AcA-Conference 14th and 15th November 2014
Ancient Jewish and Christian Apocalypses.
Transfer of Knowledge and Genre Definition
Concept of the Conference
Would a specific genre implicate the transfer of particular knowledge inventories?
The Conference intends to address the question of how far the literary genre “apocalypse” promoted specific domains of knowledge, such as eschatology, soteriology, angelology, demonology but also ecclesiology, ethics and anthropology in Late Antiquity and thus exercised a deep influence on Jewish and Christian concepts of afterlife. The question of the definition of the genre “apocalypse” is central in this context. Using the phenomenological definition introduced by John J. Collins in 1979 as an orientation tool, 54 apocalyptic texts were chosen. These ancient texts, written up to the middle of the 8th century CE, were distributed among 40 philologists, theologians and scholars of ancient studies and a new examination of the texts was requested, in order to study and analyze anew the knowledge inventories that they contain. The expected result of this experiment is not only a new translation and commentary of all ancient apocalypses, but primarily a new classification of the knowledge inventories that are to be found in the selected texts, as well as their allocation in specific categories of knowledge.
In order to support this outcome, all the collaborating partners will be invited to discuss the texts within the frame of a two days conference. Thereby, not only should the underlying definition of the apocalypse be tackled anew on the basis of an examination and application to each of the selected texts, but also a new approach to the scholarly distinction between early and late apocalypticism should be elaborated. The inventories of apocalyptic, revealed knowledge that are included in each of the texts should be further investigated with respect to the question as to how far these inventories are transformed by their inclusion in the genre “apocalypse”.
Next to the key note lectures by John J. Collins, Adela Yarbro Collins and Martha Himmelfarb, the conference will be structured in four units: 1. Definition of Apocalypse; 2. Transfer of Knowledge; 3. Relation between Jewish and Christian Apocalypticism and 4. Relation between Primary and Secondary Apocalypticism. Each of the participants should present her or his allocated text in at least one of the four units and answer the proposed questions in a short talk. It is expected that at the end of the conference a modified definition of apocalypse will emerge, as well as a differentiated catalogue of ancient knowledge inventories of early and late apocalyptic texts.