CFA-CFP La saggezza degli Antichi

Object:call for abstract – call for papers


Title:   The Wisdom of the Ancients.

Jerusalem rediscovers Athens: The German-Jewish Revaluation of Ancient Philosophy


Editors: Fabio Fossa, Danilo Manca, Anna Romani

Advisory Committee: Carlo Altini, Lorenzo Calabi, Raimondo Cubeddu, Adriano Fabris, Alfredo Ferrarin, Alessandra Fussi, Alfonso Iacono, Heinrich Meier, David Roochnik, Maria Michela Sassi


Between 1920 and 1930, a group of young, brilliant Jewish researchers studied in Germany under the direction of Cassirer, Husserl and Heidegger.

Leo Strauss, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, Hannah Arendt, Jakob Klein, Eric Weil, and others were forced by the advent of Nazism to escape from Germany and to wander around the world. Many of them went to the United States, Weil reached Koyré in France, Löwith arrived in Japan. Nevertheless, their correspondence reveals their ongoing philosophical dialogue.

All these thinkers strove to question the historicist assumption, according to which Modernity is to be seen as progress in respect to the Ancient thought. In their studies, they found new ways to listen to the voice of the Ancients, by revaluating them in the context of the crisis of modern thought. Starting from Athens and Jerusalem, the symbolic roots of western culture, these philosophers problematized and revitalized the quarrel between Ancients and Moderns over again.

We invite contributors to philosophically investigate these seminal Jewish thinkers and their rediscovery of Athens. Can we, like them, still think of ancient Greek philosophy as a living way of understanding the world? Why were these modern philosophers inclined to think that the Ancients still have something to teach us? Why was there a “repetition of Antiquity at the peak of Modernity”?

The topics of the papers might include, but need not be restricted to:

  1. To what extent have the Jewish origins of these authors influenced their relationship with Ancient thought?
  2. The relationship between being and history and the connection between Historicism and Nihilism.
  3. The criticism of categories such as “progress” or “teleology” and the related perspectives on the history of thought; is there a discontinuity in the passage from Antiquity to Modernity?
  4. The relationship between man and nature.
  5. The relationship between anthropology, ethics and politics.
  6. The critique of modern technology and its political consequences.
  7. The question of the theological-political problem, in light of Christian legacy, the relationship with Judaism and with the idea of a civil religion.

Submissions should be suitable for blind refereeing and consist of:

1. An extended abstract of 500-800 words to be sent in pdf format to by January 15, 2015.

2. A separate cover sheet including name, title of paper, affiliation, email address and contact details.

Notification of acceptance will be sent in mid February.

Full paper submissions should be sent no later than March 2015; paper should be suitable for 30 minutes talk.

Abstracts and papers must be written in English.

Selection criteria: relevance, quality of the text, originality, clarity and concision.

A conference concerning these themes will be held in Pisa in May/June 2015.

For further information please write to