SAPERE - Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam Religionemque pertinentia

Schriften der späteren Antike zu ethischen und religiösen Fragen

The main focus of the research project SAPERE is to preserve Greek and Latin texts of particular importance for the history of religion, philosophy, and culture of the late antiquity (1st–4th cent. CE). These texts were part of the educational canon until the 19th century but then fell prey to a classicistic perspective on literature. Since then, they have almost been forgotten except those which appeared already in one of the SAPERE volumes. This includes the treatise “Über den Tod” about the art of leaving life calmly associated with Plato and Plutarch's dialog “Über die Liebe”. The title of the project refers to every meaning of the Latin word “sapere”, not just to the intellectual one which worked for Kant's “sapere aude” (“Habe Mut, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen”) as the motto of the enlightenment but also to the sensual one, in terms of motivation to discover these reanimated texts (German: “auf den Geschmack bringen”). But the actual innovation of the project is the interdisciplinary work: Besides the original text and its translation, each volume offers a range of essays from specialists of various disciplines (theology, philosophy, history, archaeology, old and modern philology) and they explain the text from different perspectives and its impact on current research and society.


  • Prof. Dr. Heinz-Günther Nesselrath (Project Commission)
  • Prof. Dr. Reinhard Feldmeier (Research Associate)
  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Natalia Pedrique (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Simone Seibert (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Andrea Villani (Research Associate)
Running time
Project type

Contact person for the academies' programme

Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17