DFG-Research Training Group „Early Concepts of Men and Nature: Universal, Local, Borrowed“

The Research Training Group (RTG) 1876 is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The participating disciplines are Egyptology, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Near Eastern Archaeology, Classical Philology, Classical Archaeology, Medieval German Studies, Byzantine Studies, and Medical History.

In the RTG’s research programme, the object is to record concepts of man and nature in the Near Eastern, Northeast African and European area in the period from ca. 3200 BC until the Middle Ages – starting out from textual, pictorial and material sources – by means of examples and to study them in a culturally immanent as well as transcultural respect.

To the forefront are questions about the nature, medial transmission and development of these concepts, in addition about their local, temporary, (text-)genre-related, linguistic, pictorial, sociocultural and individual form, as well as about contingencies and breaks.

Early ideas about man and nature often show a surprising similarity on the surface between one culture and another. This makes it imperative to distinguish between concepts that are universal and those that are specific and individual, before claiming that borrowing has taken place. The wide range of disciplines that are part of our RTG provides opportunities for focusing research projects in such a way that they at the same time advance knowledge in one specific discipline and also provide answers within the wider framework of the universal or individual character of such concepts. We have students from different disciplines work on identical or similar topics in order to facilitate ground-breaking studies for such a comparison.



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