Funding/Jul 24, 2017

Research Fellowships in Late Ancient Philosophy & Biblical Early Christian Studies, KU Leuven

Research Fellowships in Late Ancient Philosophy & Biblical Early Christian Studies, KU Leuven lead image

In October 2017, a team of KU Leuven professors consisting of G. Roskam (spokesperson), J. Leemans, P. Van Deun, G. Van Riel, and Joseph Verheyden, will launch an interdisciplinary research project entitled “Longing for Perfection. Living the Perfect Life in Late Antiquity – A Journey Between Ideal and Reality”. The project is funded by the Research Fund of the University of Leuven. The team is opening a call to hire a first group of three research fellows at the level of PhD candidate.

The project will study one of the most fundamental ideas of ancient Greek culture – the search for perfection. For centuries, not only philosophers and theologians, but also other intellectuals have reflected on what this ideal should consist in, devising ways of pursuing it in a wide range of human activities. A major focus will be the complex relationship between theory and praxis and between ideal and reality, as found in pagan and Christian Greek literature from the first seven centuries CE.

The team has set two main goals: the production of a comprehensive study of the different aspects of ancient ideals of perfection and of a number of in-depth studies of specific problems and core issues related to the overall topic.

Candidates are invited to apply for a full-time, four-year fellowship in one of the following subprojects:

  • fellowship 1: the gradual development and multifaceted use of images, metaphors and comparisons taken from the world of the stadium to articulate ideals of perfection.
  • fellowship 2: the concept of the ladder (klimax / scala) reflecting the stages on the road to the ultimate goal(s) of life. A crucial text is John Climacus’ Scala, but pagan and Christian tradition before Climacus will also be studied.
  • fellowship 3: the theoretical foundations underlying the use of models as examples in striving for perfection (esp. typology and mimêsis).

The candidates have a broad and solid competence in late ancient philosophy and/or (late) ancient Christianity. A strong command of Greek (and preferably also of Latin) is essential, as is the ability to combine historical and philosophical/theological methodologies in an interdisciplinary way.

Candidates demonstrating a thorough knowledge of relevant literary sources will be especially attractive; proven expertise in one or more of the research domains is an asset.

The team welcomes applications from candidates with an excellent graduate degree (typically M.A.) in Classics or in related disciplines (e.g. Ancient History, Byzantine Studies, Religious Studies).

Applicants should be fluent in at least one of the following languages: English, French or German. The dissertation should as a rule be written in one of these languages.