Florian Jäckel, M.A.
Conceptions of Prenatal Life in the Writings of Barhebraeus as interaction between Syriac Renaissance and Islamicate Setting
The research project considers how the Syriac Orthodox bishop and polymath Barhebraeus (1226-1286) conceptualized the emergence of human life in his religious and philosophical writings. This includes his theory on semen and his conception of fertilization, development and ensoulment of the embryo. The project pursues two objectives. First, it will contribute to the analysis of interactions between Syriac Christianity and its Islamicate surrounding in the 13th century. In this time of increased literary activity, the so-called Syriac Renaissance, Christian writers were stimulated by Islamic writings in addition to the usual reception of church tradition or Greek philosophy proper. Second, the project will contribute to research on the changing ideas of prenatal life in the intellectual history of the Middle East since the early days of Islam. By connecting the research to the ERC-project COBHUNI, collaboration is assured in analysis and comparison of different conceptualizations, terminologies and contexts of prenatal life in the intellectual environment of Barhebraeus. Similar questions will be posed simultaneously from different perspectives, to the benefit of both projects.