FWO Sabbatical Prof. Danny Praet

01 February 2021 → 31 December 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • History of philosophy
    • History of religions, churches and theology
    • Study of Christianity
    • Study of Judaism
Franz Cumont Bibliotheca Cumontiana ancient philosophy Ancient Religion history of ancient religions (incl. christianity)
Project description

I would like to do two things. Finish the project of the Bibliotheca Cumontiana, the editorial project of the Academia Belgica in Rome which holds the archives of the Ghent historian of religion Franz Cumont (1868-1947). I am one of the general editors of the Bibliotheca, responsible for seven volumes of so-called Scripta Minora. These volumes include critical historiographical introductions which reflect upon the methodology of Cumont and on the scientific developments since his publications. I am co-author of all the remaining introductions. Specifically, I want to publish in 2021 the volumes on religious philosophy and on Judaism-Christianity, which are crucial for the understanding of his views on the religious evolution of the Roman world and the impact of wider cultures such as Persia: Cumont is best known as a specialist of the cult of Mithras. I also want to prepare a book which brings together my research and publications of these last few years about Cumont which should be a synthesis of his life and work, focusing on the interaction between the East and the West from Hellenistic times to Late Antiquity. Cumont was ambiguous on the East, not a full “rientalist”in the sense Said gave to this word, but clearly more positive about the input of the Orient in the globalized culture of the Roman Empire than most of his contemporaries. Also, I want to write about his views about the interaction between religion, philosophy and sciences and show he worked from a specific philosophy of history. He was also a specialist of astronomyastrology and alchemy and had original ideas about the interaction between science and religion. In 2022 we will commemorate the 75 year since the demise of this great Belgian scholar, and 2021 will be a crucial year to bring the publications about Cumont to a close.