Newsletter No. 12, June 2008

Welcome to the twelfth issue of the quarterly Newsletter for the Nordic Network for the Study of Early Christianity in its Greco-Roman Context. The Newsletter forms part of the efforts of the Nordic Network to create a common Nordic interdisciplinary ground for the study of Early Christianity. Through communication of information we hope to continue building the scholarly community around our common interest of early Christian studies and to establish links with neighbouring areas in history, archaeology, classical studies, etc. We hope that the work of the Network will be of interest to you and invite your cooperation for the further development of the Network.

You will find the homepage for Network for the Study of Early Christianity in its Greco-Roman Context under the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, at, and also via NordForsk (where you may also find information about other networks, seminars etc.,

Contributions, together with other enquiries and requests to be placed on the Newsletter mailing list, should be addressed to the editor of the Newsletter, see contact information at the end of this /research/news-and-events/newsletter.

Reports and General information

Samuel Rubenson guest-professor in Aarhus

From October 15 to December 15 2008 Professor Samue Rubenson will be serving as guest-professor in Early Christian Studies at the Faculty of Theology at Aarhus University. As part of his teaching he will conduct a series of seminars on pagan and Christian biographies to elucidate the polemical and apologetic character of the rise of Christian biography and the competing claims for holy men. Biographies to be dealt with will be those on Pythagoras, Plotinus, Antony and the holy men treated by Theodoret of Cyrrhus.

Appointments to Adjunct Professor at Aarhus

Professor Patricia Crone has been appointed Adjunct Professor of the History of Islam (the period 600-1100) at the Faculty of Theology in Aarhus.

Karla Pollmann, professor in Classical Studies at St. Andrews Universty in Scotland, has been appointed Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Theology in Aarhus. Her fields are Latin literature, especially from the early medieval period, the literature and theology of the church fathers, biblical interpretation and the history of hermeneutics, and the relations between Roman culture and religion and Christianity in literature and art.

Virgil Conference

A conference on Virgil was held at the University of Tromsø 8-10 May, with participants from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the UK.


Gender and Theology as Construction: Looking back, pressing on
A Research Seminar, 8 September 2008
Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen

Right from the beginning of what was in the 1970’s called feminist theology, Lone Fatum (the University of Copenhagen) has been at the forefront of the international scholarly attempt to rethink the tradition of early Christianity in the light of hard-won insights into the androcentric character of traditional western culture with its roots precisely in that tradition. Fatum has later fitted this concern into a broader understanding of both gender and theology as constructed symbolic entities that constantly undergo rearticulation in response to broader social developments. She has always had a keen eye, however, for the power relations that underlie such rearticulations, unwilling as she is to give up the link between symbolic constructions and the real. In this capacity she has had a substantial influence on the discussion of gender and theology in presentday Denmark.

On Monday 8 September 2008 the Faculty of Theology at the University of Copenhagen stages a Nordic and international seminar to honour Lone Fatum by taking stock of the current situation in the field of gender and theology as construction: looking back and pressing on.

For this occasion the Faculty has managed to invite two senior speakers from abroad who have played – and are still playing – a seminal role in the field: Prof. Halvor Moxnes (the University of Oslo) as representing the Nordic countries and Prof. Dale B. Martin (Yale University) as representing the United States. In addition, and in order to show how this whole way of thinking about the Bible has taken roots in the Nordic countries, the Faculty has invited two younger scholars who are working in the field: Dr. Theol. and postdoc student Marianne Bjelland Kartzow (the University of Oslo) and (soon to be) Ph.D. Fredrik Ivarsson (the University of Gothenburg). Lone Fatum will herself participate and conclude the seminar with a statement of her current position on the topic.

In order to mark the broad, public significance of the topic for current society, it has been decided to open the debate at this research seminar to students at the university and a broader audience of ministers in the Danish Folk Church and other interested attendees. For the same reason each presenter will speak in her or his own language, but steps will be taken to facilitate the discussion among the participating researchers.

It is the hope of the Faculty that the topics covered by Lone Fatum, topics that are of vital concern to the understanding of Christianity in its contemporary context, may in this way be taken forward into the next generation.



  • 13.00-14.00. Prof. Dale B. Martin, Yale University: From Feminist to Post-Feminist Theology (prov. title; 45 min. + 15 min. disc.)
  • 14.00-14.15. Break
  • 14.15-15.00. Prof. Halvor Moxnes, Oslo Universitet: Var Jesus en mann? Kjønns-studier og Det nye testamente
  • 15.00-15.30. Dr.Theol. Marianne Bjelland Kartzow, Oslo Universitet: Med blikk for den andre: hvor lenge må periferien forbli perifer?
  • 15.30-16.00. Ph.D.-stud. Fredrik Ivarsson, Göteborgs Universitet: Nu när jeg blivit en man: Första Korinthierbrevet som försvar för Paulus hotade manlighet
  • 16.00-16.15. Break
  • 16.15-16.45. Lektor Lone Fatum, Københavns Universitet: Hvorfra og hvor-hen?
  • 16.45-17.15. Discussion

Time: Monday 8 September 2008
Venue: Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen, Købmagergade 46, 1. sal, Aud. 7

The seminar is organised by the Department of Biblical Studies and The Faculty of Theology in cooperation with the Nordic Network for Early Christianity in its Greco-Roman Context.

For participation in the seminar (not least by Nordic PhD students in the field), please contact Troels Engberg-Pedersen at

Archaeology, Text, and Historical Interpretation
Seminar in Reykjavik, 24-27 September 2008

The Network for Early Christianity in Its Graeco-Roman Context is pleased to invite doctoral students in the Nordic countries as well as the Baltic States to submit a paper for discussion during a Seminar on Archaeology, Text, and Historical Interpretation to take place in Reykjavik 24-27 September 2008 (see the Seminar Program below). Students may submit a paper proposal on any topic relating to: the integration of archaeology in New Testament Studies, the use of archaeolgy for the study of literary texts, the problem of interpretation in view of archaeology or text, or on the archaeology of Ephesus. Papers should not exceed 15 pages: size A-4, font Times New Roman 12 pt., or similar, with line spacing set at 1,5, margins not to exceed 3cm on each side. Total time for each student presentation is 30 min. Furthermore, students are expected to familiarize themselves with the readings on the attached Reading List (see below).

Student participation fee is NKR 1.000. The fee will be deducted from the receipts submitted for reimbursement after the seminar. For reimbursement, please fill out the proper form from the University of Oslo and submit promtply after the seminar. Processing reimbursements may take several weeks. Please observe the following deadlines: 1. Intention to participate: 30 June 2008. Send your name and paper title to Prof. Jon Ma. Asgeirsson at the following e-mail address:, 2. Submit your paper electronically to the following e-mail on or before 15 August 2008 to Prof. Jon Ma. Asgeirsson at the following e-mail address:

Student papers will be distributed to seminar participants electronically before the meeting.



  • 24 September:
  • Arrival in Iceland: Check in at Cabin Hotel, Reykjavik
  • 18:30 Dinner
  • 21:15 Lecture by Jon Ma. Asgeirsson, University of Iceland: Nothing to Do with Matter: The Ideological Construction of the Historical Narrative
  • 25 September: (Morning: Jon Ma. Asgeirsson Presiding / Afternoon: Halvor Moxnes Presiding)
  • 08:00 Breakfast at Hotel
  • 08:45 Departure for the University Library
  • 09:00 Welcome by Jon Ma. Asgeirsson
  • 09:15 Lecture by Halvor Moxnes, University of Oslo: Landscape and Space as Perspectives in Early Christian Studies
  • 10:00 Student Papers
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 13:30 Lecture by Jonathan L. Reed, University of La Verne: From Galilee to Ephesus: Domestic Space and Christian Origins
  • 14:30 Student Papers
  • 16:30 Coffee
  • 17:00 Lecture by Raimo Hakola, University of Helsinki: The Gospel of John in the Context of the Mediterranean Diaspora
  • 17:45 Panel Discussions
  • 19:30 Dinner
  • 26 September: (Morning: Risto Uro Presiding / Afternoon: Anders-Christian Lund Jacobsen Presiding)
  • 08:00 Breakfast at Hotel
  • 08:45 Departure for the National Museum
  • 09:15 Lecture by Rubina Raja, University of Aarhus: The Sacred Landscape of the Decapolis with a Particular Focus on Gerasa
  • 10:00 Student Papers
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 13:30 Lecture by Steinunn J. Kristjánsdóttir, University of Iceland: The Christianization Process in Early Medieval Iceland: Hybridization of Cultural and Religious Identities
  • 14:30 Student Papers
  • 16:30 Coffee
  • 17:00 Lecture by Risto Uro, University of Helsinki: From Corpse Impurity to Relic Veneration: New Light from Cognitive and Psychological Studies
  • 17:45 Panel Discussions
  • 19:30 Dinner
  • 27 September: Departure

Reading List

In general on archaeology:

1. Ian Hodder: Reading the Past: Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology. (2nd ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). On integrating archaeology and biblical texts:
2. Milton C. Moreland ed., Between Text and Artifact: Integrating Archaeology in Biblical Studies Teaching. (SBLABS 8; Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature 2003), 1-10 (Milton C. Moreland, Shannon Burkes, and Melissa Aubin); 11-30 (Ann E. Killebrew); 133-149 (Milton C. Moreland); 151-163 (Eric M. Meyers).
3. John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, In Search of Paul: How Jesus' Apostle Opposed Rome's Empire with God's Kingdom. (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004).

On space and Ephesus in particular:

4.Stephen Mitchell. Anatolia: Land, Men, and Gods in Asia Minor. Volume 1. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).
5.Halvor Moxnes. Putting Jesus in His Place: A Radical Vision of Household and Kingdom. (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 2003), 1-21.
6.Karen J. Wenell. Jesus and Land: Sacred and Social Space in Second Temple Judaism (Library of New Testament Studies 334; London & New York, NY: Clark, 2007), 1-20.
7.Helmut Koester ed., Ephesos: Metropolis of Asia. (Harvard Theological Studies 41; Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1995).

For further reading:

8.Andrew Wallace-Hadrill. Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 38-64, 91-117, 143-174.
9.Jonathan L. Reed. Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: A Re-examination of the Evidence. (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2000), 43-53; 100-138.
10.Walter Scheidel. “Demography.” In The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World. (Ed. Walter Scheidel, Ian Morris, and Richard Saller; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 38-86.
11.Jerome Murphy-O'Connor. St. Paul in Ephesus: Texts and Archaeology (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2008)

Methods for the study of the Jesus movement: Intersectionality
Oslo 27-29 October 2008

Seminar by the NFR-project Jesus in Cultural Complexity: Interpretation, Memory and Identification in corporation with the Nordic PhD network Early Christianity in its Greco-Roman Context

Venue: Gjestehuset Lovisenberg
Lovisenberggata 15 A, 0456 Oslo
Tel: +47 22 35 82 30



  • Monday 27th of October
  • 11.15: Halvor Moxnes (University of Oslo): Welcome and presentation of the project and participants
  • 11.30: Marianne Bjelland Kartzow (University of Oslo): An Intersectional Approach to Early Christian Memory
  • 12.45: Lunch
  • 14.15: Jennifer Glancy (Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York): The Body of Jesus and Other First Century Bodies (Open Lecture)
  • 15.45: Coffee
  • 16.15: Caroline van der Stichele (University of Amsterdam): Contextualing Gender in Early Christian Discourse
  • 17.45: Outi Lehtipuu (University of Helsinki): Virgin - Prisoner - Preacher: A Woman's Place in the Acts of Paul and Thecla
  • 18.45: Hanna Stenström (Svenska Kyrkans Forskningsråd): Response
  • 19.30: Dinner
  • Tuesday 28th of October
  • 09.15: Denise Buell (Williams College): Cyborg Memories: An Impure History of Jesus
  • 10.45: Halvor Moxnes (University of Oslo): The Identity of Jesus and the Cultural Complexity of the Historical Galilee
  • 12.00: Lunch
  • 13.15: Beatrice Halsaa (Centre for Gender Research, University of Oslo): The Concept of Intersectionality
  • 14.15: Short papers: Intersectionality in Religious Studies
  • 16.00: Coffee
  • 16.15: Final discussion
  • 17.00: The end
  • Wednesday 29th of October (at the Faculty of Theology)
  • 09.15: Jone Salomonsen (University of Oslo): The Present State of Gender Research
  • 10.00: Presentation of PhD-papers
  • 12.00: Lunch
  • 13.00: Presentation of PhD-papers

Nordic colleagues are hereby invited to the seminar. Travel cost and hotel must be paid by senior scholars, while PhD-students can apply for founding from the Nordic network Early Christianity in its Greco-Roman Context.

Sign up for the seminar (and PhD applications): of September 2008. PhD papers to be presented on Wednesday must be circulated before 13th of October, to and

With paper, the course will give 5 credit points within the PhD-programme.

PhD-seminar in Ephesus
June 12.-19. 2009.

Ephesus is one of the most valuable archeological sites in Asuia Minor for the study of Early Christianity, from the earliest period with Paul, to the Christological debates at the Church councils of 5th century. And it is a unique setting for the study of interactions between early and Greco-Romans religions and Christianity, e.g. related to the emperor cult, and cults of woman goddesses and the veneration of Mary.

There will be a combination of archaeology, site history and study of Early Christian texts and history. Members of the Nordic network as well as international scholars wil participate, with archeological and historical expertise provided by the Austrian Archaeological Institute, the Ephesus Excavations.

More information will follow, but set aside the period now.
Responsible institution for the seminar: Oslo.
Contact person: Halvor Moxnes at

Conferences and symposiums

Processes of canonisation in antiquity. Diverging and converging Jewish and Christian trajectories.
Symposium in Aarhus, 22-23 September

Under the interdisciplinary research project at the Faculty of Theology, University of Aarhus in Denmark entitled "The Discursive Fight over Religious Texts in Antiquity" (cf.: we are planning a symposium this year, September 22-23, on the subject: "Processes of canonisation in antiquity. Diverging and converging Jewish and Christian trajectories."

Program (the titles of papers are preliminary):

Jan Bremmer: The term "Holy Book" in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity.
Gedaljahu Stroumsa: Aspects of Canonization and Holy Scriptures in the Roman Empire.
NN: Rewitten Bible.

More information about the seminar will later on be found at this address:, or you may contact Nils Arne Pedersen at

Defenses of Theses

Mikael Sundkvist
defended a doctoral thesis in New Testament exegesis at the University of Joensuu, Finland, on May the 6th 2008. The thesis, with the title "The Christian Laws in Paul: Reading the Apostle with Early Greek Interpreters", investigates four ambiguous expressions in Paul's treatment of the Mosaic Law: the law of Christ (which appears twice), the law of faith, and the law of the Spirit of life. Sundkvist analyses the early Greek reception of these expressions and integrates the result from the reception study into the modern exegetical discussion.

Dr. Kari Kuula, University of Helsinki, was opponent at the defence, while professor Lauri Thurén, University of Joensuu, functioned as custos.


Kasper Bro Larsen, Recognizing the Stranger: Recognition Scenes in the Gospel of John, Biblical Interpretation Series 93, Leiden: Brill, April 2008.

Recognizing the Stranger is the first monographic study of recognition scenes and motifs in the Gospel of John. The recognition type-scene (anagnorisis) was a common feature in ancient drama and narrative, highly valued by Aristotle as a touching moment of truth, e.g., in Oedipus’ tragic self-discovery and Odysseus’ happy homecoming. The book offers a reconstruction of the conventions of the genre and argues that it is one of the most recurrent and significant literary forms in the Gospel. When portraying Jesus as the divine stranger from heaven, the Gospel employs and transforms the formal and ideological structures of the type-scene in order to show how Jesus’ true identity can be recognized behind the half-mask of his human appearance.

For further information and reviews, see:

Tomas Hägg (red.), Kjetterne og kirken fra antikken til i dag, Spartacus Forlag: Oslo 2008. ISBN 978-82-304-0036-4. (Forthcoming – to be published in June or July 2008)

  • Einar Thomassen, Kjetteribegrepets opprinnelse og de første kjetteriene
  • Ingvild Sælid Gilhus, Biskop Epifanios fra Salamis og Medisinskrinet mot kjettere
  • Jan-Eric Steppa, Kjetterretorikk og definisjonsmakt: Kristologiske konflikter i senantikken
  • Einar Thomassen, Kjetteri i middelalderen: katarene
  • Jostein Børtnes, Kjetteri og sodomi
  • Tarald Rasmussen, Luther som kjetter
  • Nils Gilje, Heksen som kjetter: Demonologi og trolldom i tidlig nytid
  • Gina Dahl, Kampen mot skadelige bøker (1500-1800)
  • Karstein Hopland, Norsk teologisk kjetterdiskurs: Kristian Schjelderup mot Ole Hallesby
  • Dag Øistein Endsjø, Sex, nattverd og menneskerettigheter: Nye utfordringer for den katolske kirke
  • Lisbeth Mikaelsson, Regnbuens skjulte farer: Trusselen fra New Age

Contact information

Please send /research/news-and-events/newsletter contributions to, by phone at +46 46 211 55 39, or by snail mail to Jan-Eric Steppa, Revingegatan 13 A, 223 59 LUND, Sweden. If you do not wish to receive any /research/news-and-events/newsletters, please send blank e-mail to with “unsubscribe from /research/news-and-events/newsletter” in the subject line.

Published Mar. 6, 2010 6:03 PM - Last modified May 30, 2017 8:59 AM