Asuman Lätzer-Lasar is going to present a working paper on ‚Religious Ancient Placemaking – first draft of a conceptual framework‘

The choice of location of a sanctuary was mainly dependent on its sacred
geomancy, for instance recognized through an augurium during the
Roman period. However, in dense and crowded places such as a city, there
were also other needs and requirements that had to be respected, such as
urban topography, infrastructure and accessibility, as well as policy,
economy, local legislation, or even traditions. Establishing a place for
religious communication, be it a sanctuary, a grave or the erection of a
dedication for a deity therefore had to be some kind of a negotiation
between the religious communicator and the physical and non-physical
pre-existing environment.
However, even in antiquity the establishment of places of religious
communication in dense and diversely crowded cities cannot have been
taken place as mere top-down processes decided only by elite, ruling
actors without taking any significant and urban-related factors into
account. I argue that the decision-making process, when creating a place
for religious communication, is an interplay of spaces, objects, actors,
practices and imagination (which is aspirations and semantics) that lead
involuntarily to reciprocal formations.
This paper is a first attempt to describe the term “placemaking”, which
derives from the disciplines of urban planning and geography, in order to
elucidate its advantages and disadvantages for the research of ancient
cities and religions. I would like to apply the term and specify it as the
concept of Religious Ancient Placemaking. In this paper I will introduce
a first sketch of my understanding of the theoretical framework of the
concept, which shall be part of my habilitation project.
My plan for the second book is firstly to develop the concept and make it
suitable for the discipline of archaeology, then secondly enrich it with
examples from the ancient city of Rome – because it is an exceptional city
that provides a plethora of material and written sources and therefore
guarantees a qualitative broad variety of phenomena – and then thirdly try
to apply the conceptual framework on a specific case study, which will be
the Provincia Hispania.

Elisabeth Begemann gives a working paper on ‚Determinism, Fate, and Freedom‘

The present paper discusses two texts of the tripartite discussion of
theology in Cicero’s writings. The texts belong to the second period
of philosophical production and mirror Cicero’s desire to apply Greek
philosophy to the Roman context, thus establishing Roman
philosophy. The topic under discussion is one that is central to Roman
politics, addressing the practice of divination, the practice of divining
whether the gods consented to human decisions or actions or not.
The centrality of the practice in political terms makes it hard for
Cicero to reject the practice, though he is openly skeptical, earning
him the reproof of being a cynic, dishonest and opportunist in things
political and philosophical. However, what he addresses are rather
everyday practices (and beliefs) that should have no bearing on the
administration of the (ideal) res publica and which he sees as
expression of exceeding religiosity, of superstitio, that politics must
do without.

Congratulations to Jana Ilnicka on winning the university award for her dissertation

Jana Ilnicka is the first winner of ‚Promotionspreis‘ at the University of Erfurt. In her Dissertation Jana Ilnicka worked on new found Manuscripts of Meister Eckhart and the concept of ‚Relatio‘. Her Dissertation was awarded with the ‚Promotionspreis‘ – Congratulations!

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Sarah Al-Taher presents a working paper on ‚Meister Eckhart – a second Socrates?‘

In this paper I compare (the platonic) Socrates with Meister Eckhart regarding four comparative criteria. First I describe their life from the perspective of the circumstances surrounding the end of their lives. Second I describe a central aspect of both philosophies. The unity with the good in the concept of Plato, and the unity with God in the concept of Eckhart. This leads to the third step, in which I analyse the way both Plato und Meister Eckhart pursue in order to reach their goals: the unity with good or God. And lastly, I turn to the methodology used by Plato und Eckhart to convey their way of knowledge.
These procedure allows to give a first answer to the question whether Meister Eckhart can be understood as a second Socrates.