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CfA: Summer School "Facets of Early Modern Scepticism"

Application Deadline: 31 January 2021

News vom 07.12.2020

Topic and Purpose

The early modern period is well known as a period when engagement with scepticism (or the question of the extent to which we can know anything) was widespread. While of course not all early modern thinkers were sympathetic to sceptical thought (some, such as Spinoza, considered scepticism to be incomprehensible), scepticism was a persistent and pertinent issue of the period between 1500 and 1700. But whence this fascination with scepticism? And what shape did it take?

The third summer school of the Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies—Jewish Scepticism will pursue these questions from a novel interdisciplinary perspective with a special focus on Jewish thought and culture. More specifically, the summer school will bring together philosophers, experts in religious and Jewish studies, art historians, and literary scholars in order to investigate the multifaceted phenomenon of early modern scepticism from three perspectives:

1. Scepticism and Religion: Which impact did scepticism have on early modern theology and on practices and conceptions of religion both within and without Judaism?

2. Scepticism and Philosophy: What made scepticism so popular in the early modern period and what (novel?) forms of (anti-)scepticism were developed in this period?

3. Scepticism and Fine Arts: How did sceptical doubts shape early modern fine art: theatre, literature, and painting? And how did fine art contribute to the sceptical imagery of these times?

The aim of the summer school is to reveal the multidimensional meaning of early modern scepticism. It is intended for students and scholars from various backgrounds (ranging from history of philosophy to Jewish studies, religious studies, theatre and literary studies, and art history). We will invite MA and PhD students and early postdocs to appreciate the multifaceted structure of early modern scepticism and to share their unique perspective on it. To this end, participants will be asked to present their object of investigation in light of the interdisciplinary insights they will have gained by the end of the summer school.

Lecturer Team

The course leaders are Stephan Schmid and Giuseppe Veltri. They will be supported by an international team of experts in philosophy, religious and Jewish studies, art history, and literature: Talia Fishman, Grit Schorch, Jeremy Fogel, Guido Bartolucci, Michael Della Rocca, Sonja Schierbaum, Jennifer Marusic, Sandra Richter, Margit Kern, and Ivana Rentsch.

Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies at the University of Hamburg

The Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies is a Humanities Research Institute at the University of Hamburg funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). Its central aim is to explore and research scepticism in Judaism in its dual manifestation as a purely philosophical tradition and as a more general expression of sceptical strategies, concepts, and attitudes in the cultural field.

Target Group

The summer school is intended for MA students and PhD candidates from the humanities. Depending on capacity, BA students in their last year of studies may also be accepted.


Up to 15 fully funded scholarships, covering accommodation as well as travel expenses, are available. Applicants are requested to submit the following documents [in one pdf file]:

– a CV

– a personal statement outlining their motivation and academic background

– a letter of recommendation

– a copy of their academic degree(s) or transcript of records


Participants can gain up to 5 ECTS credit points for successful participation in the summer school.


Applications may be submitted via e-mail until 31 January 2021 to lilian.tuerk@uni-hamburg.de.

Acceptance letters will be sent out by the end of February/ beginning of March 2021.

For further information and questions, please contact Dr Lilian Türk by e-mail or phone: +49-(0)40-42838-8605.

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