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Institute for the History of Knowledge in the Ancient World

Welcome at the Institute of Knowledge in the Ancient World at the Freie Universität Berlin

We explore the history of knowledge. This begins with the emergence of knowledge practices embodied in artifacts, especially in notation systems and writing. Our current focus is on the ancient world of the Mediterranean, extending from the Near East into Asia and beyond, spanning the period from the earliest stages of human activity into the first millennium of our era.

In contrast to traditional approaches to the history of science, which emphasize the so-called exact sciences, the history of knowledge encompasses a much broader range of fields and disciplines. In our conception, all forms of knowledge are considered: Thus, this includes both the learned disciplines such as medicine, mathematics, jurisprudence, mythology, interpretation of omen and astrology, as well as all areas of practical knowledge which are treated together as essential and interrelated aspects of the history of knowledge.

courses: summer semester 2022

Current research projects:
ERC Advanced Grant ZODIAC – Ancient Astral Science in Transformation (2021-2026)

Completed research projects:
ERC Advanced Grant BabMed – Fragments of Cuneiform Medicine in the Babylonian Talmud: Knowledge Transfer in Late Antiquity (2013-2018)



Arnimallee 10, 14195 Berlin


Tanja Hidde

e-mail: wissensgeschichte@geschkult.fu-berlin.de

phone: +49 30 838 55256

Office hours:
Monday till Friday 09:00-14:00

Prof. Dr. J. Cale Johnson

E-Mail: cale.johnson@fu-berlin.de
consultation hour: Thursday, 11:00-12:00 Uhr, registration at the office: wissensgeschichte@geschkult.fu-berlin.de

Akkreditierte Studiengänge_v3