Newsletter No. 11, March 2008

Welcome to the eleventh 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 create a 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 in its development.

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

The Network has been renewed by NordForsk for 2008-2009. This is the list of activities that have been planned so far, some with preliminary dates.Some activities are suggestions at this stage. We will follow up with more detailed information. A. Course Activities Organised by the Network:


  • May 21.-24. Tallinn: "What is Early Christianity - and how can it be studied?. Seminar in Tallinn based on collaboration between Baltic and Nordic scholars. Goal: to introduce issues, theories and methodology in the study of Early Christianity in its Greco-Roman context. Participation from Network: Randar Tasmut,Tallinn, Ingvild Gilhus, Bergen, Risto Uro,Helsinki, Halvor Moxnes,Oslo, Jon Asgeirsson, Iceland. Responsible institutions: Institute of Theology of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tallinn and University of Helsinki. Open for advanced master students.
  • September 24-26, Reykjavik: "Material culture and methodology in Early Christian studies in a Greco-Roman Context". How to combine interpretation in literature, art, archaeology. Based on material related to different sites and bodies of literature. Organised by Jón Ma Ásgeirsson. Particpation from Network: Halvor Moxnes, Troels Engberg-Pedersen (?) International experts: Jonathan Reed, Univ. of La Verne, CA., Jesse Byock, UCLA. . Responsible institution: University of Iceland.


  • April 25-May 3 (prelim): "Interpretation of texts related to a site visited: Ephesus." Combination of archaeology, texts and site history. International expertise: Austrian Archaeological Institute, the Ephesus Excavations. Responsible institution: Oslo.
  • End ofAugust. Thematic workshop. "Ritual in Early Judaism and Early Christianity" . International participation. Responsible: Troels Engberg-Pedersen, Copenhagen Univ., Risto Uro, Helsinki Univ. .
  • November: Concluding small workshop: "A future for Early Christianity in the Nordic countries?" Discussion of forms for continued collaboration. Depending upon finances, we hope to invite: Steering committee and representatives from PhD-students, representatives from Nordic Theological/religious studies departments invited. International expert: David Brakke, Indiana Univ. USA, Editor Journal of Early Christian Studies. Responsible institution:, Univ. of Oslo.

Local Seminars with support from network for Nordic PhD-participation


  • Aarhus: Processes of canonisation in antiquity. Diverging and converging Jewish and Christian trajectories
  • Aarhus: Liturgisk brug af skrift og symbol::
  • September 8., Copenhagen.: "Gender and Theology as construction - where do we go from here?" Symposium on the contribution from Early Christian studies to gender studies. Based on dissertations in gender studies by young Network scholars. International expert: Dale Martin, Yale. Responsible institution: University of Copenhagen. Open for advanced master students.
  • October 27.-28., Oslo . "Methods for the study of the Jesus movement: Intersectionality."
  • First seminar in the new project (supported by the Norwegian Research Council) "Jesus in Cultural Complexity"), with Halvor Moxnes and Marianne Bjelland Kartzow. With international participants confirmed : Denise Buell, Jennifer Glancey, (US), James Crossley, Ward Blanton (UK). Responsible institution: University of Oslo.


  • March Lund "Early Christian Asceticism,"
    Organized by Samuel Rubenson. With international experts (planned): David Brakke and Susan Ashbrook Harvey (US). Responsible institution:Lund.

B. Teacher exchange

•We will support 2 teacher exchanges each year for participation in lectures, PhD-courses and advising in particular to strengthen areas that are week in some institutions (e.g. early Christian theology (patristics) and philosophy).

C. Exchange of information

•We will strengthen the exchange and spread of information by combining the responsibility for the Newsletter and the Network Web-page

New member of the Network:
 Institute of Theology at the EELC, Tallinn

Biblical studies have been carried out in the Faculty of Theology at the Institute of Theology of the EELC for several years. In June 2007 a work on Master’s degree was completed on the Edict of Cyrus (Old Testament). Another work for Master of Theology will be completed in spring 2008 that analyses the use of the words "way, life, and truth" in Synoptics and John. In August 2007 first doctoral students (six) have begun their studies. Their topics are, however, other than early Christian studies.

At the present time a team of three persons carry out a three year research project (2006-2008) Introduction to the Early Christian Way of Thinking. The project is supported by the Estonian Scientific Foundation, Grant Nr. 6849.

The goal of the project is to describe and analyse some elements of the way of thinkimg that were decisive for the formation of the identity of the new movement. Attention is paid to the concepts of gospel, lord(ship), authority, and truth in the use of early Christian writers

The areas of research are:

  1. Mystical aspects of early Christianity, especially in Paul. The concepts of holy and holiness in Paul. These aspects are studied by Dr Theol. Arne Hiob.
  2. Tracing the trajectory of ideas, i.e. the history of ideas. This part of the project has in mind the works of Lazar Gulkowitsch, a former professor of Judaic studies at the University of Tartu between the two World Wars. The begriffsgeschichtliche Methode of Gulkowitsch is not yet fully utilised until today. Mag Theol Urmas Nõmmik (A doctoral student, his dissertation at Marburg would be completed in 2008; Doktorvater Prof. Otto Kaiser).
  3. Concepts of soul and body (especially in Luke), the meaning of the concept euaggelion by Paul (before Paul) with the concepts of emperor cult and kyriotes are part of the search for the new insights of the early Christians whose proclamation was new but at the same time comprehensible to the hearers - readers. Dr Theol Randar Tasmuth concentrates on these themes.

Mag theol Vallo Ehasalu from the University of Tartu has agreed to be part of our project. He too studies the concept of the gospel, the meaning of the euaggelion. In this respect Ehasalu is ready to cooperate with the Institute of Theology and the project of NordForsk Early Christianity in its Greco-Roman Context.


Constructing Memory - Remembrance and Oblivion in times of Transition Seminar in Copenhagen, 13 March, 2008

With this seminar we aim to explore how the concept of memory behaves in periods of radical transition - especially in the Late Antique/Early Byzantine Era and in the Reformation period. We wish to examine how remembering and its counterpart forgetting are manifested in material and social culture. Furthermore, the seminar raises the question of how remembrance and oblivion are used as tools in the creation of new identities, norms and traditions in times of rupture and new beginnings. It is our hope that the dialogue between these two distinct periods will give rise to new perspectives - historically, materially as well as theoretically.


  • 10.00-10.15: Welcome
  • 10.15-10.55: Dr. PAUL CONNERTON, Cambridge University: "Memory and Oblivion"
  • 10.55-11.15: Response by Dr. Sven Rune Havsteen, University of Copenhagen, followed by discussion
  • 11.15-11.40: Ph.D.-fellow Troels M. Kristensen, Aarhus University: "Iconoclasm, Forgetting, and the Life Histories of Roman Statues"


  • 11.40-12.00: Coffee break


  • 12.00-12.40: Dr. JAMES M. BRADBURNE, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze: "Local Heros - Memory in action in the Late Renaissance Garden"
  • 12.40-13.00: Response by Curator & Ph.D. Margrethe Floryan, Thorvaldsens Museum, followed by discussion
  • 13.00-14.30: Lunch buffet at Riz Raz next door to the conference room
  • 14.30-15.10: Dr. CHARLES HEDRICK Jr., University of California, Santa Cruz: "Conversion: Remembering, Forgetting, and Transformation in Late Antiquity"
  • 15.10-15.30: Response by Dr. Mette B. Bruun, University of Copenhagen, followed by discussion
  • 15.30-15.55: Ph.D.-fellow Gitte Lønstrup, Aarhus University: "Comparing Late Antique Rome and Constantinople: Constructions of memory in the Old and New Rome"
  • 15.55-16.15: Coffee break
  • 16.15-16.55: Dr. ANDREW SPICER, Brookes University, Oxford: "Reordering the Religious Landscape"
  • 16.55-17.15: Response by Editor & Birgitte Bøggild Johannsen, The National Museum of Copenhagen, followed by discussion
  • 17.15-17.40: Ph.D.-fellow Martin W. Jürgensen, University of Copenhagen: "Out of sight, out of mind - On the altar in Post-Reformation village churches"
  • 17.40-18.00: Concluding remarks and questions


  • 18.00-19.30: Reception

The seminar is sponsored by The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for the Study of the Cultural Heritage of Medieval Rituals.

Practical Information

Location: St. Kannikestræde 19, 2.floor, Copenhagen. For further information on the seminar see upcoming events on homepage: See also the attached pdf-document: "Program for seminar 13 March in CPH"

For participation in the lunch buffet at Riz Raz (100 Dkr.). Please sign up via mail before 1 March to or .

We hope that the event has captured your interest!


  • Gitte Lønstrup & Ph.D.-fellow
    Aarhus University
    Department of Church History
    Phone: +45 8942 2274
    Email: .
  • Martin Wangsgaard Jürgensen & Ph.D.-fellow
    University of Copenhagen
    Department of Church History
    Phone: +45 35324597

What is Early Christianity? Methods and Problems in Research
Seminar in Tallinn, 21-24 May, 2008

Welcome to participate at the seminar in Tallinn for Nordic and Baltic PhD students, young scholars and advanced Master students whose areas of research may be placed in the wide area of early Christian studies. The course will give 3 credits at PhD-level, based on active participation: a shortpaper or presentation, based on their PhD-work or the reading list for the seminar.


  • Wednesday afternoon/ evening: arrival

Thursday May 22

  • 8:00: Breakfast
  • 9:15: Welcome by Randar Tasmuth, Institute of theology at the EELC
  • 9:30: Halvor Moxnes, University of Oslo: Studies of Early Christianity in the Nordic countries, Information about the network.
  • 10:00: Randar Tasmuth: The gospel: Emperors and/or Christ
  • 11:00: Halvor Moxnes: Jesus in the geographical and social space of Galilee.
  • 12:30: Lunch
  • 14:00: Risto Uro, University of Helsinki : A Ritual Approach to Christian Origins
  • 15:30: Coffee
  • 16:00: Jon Ma. Asgeirsson, University of Iceland: (1) The Application of Epic in the Gospel of Thomas as a Challenge to the Study of Early Christianity and (2) Between Ascetic Women and Male Power in the Acts of Thomas: The Emerging of a New Generation (to be distributed to the students by email)
  • 17:30: Discussion of student papers
  • 19:00: Dinner

Friday, May 23

  • 8:00: Breakfast
  • 9:15: Ingvild Gilhus, University of Bergen: "Gnosticism." Nag Hammadi Codices and the (Re)construction of Context
  • 10:45: New methods and perspectives in the study of Early Christianity: cognitive studies, ritual studies, comparative studies, space (Discussion based on the reading list and the papers presented in the meeting)
  • 12:30: Lunch
  • 14:00: Short presentations and discussions of PhD students’ projects
  • 15:30: Coffee
  • 16:00: Concluding discussion of "What is Early Christianity?"
  • 19:00: Dinner

Saturday 24:

  • Departure

The seminar takes place at the Institute of Theology in the very centre of the old medieval Tallinn. Staying at the institute, breakfast and lunch at the institute during the seminar can be covered by the network, and in addition to that travel costs (as cheap as possible) apart from the expenses within the home country.

For more information and an application form, see the attached word document: "Application form.Tallinn" Applications should be sent before 21 April 2008 simultaneously both to the Institute of Theology ( and to Halvor Moxnes (

Contact information

Please send /research/news-and-events/newsletter contributions, 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 5:46 PM - Last modified Mar. 16, 2010 2:23 PM