The Social History of Truth

27 Feb 2020
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

This international conference/workshop groups together scholars of different fields in the Humanities (Classics, Egyptology and History of Science) who will discuss the central role that the concept of truth has played in the ancient and the modern world and in relation to their societies and their religious and book cultures.

What is Truth according to an ancient and modern historical perspective? From ancient Egypt through ancient Greece and Rome to the medieval and modern European tradition, this conference will discuss social patterns and perspective on the idea of Truth as a principle for the production of religious and scientific knowledges.

Today there is much talk about post-truth and fake news, but we tend to forget that the history of knowledge has always been populated by debates aiming at assessing truth as the result of philosophical political, economic, religious and gender-related negotiations. What this conference would like to attempt to reconstruct is the history of this negotiation on truth, by discussing a few relevant case studies.



4 pm: Opening

4.15 pm: Rita Lucarelli (UC Berkeley)
“Living according to Maat”: Truth, Knowledge and Wisdom in ancient Egypt

4.45 pm: Massimo Pinto (Aldo Moro University, Bari)
The Truth of Ancient Texts: Textual Scholarship and Forgeries

5.15 pm: Coffee break

5.30 pm: Francesco Paolo de Ceglia (Aldo Moro University, Bari)
Do corpses bleed in the presence of their murderer? A social history of the limits of nature

6.00 pm: Massimo Mazzotti (UC Berkeley)
A Galileo Forgery: Authentication and the Power of Fakes

6.30 pm – 7.00 pm: Conclusions



CSTMS ♦ UC Berkeley History Department ♦ Istituto Italiano di Cultura San Francisco ♦ UC Berkeley Near Eastern Studies Department ♦ Seminario di Storia della Scienza ♦ Townsend Center for the Humanities ♦ University of Bari