CECH - Centre of Classical and Humanistic Studies

Global Outline

Since its foundation (in 1967), CECH distinguished itself by building a robust matrix of philological research (language, literature and culture), which has made it a reference center for Greek, Latin and Neo-Latin (Medieval and Renaissance) Studies in Portugal, and a preferential interlocutor for international partners.

Reception Studies are also distinctive of CECH in the sense of analyzing the rewriting of great myths, but also including the translation and performance of ancient theatre, a much-valued activity by its connection to theatrical practice (through the Thiasos group and the Classical Theater Festival).

In more recent years, the study of primary sources was enriched by the study of musical collections, benefiting from CECH’s methodological maturity in approaching “corpora”, as far as philological and cultural analysis is concerned. It combines musical practice (in association with Music Higher Schools) and international knowledge transfer (a CD was published by the French “Harmonia Mundi”).

This methodological framework finds its theoretical support in the philosophical research undertaken by the hermeneutical rationality researchers (particularly under the influence of Ricoeur). This theoretical grounding simultaneously unveils the inner logic of the interpretive renewals of tradition and myths, allowing to better grasp cultural heritage and its projection in the horizon of contemporary Europe.

Coordination and Internal Structure of the Unit

Given the intense cross-fertilization of knowledge fostered by these areas of expertise, which are deeply marked by collaborative research and their resulting critical evaluation, CECH does not have formally autonomous research groups, although in operational terms investigators are organized around five preferential areas of specialization: Greek Studies, Latin Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Semantics and Pragmatics of Art, Hermeneutical Rationality.

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Cross-cutting Objectives

CECH aims at studying European cultural heritage by exploring its “corpus” of texts from a wide-ranging angle of complementary areas of expertise. And while the center promotes transversal collaboration between the different areas in order to achieve maximal results due to the fertile interdisciplinary interaction among researchers, each area also focuses in a given “corpus” of texts and puts forward a specific work plan.

These have in common a strong philological grounding, necessary to rigorously establish, in each case, the “corpus” at hand, but also a hermeneutical work of making sense of that “corpus”, thus adding specialized knowledge to the body of texts it makes known. Exploring the fertile tension between the recovery of tradition and its creative renewal through ongoing (re)interpretations, CECH tries to place itself at the forefront of a hermeneutically informed research of classical heritage.

Structural Ongoing Projects