CALL. 15.01.2018: [SESSION 1] Multiple Religious Identities in Late Antiquity – With a Focus on the
FECHA LÍMITE/DEADLINE/SCADENZA: 15/01/2018
FECHA CONGRESO/CONGRESS DATE/DATA CONGRESSO: 17-18-19-20-21/06/2018
LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Bern (Bern, Switzerland)
ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Mar Marcos; Alessandro Saggioro
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It is common to draw the religious landscape of Late Antiquity divided into three groups, pagans, Jews and Christians, clearly differentiated in their beliefs and rituals and represented as static and confronted communities. This perception is due to the enormous influence of Christian sources, which were committed to distancing themselves from the other groups and setting boundaries and clear-cut limits between them. The rhetoric of Christian texts, with its triumphalist tone, contributed significantly to the formation of a paradigm of difference and confrontation. As a result, scholarship has addressed the process of Christianization in terms of a dichotomy confronting Christians and pagans, on the one hand, and the various Christian factions on the other. The most recent historiography , however, has reappraised this paradigm by emphasizing the fluidity and plurality of Late Antique religious identities and stressing the areas of overlap, osmosis and loans between the different religious groups(e.g. Brown and Lizzi Testa 2011; Rebillard 2012; Salzman, Sághy, and Lizzi Testa 2016). The construction of individual and collective identities (Schott 2008; Rebillard and Rüpke 2015), the individual appropriation of religion (Rüpke 2016), and the strategies to solve conflict and reach compromise (Fear, Fernández Ubiña, and Marcos 2013) are some of the key subject-matters addressed in recent scholarship to interpret the complex patchwork of ancient religious identity building.
The aim of this panel is to examine the multiple religious identities in Late Antiquity with a focus on individuals. It seeks to explore a series of questions. To what extent was it possible to make a religious choice of one’s own, outside the social group of belonging? How did individuals feel, define and express their religious identity? Which were the itineraries followed in the search for a religious identity? What were the processes and mechanisms of changing religious affiliation? What weight did coercion have in the change of one’s religion? What was the relative weight of acts of individual choice or change in the structures of the state in the process of Christianization? What was the role of local religious authorities in mediating individual volition? To what extent do the narratives of the conversion process allow individual versus collective choices to be singled out? What was the role of proselytizing and teaching in the change of religious identity? And how much, in the last instance, did the change of religion affect the dynamics of the individual’s daily life?
Peter Brown and Rita Lizzi Testa (eds.), Pagans and Christians in the Roman Empire: The Breaking of a Dialogue (IV th –VI th Century A.D.). Proceedings of the International Conference at the Monastery of Bose (October 2008). Wien: Lit, 2011.
Andrew T. Fear, José Fernández Ubiña, and Mar Marcos (edd.), The Role of the Bishop in Late Antiquity. Conflict and Compromise. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.
Éric Rebillard, Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity: North Africa, 200– 450 CE. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012.
Éric Rebillard and Jörg Rüpke, (ed.) Group Identity and Religious Individuality in Late Antiquity. CUA studies in early Christianity. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2015.
Jörg Rüpke, On Roman Religion: Lived Religion and the Individual in Ancient Rome. Townsend lectures / Cornell studies in classical philology. Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 2016.
Michel Salzman, Marian Sághy, and Rita Lizzi Testa (edd.), Pagans and Christians in Late Antique Rome: Conflict, Competition, and Coexistene in the Fourth Century. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
Jeremy M. Schott, Christianity, Empire, and the Making of Religion in Late Antiquity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.