Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):
Postgraduate workshop on Religion and Identity in the Ancient World, 22nd-
23rd April 2010 Durham University
This postgraduate workshop, hosted by Durham University’s Centre for the
Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East (CAMNE) on 22nd -
23rd April 2010 in Durham University’s Theology department, will explore
the extent to which religion influenced identity in the ancient world. The
aim is to stimulate interdisciplinary discussion of the issue: we
therefore invite contributions from theologians, classicists and
archaeologists, and indeed anyone else with an interest in religion and
identity in the ancient world.
The construction of an identity is influenced by many factors: linguistic,
cultural, geographical, political and historical, amongst others. In
today’s world, religion is a defining factor in the identities of
millions. Even in self-consciously secular societies, the remnants of
religious influence can still be seen in political and architectural
landscapes. From towering cathedrals and mosques to the horse and cart of
the Amish, there are many ways in which religion can influence identity.
The same diversity is also found throughout the ancient world.
Heads of state from the Egyptian Pharaoh to the Roman Emperor were not
merely political figures, but also occupied pivotal roles in state
religions, and were therefore fundamental in the religious identities of
their subjects. However, such figures existed alongside much more personal
and local beliefs which had an equally powerful influence on the religious
identities of individuals. The story of Israel on the other hand, while
equally varied, is of a nation whose ‘head of state’ is not an earthly
figure, but God himself. Differently again, early Christianity quickly cut
across social, ethnic and political boundaries by offering a new identity
through relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you would like to present a paper, please submit a short abstract of
ca. 150 words detailing your topic to p.j.alpass AT dur.ac.uk by Monday 8th
March. Contributors will be invited to include their papers in an
electronic volume of the workshop proceedings. There are some grants
available towards the cost of transport, and accommodation is provided for
those coming from UK institutions.
Peter Alpass, Ed Kaneen and Donald Murray