The Reception History of the Biblical and Patristic Heritage: Reflections on Theory and Method in a Burgeoning Field of Study

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Miriam DeCock


Aarhus University


DKK 60,000






This is a three-day international workshop, which will take place at Aarhus University in affiliation with Aarhus University's Center for the Study of Antiquity and Christianity in the Department of Theology. The presenters will each present a case study from their research in which they examine how thinkers and communities, from Late Antiquity to the modern period, understood and made use of biblical and early Christian texts in their new contexts. We will reflect together, based on our various case studies, on how best to conduct such research given the challenges of working with ancient material as people of the twenty-first century. We will also dedicate significant time to discussing why our respective fields of theology, classics, and history are asking such questions today.


This workshop is important because there is a lack of intentional discussion about how we approach the historical reception of the biblical and early Christian traditions. This we will do as a group of interdisciplinary and international scholars. This reflection will be done based on cutting edge work that is being conducted by early career scholars from some of the world's top research institutions. However, the voices of well-respected senior scholars will be part of the conversation. Furthermore, it is of no little importance that we are dealing with subject material that is being used by groups with right-wing and populist ideologies. We therefore will have the opportunity to reflect on why this is the case, and how responsible historical scholars might offer alternative narratives.


This research is already underway as the various international contributors work independently on their own contributions to be presented in June. At the workshop itself, each of the presenters will have approximately an hour devoted to their research. They will present a summary, receive detailed feedback from an already selected respondent (a senior scholar in the field), and then there will be a subsequent discussion of the work with the entire group of researchers. Key insights from the workshop will be drawn together by a selected senior reception history scholar to conclude the workshop. Participants will then have 3-4 months to rework and edit their contributions based on our discussions and the feedback they received at the workshop. The essays will then be collected and published.

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