KU Leuven

Longing for Perfection.

Living the Perfect Life in Late Antiquity –

A Journey between Ideal and Reality

Description and organization

The project will offer a critical study of one of the most fundamental ideas of ancient Greek culture – the search for perfection. For centuries, not only philosophers and theologians, but also other intellectuals have reflected on what this ideal should consist in, devising ways of pursuing it in a wide range of human activities. The team will study the complex relationship between theory and praxis, and between ideal and reality, as found in pagan and Christian Greek literature from the first seven centuries CE. Methodologically, the project breaks new ground in going beyond longstanding and widespread (though mostly unjustified) presuppositions in scholarly literature, such as the dichotomy between theory and praxis or the opposition between the pagan and the Christian tradition in this regard. The team has set two main goals: the production (1) of a comprehensive study of the different aspects of ancient ideals of perfection and (2) of a number of in-depth studies of specific problems and core issues related to the overall topic.


Geert Roskam, Greek Studies Department

Blijde-Inkomststraat 21 – box 3309

3000 Leuven


(Text by the organizers)



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