Upcoming Events


Workshops and Conferences

International Conference: End(s) of Time(s)

December 11-13, 2017


IKGF Seminar Room, Building D1
Hartmannstraße. 14,
91052 Erlangen

For millennia, mankind has imagined the end of time in various ways: ranging from scenarios of a definite finis mundi to the mere closure of a period, the idea of a transformation of society into "Heaven on Earth" (Richard Landes) has been characteristic of most apocalyptic movements. All of them are inextricably linked to the phenomenon of prophecy.

The conference will try to shed light on predictions related to millennialist thought and movements from a cross-cultural perspective. We will examine textual history (including commentarial history) as well as tangible attempts to make the prophecies come true in real life. What kinds of texts have been considered relevant in millennialism, and which exegetic strategies have been adopted for their interpretation? Is there a difference between having a long-term or a short-term perspective with regard to the impact of a given prediction? How do the agents of millennialism position themselves vis-à-vis the traditional claims or interpretations of a text?
In connection with the end of time, some civilizations have emphasized the notion of a judgment taking place, much like at a court of justice in the real world. As a result, numerous scenarios offer more or less detailed depictions of both the judgment and the "chosen" people. The conference will explore different views on judgment, salvation, and entry into timelessness or re-entry into normal time.

For more information, please contact Dr. Hans-Christian Lehner (hans.christian.lehner@fau.de).

Register here for this conference (until December 4).


Poster Flyer


December 11, 2017

18:15 p. m. Welcome Address and Introduction
Michael Lackner (Chinese Studies, Director IKGF)
18:30 p. m. Keynote Lecture
Richard Landes (Medieval Studies, Boston University)

December 12, 2017

Panel I: Overviews of the End of Times in Different Eras and Areas
9:30 a. m. End of Times: Christian Perspectives on History, Eschatology, and Transcendence in the Latin Middle Ages
Klaus Herbers (Medieval Studies)
10:00 a. m. Tibetan Buddhist Dystopian Narratives and their Pedagogical Dimension
Rolf Scheuermann (Tibetan Studies)
10:30 a. m. The Last Judgement in Sunni Exegesis: Temporal and Spatial Organisation, Procedural Aspects, and Personnel
Christian Lange (Islamic Studies)
11:00 a. m. Coffee Break
11:30 a. m. Discussion
Discussant: Michael Lackner
Panel II: The End of Times as Cultural Transfer, Heterodoxy, and Syncretism?
12:00 p. m. Competing Eschatological Scenarios during the Taiping War, 1851-1864
Vincent Goosaert (Chinese Studies)
12:30 p. m. Millenarianism in the Tibetan Dunhuang Manuscripts
Brandon Dotson (Tibetan Studies)
1:00 p. m. Lunch Break
2:00 p. m. Mohammed, Mahdi, Antichrist: Christians and Muslims in Joachim of Fiore's Apocalyptic Eschatology
Julia Eva Wannenmacher (Medieval Studies)
2:30 p. m. Discussion
Discussant: Johannes Fried (Medieval Studies)
Panel III: Practices, Rituals, and Figures of the End of Times
3:00 p. m. Steve Biko in One Hand, the Protocols in the Other - Murabitun Sufism in Black/African Areas of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Matthias Gebauer (Geography and Islamic Studies)
3:30 p. m. Coffee Break
4:00 p. m. Eschatology and Messianism in Early Medieval China: The First Apocalypses
Christine Mollier (Chinese Studies)
4:30 p. m. The Infernal Trinity Does the Mole - Satan's Eschatological Activity in the Two Tracts De principe mundi and De semine scripturarum of the Anonymus Bambergensis
Matthias Kaup (Medieval Studies)
5:00 p. m. Discussion and Final Discussion of First Day
Discussant: Patrick Henriet (Medieval Studies)

December 13, 2017

Panel IV: Texts and Commentaries about the End of Times
9:30 a. m. Beatus of Liebana and the Spiritualized Understanding of Apocalypse in Medieval Iberia
Gaelle Bosseman (Medieval Studies)
10:00 a. m. The End of Time in Medieval Historiography
Hans-Christian Lehner (Medieval Studies)
10:30 a. m. Byzantine Calculations of the End of Times (CE 500, 800, ~1000, 1496)
Wolfram Brandes (Byzantine Studies)
11:00 a. m. Coffee Break
11:30 a. m. Making the Great Peace Up: Chinese Apocrypha in the First Two Centuries CE
Zhao Lu (Chinese Studies)
12:00 p. m. Discussion
Discussant: Matthias Maser (Medieval Studies)
12:30 p. m. Lunch Break
Panel V: The End of Times and Modernity
1:30 p. m. Facing the Modernity of the Others: Eschatological Fears for the Nation and the Race in China, 1895-1920
Rudolf Wagner (Chinese Studies)
2:00 p. m. The Final Struggle: The "Islamic State" and the Enacting of the End of Time
Jörn Thielmann (Islamic Studies)
2:30 p. m. Coffee Break
3:00 p. m. The Messianic Quest for the Earthly Paradise in the Modern World
Jürgen Gebhardt (Political Studies)
3:30 p. m. Discussion, Final Discussion, and Outlook
Discussant: Andreas Nehring (Religious Studies)

Unlockings Skills: Gaining and Performing Expertise in Pre-1911 China

November 21-22, 2017

Convenors: Dagmar Schäfer (MPI Berlin) & Michael Lackner (IKGF Erlangen), in co-operation with Hong Kong Baptist University


IKGF Seminar Room, Building D1
Hartmannstraße. 14,
91052 Erlangen

This workshop studies processes of gaining and performing expertise in pre-1911 China. The participants look at the role of moral adequacy, explanatory depth, and faithful memory (i.e. for the replicability of procedures), as well as the social, economic, and political conditions for expert knowledge and performance. The contributions specifically explore the differences between knowledge and texts (or other media of representation). They seek to understand who was a legitimate specialist in fields such as ritual performance (zhu 祝), archery (射), medicine (醫), divination (bu 卜), and the hundred crafts (百工) and what was the role of education, performance, social and political status. Of particular interest will be the varied traditions of judgment and procedures of decision-making (within and outside state governance) in which expertise had its "Sitz im Leben".

For more information, please contact Matthias Schumann (matthias.schumann@fau.de).

Register here for this workshop (until November 15).


Poster Flyer


November 21, 2017

14:00 p. m. Welcome and Introduction
Dagmar Schäfer and Michael Lackner
Section I: Divination
14:15 p. m. Oracle Bone Procedures of Decision-Making: Diviner's Inquiries as a Process
Adam Schwartz (Hong Kong Baptist University)
15:00 p. m. Self-made Diviners? Text Learning and its Limitations in the Case of the "Stalk Divination" (Shifa 筮法)
Zhao Lu (MPI Berlin)
15:45 p. m. Coffee Break
Section II: Artisanship
16:15 p. m. "錫金"與"擇吉金"——銅料選擇和銅器鑄造的社會意義 (Awarding metal and selecting good metal, with comments on the social function of casting bronze vessels)
Xu Fengyi (Hong Kong Baptist University)
17:00 p. m. Making Artisans Accountable: Silk and State in Tang China
BuYun Chen (MPI Berlin)
19:00 p. m. Dinner

November 22, 2017

Section III: Technology and Administration
9:30 a. m. Silver Mining in the Far Southwest of Ming and Qing China: Technologies and Specialists in a Grey Zone
Nanny Kim (Heidelberg University)
10:15 a. m. Hydraulic Planning and Hydraulic Expertise in Late Imperial China: The Case of the Yellow River in Shandong
Iwo Amelung (Frankfurt University)
11:00 a. m. Coffee Break
Section IV: Martial Arts, Health, and Religion
11:30 a. m. Medical Practice during Twelfth-century Song Dynasty - Canons and Experience
Asaf Goldschmidt (Tel Aviv University)
12:15 p. m. Religious Expertise? Learning and Legitimacy in Republican Spirit-Writing
Matthias Schumann (IKGF Erlangen)
13:00 p. m. Lunch Break
14:15 p. m. Texts and Expert Knowledge in Inner Alchemy
Fabrizio Pregadio (IKGF Erlangen)
15:00 p. m. Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword? Inventing the Image of the Scholar Warrior in the 18th Century
Israel Kanner (Tel Aviv University)
15:45 p. m. Coffee Break
Section V: Architecture
16:15 p. m. An Approach to the Expertise of Construction in Ming Times: The Figure of Miaofeng, Monk and Architect
Caroline Bodolec (EHESS Paris)
17:00 p. m. Concluding Discussion

Lecture Series Winter 2017-2018


Tuesdays, 18:15 – 19:45


IKGF Seminar Room, Building D1
(Hartmannstraße 14, 91052 Erlangen)
View access route




28.11.2017 When Astrologers Fail: Effects of and Approaches to Erroneous Prognostications in the Late Middle Ages
Klaus Oschema (History of the Middle Ages, Ruhr-University Bochum)
05.12.2017 Divination in Mesoamerica: A Case of Reading Maize among the Mixe of Oaxaca, Mexico
Araceli Rojas Martinez Gracida (Archaeology; IKGF Visiting Fellow)
19.12.2017 Games, Chance, and Prediction in Medieval Everday Life
Matthias Heiduk (Medieval History; IKGF Research Fellow)
09.01.2018 Adapting versus Conforming: Two Models of Agency in the Context of Early Chinese Divination Practice
Mercedes M. Valmisa Oviedo (Chinese Studies, Princeton University; IKGF Visiting Fellow)
16.01.2018 Spirit-Writing Communities and the Uncertainty of the Future in Late Imperial Sichuan
Elena Valussi (Chinese Religions, Loyola University Chicago; IKGF Visiting Fellow)
23.01.2018 Face to Face with the Gods: Rituals for Obtaining Knowledge and Power in the Magical Papyri from Roman-Period Egypt
Svenja Nagel (Egyptology, Heidelberg-University)
06.02.2018 The Beheaded Astrologer: Ramon Llull on the Epistemological Foundations of Astrology
Alexander Fidora (Medieval Studies, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies/Autonomous University of Barcelona)

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On every Tuesday afternoon, from 15:30 onwards, the Consortium invites all visiting scholars, members, and guests to to join in our regular informal Tea Time over coffee and refreshments.

Hartmannstraße 14
Building D1
91052 Erlangen