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Character and Activities of the CHT

We intend to found a new institute in Budapest, under the name Center for Hellenic Traditions (hereonto CHT). The new center will act both on the regional and international level and will work as a consortium of all the institutions that are or will be joining it. The institutions expected to join the Center at its foundation include: CEU, Budapest - The Department of Medieval Studies and the Philosophy Department; ELTE, Budapest - The Greek Department and the Department of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy; Claremont Consortium for Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen - Orientalisches Seminar. We also expect Greek institutions to join.

Center for Hellenic Traditions
Interdisciplinary study

The CHT will be a research institute for promoting an interdisciplinary study of the Hellenic tradition. In its international activities the CHT will focus on primary sources, including their survey, preservation, edition, commentary and translations into English. It will focus upon basic research, but will also encourage interpretative work; indeed its aim will be to promote a fundamental reinterpretation of interactions of intellectual traditions which eventually gave rise to what one could call the “Hellenistic Oikumene.” Besides supporting the uncovering of new data, historical methodology will be in the forefront of the CHT’s interests.

Hellenic traditions

The new institute is interested in the spread of the concepts, ideas and material culture across different intellectual enterprises and different peoples. Therefore, we speak about “Hellenic traditions” rather than about “Hellenic studies,” in order to distinguish the new Center’s activities from those of more traditional Hellenic institutes (this was the suggestion of Prof. Glen Bowersock at one of our discussions during a summer university course on Late Antiquity.) If we were to define the CHT’s concept in one sentence, we would say that it is a kind of extension, both in the geographical area and the time period covered, of Peter Brown’s concept of the Mediterranean World and Late Antiquity.

Geographical area

The geographical area of the CHT’s interest will be the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and India, that is, first, all those regions that were incorporated in the Empire of Alexander the Great and the Diadochus states and, secondly, that constituted first the Roman Empire and later the “Byzantine Commonwealth” (Obolensky). By concentrating on Hellenism as an integrative factor of the Euro-Africo-Asian oikumene, the CHT will unearth, rehearse and draw scholarly attention to many facts, relationships, and historico-cultural structures that hitherto remained invisible due to the “blind spot effect” of the combined ideologies of Eurocentrism and Orientalism.

Research institute

The CHT will be a research institute, promoting new knowledge. It will not maintain any teaching program on its own, but will contribute to the teaching programs of its member institutions. Thus, itt will work in close cooperation with teaching programs, such as the Medieval Studies, the History and the Philosophy departments at CEU, the Greek Department and the Department of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at ELTE, and the Claremont Graduate University.

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Related Pages
Founding Conference of the Center for Hellenic Traditions (CHT)