Conference: Globalisation in Ancient Judaism and Christianity: Theory and Practice

12 until 14 July 2021

Over the past two decades, theories of globalisation have come to play an increasingly prominent role in the study of the Roman world. In this light, the near absence of globalisation theories in the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity is striking. This conference aims to foster globalisation thinking in the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity.

About the conference

Over the past two decades, theories of globalisation have come to play an increasingly prominent role in the study of the Roman world. Building on the work of social scientists such as Roland Robertson and Jan Nederveen Pieterse, archaeologists and ancient historians have explored both the various manifestations of ancient globalisation and the theoretical gain of the concept vis-à-vis other approaches, such as Romanisation or post-colonial theories.

In this light, the near absence of globalisation theories from the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity is striking. As ancient Judaism and Christianity are among the best-documented local—or glocal?—traditions in the Roman world, they hold a high potential to shed light on how the Roman Empire functioned as a global space. Moreover, the increased unease in adjacent fields with approaches still popular in the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity (e.g., post-colonialism) challenges scholars of ancient Judaism and Christianity to engage with broader interdisciplinary debates on globalisation. Hence, this conference aims to foster globalisation thinking in the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity. Papers may focus on either of two themes, or both:

1. Theoretical Reflection on Globalisation

To explore the usefulness of globalisation theories for the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity, we invite participants to reflect on the theoretical risks and gains of these theories. Questions may include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the problems that come with the application of theories designed for the modern world to ancient Judaism and Christianity? What may be gains of such applications?
  • What are the advantages and distinctive traits of globalisation theories in comparison to other theoretical frameworks, such as post-colonial approaches, centre-periphery thinking, or network models?
  • What do we mean exactly when we talk about globalisation in the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity? Which modern globalisation thinkers may be most helpful to answer the questions we pose to the ancient Jewish and Christian sources?

2. Practices that Trigger Globalisation

We invite participants to explore the contribution of practices in ancient Judaism and Christianity to processes of globalisation in these traditions. Such practices may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Letter writing
  • Travel
  • Pilgrimage
  • Translation

Programme

You can download the full programme.

Register

The conference will take place online via Zoom. If you register via the form, you will have direct access to the link and login for the meeting.

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