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Professor Sabine Schmidtke Awarded Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC)

Islamic Studies Scholar of Freie Universität Berlin Recipient of Substantial Research Funding

№ 381/2008 from Dec 03, 2008

It has been announced that Professor Sabine Schmidtke, of the Institute for Islamic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, is the recipient of an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The funding will amount to 1.86 million euros over a five-year period. The grant proposal, called "Rediscovering Theological Rationalism in the Medieval World of Islam," is one of 44 to be selected from among 404 applications in the fields of the social sciences and humanities.

The research project, "Rediscovering Theological Rationalism in the Medieval World of Islam," aims to reappraise rational theology in the Islamic world of the Middle Ages (10th – 13th cent.) beyond the boundaries of religion. The reality of intellectual life at that time will be taken into account: Muslims, Christians, and Jews all spoke, read, and wrote Arabic (and sometimes Persian). They all read the same canon of theological, philosophical, and scientific writings, and also jointly wrote the continuations of these works. This led to a unique cultural and intellectual symbiosis. This research project aims to study the  myriad dimensions of this symbiosis, including a reappraisal of untapped manuscript material. A comprehensive monograph is planned as part of the project.

The ERC Advanced Grants are intended to allow researchers who have already established themselves as innovative, independent researchers to pursue frontier research. One goal of these grants is to contribute toward making Europe once again more attractive as a research location, in particular in comparison with the United States.

The total funding through ERC Advanced Grants amounts to roughly 517 million euros. The grants cover up to 100 per cent of direct research expenses – including the costs for personnel, equipment, materials, and travel – and additionally a 20-per cent subsidy toward indirect project expenses.


Prof. Dr. Sabine Schmidtke,