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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  February 2006

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION February 2006

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Subject:

Re: PSCO 43.4, 1 March at Princeton

From:

Robert Kraft <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 23 Feb 2006 01:00:28 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

[Please cross-post as appropriate]
 
PHILADELPHIA SEMINAR ON CHRISTIAN ORIGINS
in its 43rd year
an Interdisciplinary Humanities Seminar
under the auspices of the
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Department of Religious Studies
201 Logan Hall
with support from                                           
the Penn Humanities Forum
 
TOPIC FOR 2005-2006: Redescribing the Holy Man: 
  Theoretical Frameworks and Specific Applications
  
Co-Chairs:
T.J. Wellman (University of Pennsylvania)    [log in to unmask]
Harry Tolley (Univ. of Pennsylvania)    [log in to unmask]
  
Secretary: 
Douglas Finkbeiner (University of Pennsylvania)
  
Webmaster: 
Jay C. Treat (University of Pennsylvania) [log in to unmask]
  
The fourth meeting of the PSCO will be held on WEDNESDAY, 01 March 2006 from 7:00
pm to 9:00 pm in the Religion Department Lounge in 1879 Hall at PRINCETON
UNIVERSITY. Those wishing to dine together with the speaker and chairs at a kosher
establishment before the meeting should contact T.J.Wellman immediately (address
above), since those meals need to be ordered in advance. Otherwise, to eat
together elsewhere please convene in the Religion Department Lounge at 5:45 pm and
seek/find your own way.
 
The presentation will be by Moshe Simon-Shoshan of the Hebrew University
(Princeton University Class of '93) on
"Sacred Realism: Rhetorical and Redactional Strategies in Rabbinic Exempla."

  
The remaining Spring 2006 meetings are scheduled for consecutive weeks on:
  
Thursday, 27 April -- Hindi Najman (University of Toronto), TBA
  
Thursday, 04 May -- Vasiliki Limberis (Temple University), TBA
  
  
The topic of the 43rd year of the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins is 
  
"Redescribing the Holy Man: Theoretical Frameworks and Specific Applications." 
  
We envision this topic as providing a focus for an ongoing discussion about the
analytical and explanatory possibilities of recent reassessments or developments
of Peter Brown's Holy Man typology. When Peter Brown published his seminal essay,
"The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity" (1971), he introduced an
analytical concept immediately lauded by specialists in a number of academic
subfields. In the decades since then this concept has been deployed to make sense
of various figures and events in Late Antiquity and beyond across the range of
religious traditions of the ancient Mediterranean basin. Whether Neoplatonic
diadochai, Christian saints, Jewish rabbis, or the priests, healers, and prophets
of the diverse local religious cultures of Late Antiquity, the methods and
descriptions employed by modern scholars all speak of this shared imaginaire.
  
Recently, however, Anitra Bingham Kolenkow and David Frankfurter have each
independently suggested developments or refinements of the heuristic concept to
focus more closely on the various social roles performed by ritual experts in
their communities, grounding the general type in more specific sub-types and
social dynamics, and thereby pushing the academic community to a new stage of
theoretical reflection and critique. In order to generate a conversation
throughout the year's sessions, it is our hope that each presenter will engage to
some degree with David Frankfurter's essay, "Dynamics of Ritual Expertise In
Antiquity and Beyond: Towards a New Taxonomy of 'Magicians.'" [in Mirecki, Paul
and Marvin Meyer, eds. Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World. Brill, 2002. Pages
159-178.] as a starting point for the presentation. By doing so, we can take a
second look at the Holy Persons who populated various areas of focus and examine
the possibilities and constraints offered by this development from Peter Brown's
typology. The question is whether the utility of the comparative taxon "Holy Man"
to elucidate data can be increased by refining the concept and, in some cases,
employing a more thoroughly comparative method (between traditions, between
individuals, between time periods, and between cultures).
  
Robert Kraft, coordinator
PSCO website = http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/psco/

-- 
Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827
[log in to unmask]
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rs/rak/kraft.html

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