Religionswissenschaft und Judaistik

Law, Religion and Sciences – rules, norms, and the transfer of knowledge in ancient to medieval traditions

International Conference, ONLINE, 6–7 NOVEMBER 2023

Sponsored and organized by the research network

Between Encyclopaedia and Epitome – Talmudic strategies of knowledge-making in the context of ancient medicine and sciences

(Tübingen University, University College London, Freie Universität Berlin)

This conference will focus on the dynamics, exchanges and entanglements of important cultural (and socio-political) spheres: law or legal thought, normative systems including religions, and sciences - broadly defined as areas of knowledge - in different cultures and traditions from antiquity into medieval time. This project enters into a conversation with recent scholarship that approaches legal traditions as repositories of cultural knowledge or describing the spill-over of scientific expertise into non-technical (i.e. religious and legal) discourse. Speakers address epistemic dynamics and processes of interaction, both integration and rejection of concepts, terminology and practices in and between law/legal thinking, religious traditions, and scientific thought and practice that cross-fertilized and triggered developments in different historical contexts.

Organized by Lennart Lehmhaus (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen) and Mark Geller (University College London)

This event is co-sponsored by the Collaborative Research Center SFB 1391 ‘Andere Ästhetik/Different Aesthetics’,, research group B8 (‘Ästhetik narrativer Rechtskommunikation im Koran und im vormodernen Islam‘), University of Tübingen; Institute of Jewish Studies, University College London

NOTE: All times according to CET, Berlin time zone


Monday November 6, 2023

Zoom link (Monday):

Meeting ID: 942 0051 5855                                       Passcode: 567684

16:30 – 18:00 (4:30 – 6pm), Panel #1

Uri Gabbay (Hebrew University Jerusalem), 'Oqimta' interpretations in Akkadian commentaries and their relationship with Rabbinic Midrash.

Holger M. Zellentin (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen), Judging by the Torah and Judging by the Gospel: Jesus as Lawmaker in Judaism, Christianity and in the Qur’an.

30 min. virtual coffee break (break-out/chat-rooms)


18:30 – 20:00 (6:30 – 8pm), Keynote lecture #1

Claire Bubb (ISAW/NYU, New York), Medicine, Law, and the Social Contexts of Expert Knowledge in the Roman Empire.


Tuesday November 7, 2023

Zoom link (Tuesday):

Meeting ID: 996 0054 1046                                                   Passcode: 332491

14:30-16:00 (2:30 – 4 pm) Keynote lecture #2

Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen), Why the first Roman codification project failed: The political and intellectual background to the Theodosian Code.

30 min. virtual coffee break (break-out/chat-rooms)


16:30-18:00 (4:30 – 6pm) Panel #2

Iris Colditz (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), How a Zoroastrian priest argues astronomical tables.

Jae Han (Brown University, Providence), The Apocalyptic Roots of Manichaean Empiricism.

30 min. virtual coffee break (break-out/chat-rooms)


18:30 – 20:00 (6:30– 8pm), Panel #3

Lennart Lehmhaus (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen), The entanglement of law, lore and medical knowledge in Talmudic discourse.

Kate Tinson (Durham University, RELCOM project; Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen), Minority law, religion and leprosy: the case of Jews in Muslim lands in the Medieval Mediterranean.


Final Discussion