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Annual Symposium of the Center for Ancient Studies: Divination in the Ancient World - 10-11-12/11/20

The belief in divination, the possibility of learning the future and/or the will of the god(s), is one that is prevalent throughout the world, in both ancient and modern times. In the past, scholars tended to avoid working on divination, which was looked down upon as superstition and not worthy of study. However, over the last few decades more and more scholars have become interested in this topic, realizing that it provided insights into the fears and belief systems of ancient peoples, and that it had real effects on how people acted. This conference brings together leading scholars to present and discuss original scholarship on divination in ancient societies across the world.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 10-11-12/11/2016

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA)


INFO: web


PROGRAMA/PROGRAM/PROGRAMMA: también disponible aquí /also available here/anche disponibile qui

Thursday, November 10 Penn Museum, Rainey Auditorium 6:00 – 7:30 pm Plenary Talk Philip Peek (Drew University) “African Divination Systems: Twins, Silence, and Ways of Knowing” Friday, November 11 Penn Museum, Rainey Auditorium 9:00 am – 12:50 pm Grant Frame and Annette Y. Reed (University of Pennsylvania)

Welcome and Introduction

Jean Turfa (Penn Museum) “Etruscan Divination: Not Just Sheep Livers Anymore!” Benjamin Anderson (Cornell University) “The Oracular Image: A Byzantine Invention?”


Ulla Susanne Koch (University of Copenhagen) “Divine Writing - Extispicy and Astrology in Mesopotamia” Toke Knudsen (SUNY Oneonta) “Signs Far and Near: Traditions of Divination in India” Edward Shaughnessy (University of Chicago) “Of Trees, a Son, and Kingship: Recovering the First Chinese Dream” 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm Robert Ritner (University of Chicago) “Private Divination and Public Oracles in Ancient Egypt” Isabel Cranz (University of Pennsylvania) “Biblical Discourse on Divination: Deuteronomy and the Holiness Code as Case Study” AnneMarie Luijendijk (Princeton University) “Christian Lot Books and Oracle Tickets in Greek and Coptic from Egypt”


Rachel Parikh (Harvard Art Museums) “‘There is No Sword Like Dhu’l Fiqar’: ‘Ali’s Weapon in Talismanic and Divinatory Practices of Islami c Arms and Armor” John Pohl (UCLA) “Thinking Outside the Book: Divination and Image Sorcery in Ancient Mexican Manuscripts”

Concluding Discussion and Remarks Saturday, November 12, 2016 Penn Museum 11:00 am – 11:30 am Peter Struck (University of Pennsylvania) “Divination and Intuition in Greek Antiquity” 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm Adam Smith (University of Pennsylvania) “Divination in Early China” 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Ann Guinan (Penn Museum, Consulting Scholar) “Omens of the Past: What Modern Culture Can Tell Us about Ancient Divination” As part of its event, A Celebration of Magic: Ancient and Modern, the Penn Museum will have fortunetellers, tarot card readers, and other diviners practicing their crafts throughout the day on Saturday, November 12.

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