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Unique Collaboration Brings Scholar of Ancient Philosophy to Campus

Author: Arts and Letters

Diego De Brasi Diego De Brasi

An Italian-born, German-speaking scholar of ancient philosophy will spend the 2015-16 academic year at the University of Notre Dame, supported by the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Study and Workshop on Ancient Philosophy teamed up to help secure the post-doctoral fellowship for Diego De Brasi, an assistant professor of classical philology at the University of Marburg, Germany.

“Such a collaboration constitutes a win-win situation for all involved,” said Gretchen Reydams-Schils professor of ancient philosophy and chair of the Program of Liberal Studies. “The post-doc receives better support and is integrated in a day-to-day intellectual community of scholars, but also comes with close ties to research interests of faculty and graduate students in the College.”

The Humboldt Foundation’s Feodor Lynen fellowship program provides research opportunities for exceptional German scholars. Applicants must be supported by previous Humboldt fellows such as Reydams-Schils, who endorsed De Brasi.

He will be the second such fellow the Workshop on Ancient Philosophy has hosted in recent years. The first was Wiebke-Marie Stock, who completed a two-year Humboldt fellowship in 2014.

De Brasi, who has previously received fellowships from the Elite Network of Bavaria and the Hardt Foundation in Geneva, has written a book on the image of Sparta in the Platonic dialogues and authored articles on Plato, the anthropological conceptions of of 4th-century Christians, and Judaic-Hellenistic literature.

His current research project involves the relationship among body, mind, and soul in the writings of three early Christians—Lactantius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Nemesius of Emesa.

As one of 13 NDIAS fellows in 2015-16, De Brasi will be a part of a community of artists, scientists, and scholars who are conducting research related to major questions of value, meaning, and purpose.

“I see this as an amazing opportunity,” De Brasi said. “I think there will be great collegiality, an incredible opportunity to discuss with people who are dealing with similar topics in modern times and to develop new ideas for my own project.”

At the Institute’s twice-weekly seminars, fellows and guests share their research and discuss ideas related to their pursuits.

“It really aids the discussion, augments it, when you have people who are well-versed in multiple disciplines,” said Grant Osborn, NDIAS communications program manager. “Diego fits that bill. He’s well-versed in philosophy and classics and philology—all common touchstones with other fellows that will aid in his time here.”