, Fac­ul­ty of “Artes Lib­erales”, for­mer fel­low at the Insti­tute for Human Sci­ences in Vien­na

Rafał Zaw­isza is a doc­tor­al stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw (Fac­ul­ty of “Artes Lib­erales”) and a for­mer junior fel­low in the Insti­tut für die Wis­senschaften vom Men­schen in Vien­na. He is cur­rent­ly work­ing on the the­sis enti­tled “Cryp­tothe­o­log­i­cal defence of the sec­u­lar: Han­nah Arendt’s anthro­pol­o­gy and the sec­u­lar­i­sa­tion the­sis”.

On the Unrestrained Spirit of Humanism

Human­ism, if it aspires to uni­ver­sal­i­ty, can­not be restrict­ed to revivals of antiq­ui­ty and the renais­sance, although both epit­o­mise the most fun­da­men­tal sources of the human­ist tra­di­tion. In the clas­si­cal nar­ra­tive human­ism oppos­es reli­gious her­itage, Chris­tian­i­ty and Catholi­cism in par­tic­u­lar. This his­to­ri­o­graph­i­cal frame is respon­si­ble for the emo­tion­al polar­i­ty of polit­i­cal lib­er­al­ism: human­ist pride (to have replaced reli­gion) and fear (that reli­gious prej­u­dice could return). Under­stand­ing of human­ism could demand a more mod­est and auda­cious per­spec­tive. Human­ism did not replace reli­gion nor was it pure­ly sec­u­lar; still, it has a lim­it­less poten­tial to absorb and per­vade every human tra­di­tion.  After Denis de Rouge­mont, Jacob Taubes, Gior­gio Agam­ben, and Julia Kris­te­va, I will dis­cuss the birth of the sec­u­lar spir­it from the het­ero­dox reli­gious move­ments, often dis­persed and clan­des­tine. Exam­ples of Renais­sance paint­ings help explain how, through provoca­tive­ly dis­creet smiles and charm of unstrained ges­tures, artists launched inno­v­a­tive top­ics of per­son­al lib­er­ty, free love, gen­der equal­i­ty and human unique­ness that will inspire and con­sol­i­date West­ern moder­ni­ty around free­dom, plea­sure and hap­pi­ness as the promis­es of the sec­u­lar age.