Emily McConville | November 13, 2017
In late antiquity, thinkers began to develop a new idea of the self.
“We get a new notion of the ‘subject,’ and that notion is often expressed, for example, in the language of reflexivity — withdrawing to yourself, talking to yourself, taking care of yourself,” said Gretchen Reydams-Schils, a professor in the Program of Liberal Studies. “There’s a very strong increase in that kind of language.”
In September, Reydams-Schils began a 10-month fellowship at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, as part of a multidisciplinary research project that studies expressions of the self among philosophers, lawmakers, representatives of religious traditions, and biographers in ancient Greece and Rome.
Reydams-Schils, who has concurrent appointments in the Departments of Philosophy, Theology, and Classics and directs the Notre Dame Workshop on Ancient Philosophy, also received a fellowship from the European Institutes for Advanced Study, an umbrella organization which funds residencies in 19 cities across Europe. EURIAS is co-funded by the European Commission’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action.
“It’s a wonderful recognition, because this grant is open internationally to people across the world in all kinds of disciplines,” Reydams-Schils said of the EURIAS fellowship. “I was happy to see that fundamental research in the humanities could get this award.”
The project in which Reydams-Schils is participating, “The Subject of Antiquity: Contours and Expressions of the Self in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures,” brings together scholars of philosophy, law, literature, early Christianity, Jewish Hellenism, and Judaism to understand classical thinkers’ concept of the self and how that conception manifested itself in Jewish, Christian, and Roman culture.