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Workshop II


Visions of the End: Apocalypticism and Eschatology in the Abrahamic Religions (6th – 8th cent. C.E.)

Oxford, 18-20. March 2013

Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall (http://www.lmh.ox.ac.uk/)

The International Workshop: “Visions of the End: Apocalypticism and Eschatology in the Abrahamic Religions (6th – 8th cent. C.E.)” aims at the interdisciplinary study of apocalyptic concepts that characterized the Abrahamic religions in the Eastern provinces and in the margins of the Byzantine Empire between the sixth and the eighth centuries C.E.

The workshop is held in collaboration with the NWO Project “Beyond the Fathers: Mapping Christian Intellectual and Artistic Activities under Early Byzantine and Islamic rules (5th-8th centuries)” directed by Hagit Amirav (VU University of Amsterdam) and with the ERC Project “Defining Belief and Identities in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Role of Interreligious Debate and Interaction” directed by Yannis Papadogianakis (King’s College, London).

It seeks to shed light on the history and evolution of apocalyptic literary traditions in the context of the Abrahamic religions. Apocalyptic writings from that period present important sources for the history of apocalypticism as well as the history of the relations between the Abrahamic religions. This time-period, the period of the rapid expansion and establishment of Islamic rule, is, also the period, when the first encounters of the three Abrahamic religions take place. It is significant that the earliest literary encounters of Christians and Jews with Islam are expressed through the medium of apocalyptic literature. The Workshop will focus on the apocalyptic literary production of that era. Despite of their differences in language, geographical provenance, dating and often also literary form apocalyptic writings share certain common apocalyptic motifs and traditions. Furthermore, they address a wide range of contemporary historical, political, and social issues. Apocalyptic and eschatological ideas were also expressed in a variety of literary genres, such as historiography, erotapokriseis, exegetical, astrological and poetical works, etc, which will also be taken into consideration.

A particular focus of the Workshop will be on the discussion of specific eschatological motifs. It will be examined how old categories are developed and transformed. Moreover, similarities and differences in eschatological concepts of the Abrahamic religious traditions will be investigated. Finally, the Workshop intends to contribute to a better understanding of the shaping of Islamic apocalyptic symbolism as well.

The Workshop communications will include discussions of Greek Byzantine, Syriac, Armenian and Ethiopic apocalyptic traditions, Jewish and Christian apocalypticism in the post-Islamic era, millennaristic ideas in the seventh century, Zoroastrian and Manichaean apocalypticism, as well as the possible apocalyptic background of the genesis of Islam and issues of Qur’anic eschatology.

Confirmed speakers include: Jane Baun, Sebastian Brock, Averil Cameron, Albert de Jong, Lutz Greisiger, Christopher Melchert, Yannis Papadogiannakis, Istvan Perczel, Nicolai Sinai, Helen Spurling, Robert Thomson, Emmanouela Grypeou.

The Workshop will conclude with a round-table discussion led by the main participants of the NWO-project, with Hagit Amirav (chair), Guy Stroumsa, Istvan Perczel and Emmanouela Grypeou.

> Programme