Sonja Borchers

Proceedings opened: 06 April 2021
Dissertation colloquium: 21 October 2022


Biographical information

  • since October 2016: Research Assistant and PhD Student at the Research Training Group 1808: Ambiguity – Production and Perception, Tübingen University
  • 03–06/2018: Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, New York City, USA (advisor: Prof. Katharina Volk)
  • 2009–2016: Studies in Classical Philology and Philosophy at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
  • Fellowship: German National Scholarship Foundation (2010–2016)
  • 2016: First State Examination in Classical Studies and Philosophy (with distinction)
  • 03-04/2013: Research Stay at the Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, USA (advisor: Prof. Zachary P. Biles)
  • Student research assistant (2010–2013) and teaching assistant (2014–2015) at Freiburg University
  • 2008: Abitur at the Kurfürst-Friedrich-Gymnasium Heidelberg



Research interests

  • ambiguity in Latin and Greek literatur
  • poetry of the Late Roman Republic
  • greek drama
  • ancient philosophy, science, and intellectual history




»Terminologie und Poetik – Ambiguität im Lehrgedicht des Lukrez« (working title)

As a poet, who not only wants to delight his listeners, but is chiefly interested in teaching them, Lucretius is first and foremost concerned with clarity and unambiguousness. Accordingly, he uses ambiguity to characterize mystic conceptions like the notion of the underworld as vague, hazy and undetermined. Nevertheless the language that Lucretius develops in his own project is in no way as clear or obvious as he would like to let his readers believe. In my project I will examine how Lucretius strategically uses ambiguity in the imparting of knowledge, by specifying and changing the systematic and philosophical context of the meaning of a word. Through the conciseness bestowal of specific latin words the details of his philosophical teaching become visible in the microstructure of the language. The goal of my dissertation is to formulate a categorization of the common ambiguity patterns in Lucretius’s De rerum natura in order to gain a new perspective on the composition of the work.




  • Summer term 2017
    • Lecture course, Horace, Satires I und II (Tübingen University)
    • Intensive Greek for Intermediate Students (Freiburg University)
  • Winter term 2015/2016
    • Intensive Greek for Intermediate Students (Freiburg University)
  • Summer term 2015
    • Intensive Greek for Intermediate Students (Freiburg University)
  • Winter term 2014/2015
    • Intensive Greek for Intermediate Students (Freiburg University)
  • Summer turm 2013
    • Intensive Greek for Beginners I: Basic Grammar (Freiburg University)




  • “Creating an Epicurean Audience. Lucretius and his Reader”, Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies, Boston, January 4–7, 2018.
  • “Ambige Sprache in Lukrez’ De rerum natura: Zur deiktischen Funktion lexikalischer Ambiguität”, Metageitnia, Bern University, January 20–21, 2017
  • “Ambiguität in Lukrez’ De rerum natura”, Research Training Group 1808 Ambiguity, Tuebingen University, Oktober 27, 2016.
  • “Der λόγος-Begriff in Gorgias’ Enkomion auf Helena”, Philosophical Think Tank, Freiburg University, May 11, 2016.




  • Sonja Borchers (2016). "Gorgias’ Sprachverständnis". In: Internationales Jahrbuch für Hermeneutik. Vol. 15. Schwerpunkt: Humanismus. Ed. Günter Figal. Tübingen, 221–24




  • International Workshop “Ambiguity in Antiquity”, March 2-3 2018, Tübingen University. Co-organisers: Elisabeth Schedel, Anna Schwetz.