Calendars in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Standardization and Fixation
The project was based in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, with Professor Sacha Stern as Principal Investigator and five Research Associates working in several areas including the seven-day week, late antique hemerologia, medieval Jewish calendar disputes, and medieval Arabic and Hebrew monographs on astronomy and calendars. It was funded by an ERC Advanced Grant of €2,499,000, the largest ever achieved in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
The study of calendars has been neglected by historians as a merely technical curiosity; but in fact, the calendar was at the heart of ancient and medieval culture, as a structured perception of time, and as an organizing principle of social life. Our study of calendars covered a wide range of historical periods and cultural traditions, and employed a wide range of disciplines: social history, ancient and medieval astronomy and mathematics, the study of religions, literature, epigraphy, and codicology. It was interesting to discover how Roman, Christian, Jewish, and Islamic calendars evolved, in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, towards ever increasing standardization and fixation.
To this end, we focused on specific manifestations of this process: