Prof. Dr. Svetla Slaveva-Griffin

January 2013 – June 2014
Host:Prof. Dr. James Wilberding

Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers

Prof. Dr. Svetla Slaveva-Griffin is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and a core faculty member in the Program in History and Philosophy of Science at the Florida State University, Florida, USA. She pursues a wide range of research interests in ancient philosophy, with particular focus on the Platonic tradition and its reception in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Among the underlying themes of her research are concept and intertext in Plato, number and the Neoplatonic metaphysical landscape, ontology and salvation, Neoplatonism and the East, Neoplatonism and medicine, soul and body in the Hellenic and Christian Platonic tradition. In addition to publishing numerous articles, she is the author of Plotinus on Number (Oxford University Press 2009). She is currently editing, with Prof. Pauliina Remes (University of Uppsala and University of Helsinki), The Handbook of Neoplatonism (Acumen Press, forthcoming).
During her visit, Prof. Dr. Slaveva-Griffin will work on a comprehensive project examining the relationship between Neoplatonism and medicine in 3rd - 6th century CE. It used to be a common perception among scholars of late ancient philosophy that the Neoplatonists found little to no value in the body since their philosophical pursuits were primarily directed at explaining the origin of soul from the higher, immaterial orders of reality. But as is oftentimes the case with common perceptions, this view has most recently started to move closer to the category of debunked stereotypes. Prof. Dr. Slaveva-Griffin’s examination of the relationship between Neoplatonism and medicine will shed new light on the formative period in which Neoplatonism establishes itself as a dynamic communicator of a broad range of intellectual, including medical, ideas. The first four centuries after Galen’s death faced the task of absorbing his legacy in diverse medical and philosophical environment that ultimately led to fully redeeming the theological value of the body in early Christian thought. Paradoxically this conceptual shift could not have taken place without the Neoplatonists’ help.
Prof. Dr. Slaveva-Griffin is a recipient of Research Travel Grant from the Wellcome Trust (2008) and a Developing Scholar Award from the Florida State University (2012).