Seminar Rome October 2010

Seminar on Comparative Approaches to Ancient Religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam)

Rome (Casa Ravasco)

The seminar will consist of excursions in Rome and to Ostia as well as lectures and panel discussions during a five day working period. Lecture presenters will focus on interdisciplinary approaches to comparing ancient religions. The league of teachers are from the Nordic institutions of the RRE Network and three guest members in Rome.

Students will receive 5 ECTS units for their participation and written assignments in the seminar. The students will either make an on-site presentation on a topic related to the excursions or write a seminar diary based on the classes and their readings (10 pages).

Organisers: Prof. Jon Ma. Asgeirsson ( or Prof. Antti Marjanen (

Reading list

The Reading List consists of materials for general preparation on the one hand (A) and a list of specific topics relating to each lecture on the other hand (B). Readings for the first category are from, Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon 2000: Guide to the Study of Religion (London & New York, NY: Cassell), see the enclosed list.

A. General Preparation:

Luther H. Martin: "Comparison," pp. 45-56.

E. Thomas Lawson: "Cognition," pp. 75-84.

D. Bruce MacKay: "Ethnicity," pp. 96-109.

Randi R. Warne, "Gender," pp. 140-154.

Rodney Stark: "Rationality," pp. 239-258.

Ronald L. Grimes: "Ritual," pp. 259-270.

B. Specific Topics:

Davina C. Lopez: "The Fate of the Nations in Roman Imperial Representation." Pages 25-55 in Davina C. Lopez, Apostle to the Conquered: Reimagining Paul's Mission (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2008). (Asgeirsson's lecture)

Paul Lane: "The Archaeology of Christianity in Global Perspective." Pages 148-181 in Timothy Insoll (ed.), Arhaeology and World Religion (London and New York: Routledge, 2001). (Asgeirsson's lecture)

Robert N. McCauley & E. Thomas Lawson: Bringing Ritual to Mind: Psychological Foundations of Cultural Forms (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 1-37 (Ch. 1: "Cognitive Constraints on Religious Ritual Form") (Uro's lecture)

Risto Uro: "Cognitive and Evolutionary Approaches to Ancient Rituals: Reflections on Recent Theories." (An unpublished manuscript; ca. 20 pages) (Uro's lecture)

Judith M. Lieu, Christian Identity in the Jewish and Graeco-Roman World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 269-297 (Ch. 9: "The Other") (Marjanen's lecture)

Stephen Spence: The Parting of the Ways: The Roman Church as a Case Study (Interdisciplinary Studies in Ancient Culture and Religion 5; Louvain: Peeters, 2004), 173-196, (196-209), 209-215, (216-222), 223-244 (Ch. 4: The Effect of Rome's Religious Economy upon the Church in Rome). (Luomanen's lecture)