Ideas and Identities in Late Antiquity: Jews, Christians, and Muslims

Ideas and Identities in Late Antiquity: Jews, Christians, and Muslims

A symposium organized by Maijastina Kahlos, Ilkka Lindstedt, Nina Nikki, and Riikka Tuori at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland, Monday–Tuesday, March 12–13, 2018.

The symposium will bring together scholars of late antique Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with a special emphasis on the scholarly comparison of the religious traditions and application of modern theory to ancient texts and social realities. The chronological range of the symposium is approximately from the first to the eighth centuries CE and the geographical pivot is the Near East.

The symposium will address questions such as: How did Jews formulate their identities during this period and, on the other hand, how are they portrayed in Christian and Muslim literatures? How did religious and literary texts construct and maintain in-group identities of the three religious communities? What is the function of various outsiders, such as “pagans” and the Qurʾānic mushrikūn (“associators”), in this process? How did the religious communities interact socially in light of archaeological evidence? From a cognitive point of view, which particularities of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim ideas were crucial for drawing the boundaries to other religious groups and, furthermore, help explain their success (or the lack thereof) during the late antique period?

Venue: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Fabianinkatu 24 a, 3rd floor Common Room

The symposium is open for students and researchers to participate as audience (no registration needed)


Monday, 12 March, 2018

9.45–10.00: Welcome & introductions

10.00–12.00: Session I

Raimo Hakola: Bi-Cultural Jewish and Christian Minority Identities in the Roman World

Antti Vanhoja: Rejection of Paul as a Means of Identity Construction – the Case of the Ebionites

Ulla Tervahauta: Violence, Ethnicity and Otherness in John Moschus’ Meadow: Christian and Jewish Identities in Byzantine Palestine

Nina Nikki: Discussant

1.30–3.00 PM: Session II

Holger Zellentin: Legal Hermeneutics and the Birth of Islam, Christianity and Judaism

Joonas Maristo & Anna-Liisa Tolonen: Maccabean Martyrs in Pharaoh’s Court? The Story of a Mother and Her Sons in Hadith Literature

Riikka Tuori: Discussant

3.00–4.00: Coffee break

4.00–6.00: Session III

Nicola Denzey Lewis: Discerning Religious Identities in Late Antique Rome: The Epigraphic Landscape

Eduard Iricinschi: Manichaeans and Christians in Fourth-Century Egypt: A Building-Block Approach to Understanding Hybrid Religious Identities

Antti Lampinen: A Merchant-Geographer’s Identity? Untangling the Layers of Religious Affinity in the Expositio totius mundi et gentium

Maijastina Kahlos: Discussant


Tuesday, 13 March, 2018

10.00–12.00: Session IV

Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila: Muslims, Sabians, or Zoroastrians? Defining the Place of Minority Religions in the Abbasid Empire

Janne Mattila: The School of al-Kindi and Sabianism

Abbas Bahmanpour: Shaykh Saduq (Ibn Babvayh): Tradionist or Reformer? Early Shiʿite Attitudes Towards the Quran

Jari Kaukua: Discussant

1.30–3.00: Session V

Iwona Gajda: TBA

Rick Bonnie: The Survival of Synagogues in Early Islamic Galilee

Kirsi Valkama: Discussant

3.00–4.00: Coffee break

4.00–6.00: Session VI

Maijastina Kahlos: Pagans and/or Christians? In Search for Local People in Fourth and Fifth Centuries

Mehdy Shaddel: From “False Pericopae” to “Satanic Verses”: The Doctrine of Scriptural Falsification between the pseudo-Clementina and the Quran

Ilkka Lindstedt: Jews, Christians, and Believers: Quran Surah 5 and Identity

Ismo Dunderberg: Discussant

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