Bonnet researches the history and religion of the ancient Mediterranean. "Beginning with her dissertation published in 1988, Corinne Bonnet has done cutting-edge research at the border between two usually separate fields," explained Prof. Dr. Jörg Rüpke, deputy director of the Max-Weber-Kolleg, in his laudation. "On the one hand, she has presented fundamental research on the Phoenician world with its diasporic settlements in the area of the western Mediterranean, the Punic, geographically extending from Tyre to Gibraltar - her first work on the myths and cult of Melqart is still today, 30 years after its publication, the definitive reference work for this field. On the other hand, she has examined the Greek world in its colonial outreach. In doing so, she has presented groundbreaking work on processes of cultural and religious exchange in the Mediterranean in a 'longue durée' perspective that begins with the early first millennium BC (in part dating back to the Bronze Age) and continues into the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
In her research, Bonnet repeatedly emphasized the special role of rituals as well as entire cultures, myths and other intercultural mediation processes, Rüpke continued: "The originality of her approach consists in the comparison and synopsis of Greek and Middle Eastern sources, of archaeological and textual material, of polytheism and monotheism, of history and the history of science. In the latter area in particular, she is considered a world leader, "not least because of her enormous productivity, but also because of her ability to convince and motivate colleagues and young scholars to pay more attention to this area.
In doing so, the scholar of religious studies deliberately seeks international exchange. In Erfurt, for example, she helped to design and run an "International Spring School" on the history of science. In 2016 she was elected to the Academia Europaea. In the same year she received an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), where she is a Principal Investigator in the project "Mapping Ancient Polytheisms: Cult Epithets as an Interface between Religious Systems and Human Agency". Bonnet is also active in the scientific advisory board of the "Villa Vigoni", a German-Italian centre of European excellence.
Jörg Rüpke: "We are pleased to honour this important researcher and her extensive oeuvre by awarding her an honorary doctorate and to strengthen her ties with the University of Erfurt".