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Faculty of Divinity







Religions of Late Antiquity Research seminar 

 Michaelmas Term  2023-24 





The Religions of Late Antiquity Seminar (formerly the Patristics Seminar) meets in even weeks of term.The seminar gathers graduate students, scholars and visiting scholars in the University interested in religions of late antiquity (Christianity, Judaism, cults of the Greco-Roman and near eastern worlds) and their interactions. It shares a common interest with the Cambridge Late Antiquity Network Seminars (CLANS), which engage with the late antique and early medieval periods from a range of disciplines and interdisciplinary perspectives (including Classics, History, Theology and Religious Studies). 



This term's topic is Biblical Paraphraseis as Literary and Exegetical Texts in Late Antiquity. Paraphrasis ('rephrasing') is a technical term used for the rewriting of a text with or without major adaptations that can result in another prose or even verse text. Early Christian authors  re-wrote, re-vised, and re-interpreted the canonical and apocryphal texts of the Old and the New Testament throughout imperial times both in prose and in verse. Some of the most extravagant paraphraseis in Late Antiquity are in classicizing (e.g. Homeric or Virgilian) meter and style. In doing so the paraphrasts re-interpreted the original text's theological meaning, provided  intriguing exegetical adaptations that reflected their contemporary theological debates, and simultaneously made those texts translatable in the cultural idiom of the educated Christian Roman elites.


16 October: Jeremiah Coogan (Berkeley) Eusebius's rewriting of the Fourfold Gospel [online]

30 October: Karla Pollmann (Tübingen):   Fake News or Thick Description of the Truth? Origen and Augustine on Literal versus Figurative Speech and Interpretation. [online]

6 November: Konstantinos Lygouris (Durham)The verse Paraphrasis of the Psalms of Ps-Apollinaris [online]

13 November: Matthew Crawford (Australian Catholic University): Tatian's Diatessaron between Rewritten Scripture and Cento: On the Origins of the Gospel Harmony Genre. [in person]

27 November: Laura Miguélez-Cavero (Madrid) The biblical hexametric paraphraseis of the Bodmer Papyrus  [online]


Most seminars will be online and/or hybrid between 14-15.30 on Mondays. Please contact me Dr Anna Lefteratou for the link.


All colleagues, undergraduate and postgraduate students, from within and outside the faculty, are warmly welcome.