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Eschatology and Apocalypse in Graeco-Roman Literature - 01-02-03/06/2017, Cambridge (England)

Unlike other ancient traditions, the literature of Greece and Rome does not develop a mythology of the End of Days. Its few philosophical texts that explicitly address the question of whether the world will end, and the place of humans in such scenarios, are, however, only one part of the story of eschatological thinking in antiquity. Images of our collective future, like images of our past, are motivated by constructions of the present, and may be spun different ways to make different points, with explicit or implied consequences for our current place in the world. Various rhetorical functions of adopting an ‘apocalyptic’ mode, such as consolation for death, subversion of tyrannical powers, revelation of ‘scientific’ truths, or satire of religious clichés, emerge through framing and form as well as content. They contribute not so much to a thesis as to a discourse.

This conference aims to explore such a discourse in Graeco-Roman literary culture, focusing on ancient texts in which a revelation of a collective destiny plays a significant role. We shall consider both ‘cosmic revelations’ and ‘looking to the end of history’ as aspects of apocalyptic eschatology in material from the Greek and Roman worlds; through highlighting such rhetoric, we aim to shed fresh light on a variety of ancient authors, from Aeschylus and Plato to Lucretius and Seneca; we will also consider Jewish pseudepigraphical texts and early Christian expositions which thrive on tensions between the working out of divine plans already made and semi-revealed to mortals, and the irruption of the heavenly into the earthly world.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 01-02-03/06/2017

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Craven Seminar, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, England)


INFO: web - -

INSCRIPCIÓN/REGISTRATION/REGISTRAZIONE: Inscripción online / registration online / registrazione online

Normal / regular / normale: £35

Estudiantes / students / studenti: £30

fecha límite / deadline / scadenza: 26/05/2017


THURSDAY, June 1 2:00-2.15 Welcome/introduction [Richard Hunter] FOCUS 1 - Greek political and parodic eschatologies Chair: Richard Hunter 2:15-3.15 Richard Seaford (Exeter) Eschatology and the polis: the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Aeschylus, and Aristophanes 3:15-4:15 Helen Van Noorden (Cambridge) Sibylline apocalypse(s) 4:15-4:45 Coffee Chair: Tim Whitmarsh 4:45-5:45 Rebecca Lämmle (Cambridge) Last Laughs Chair: Helen Van Noorden 5:45-6:30 Junior scholars' presentations: Jonathan Griffiths (Heidelberg) Ancient philosophical speculation on world-destruction: the case of Aristotle, On Philosophy frs. 18, 19a-c Dominic Bärsch (Mainz) To pray or not to pray for the End: Tertullian's Statements about the End of the World 6:30 Reception in Cast Gallery, Faculty of Classics (attendance must be registered in advance) FRIDAY, June 2 FOCUS 2- Roman prophets and world history Chair: Emma Gee 9:00-10:00 Katharina Volk (Columbia) Not the End of the World? Omens and Prophecies at the Fall of the Roman Republic 10:00-11:00 Alessandro Schiesaro (Manchester) Virgil's underworld between Lucretius and Freud 11:00-11:30 Coffee Chair: Helen Van Noorden 11:30-12:30 Elena Giusti (Cambridge) The End is the Beginning is the End: Apocalyptic Beginnings in Augustan Poetry 12:30-2:00 LUNCH BREAK FOCUS 3- Revelations of individual and universal destiny Chair: Gábor Betegh 2:00-3:00 Christoph Riedweg (Zurich) Pythagorean ideas about the afterlife 3:00-4:00 Alex Long (St Andrews) Platonic myths, the soul and its intra-cosmic future 4:00-4:30 Coffee Chair: Ingo Gildenhard 4:30-5:30 Francesca Romana Berno (La Sapienza) Lucretius, Nero, and the End of the World in Seneca 5:30-6:30 Katharine Earnshaw (Exeter) Lucanian eschatology: from bones to the stars 8:00 Conference dinner, local restaurant (£35, must be booked in advance) SATURDAY, June 3 FOCUS 4 - Influence on Christian thought Chair: Richard Hunter 10:00-11:00 Catherine Pickstock (Cambridge) Christian apocalypse as a version of Platonic philosophy 11:00-11:30 Coffee 11:30-12:30 Stephen Oakley (Cambridge) The Tiburtine Sibyl 12:30-1:00 Discussion

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