Sibyls & Prophets. Constellations of Figural Knowledge in Premodernity
The project examines the structural conditions for the transfer and transformation of knowledge that can be witnessed in the cultural practice of pairing antique-pagan sibyls with biblical prophets, as it has occurred since late antiquity. The project pays particular attention to the plurality of modes of knowledge to which these pairings draw attention, with a special focus on the medial and material forms in which the respective forms of knowledge are staged. It investigates how the pairing of these culturally powerful figures generates a whole range of epistemic ascriptions, semantic encodings and transcultural appropriations. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which the encounters between sibyls and prophets result in complex entanglements of discontinuous temporalities – e. g. pagan time vs. Christian eschatology – and in the creation of semantic overlaps between the two different and yet intimately related sets of figures.