Writings of Early Scholars in the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece:
Zur Übersetzbarkeit von Wissenschaftssprachen des Altertums
Interdisciplinary and international conference,
Johannes Gutenberg University, 27-29 July 2009
The historiography of the sciences in antiquity (including Egyptian
and Mesopotamian cultures) has changed fundamentally during the past
40 years. Changing methodologies and aims have led to a focus on
recognition and reconstruction of ancient scientific concepts, which
can differ significantly from “similar” modern concepts. As a way of
bringing these changes to light in a useful way, the conference will
focus on the problem of translations.
Translations are directly affected by respective cultural beliefs of
the translator. How then can ancient concepts that differ from our
modern ones be expressed in modern languages? And how can these
differences be understood by a modern reader?
Currently, some translations which are likely to mislead a historian
of science, a scientist or a mathematician may still be accepted as
correct by the philologists of the individual cultures.
The conference aims to explore problems involved in translating
ancient scientific texts and to create a methodological framework to
improve the quality of future translations. To achieve this goal, we
aim to bring together leading representatives and junior researchers
with a philological background or a background in history of science
(Egyptology, Assyriology, Classics, editors of ancient scientific
texts and scholars using them).
After an attempt to determine characteristic features of individual
sciences in antiquity, and how they can be distinguished from
non-scientific texts, specific examples will be used to enable
interdisciplinary and intercultural discussion.
The preliminary programme can be found at
We invite interested participants to join the conference and
contribute to the discussions.
Please register by 31 May 2009 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference fee of 15 € to compensate for expenses is to be paid in
Prof. Dr. Annette Imhausen (am Historischen Seminar der Universität Frankfurt)
Dr. Tanja Pommerening (am Institut für Ägyptologie und
Altorientalistik der Universität Mainz)
Funded by the Thyssen Foundation and the ZIS (Center for Intercultural
Studies) of Mainz university.