August 2015 – February 2016


Bio: Divna Manolova is currently a Pontica Magna Returning Fellow at New Europe College, Bucharest. She defended her doctoral dissertation entitled Discourses of Science and Philosophy in the Letters of Nikephoros Gregoras at the Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University (Budapest) in 2014. During her doctoral studies, she was a junior fellow at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (Washington, DC) and Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (Istanbul) as well as a visiting research fellow at the Department of Classics of Brown University. Her postdoctoral work was conducted at New Europe College and the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Bucharest. In 2016, she served as the Academic Network Facilitator of the Leverhulme-funded international research network Emotions through time: from antiquity to Byzantum (http://emotions.shca.ed.ac.uk/) and in 2017 she is embarking on a Marie Skłodowska-Curie/POLONEZ 1 fellowship at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. Her research focuses on late medieval intellectual culture (notably, on the history of mathematical sciences and philosophy) and in particular on the scholarly production in Palaiologan Byzantium. She is continuing her work on discourses of polymathy and intellectual curiosity started at the IRH-ICUB and is preparing her dissertation monograph.

Project titleCuriosity and Polymathy in Byzantine Discourses of Science and Philosophy (13th–15th Centuries)

Project description: The present research project examines Byzantine preoccupations with the acquisition of knowledge, in particular of the physical world and of human nature. The project explores continuities and discontinuities in discourses of knowledge featured in Byzantine literary, scientific, and philosophical texts written between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries. The principal research direction the present inquiry pursues consists in the analysis of late Byzantine discourses of curiosity and polymathy. The latter are employed as interpretative keys towards the understanding of Byzantine concepts of knowledge, truth, wisdom, and erudition and of the corresponding desire for their acquisition and subsequent promotion and dissemination. Consequently, the inquiry problematizes the theoretical conceptualizations of knowledge elaborated by Byzantine scholars as well as their social and political implications.