Greek and Latin texts of Later Antiquity (1st–4th centuries AD) have for a long time been overshadowed by those dating back to so-called ‘classical’ times. The first four centuries of our era have, however, produced a cornucopia of works in Greek and Latindealing with questions of philosophy, ethics, and religion that continue to be relevant even today.
The series SAPERE (Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam REligionemque pertinentia, ‘Writings of Later Antiquity with Ethical and Religious Themes’), now funded by the German Union of Academies, undertakes the task of making these texts accessible through an innovative combination of edition, translation, and com-mentary in the form of interpretative essays.
The acronym ‘SAPERE’ deliberately evokes the various connotations of sapere, the La-tin verb. In addition to the intellectual dimension –which Kant made the motto of the Enlightenment by translating ‘sapere aude’ with ‘dare to use thy reason’–the notion of ‘tasting’ should come into play as well. On the one hand, SAPERE makes impor-tant source texts available for discussion within various disciplines such as theology and religious studies, philology, philosophy, history, archaeology, and so on; on the other, it also seeks to whetthe readers’ appetite to ‘taste’ these texts.
Consequently, a thorough scholarly analysis of the texts, which are investigated from the vantage points of different disciplines, complements the presentation of the sour-ces both in the original and in translation. In thisway, the importance of these ancient authors for the history of ideas and their relevance to modern debates come clearly into focus, thereby fostering an active engagement with the classical past.