Universität Heidelberg Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, Heidelberg
Collaborative Research Centre 933 of the German Research Foundation
University of Heidelberg     •     College of Jewish Studies Heidelberg
Material Text Cultures
Materiality and Presence of Writing
in Non-Typographic Societies
Profile of the MTC
Reports & Videos

Dates of MTC

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Goals & Central Ideas

The Collaborative Research Centre 933 (CRC 933) examines script-bearing artefacts: pillars, steles, portals, tombstones, potsherds, amulets, scrolls, papyri, parchment codices; to name only a few. Our main research interest focusses on the specific materiality, the evoked presence of the inscribed artefacts and the written texts themselves. The researchers involved investigate a lot of questions: How and under which circumstances were these artefacts produced? In which spacial arrangements were they located? Who had access to them? How and in which contexts were they used? The CRC's 933 main idea is that writing, script-bearing artefacts and related practices are bound by an irrevocable mutual connection, which has a huge explanatory power for the understanding of the transmitted texts and their cultural surroundings.
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Read more about the CRC933 on hypotheses.org



MTK-Series' "Materiale Textkulturen"

The MTK-SeriesMateriale Textkulturenis the Collaborative Research Centre's publication organ. We publish collected volumes and monographs that focus on the CRC's main research questions, meaning the materiality and presence of writing in non-typographic societies.

Soon the following volumes will be published:

  • MTK 9 Markus Hilgert (Hg.), Understanding Material Text Cultures. A Multidisciplinary View
  • MTK 13 Thomas Balke, Christina Tsouparopoulou (Hg.), Materiality of Writing in Early Mesopotamia

All volumes are open access and can be found here.

All volumes are open access and can be found here.Publisher: DeGruyter


Working groups

In der zweiten Förderperiode des SFB 933 haben sich neun Arbeitsgruppen gebildet, die gemeinsame Anliegen mehrerer Projekte oder aber für alle relevante Kernthemen bearbeiten. Die Arbeitsgruppen setzen sich in der Regel aus Mitgliedern mehrerer Teilprojekte zusammen und verstärken so die interdisziplinären Synergien des Forschungsverbundes.

AG 1 Images and Scripture

[read more...]

AG 2 Situations of Material Change

The workings group’s aim is the careful examination of “situation of material change” from a comparative perspective on selected examples. As a working definition we understand “situations of material change” as ... [read more...]

AG 3 Form, Content and Material

This working group will examine inscribed objects as to the connection between a) textual content (i.e., the information that a text conveys), b) physical and non-physical form (such as the shape of the object, the layout of the written text, the prosody [read more...]

AG 4 Materiality and memory/memoria

In the first funding period, the CRC was mainly concerned with the spatial features of writing’s presence. The working group of materiality and memoria would now like to invite to reflect on the temporal dimensions of materiality and scripture.... [read more...]

AG 5 Writing and/in Space

The engagement with the three-dimensional space in which human beings and artefacts interact is one of the topics that has already been of utmost importance during the previous funding period of the CRC 933 and ... [read more...]

AG 6 Destruction of Writings

Chiselling, tearing apart, burning, eating, burying, dissolving, wiping off, melting … - the destruction of writings can assume various shapes and it can fulfil just as many functions. From Ancient Egypt to Mesopotamia and the Roman Empire, from the Isl [read more...]

AG 7 Networks

Over last few decades the ubiquity and diversity of kinds of networks has been attracting attention in both academic research and popular discourse. The notion of networks seems to have the potential to become one of the central concepts and metaphors of [read more...]

AG 8 Speaking Material/ity

The goal of the working group is to sharpen and make fit for the specific subject matters of the CRC 933 the notion of ‚affordance‘, which has originally perception psychological meaning, for not-scripture bearing artefacts and not-human made objects. [read more...]

AG 9 What is a Text?

Under the working title “What is a Text? On the Episteme of Philology”, we want to address the question what specific contribution Philology as a “theoretical attitude” can make to the ongoing debate on materiality... [read more...]

AG 10 Meta texts and inscribed artefacts

The working group takes up considerations and analysis of the CRC’s first funding period. By ‘meta text’ we understand “writing about writing” in general terms (following Markus Hilgert). Central to the group’s research is the question about t [read more...]

AG 11 Socialised texts

In all pre-modern cultures we encounter the phenomenon of written texts of different content, type, language or hands on one and the same artefact – be it clay tablet, animal skin, bamboo scroll, marble stele, paper web, papyrus, silk cloth or wall fres [read more...]



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Praxis-Workshop Marmor. Ein Bericht in Bildern.

Vom 2. bis 9. April 2017 veranstaltete der SFB 933 gemeinsam mit dem Deutschen Archäologischen Institut (DAI) Istanbul einen praxisorientierten Workshop zum Thema „Materialität von Marmor als Schriftträger und seine Wiederverwendung als Spolie im städtischen Raum“. Text: Stephan Westphalen [mehr]

Interview with Michele Luigi Vescovi (09.06.2017): Bodies, Images, Inscriptions.

An interview with art historian Michele Luigi Vescovi from the University of Lincoln (UK), who was visiting the CRC 933 in the month of May, 2017. [mehr]

Ausstellung: Zerknitterte Pergamentstückchen, Palimpseste und Buchumschläge

Im Mainzer Dom- und Diözesanmuseum wurden von März bis Juni 2017 Zeugnisse früher Mainzer Schriftlichkeit ausgestellt. Neben großen Torinschriften und prachtvoll gearbeiteten Bibeln finden sich Blätter und Bücher, die deutliche Spuren unachtsamen Gebrauchs oder nachlässiger Aufbewahrung zeigen. Die Heidelberger Mittellateinerin Kirsten Wallenwein lässt bei ihrer Führung durch die Ausstellung gerade diese – auf den ersten Blick weniger kostbaren – Exponate in hellem Licht erstrahlen. [mehr]

Epigraphik griechischer Heiligtümer

Am 9. und 10. Mai 2017 fand an der Universität Münster ein Workshop statt, bei dem es um Inschriften in Heiligtümern der griechischen Antike ging. [mehr]


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