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Meaning between the lines: allegory and hermeneutics in Greek imperial and late antique literature -


In the first centuries of the common era, allegorical readings of Greek literature became increasingly commonplace. Canonical works such as the Homeric and Hesiodic poems or the Platonic dialogues were increasingly subjected to interpretations that uncovered hidden meanings and deeper truths under the surface of the text, such as those of Porphyry and Heraclitus. These methods of reading, under the influence of the rhetorical curriculum and developments in philosophy and mysticism, inspired contemporary writers and poets to imbue their own works with (quasi-) allegorical elements. Allegory could be used, for instance, as a tool to convey knowledge that could not be adequately expressed in language, to covertly express political criticisms, or as a means of meta-literary reflection. At the same time, Greek theories and practices of allegoresis influenced the development of Jewish and early Christian Biblical hermeneutics, as exemplified by, for example, Philo of Alexandra and Origen.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 06-07/02/2020

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Alexandra Madeła, Guy Walker and Sean McGrath (Trinity College Dublin)





13:15 Registration and Welcome

13:50 Opening Remarks

14:00 Svetla Slaveva-Griffin (Florida State University): “Every Soul is Aphrodite:” Allegory of Love in Plotinus and Heliodorus

14:40 Joanna Komorowska (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University): Homer the astrologian: reading astrology into the Iliad

15:20 Alexandra Madeła (Trinity College Dublin): Argo, Argos, and Athena: Reading the Gods in the Argonautica by Ps-Orpheus

16:00 Break

16:30 Keynote address: Peter Struck (University of Pennsylvania): Revisiting Porphyry’s Philosophy from Oracles

19:00 Conference Dinner


10:00 Manolis Spanakis (University of Cyprus): Origen’s Allegorical Exegesis in the Metaphrasis Psalmorum by Ps.-Apollinarius

10:40 Benjamin de Vos (Ghent University): Achilles and Polyxene as Adam and Eve: an original allegorical reading of the ‘Trojan’ mythology in the Jewish-Christian Pseudo-Clementine novel (4th c.)

11:20 Halima Benchikh-Lehocine (ENS de Lyon): The Giants in Nonnus of Panopolis’ Dionysiaca: functions and issues of an allegory

12:00 Lunch

13:00 Sean McGrath (Trinity College Dublin): Food for thought: gluttony as an allegorical motif in Oppian's Halieutica

13:40 Marine Glénisson (Sorbonne Université): Bad interpreter or expert reader? Lucian’s strategies of self-promotion through allegorical interpretation

14:20 William Winning (University of Cambridge): The concept of allegory in Heraclitus’ Homeric Problems

15:00 Break

15:30 Guy Walker (Trinity College Dublin): Nonnus’ Cave of the Nymphs

16:10 Fotini Hadjittofi (University of Lisbon): Symbol and Allegory in Quintus Smyrnaeus’ Posthomerica

16:50 Oliver Schelske (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich): Neoplatonists and their poetry

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