Background – University of Copenhagen

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History of Philosophy in Reverse > Background


In 1958 “The Institute of Greek and Latin Medieval Philology” (IGLM) was founded at the University of Copenhagen. One of the main purposes of the institute was the study of medieval philosophy and the production of critical editions of Danish medieval philosophers. IGLM was later merged with a larger unit, which was in 2004 merged with several other departments to constitute the present SAXO-institute.

Since 1958 there has been an unbroken tradition of studying the Aristotelian writings and their influence from late Antiquity to early modern times. The first bearer of the torch was Henrich Roos († 1977), who began constructing a network of international contacts in the 1960s. The next was Jan Pinborg († 1982), who during the 1970s extended and strengthened the network considerably, and since the 1980s Sten Ebbesen has continued this development. Several younger Danish scholars have joined the project in the last 10 years, and as a result the research environment continues to be among the strongest in the field. Since 1969 the institute publishes its own journal, Cahiers de l'Institut du Moyen-Âge Grec et Latin, which specialises in medieval philosophical texts.

Thus, the last 50 years have established the SAXO-institute as one of the centres for the study of the Aristotelian tradition. The institute houses a library, which is internationally famous for its rich collection of books and offprints concerning medieval philosophy, and medieval logic in particular. Furthermore, the library also contains a unique collection of microfilms of medieval manuscripts and other relevant philosophical texts. These are indispensable tools for the study of the medieval reception of Aristotle, since most of the texts are still unpublished.

As a results of the central position of the institute within medieval philosophy, the SAXO Institute and its predecessors have for the last 50 years been housing several of the worlds leading scholars. Furthermore it has contributed to the education of younger researchers by extending its hospitality to a considerable number of PhD students and post docs from around the world.

We wish to continue this development, and therefore we invite all interested persons, both established researchers and PhD students, to contact us for further information about the possibilities of studying Aristotelian and medieval philosophy in Copenhagen.