Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - Alexander von Humboldt Professorship


Prof. Dr. Philip van der Eijk

Philip van der Eijk (1962) was born in Delft, the Netherlands, and received his secondary education at the Christelijk Lyceum in Delft. He read Classics at Leiden University, where he received his doctorate in 1991 and where he held a Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO). In 1994, he moved to Newcastle University to take up a Wellcome Trust University Award in the History of Medicine in the Classical World. At Newcastle, he was appointed (Personal) Professor of Greek in 1998, and Research Professor of Greek in 2005, and he was Director of the Northern Centre for the History of Medicine from its foundation in 2003 until 2009. As of January 2010, he is Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Classics and History of Science at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

For more information about the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation please click here.

Honours and Awards
Research Interests
Postgraduate Research Supervision
Membership of editorial boards, panels etc.
Recent Media Coverage


Honours and Awards

Professor van der Eijk held Fellowships at All Souls College, Oxford (2009), the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) (2000–2001) and was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2006). He was awarded the Ausonius Prize from the University of Trier for outstanding achievements in classical scholarship (2006). He is a Member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (since 2012), a Corresponding Member of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) (since 2006), a Correspondant Étranger de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, Institut de France (since 2011) and a Foreign Member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (Royal Netherlands Society of Sciences) (since 2014).


Research Interests

Ancient Medicine and Science, esp. the Hippocratic writings, Diocles of Carystus, Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition, Galen and ancient Methodism; the history of medical historiography; the communication and dissemination of medical ideas in antiquity; the comparative history of medicine in the Eastern Mediterranean; the history of melancholy and mental illness.

Main publications:

  • Medicine and Philosophy in Classical Antiquity. Doctors and Philosophers on Nature, Soul, Health and Disease, (Cambridge: CUP, 2005)
  • Diocles of Carystus. A Collection of the Fragments with Translation and Commentary, 2 Vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2000-1)
  • Ancient Histories of Medicine. Essays in Medical Doxography and Historiography in Classical Antiquity (Leiden: Brill, 1999)
  • Hippocrates in Context (Leiden: Brill, 2005)
  • Ancient Medicine in its Socio-Cultural Context (with H.F.J. Horstmanshoff and P.H. Schrijvers, 2 Vols. (Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi, 1995).


Ancient Philosophy, in particular Aristotelian philosophy and Neoplatonism (esp. John Philoponus); philosophy of mind; philosophical theology; ethics.

Main publications:

  • Philoponus On Aristotle On the Soul 1.1-2 and 1.3-5, 2 Vols. (London: Duckworth, 2005-6)
  • Aristoteles. De insomniis. De divinatione per somnum (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1994)


Early Christian Literature and Thought, especially Nemesius of Emesa, John Philoponus and Origen.

Main publication:

  • Nemesius of Emesa. On the Nature of Man (with R.W. Sharples), (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2008).


Comparative Literature, especially German literature of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Main publications:

  • Translations (with introductory essays and notes) of Rainer Maria Rilke, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Georg Trakl, Gottfried Benn and Novalis.


Among his current research projects are the following:


PhD Supervision

Current PhD projects:
  • The Biology of Aristotle’s Ethics (Frank de Jonge)
  • Galen, Kommentar zu Hippokrates’ Aphorismen, Buch VII: kritische Ausgabe, Übersetzung und Kommentar (Maria Börno)
  • Galen on Memory: Philosophy, Physiology and Pathology (Ricardo Juliao)
  • Between alchemy and philosophy: Stephanus of Byzantium’s practical ontology (Vincenzo Carlotta)
  • Jesus als Heiler im Lukasevangelium (Clarissa Paul)
  • Pathemata in der urchristlichen Briefliteratur (Geeske Brinkmann)
  • Körperkonzeptionen in markinischen Heilungsgeschichten (Lena Nogossek)
  • Die hippokratische Schrift Über die inneren Krankheiten (Annette Schmidt)
  • Towards the earliest history of pneuma (Elizaveta Shcherbakova)


PhD projects completed:
  • Aetius of Amida on Diseases of the Brain and Mental Illness. An Analysis of Chapters 3-10 of the Sixth Book of his Libri Medicinales with Introduction, Translation and Commentary (Ricarda Gäbel) (completed 2018)
  • Krankheit und deren Behandlung in Sophronios von Jerusalems Wundern der Heiligen Kyros und Johannes (Wolfgang Häfele) (completed 2018)
  • Centering on Life: Aristotle on Youth and Old Age, on Life and Death, and on Respiration, chs. 1-6: Translation, Commentary and Interpretive Essays (Georgia Maria Korobili) (completed 2017)
  • Theory and Terminology of Mixture in Galen. Krasis and Mixis in Galen’s thought (Claudia Mirrione) (completed 2017)
  • Medical papyri from Antinoopolis: a case study in late antique medicine (Francesca Corazza) (completed 2016)
  • Les troubles de l’âme selon Galien (Julien Devinant), co-tutelle with Université de Paris IV Sorbonne (completed 2016)
  • Pleasure and Pain in Context: Aristotle’s Dialogues with his Contemporaries (Wei Cheng) (completed 2015)
  • Galen, De locis affectis I-II: Kritische Ausgabe, Übersetzung und Kommentar (Florian Gärtner) (completed 2014)
  • Mapping Body and Soul. Alexander of Aphrodisias on the Bodily Location of Soul in the Heart (Jakub Deuretzbacher, co-supervised with Prof. Dominik Perler, HU Berlin) (completed 2014)
  • Praecepta: Vorschriften zur medizinischen Deontologie. Edition, Übersetzung, Kommentar (Giulia Ecca) (completed 2014)
  • Praxagoras of Cos on Pulse, Pneuma and the Arteries and his Role in the Development of Ancient Medicine (Orly Lewis) (completed 2014)
  • Aristotle’s Concept of Perception as a Mean (Roberto Grasso, co-supervised with Prof. Theodore Scaltsas, Edinburgh) (completed 2013)
  • Rhétorique et thérapeutique dans le De Medicina de Celse (Aurélien Gautherie, co-supervised with Prof. Yves Lehmann, Université de Strasbourg) (completed 2012)
  • Medicine, Science and Spin: Rhetorical Strategies and Generic Constraints in the Galenic Corpus (Todd Curtis) (completed 2009)
  • Thales von Milet im Kontext. Zur Geschichte seiner Darstellungen in den lateinischen und griechischen Textzeugnissen christlicher Autoren des 2.-6. Jh. n. Chr. (Andreas Schwab, co-supervised with Georg Wöhrle, University of Trier) (completed 2009)
  • Concepts and Treatments of Phrenitis in Ancient Medicine (Glenda McDonald) (completed 2009)
  • Sleep and Dreams in Ancient Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis (Maithe Hulskamp) (completed 2008)
  • Aisthesis polytropos. Teorie e rappresentazioni della percezione sensoriale e della cognizione negli scritti della Collezione Ippocratica (Roberto Lo Presti, co-supervised with Valeria Andò, University of Palermo) (completed 2008)
  • Aristotle on the Role of Nature in Human Ethical Development (Sarah Francis) (completed 2006)
  • Prudentius, Contra Symmachum, Book II: Introduction, Translation, Commentary (Michael Brown) (completed 2003)
  • Medical Care for the Roman Army on the Rhine, Danube and British Frontiers in the First, Second and Early Third Centuries AD (Patricia Baker) (completed 2001)


Membership of editorial boards, panels etc.

  • General Editor of the “Cambridge Galen Translations” (CUP)
  • Editorial Board of the “Studies in Ancient Medicine” (Brill)
  • Advisory Board (“Beirat”) of the Project “Galen als Vermittler, Interpret und Vollender der antiken Medizin”, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (2011-)
  • Editorial Board of “Aristoteles in Nederlandse vertaling” (Historische Uitgeverij)
  • Member of the “Vorstand” of the Excellence Cluster TOPOI - Concepts of Space and Knowledge in the Ancient World, Berlin (2011-)
  • Member of the Committee “Grundlagenforschung der alten Welt”, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (2011-)
  • Member of the “Zentrumsrat” of the August-Boeckh-Antikezentrum, Humboldt University Berlin (2010-)
  • Member of the Advisory Board (“Beirat”) of the  of the Project “Die alexandrinische und antiochenische Bibelexegese in der Spätantike” (Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften) (2011-)
  • Editorial Board of “Medical History”
  • Editorial Board of “Collana Pleiadi”
  • Editorial Board of Science, Technology and Medicine in Ancient Cultures (De Gruyter), (2012–)


Recent Media Coverage