A Conference on
"The Christian Moses: From Philo to the Qur'an"
Thursday, May 31 - June 3, 2012
The Theme of the Conference
Our central question is, how did early Christians (down to the seventh century CE) use traditions associated with Moses? Jewish traditions, both antecedent and contemporary, especially important for an understanding of the Christian use, will also be explored. Similarly, Qur’anic and other early Islamic references to Moses will be relevant to an understanding of the topic. We hope that the conference will interest scholars of Hellenistic and Rabbinic Judaism, New Testament studies, Greek and Latin patristics, Syriac and Coptic studies, Islamic studies, art history, and popular religion.
The conference is supported by a grant from the Eugene and Emily Grant Family Foundation of New York.
Daniel Boyarin, Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley: “Moses and Jesus Against the Pharisees: Why Mark Isn’t Paul."
Author of A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (1994) and Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (2004), Professor Boyarin has more recently published Socrates and the Fat Rabbis (2009), and awaits the appearance of his study of the evangelist Mark, The Jewish Gospel.
Paula Fredriksen, Aurelio Professor Emerita of Scripture, Boston University; Distinguished Visiting Professor, Hebrew University, Jerusalem: “Against the Manichaean Moses: Augustine on Moses and the Torah.”
An historian of ancient Christianity in the Roman period, Professor Fredriksen is the author, most recently, of Augustine and the Jews (2010) and Sin: The Early History of an Idea (to appear in 2012).
Robin Jensen, Luce Chancellor’s Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship, Department of Art History and Divinity School, Vanderbilt University: “Moses and the Christian ‘New Moses’ in Early Christian Visual Art.”
Author of Understanding Early Christian Art (2000) and Face to Face: The Portrait of the Divine in Early Christianity (2005), Professor Jensen has developed a particular interest in representations of baptism, publishing Living Water: The Art and Architecture of Ancient Christian Baptism (2011) and awaiting the appearance of Image of Baptism: Ritual, Visual, and Theological Dimensions of Christian Initiation. She has collaborated with J. Patout Burns in Devotion, Discipline, and Dissent: Ancient Christianity in North Africa (to appear shortly) and is now working on a monograph Epiphanic Aspects of Early Christian Art, based on her 2009 Gunning Lectures at Edinburgh.
Naomi Koltun-Fromm, Department of Religion, Haverford College: “The Image of Moses in Early Syriac Tradition.”
Dr Koltun-Fromm published in 2010 her Hermeneutics of Holiness: Ancient Jewish and Christian Notions of Sexuality and Religious Community. She continues to develop her interest in the interchanges and parallels, both historical and exegetical, between Syriac Christianity and rabbinic Judaism in fourth-century Persian Mesopotamia. She is currently on sabbatical leave in Jerusalem, refocusing those interests as part of a new project on late antique religious representations of Jerusalem.
Richard Layton, Department of Religion, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: "A New Classic: The Making of Moses as a Model Author."
Author of Didymus the Blind and His Circle in Late-Antique Alexandria (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2004), Dr Layton has focused primarily on the growth of an Alexandrian school tradition from the third to the sixth centuries, publishing essays on the problem of literal interpretation in Didymus (forthcoming in Ruth Clements (ed.), New Approaches to the Study of Biblical Interpretation) and Origen (in Lorenzo DiTomasso and Lucian Turcescu (eds), The Reception and Interpretation of the Bible in Late Antiquity, 2008). This focus on school tradition also informs his recent addresses on the construction of Moses as an exemplary teacher from Philo to Procopius of Gaza.
Ellen Muehlberger, Departments of Near Eastern Studies and History, University of Michigan: “Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Moses and Evagrian Ascetic Traditions.”
Dr Muehlberger’s interests range over a number of religious and intellectual traditions in antiquity including research in the Coptic and Syriac fields and in method and theory in the study of religion generally—witness recent publications in the Journal of Early Christian Studies, the Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods, and Vigiliae Christianae. Her current project, Angels in Late Ancient Christianity, compares the attitudes of urban Christian intellectuals with those of ascetic communities. She is now starting on a new project that examines shifting Christian notions of death during late antiquity.
John Reeves, Blumenthal Professor of Judaic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte: “Moses on the Margins: Eschatology and Demonization.”
Professor Reeves published in 1996 Heralds of That Good Realm: Syro-Mesopotamian Gnosis and Jewish Traditions and more recently (2005) Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic: A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalypse Reader. He awaits the imminent appearance of his Prolegomena to a History of Islamicate Manichaeism, which illustrates well his enduring interest in the complex religious antecedents to Islam.
The registration fee will be $80 ($60 for students), and will cover the Thursday evening full buffet, breakfast daily and lunch on Friday and Saturday, refreshments at lecture venues during the day, and distributed materials. In addition, a cafeteria and other eateries are available on campus. Evening meals will not be provided, but recommendations and instructions will be circulated, listing the wide range of restaurants available within easy Metro distance. Take this opportunity to sample, in one another's company, what DC has to offer. The University is served by the Red Line's Brookland station immediately adjacent to the campus. For your registration form, please click on the link immediately above.
Simple but recently refurbished hall-of-residence accommodation on campus will be available for speakers at a rate of $70 per night (which will include all bedding, linen, and towels). Showers and toilets are provided in what will be gender-specific corridors. Special needs can be met. Others attending from outside Washington should make their own arrangements, and if you would like information about what is available nearby, please contact the Administrative Coordinator (see below) after March 12: we shall be delighted to send you a list by email attachment.
All papers delivered at the conference (which may be extended and revised) will be considered for inclusion in a volume published by the Catholic University of America Press as part of the Center's "CUA Studies in Early Christianity" series. Acceptance of a shorter paper for delivery, however, is not an automatic guarantee of publication.
Please address all inquiries in the first instance to the Administrative Coordinator of the Center, Mrs Lola Lastrapes (firstname.lastname@example.org). You are welcome also to contact the conference organizers, Professor Philip Rousseau (email@example.com) and Dr Janet Timbie (firstname.lastname@example.org). We look forward to welcoming you to The Catholic University of America.
|* Image Credits: Moses and The Burning Bush Mosaic, St Catherine's Monastery, Sinai Reproduced by agreement with freechristimages.org|