Meelis Friedenthal defended his doctoral thesis on medieval Aristotelianism and moral theology at the University of Tartu in 2008. From 2014-2015, Friedenthal was a Lichtenberg-Kolleg Fellow at the University of Göttingen, studying religious tolerance in the early modern period. From 2015-2020, Friedenthal was a Pro Futura Scientia Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala, researching metaphysics in university disputations. In 2017-2018, Friedenthal was a visiting fellow at the Max Weber College in Erfurt. He is currently Associate Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Tartu Library and the University of Tartu, where his main research topic is the intellectual history of the Baltic Sea region in the 17th century.
In connection with and in addition to his academic work, Friedenthal has published four novels, a collection of short stories and written plays. His novels blend speculative fiction and magical historicism, exploring the intellectual history of different eras. His novel The Willow King won the EU Prize for Literature in 2013 and has been since translated into 15 languages.