Humanist Greek and education

Greek and Education

Researcher: Johanna Akujärvi This subproject focuses on instruction in Greek, uses of the Greek past in academic writings, and the production of Humanist Greek texts within academic settings.

Akujärvi studies Greek and Humanist Greek at the universities of Uppsala and Lund in Sweden, Copenhagen in Denmark, and Rostock, Wittenberg, and Greifswald among German universities until the early 18th century. In the case of the Swedish and Danish universities the study brings in writings of both teachers and students of any origin, whereas in the case of the German universities the study is limited to the writings of students of Swedish and Danish origin. The source material consists primarily of Humanist Greek texts in dissertations and other academic publications, written by professors and other instructors at the universities and by the students, of dissertations and orations in Latin on themes dealing with ancient Greece and other academic materials.

The study is both quantitative and qualitative. A first step is to describe the Swedish material in quantitative terms – who wrote what to whom, when and where? – and on that basis make selections for a qualitative study on select texts to explore permanence versus change in recurring themes, motifs, tropes, and uses of persons and events of Greek myth and history for contemporary needs. Finding the primary source material requires a great effort, as the Humanist Greek (para)texts will be sought out by going through the approximately 5000–7000 dissertations published in Uppsala and Lund until the early 18th century. A second step is to bring in Danish materials for a comparative study. As a third step Humanist Greek texts of Swedish and Danish students in German universities will be included, as Swedes and Danes wrote and printed Humanist Greek texts there before that was done in Sweden or Denmark. A comparison of Humanist Greek in Danish and Swedish contexts is particularly interesting in light of the inimical, even hostile, relation between the two states at that time and the nationalistic view of history prevalent in Sweden, attempting to make the Swedish past older, more glorious, and less barbaric. Results will be presented in articles targeting different audiences and as conference papers. The fieldwork in Swedish, Danish and German libraries will give material for the study and the HUG-Database.

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