CFP: Reframing Wisdom Literature

Reframing Wisdom Literature: Problematising Literary and Religious Interactions in Ancient Wisdom Texts 

Postgraduate Conference
Department of Classics, King’s College London, 30th-31st May 2019 
 
Keynote speaker: Prof. Dimitri Gutas, Yale University 
Organisers: Sara De Martin and Anna Lucia Furlan

Introduction 

The label ‘wisdom literature’ has been a focus of contemporary scholarly debate centring on issues of categorisation and definition. In particular, its application to Mesopotamian texts has recently been problematised (cf. Lambert 1996: 1-2; scholarship overview in Cohen 2013: 8-12). This conference will explore whether and how similar questioning should lead us to rethink the traditional and deep-seated applications of this label to the so-called ‘wisdom books’ of the Hebrew Bible (Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes) and to Greek texts (such as Hesiod, Theognis and Phocylides). Another problem deserving consideration is the juxtaposing of other labels such as ‘advice’ and ‘didactic literature’ to the tag ‘wisdom literature’. This eventually takes us to the central issues of the status of ‘wisdom literature’ as a genre, its oral origins, and its perception and circulation in antiquity. It is with the aim of bringing these problems to the surface, and reframing the debate about them, that this conference intends to approach ‘wisdom literature’. 

Focus and aims of the conference  

With this postgraduate conference we aim at exploring and dissecting the intertwining of literary and religious elements in texts that are normally labelled as ‘wisdom literature’. The Pseudo-Phocylidea was the work that inspired this conference, as ‘in the dynamics of its textual interactions, the poem evidences what may be called a principle of dual referentiality, integrating elements from two distinct referential fields, the literature of Hellenistic Jewish morality and the literature of classical Greek poetics’ (Wilson 2005: 14). Indeed, we seek to investigate whether and how, in general, a dual religious-literary referentiality is a constitutive aspect of those texts traditionally considered as ‘wisdom’ texts. We are interested in looking at how this integration embodies the ‘cumulative’ character of wisdom, and we finally aim to consider how such an approach can contribute to the debate concerning the status of ‘wisdom literature’ as a genre. 

To foster discussion on these themes, we invite papers that explore the integration of religious elements and literary echoes in wisdom texts dated from the Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations to Late Antiquity, while engaging with the definition and application of the label ‘wisdom literature’. We are particularly interested in contributions that reflect on cross-fertilisation and transcultural influences. 

The aim of the two-day conference is to create a fruitful and synergic environment for debate by bringing together postgraduates and early career researchers from across the UK and abroad working on, or interested in, ancient wisdom literature. Speakers will receive detailed feedback from advanced academics, and attendants, getting insights from experts in a range of fields of study, which will broaden their own perspective on ancient wisdom and its literary products. 

Suggested topics  

Suggested fields and topics include but are not limited to: 

  • the Near-Eastern and Mesopotamian traditions  
  • Egyptian ‘wisdom literature’ and instruction genre 
  • biblical ‘wisdom books’ and problematisation of this label 
  • Greek advice and gnomic poetry 
  • in general, cross-cultural interactions between wisdom traditions 
  • religious framework and cross-cultural influences: ethics, theology and theodicy  
  • wisdom texts and authorship: the role of self-presentation 
  • proverbs and paroemiographic collection
  • ainoi and fables 
  • literary expressions of personified wisdom  

Instructions 

We invite postgraduate students and early career researchers (within three years from PhD completion) to submit proposals for twenty-minute papers. Each paper will be followed by a personalised response from an advanced academic with research interests in wisdom literature, and a plenary discussion. In order to facilitate the response and discussion, delegates will be asked to circulate their papers in advance to both the respondent and the organisers of the conference. Selected papers will be considered for publication in peer-reviewed proceedings.  

Abstracts of no more than 300 words for twenty-minute papers and a working title should be sent to reframing-wisdom@kcl.ac.uk by Sunday 24th February 2019. Please include also full name, affiliation and contact information.  

Small bursaries will be available for speakers travelling from outside of London as partial contribution towards accommodation and travel costs.  

With kind regards,  

Sara De Martin and Anna Lucia Furlan 

---

(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Categories

Follow SCS News for information about the SCS and all things classical.

Use this field to search SCS News
Select a category from this list to limit the content on this page.

Against the backdrop of the United States’ first non-peaceful transition of power, there is a much smaller-scale — and much more peaceful — transition happening: the changeover of the SCS Communications Committee chair and SCS blog Editor-in-Chief. Sarah Bond, after three years of visionary leadership and fantastic direction of the blog, has handed the reins over to me, as a veteran Committee member. I think I speak for the Committee and for the blog’s readership when I offer Sarah my profoundest gratitude and appreciation for her awe-inspiring work during her term. I’ll be standing on the shoulders and following in the footsteps of a giant.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 01/12/2021 - 7:47am by .

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship September 2021 – August 2022

For the third year in a row, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies (SNF CHS) at Simon Fraser University invites applications for a one-year Postdoctoral Fellowship focused on Hellenisms Past and Present, Local and Global. Our search committee welcomes applications that span disciplinary boundaries from candidates working on comparative approaches to the advertised fellowship theme. Applicants from all fields of the humanities and the social sciences are encouraged to apply.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 3:02pm by Erik Shell.

34th Biennial Conference of the Classical Association of South Africa

Order and Chaos

19 – 22 January 2022

University of Cape Town

FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 2:57pm by Erik Shell.

The Ausonius Institute (CNRS – Université Bordeaux Montaigne), under the patronage of the  Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (AIBL, Paris), the International Association of Greek and Latin Epigraphy (AIEGL) and the Société Française d'études épigraphiques sur Rome et le monde romain is pleased to invite you to the 16th International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, which will take place in Bordeaux  from August 29 to September 2, 2022.

The aim of the conference is to reflect on the situation of epigraphy and the role of the epigrapher in the 21st century. The congress will, therefore, be organized around thematic, chronological or geographical reports, which will allow us to assess advances in our knowledge with regards to methodological, technical or ethical issues that occur in contemporary epigraphic studies. Particular attention will be paid to new epigraphic perspectives made possible by the development of digital humanities.

You can find more information on the conference website here: https://ciegl2022.sciencesconf.org/

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 12/28/2020 - 12:03pm by Erik Shell.
NEH Logo

December, 2020

Below is a list of the most recent NEH grantees and their Classically-themed projects. The NEH helps fund a number of SCS initiatives, and their support affects the field of Classics at a national and local level.

Grantees

  • Mark Fisher (Georgetown University) - "Thucydides and the Heroic Democracy"
  • Sinclair Bell (Northern Illinois University) - "Research and Preparation of a Book on the Representation of Africans in Ancient Roman Art"
  • William Seales (University of Kentucky Research Foundation) - "The Digital Restoration Initiative: A Cultural Heritage Imaging and Analysis LabSo"
  • Melissa Mueller (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) - "Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading"

---

(Photo: "Logo of the United States National Endowment for the Humanities" by National Endowment for the Humanities, public domain, edited to fit thumbnail template)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 12/28/2020 - 12:01pm by Erik Shell.

The Presidential Panel at the 2021 Annual Meeting will be held on Friday January 8, 5:30-7:30pm CST. Registered attendees can access the panel via the virtual annual meeting platform.

This panel responds to a shameful episode in the history of American classics: in 1909, the distinguished Black classicist and President of Wilberforce University, William Sanders Scarborough (1852-1926), chose not to attend the annual meeting of the American Philological Association (now the SCS) in Baltimore because the hotel where the conference banquet was to be held refused to serve him.  The speakers will contextualize Scarborough’s exclusion from the annual meeting within the history of Baltimore as well as the profession of Classical Studies and will address the aspirations and achievements of Scarborough himself and of the many Black writers and scholars of his period who engaged with classical antiquity, a rich legacy from which we have much to learn as we strive to make our profession truly inclusive and anti-racist.

1. Michele Valerie Ronnick (Wayne State University): "A Portrait of William Sanders Scarborough in 1909"

2. Andre Davis (University of Maryland Carey School of Law): "Ruminations on Place, Privilege, and Prejudice: Baltimore at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century"

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Tue, 12/22/2020 - 8:41pm by Helen Cullyer.

In memoriam Stellae Q. Decimae

Lucerna ardens extinguitur
 

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/21/2020 - 8:38am by John C. Franklin.

Our third interview in the Contingent Faculty Series is a digital sit-down between Salvador Bartera (SB) and Joshua Nudell (JN), Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. Prof. Nudell holds a PhD in Ancient History from the University of Missouri. His research focuses on political culture and identity in Classical and early Hellenistic Greece, with particular focus on Ionia and the Greeks of Asia Minor. His monograph, Accustomed to Obedience?: A History of Classical Ionia, is under contract with the University of Michigan Press. Prof. Nudell is also interested in political rhetoric, imperialism, cultural memory, and the reception of the ancient world in games. His other passion involves food, both from a scholarly point of view and from a more ‘practical’, hands-on approach. His teaching experience includes small colleges, community colleges, and a large state university. He normally teaches courses in ancient history.

 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 12/18/2020 - 9:37am by .

Ovatio for Dr. Fauci and Response

The Michigan Classical Caucus recently sent an ovatio to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States.

They recently posted the response they received from Dr. Fauci's office in a release to their members. The release follows:

Dear MCC Members,

Recently, two of your past presidents and the Secretary-Treasurer sent a message to Dr. Anthony Fauci on behalf of the Michigan Classical Caucus. Dr. Fauci, in case you did not know, received a Classical education at the Jesuit high school in Brooklyn: 4 years of Latin, 3 years of Greek. He went to the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts for his undergraduate degree/pre-med majoring in Classics: Greek philosophy focus. We felt that since he is not shy about praising his background, we should not be shy in thanking him.

We created an OVATIO for him and forwarded it to his office. We realize that he is extremely pre-occupied right now, but we wanted to let him know that people think highly of him for things besides this pandemic and how he trying to help us through it. (He still credits his background in philosophy as a help.)

We have received the following response from his staff:

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 12/17/2020 - 1:18pm by Erik Shell.

The Society for Classical Studies mourns the recent loss of Senator Paul S. Sarbanes.  Obituaries like this one from the New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/07/us/politics/paul-sarbanes-dead.html

give a full picture of his life of distinguished public service, including his five terms representing the State of Maryland as an exceptionally well-informed, honorable, and self-effacing member of the US Senate.  Intensely proud of his Greek heritage (he was the son of immigrants who ran a Greek restaurant on Maryland’s Eastern Shore), and of the accomplishments of his classicist wife, the late Christine Dunbar Sarbanes, he was a great friend to classical studies in general and to the SCS in particular.  Paul and Christine Sarbanes served as co-chairs of the Society's Gateway Campaign for Classics from 2005 to 2013, and themselves made a generous donation to the Campaign. 

The Society for Classical Studies expresses its deepest sympathy to the Sarbanes family. 

by Adam Blistein and Sheila Murnaghan

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 12/14/2020 - 7:10am by Erik Shell.

Pages

© 2020, Society for Classical Studies Privacy Policy