On October 24th, 2019, the Einstein Center Chronoi hosted a workshop titled “Rethinking a Lifetime: Perspectives from Antiquity until Present.” The idea for this workshop came forth from the desire to bring a wide range of disciplines into a dialogue in order to better understand the broad topic “lifetime.” Lifetime is what connects all humans across time and space: it is all we have, and all we have to lose. Yet what is understood under this term drastically varies.
Organizer Dr. Irene Sibbing-Plantholt, whose project within the framework of the Einstein Center Chronoi is titled “A Time of Life: Concepts and the Value of Lifetime in Ancient Mesopotamia,” invited specialists of the Ancient World, theologians, archaeologists, historians, and scholars from the social and natural sciences to share their unique perspectives on how to approach the study of lifetime.
Five speakers, all authorities on lifetime in their own disciplines, briefly presented their sources ranging from 2000 BCE until 2000 CE during two sessions. Each session resulted in an open floor discussion that facilitated a dynamic and fruitful interdisciplinary exchange. Some topics that were addressed during the discussions include the relationship between actual lifetime and the expressions of age and age categories, the socio-cultural constraints of life stages and life caesurae in different cultures, how narratives can give meaning to a lifetime, and how memory shapes the lifetime of both communities and individuals.