Johanna Biank

Predoctoral Fellow (Jul 2017-Sep 2017)

Johanna completed her MA in Greek Studies at Humboldt University Berlin (2011), with the thesis entitled "'Kallimachos’ Akontios und Kydippe und der griechische Liebesroman.” Her present research deals with the transfer and transformation of ancient astronomical knowledge in the Early Modern Period.

On the basis of the CRC 980 thesis that transfer processes always generate new knowledge, Johanna intends to investigate the manner in which spherical astronomy was reshaped and classical astronomical sources were reassessed during the Renaissance, due to novel intellectual challenges, especially in the context of the humanistic culture. In particular, she is working on the fifteenth and sixteenth-century reception of pseudo-Proclus’s introduction to astronomy, Σφαῖρα or Sphaera. Her thesis is that in the Renaissance this introductory work represented the humanistic counterpart to Sacrobosco’s introductory textbook, the more so since it was generally regarded as a neo-Platonic source. In order to establish the impact and the interpretation of pseudo-Proclus’s Sphaera on Renaissance culture, a broad investigation shall be accomplished concerning the astronomical culture of that age, the circulation of literary sources relevant for astronomy (such as Aratus, Manilius, and Hyginus) as well as the relation between the humanistic movement and scholasticism.

Johanna is supervised by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Renn, and co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Markus Asper. She is a member of the MPIWG projects CRC 980 Episteme in Motion: Transfer of Knowledge from the Ancient World to the Early Modern Period; and Project B06: Formation of Cosmological Knowledge in the Pre-Modern Era: Transmission and Change from a Diachronic and Transcultural Perspective.


Context of Commentaries on the Textbook of Astronomy “Pseudo-Proclus’ Sphaera” in the Renaissance


No projects were found for this scholar.

Selected Publications

Biank, J. (2016). Clavius, Christophorus. In M. Sgarbi (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy (pp. 1-5). Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_54-1.

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Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

"Pseudo-Proclus’s Sphere: An Alternative Textbook to Sacrobosco’s Treatise?"

Scientiae 2015, Victoria College, University of Toronto

Scientiae 2015
"Land Ahoy!"

Ph.D. conference (co-organizer with Gunthild Peters), MPIWG, Berlin

Land Ahoy! Event Program