Questioning the Epistemology of Myth between the XVIII and XX Centuries

19 November 2018, 12:30 - 14:00

CRASSH Meeting Room

Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work in Progress Seminar Series.  All welcome but please email to book your place and to request readings.  A sandwich lunch and refreshments are provided.


Dr Carlotta Santini

The significance of biblical exegesis and the Jewish philological tradition for the development of German classical philology and hermeneutics since the eighteenth century is a given. Yet scholars have paid much less attention to the actual interconnections between the internal branches of these disciplines. This is the case for the relationship between classical mythology and the parallel study of the biblical tradition. My research, marked by an interdisciplinary historical and epistemological approach, is interested in ascertaining whether and to what extent the category of myth, conceived within the limits of Classical scholarship has been applied as a critical and epistemological tool in biblical exegesis. Starting from C.G. Heyne and the first works of G. Bauer and Seidenstücker, through the contributions of the philosophers Hamann, Herder and Schelling at the end of the eighteenth century, until the approach of the Völkerpsychologie of Carus, Lazarus and Steinthal, my project will offer a reconstruction of the first systematic attempts to define the category of myth within the biblical tradition all along the nineteenth century. The final phase of my project will be devoted to the study of the renaissance of Hebrew mythology studies in Germany during the first decades of the twentieth century. The works of Winckler, Jeremias, Gunkel, Jacob and Bin Gorion adopt a mixed method (philological,  comparative, anthropological and epistemological) close to the one applied by classical scholars, to the exegesis of the Sacred Text, distinguishing the various levels of mythical, religious, ethical, and dogmatic discourse.

Dr Carlotta Santini is the CRASSH/Clare Hall/Eurias Fellow 2018-19

After a PhD in Philosophy at the Univerisity of Paris (Sorbonne) with a thesis on Friedrich Nietzsche’s Philological Lectures, Dr Santini  worked in France (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), in the United States (Princeton University) and in Germany (Centre Marc Bloch, Technische Universitaet). Her main field of research is German Culture between 18th and 20th century, with a specific focus on the reception of Antiquity. She is member of the directive board of the Nietzsche Gesellschaft and she is author of several publications in international peer-reviewed journals. Among the very last publications: Friedrich Nietzsche, Le cas Homère, ed. Carlotta Santini, with a postface of Pierre-Judet de La Combe, Editions de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris 2017.