Research Centre for the Humanities – Key publications

BTK Institute of Philosophy

Demeter, Tamás: Hume’s Science of Mind and Newtonianism. In Schliesser, Eric; Shmeenk, Christopher (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Newton. Oxford: Oxford UP. 2019.

This chapter explores the prospects and consequences of various ways to forge Newtonian connections to Hume’s philosophy. Two points of view are offered from which these connections are visible and evaluable: first, Hume’s experimental method for the studying of the mind, particularly his reliance on analysis, synthesis and successive approximations in relation to Newton’s method and Newton-inspired methodologies; and second, the relation of Hume’s model of the mind to Newton’s model of the natural world, particularly the congruence of Hume’s theory of association with the chemical idea of elective affinities as opposed to gravity. In conclusion, the chapter summarizes the significance of these connections for competing interpretations of Hume’s science of the mind.

Hörcher, Ferenc: A Political Philosophy of Conservatism. Prudence, Moderation and Tradition. Bloomsbury Academic, 2020. 

Bringing prudence back into the center of political philosophical discussion, this book assesses how far the Aristotelian notion can be of use in thinking about politics today. Antique, medieval and early modern discussions on practical wisdom are reconstructed and re-contextualized to show not only how our understanding of the virtue of ‘prudence’ has changed over time, but why it should be revived. The book demonstrates that Aristotelian notions should be used to describe the actions and speeches of people active in politics, without losing sight of the normative dimension. In doing so, it presents an original argument which is both different from mainstream contemporary political philosophy and beneficial to our understanding of the role of practical reason in politics.

BTK Institute for Literary Studies

Kecskeméti, Gábor: Hungarian and Transylvanian Ramism. In The European Contexts of Ramism, eds. Sarah Knight, Emma Annette Wilson, Turnhout: Brepols, 2019. (Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 27, 285–329.)

Recent schools of intellectual history do not study the ‘influence’ of one outstanding personality primarily, but more the way numerous thinkers receive and utilize elements of the sets of ideas connected to the name. This is especially true in the case of Petrus Ramus. The interpretation of Ramism is not feasible if we focus on exploring one coherent intention of the author (or several of them). It seems more fruitful to study the multi-faceted community of interpreters that was driven to hold certain positions by personal conviction, institutional needs or confessional identity. These people found the suitable framework for asserting their positions in one or the other of the many processes of Ramism, that is, they connected their aspirations to paradigms that they believed to be Ramist. The study reviews the impacts of Ramism on the scholarly, pedagogical and cultural life of the Kingdom of Hungary and of Transylvania, including the local publications in grammar, rhetoric, homiletics and logic, as well as the presence of Ramist considerations and components in domestic education.

Dieter Breuer, Gábor Tüskés (Hrsg./Eds.) In Zusammenarb. mit/In collab. with Réka Lengyel: Aufgeklärte Sozietäten, Literatur und Wissenschaft in Mitteleuropa. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. 2019.

Die einunddreißig Beiträge in deutscher, englischer und französischer Sprache behandeln systematische, programmatische, diskurs- und soziohistorische, aber auch fall-, personen- und werkbezogenen Aspekte des Sozietätswesens mit dem Schwerpunkt auf dem Wirkungs- und Vernetzungsbereich des östlichen Mitteleuropa.

The 31 German, English and French language contributions in this volume address systematic, programmatic, discursive, sociological and historical aspects of societies according to individual cases, people and work. The focus lies on the effects and interrelationships of the societies in Central and Eastern Europe.

BTK Institute of Art History

Barral i Altet, Xavier and Lővei, Pál and Lucherini, Vinni and Takács, Imre, eds. (2018) The Art of Medieval Hungary. Bibliotheca Academiae Hungariae – Roma. Studia (7). Viella, Roma.

With this book, the Hungarian Academy of Rome offers to the medievalist community a thematic synthesis about Hungarian medieval art, reconstructing, from a European perspective, more than 400 years of artistic production in a country located right at the heart of Europe. The book presents an up-to-date overview from the Romanesque period through Late Gothic up to the beginning of the Renaissance, with an emphasis on the artistic relations that evolved between Hungary and other European territories, such as the Capetian Dynasty, the Italian Peninsula and the German Empire. Situated at the meeting point between the Mediterranean regions, the lands ruled by the courts of Europe west of the Alps and the territories of the Byzantine (later Ottoman) Empire, Hungary boasts an artistic heritage that is one of the most original features of our common European past. The book, whose editors and authors are among today’s foremost experts in medieval art history, is divided into four thematic sections – the sources and art historiography of the medieval period, the boundary between history, art history and archaeology, church architecture and decorations, religious cults and symbols of the power – with a selection of essays on the main works of Hungarian medieval art held in museums and public collections.

Sisa, József (ed.): Motherland and Progress: Hungarian Architecture and Design 1800-1900. Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH, 2016.

In the 19th century, Hungary witnessed unprecedented social, economic and cultural development. The country became an equal partner within the Dual Monarchy when the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 was concluded. Architecture and all forms of design flourished as never before. A distinctly Central European taste emerged, in which the artistic presence of the German-speaking lands was augmented by the influence of France and England. As this process unfolded, attempts were made to find a uniquely Hungarian form, based on motifs borrowed from peasant art as well as real (or fictitious) historical antecedents. “Motherland and Progress” – the motto of 19th-century Hungarian reformers – reflected the program embraced by the country in its drive to define its identity and shape its future.

BTK Institute of Ethnology

Vargyas, Gábor:  Photoshopped Ancestors. Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Papers, Halle/Saale, No.194. 34 p. (2019) 

On the basis of a case study among the Bru of the Central Vietnamese Highlands, I examine how the recent introduction of Photoshop-manipulated photographs into the Bru ancestor cult fits with their traditional religious conceptions about pollution and oblivion. I propose three possible explanations for the entrance of these photographs into Bru culture: culture change, mimicry, and syncretism. Based on this, I raise the question of how to interpret the effects of photographs on the Bru: what do they mean or express in terms of identification with and integration and assimilation into Vietnamese society? After discussing some instances of general photo use among the resettled Bru of Ðắk Lắk, I present a case study on how the photos taken from the identity cards of a deceased man and his widow were transformed into a manipulated Bru ancestor photo in a Vietnamese-run photography shop. At the end of my paper I rephrase the question of photo manipulation in a wider context – that of the relationship between subjects and objects, i.e. human persons and the material world.

Sárközi, Ildikó Gyöngyvér: From the Mists of MartyrdomSibe Ancestors and Heroes on the Altar of Chinese Nation-Building. Halle, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology: LIT, 2018.

The Sibe mostly live in China’s north-eastern provinces, but a large number of them can be found in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the north-west. This extreme geographical separation is accounted for by historical circumstances. The Sibe, who originally lived in Manchuria, served as military border guards of the Manchu Empire. In 1764, one group of the Sibe was ordered to move to Xinjiang to defend the borders there. Over the past 250 years, these two groups of the Sibe gradually lost their original unity: a significant part of their language, writing system, and traditions have been preserved only by the Sibe living in Xinjiang. The starting point of this book is the construction of the Chinese nation from 1949 onwards. The frames for the ethnic nationalist aspirations of the Sibe to reinterpret their shared past and identity were determined by the above ideological and political directions. The author of this book focuses on this process.

BTK Institute of Archaeology

Bács, Tamás A.–Bollók, Ádám–Vida, Tivadar (eds)
Across the Mediterranean — Along the Nile: Studies in Egyptology, Nubiology and Late Antiquity Dedicated to László Török on the Occasion of His 75th Birthday
Budapest, Hungary : Archaeolingua (2018) , 980 p.
The present two-volume book, dedicated to the distinguished nubiologist László Török to celebrate his 75th birthday, is made up of 60 English, German, and French essays authored by a community of internationally renowned scholars. The volume covers thousands of years of Mediterranean, Egyptian and Nubian history, archaeology, religious history and art history from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. As a clear reflection of the Jubilant’s scholarly interest, the bulk of the published papers are centered around Egyptian, Nubian and late antiquity studies, besides which contributions on prehistoric Europe, the ancient Near East, and the Roman world are also included. A separate chapter is dedicated to the early-modern and modern European reception of the ancient world. Besides larger syntheses and overviews, a rich array of new excavation results and re-evaluations of famous sites and finds are offered to the reader. All these studies provide new insights into the vibrant and colorful lives of past societies and contribute to a better understanding of the ancient and late antique world of the Mediterranean and its wider environment. The first volume of the book focuses on Ancient Egypt, Ancient Nubia, prehistoric Europe, the ancient Near East and the Roman world, while the second volume discusses Late Antique Nubia, the Byzantine world in Egypt and the ancient world in modern Europe.

Veronika Csáky, Dániel Gerber, István Koncz, Gergely Csiky, Balázs G. Mende, Bea Szeifert, Balázs Egyed, Horolma Pamjav, Antónia Marcsik, Erika Molnár, György Pálfi, András Gulyás, Bernadett Kovacsóczy, Gabriella M. Lezsák, Gábor Lőrinczy, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy & Tivadar Vida
Genetic insights into the social organization of the Avar period elite in the 7th century AD Carpathian Basin
Nature: Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 948 (2020)

After 568 AD, the Avars settled in the Carpathian Basin and founded the Avar Qaganate, which was an important power in Central Europe until the 9th century. Part of the Avar society was probably of Asian origin; however, the localization of their homeland is hampered by the scarcity of historical and archaeological data. Here, we study mitogenome and Y chromosomal variability of 26 individuals, a number of them representing a well-characterized elite group buried at the center of the Carpathian Basin more than a century after the Avar conquest. The studied group has maternal and paternal genetic affinities to several ancient and modern East-Central Asian populations. The majority of the mitochondrial DNA variability represents Asian haplogroups (C, D, F, M, R, Y and Z). The Y-STR variability of the analyzed elite males belongs only to five lineages, three N-Tat with mostly Asian parallels and two Q haplotypes. The homogeneity of the Y chromosomes reveals paternal kinship as a cohesive force in the organization of the Avar elite strata on both a social and territorial level. Our results indicate that the Avar elite arrived in the Carpathian Basin as a group of families and remained mostly endogamous for several generations after the conquest.

BTK Institute of History

Fodor, Pál (ed.): The Battle for Central Europe : The Siege of Szigetvár and the Death of Süleyman the Magnificent and Nicholas Zrínyi (1566). Brill, 2019.

In The Battle for Central Europe, specialists in 16th century Ottoman, Habsburg and Hungarian history provide the most comprehensive picture possible of a battle that determined the fate of Central Europe for centuries. Not only the siege and the death of its main protagonists are discussed, but also the wider context of the imperial rivalry and the empire buildings of the competing great powers of that age.

Contributors include Gábor Ágoston, János B. Szabó, Zsuzsa Barbarics-Hermanik, Günhan Börekçi, Feridun M. Emecen, Alfredo Alvar Ezquerra, István Fazekas, Pál Fodor, Klára Hegyi, Colin Imber, Damir Karbić, József Kelenik, Zoltán Korpás, Tijana Krstić, Nenad Moačanin, Gülru Neci̇poğlu, Erol Özvar, Géza Pálffy, Norbert Pap, Peter Rauscher, Claudia Römer, Arno Strohmeyer, Zeynep Tarım, James D. Tracy, Gábor Tüskés, Szabolcs Varga and Nicolas Vatin.

“These were hard times for Skanderbeg, but he had an ally, the Hungarian Hunyadi” Episodes in Albanian–Hungarian Historical Contacts. Csaplár-Degovics, Krisztián, ed. Budapest, 2019.

Although there has been no organized Albanian research in Hungary, the chapters in this book clearly demonstrate that researchers well-versed in the various historical periods have engaged in a joint investigation of the Albanian-Hungarian past. The reader of this book will find that the two peoples have, over the last 500 years and more, come into more than merely superficial contact: their histories are closely intertwined. The authors have looked into – for example – how the relationship between Skanderbeg and John Hunyadi may be reconstructed from historical sources; how the Araniti family rebuilt their lost power in areas of Hungary occupied by the Ottomans, and how Muslim and Catholic Albanian military commanders found themselves facing each other on the 17th century battlefields of Hungary. The authors are among the finest in their fields. Their studies reveal new research findings, many of which will cause a sensation in the world of Albanian studies. The book is thus a distillation of contemporary Hungarian work on Albanian studies and also a salute by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to the joint Albanian-Hungarian and Austro-Hungarian past.

BTK Institute of Musicology

Czagány, Zsuzsa: Antiphonale Varadinense saec. XV. Critical Edition with Essays. Musicalia Danubiana 26/1-3, red. Gabriella Gilányi and Gábriel Szoliva. Budapest: Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute for Musicology, 2019.

A facsimile edition of the monumental codex of the medieval Várad Cathedral with critical commentaries and essays in three volumes, in Hungarian and English: Vol. I Proprium de tempore. Index cantuum cum apparatu critico Vol. II Proprium de sanctis et commune sanctorum. Index cantuum cum apparatu critico Vol. III. Essays. The huge, richly illuminated and fully notated manuscript of the Várad Cathedral (Waradinum, Großwardein, today Oradea in Romania), the Antiphonale Varadinense was commissioned by John (Jan/János) Filipecz, diplomat of King Matthias Corvinus and Bishop of Várad in the last third of the 15th century. The manuscript was copied in an outlander workshop: its decoration, magnificent miniatures and musical notation were the work of contemporary Bohemian craftsmen. However, with its content, the inclusion of the chant repertory of the officium divinum in a specific system, and about 1,600 notated melodies, it is an unrivalled monument of the liturgical and musical tradition of late medieval Várad.