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The interdisciplinary perspective

In separate projects and in divided disciplines (classical studies, ancient history, philosophy, new testament), it has been studied how the three letter writers - Cicero, Paul, and Seneca - live and work at a time in history where there was tremendous change and innovation in the Roman world

Politically the Roman state changed from a republic with annually elected magistrates to an empire.

Geographically the empire expanded more and more and caused the development of larger communities in the eastern Greek-speaking areas.

In terms of religion, the relationship between Jews and Romans and the blossoming of Christianity and (other) "sects" was a constant challenge.

In relation to the literature, Cicero's, Paul's, and Seneca's letters depended not only on well-established genres but changed letter writing according to their respective needs and self-expression. (see e.g., Bartsch; Becker/Rüpke; Becker/Mortensen).

In questions of social and intellectual history, Cicero, Paul, and Seneca contributed to the increasing flow of (literary) individualisation and "subjectivity" in this period (see e.g., Rüpke).

In contrast to the three letter writers — the late Roman republican statesman Cicero (106-43 BCE), the early Christian apostle Paul († ca. 62 CE), and the early imperial Roman philosopher and politician Seneca the Younger (about 4 BCE - 65 CE) — usually treated as single authors, confined to their respective historical, philosophical, religious, and political contexts (e.g. Altman; Damschen/Heil), the present project aims to identify larger epistolary visions.

The interdisciplinary approach aims to analyse how — in various contexts and communicated to wide audiences — Cicero, Paul, and Seneca generated shared philosophical, religious and political ideas as epistolary concepts of transformational leadership.