Global Humanities Junior Fellowship at l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
(October 2016 – February 2017)
Perceiving God in The Christian East: Theories of Spiritual Senses between Late Antique Egypt, Syria, and Byzantium
Adrian Pirtea’s current research combines the philological and historical method with new approaches from religious studies and philosophy. Inspired by a recent collection of studies edited by Sarah Coakley and Paul Gavrilyuk (Cambridge 2011) dedicated to the concept of spiritual senses in Christianity, his dissertation covers an important cultural area that was largely ignored in their book: the Christian Orient. His PhD thesis will thus provide a first historical survey of the different theories on the perception of God in Syriac mystical literature, against the background of Greek philosophy and patristic literature. As a Global Humanities fellow, he will concentrate on the reception of Pseudo-Macarius’ theory of spiritual perception in Medieval Byzantium.
Adrian Pirtea is a PhD student in Byzantine Studies at Freie Universitaet Berlin. He holds a BA in History and English Literature from the University of Bucharest (2008), as well as masters degrees in Medieval and Jewish Studies from Freie Universitaet (2011) and the University of Bucharest (2012), respectively. His main area of research is religion and mysticism in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, with a strong focus on Christian ascetical literature in Greek and Syriac. His other scholarly interests include the history of science and esotericism in the Byzantine and Islamicate worlds.