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.

Read Mary Beard's review of two new books on Hannibal at The Times Literary Supplement.

View full article. | Posted in Book Reviews on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 1:09pm by Information Architect.

"Eric Dugdale, associate professor of classics at Gustavus Adolphus College, received the 2011 Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award on May 7 at the College’s Honors Day Convocation." Read more at the Gustavus Adolphus Blog.

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 12:57am by .

The complete financial statement for fiscal year 2009 - 2010 is now available. Click here to download it as a pdf, or go to the Financial Statements page to view current and previous statements.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sun, 05/08/2011 - 4:07pm by .

Audiences are invited to get intimate with the action in the second instalment of a fresh take on Camus' 'Caligula.'

"As many countries in the world struggle to depose tyrants, a timely play is taking to a Bangkok stage, transporting audiences to ancient Rome to unseat an emperor who has just elected his horse as prime minister. Fancy a stab?" Read more in The Bangkok Post …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/08/2011 - 12:25am by Information Architect.

"'Heracles to Alexander the Great: Treasures from the Royal Capital of Macedon, a Hellenic Kingdom in the Age of Democracy' is as crowded with objects as its title is with ideas. The Ashmolean manages to cram in about 500 objects, discovered in the royal tombs and palaces of Aegae (modern-day Vergina in the north of Greece), most of which are being displayed for the very first time." Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 05/06/2011 - 2:11am by Information Architect.

"The transformation of humans into monsters or animals is a standard feature of two great genres: classical Greek and Roman myth and American comic books. As those of us know who spent our childhoods and teenaged years greedily hoarding the latter, such transformations are only occasionally effected by a mere change of costume. Batman, for instance (introduced in 1939), is an ordinary Homo sapiens who simply dons his bat-like hood and cape when he wants to battle evildoers; his extraordinary powers are the fruit of disciplined intellectual and physical training. More often—and more excitingly—the metamorphoses occur at the genetic level. The Incredible Hulk, who debuted in 1962, is a hypertrophied Hercules-like giant, the Mr. Hyde aspect of an otherwise mild-mannered scientist named Bruce Banner, created during a laboratory accident involving gamma rays. Wolverine, one of the X-men, who sports lupine traits following his transformations, belongs to a despised race of “mutants” with remarkable powers. (The comic book series, now reincarnated as a hugely popular film franchise, debuted in 1963.)" Read more at The New York Review of Books.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 12:25am by Information Architect.

"Jeffrey Henderson, the University’s William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Greek Language and Literature and a world-renowned classics scholar, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)." Read the article at BU Today.

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 12:21am by .

"Keeping the tradition of oral recitation alive in the age of technological storytelling, the University Classics Club hosted Homerathon, a 15-hour long recital of Homer’s The Odyssey." Read more…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/02/2011 - 3:35am by Information Architect.

"The University of Florida College of Fine Arts and Digital Worlds Institute has been awarded $50,000 by the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities." Read more…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/02/2011 - 3:30am by Information Architect.

The phrase “Temenid dynasty” doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. But this august lineage, which produced Philip II and Alexander the Great, was key to the development of the Western world. And in the Ashmolean’s dazzling display of archaeological finds the history of early Greece comes alive. Read more at The Telegraph.com…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/02/2011 - 3:28am by Information Architect.

Pages

Latest Stories

SCS Announcements
The SCS Board has joined many other scholarly societies in endorsing 
Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings
‘Body and Medicine in Latin Poetry’, which will take place o

© 2019, Society for Classical Studies Privacy Policy