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Amber Jacob

First Year

I received my BA in Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia in 2013 and my MA at the University of Copenhagen in 2016. My undergraduate studies focused largely on Greek philosophical and scientific (especially alchemical) literature and the contact and transmission of Greek and Egyptian knowledge. During my MA, I pursued Egyptian philology, literature, and papyrology, specializing in late Egyptian language (particularly Demotic) and critical analysis of textual traditions. I also studied in papyrus conservation in the Papyrus Carlsberg Collection and worked in the archives of the Collection. In my senior year, I returned my attention to the subject of early scientific thought through a study of Egyptian medicine, wherein I completed a text edition of an unpublished Demotic medical treatise from the ancient city of Tebtunis housed in the Papyrus Carlsberg Collection for my MA thesis.

Through my doctoral work at ISAW, I intend to pursue my interest in ancient science by opening up new avenues of research in ancient medicine through a comparative study of ancient Greek and Egyptian medical practice in Graeco-Roman Egypt. Through critical analysis of contemporary ancient Greek and Egyptian sources, my work will address the question of the cross-cultural interaction and influence between the medical traditions of the two cultures. I will undertake an interdisciplinary project involving a case study of the entirety of medical papyri found in the Fayum city of Tebtunis. This assemblage is unique in that it includes the largest number of Demotic medical texts recovered from any Egyptian site and the fourth largest number of Greek medical texts. The Demotic texts, housed in the Papyrus Carlsberg Collection, and are entirely unpublished and the edition of this material will form part of my work at ISAW. The shared social and historical context of these texts offers an unparalleled opportunity to assess the relationship and interaction between the two medical traditions and the practitioners associated with them.