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Secrets and Secrecy in Late Antiquity, Byzantium, and Early Islam - 26-27-28/07/2019, Bamberg (Germany)


Secrets and secrecy are key features in late-antique, Byzantine, and early Islamic literature. They can manifest as hidden knowledge or sanctity, as disguise or the veiling of intentions, as a physical and metaphorical absence, as the creation of new identities or even as alternative modes of existence. 


FECHA/DATE/DATA: 26-27-28/07/2019


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Otto-Friedrich-Universität (Bamberg, Germany)


ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Anne Alwis (Kent); Anis Ben Amor (Tunis); Kirill Dmitriev (St Andrews); Konstantin Klein (Bamberg). 


INFO: web -







Friday 26th July 2019

16:00   Registration

18:15   Welcome Address

18:30   Zachary Yuzwa (University of Saskatchewan) – “A Flower Among Thorns”: Hiddenness and Holiness in the Lives of Katherine Tekakwitha

20:00   Dinner for Speakers


Saturday 27th July 2019

9:00     Coffee and Registration

9:30     Introduction to the Conference


Session I

10:00   Benjamin Pohl (University of Bristol) – The Hidden Narrator

10:10   Stavroula Constantinou (University of Cyprus) – Authorship and Secrecy: The Hidden Agenda of a Fifth-Century Hagiographer

10:40   Kirill Dmitriev (University of St Andrews) – Secrecy as a Narrative Strategy in the Legend of Barlaam and Josaphat

11:10   Coffee


Session II

11:30   Jan-Markus Kötter (University of Düsseldorf) – Literary Absence

11:40   Lieve Van Hoof (Ghent University) – Self-Fashioning Through Secrets: The Years 363–388 in Libanius’ Letter Collection

12:10   Christa Gray (University of Reading) – Concealing the Body: Hidden Burials in Jerome’s Lives of Holy Men

12:40   Lunch for Speakers


Session III

14:00   Anne Alwis (University of Kent) – Lifting the Veil

14:10   Marlena Whiting (University of Amsterdam) – Secret Women. Female Pilgrims Disguised as Men in Early-Byzantine Hagiography

14:40   Laura Franco (Royal Holloway, London) – Between Concealment and Disguise: The Cases of the Cross-Dressing Saints Euphrosyne/Sma­ragdus (BHG 625) and Mary/Marinus (BHG 1163)

15:10   Coffee


Session IV

15:30   Dionysios Stathakopoulos (King’s College, London) – Secret Sanctity

15:40   Klazina Staat (Ghent University) – Late-Antique Latin Lives of Chaste Couples: Secrecy as a Strategy of Belief

16:10   Christodoulos Papavarnavas (University of Vienna) – Martyrdom and Secret Holiness: The Role Swap Between a Martyr and a Flute Player

16:40   Coffee


Session V

17:00   Leah Tether (University of Bristol) – Literary Discretion

17:10   Isabel Toral-Niehoff (Free University of Berlin) – The Gentle Art of Safeguarding Secrets. Confidentiality in Arabic Advice Literature

17:40   Lale Behzadi (University of Bamberg) – Al-Jāḥiẓ on the Difficulty of Keeping a Secret

18:30   City tour

20:00   Dinner for Speakers


Sunday 28th July

9:30     Coffee


Session VI

10:00   Jenny Oesterle (University of Heidelberg) – Secrecy and Knowledge

10:10   Georg Leube (University of Bayreuth) – Gnosis on the Via Dolorosa: The Scope of Hidden Meaning in Early and Classical Arabic-Islamic Historiographical Accounts of Ali’s March to Siffin

10:40   Enass Khansa (American University of Beirut) – The Concealed Gates of Heaven

11:10   Coffee


Session VII

11:30   Benjamin Gray (Birkbeck College, London) – Masquerading Voices

11:40   Tina Chronopoulos (Binghamton University, New York) – Ineffable Speeches in the Greek Lives of St Katherine of Alexandria

12:10   Klaus van Eickels (University of Bamberg) – Revealing Secrets: Assassinations Explained or Prevented by Letters in Crusading Historiography

12:40   Lunch for Speakers


Session VIII

14:00   Konstantin Klein (University of Bamberg) – Concealing Vision: Seen but not Heard

14:10   Julia Doroszewska (University of Warsaw) – Secrets of the Saints: Tricks and Disguises in the Saintly Apparitions of the Late-Antique Miracle Collections

14:40   James Corke-Webster (King’s College, London) – Seeing and Secrecy: Visibility and Martyrs

15:10   Break

15:20   Alexandra Vukovich (University of Oxford) – Final Conclusions

16:00   Walking tour 

20:00   Dinner for Speakers


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