D: Forskningsplan 2007-2009


Faculty of Theology

Theme 1: The discursive fight over religious texts in antiquity

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D: Research plan 2007-2009

Religion and normativity. Theme 1: The discursive fight over religious texts in antiquity


Research programme

Person responsible

Jan 2007

International conference (60 participants): Jews, Christians and pagans in antiquity – critique and apologetics

Aim: To finish the project on apologetics and open up a new project on religious texts in antiquity.

Communication: Contributions will be published in the series Early Christianity in the Context of Antiquity ( ECCA ).

See conference programme

A.K. Petersen; A.-C. Jacobsen

Feb 2007

Internal seminar, 21-23 February


  • Evaluation of the apologetics project, report
  • Detailed planning of the project The discursive fight over religious texts in antiquit y
  • Discussion of theory and empiricism of the project
  • Presentation of articles on martyrdom in antiquity (final part of the apologetics project)

Communication: Anthology on martyrdom published in ECCA (eds J. Engberg and A.K. Petersen).

See events - spring 2007

J. Engberg

Mar –Jun 2007

Study of Irenaeus , Adversus Haereses (4 meetings)

Aim: A common point of departure through the study of a fundamental work.

Thesis: Irenaeus develops exegetic strategies in reply to theological, dogmatic and organisational conflicts.

Communication: Working paper and two articles: One by A.C. Jacobsen: "Strategies of biblical hermeneutics developed in conflict with Gnostics" and one by J. Engberg.

See events - spring 2007

A.-C. Jacobsen

Sep 2007

The Hebrew Bible, delimitation and use: Seminar with international visitors

Aim: To examine:

  • Jewish canonisation processes
  • Jewish interpretations of Jewish scriptures

Thesis: In Judaism different scriptures and interpretation strategies are developed in the light of conflicts internally in Judaism and externally in relation to Christianity.

Communication: See Aug. 2008 , below.

A.K. Petersen

Oct –Dec 2007

The Christian Bible, delimitation and use (3 meetings)

Aim: To examine:

  • the use of Jewish scriptures in early Christian scriptures
  • the process of determining the Christian canon

Thesis: The controversy about Jewish scriptures, their interpretation and origin affected the formation of the Christian canon. The process of canonisation was characterised by the liturgical use of scriptures and a debate about their apostolicity and age.

Communication. See Aug. 2008 , below.

E.-M. Becker;
K.B. Larsen

Feb –Jun 2008

Heterodox Christianity and the heresiologists (5 meetings)

Aim: To examine:

  • the use of LXX and New Testament texts in heterodox Christianity
  • the heresiologists' use of LXX and New Testament texts.

Thesis: Both heterodox and orthodox Christians based their different theologies on LXX and New Testament texts.

Communication: See Aug. 2008 , below.

N.A. Pedersen; R. Falkenberg

Aug 2008

Seminar (3 days): Processes of canonisation in antiquity. Diverging and converging Jewish and Christian trajectories

Aim: To collect and perspectivise the results of the two previous semesters.

Communication: Two volumes in the series  ECCA carrying the title of the seminar. As this is the central point of the project, most of the group's Danish and foreign members will contribute with articles dealing with theory and empiricism (eds J. Ulrich; D. Brakke; A.-C. Jacobsen). Some contributions will be published in Danish in a more popular form in the series Antikken og Kristendommen (eds N.A. Pedersen; R. Falkenberg).

Project group

Sep –Dec 2008

Ancient textual theory (4 meetings)

Reading seminar:

John David Dawson, Allegorical Readers and Cultural revision in Ancient Alexandria , Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of Califonia Press 1992.

Aim: To examine:

  • classical and Hellenistic myth criticism, textual theory and methods of interpretation
  • how these theories and methods are developed and transformed in later pagan, Jewish and Christian traditions.

Thesis: Classical and Hellenistic myth criticism and textual theory functioned as a common point of departure for the understanding and interpretation of texts in later traditions, but were managed differently.

A.-C. Jacobsen

Feb –May 2009

Interpretation and use of scripture and construction of symbols
(4 meetings)

Aim: To examine:

  • the function of scripture as a normative factor in the construction of symbols in the early church
  • the function of the confessions of the early church as a normative factor at that time and henceforth.

Thesis: The biblical scriptures functioned as a crucial normative factor in the construction of symbols. Selection of scriptures and their interpretation gave an opportunity for various points of view to be put forward on content and phrasing.

Communication: Article by A.-C. Jacobsen. Theme: "Exegetic arguments in the Christological controversies between Cyril and Nestorius".

A.-C. Jacobsen

Jun 2009

Liturgical use of scripture and symbols: Seminar (two days) with international speakers

Aim: To examine:

  • the use of scriptures at synagogue and church services and the interplay between this use and the Jewish and Christian canonisation processes
  • normativity of liturgies and rituals
  • the role of symbols at services, including the difference between the normativity of liturgical and non-liturgical symbols
  • the interplay of biblical scriptures, symbols and catechesis.

Thesis: The canonisation and normativisation of religious texts, including symbols, were affected by their liturgical and catechetical use.

Communication: Contributions at meetings and seminar (including those by foreign speakers) will be published in ECCA . As very little has been written about the topic in the Scandinavian languages, a number of contributions will be published in Danish in the series Antikken og Kristendommen .

A.K. Petersen

Sep –Dec 2009

Development of Christian literature in late antiquity (5 meetings)

Aim: To examine:

  • 'Christianisation' of ancient literary genres in late antiquity (e.g. poetry, epics, vita literature and novels).
  • the formation of new 'Christian' genres in late antiquity (e.g. acts of martyrs, catechetical and homiletic literature.

Thesis: Christian literature of late antiquity continues the literary traditions of antiquity in order to function as the successor of antiquity, at the same time developing new literary forms to cover new requirements.

Communication: Articles on catechetical and homiletic literature in the above-mentioned ( Jun 2009 ) antologies.

M. Verdoner

Jan. 2010

Final international conference: The discursive fight over religious texts in antiquity

Aim: To:

  • draw conclusions based on research done over the previous three years
  • select a new research area to continue the theme Antiquity and Christianity.

Communication: Conference contributions published in ECCA .

Project group

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Revised 2010.07.30