XXI Finnish Symposium on Late Antiquity
Tvärminne, Finland, 12-13 October, 2012
’Popular & Elite: Religious Practices in Late Antiquity’
The XXI Finnish Symposium on Late Antiquity will be organized on October 12-13, 2012. The aim of the symposium is to bring together students and scholars with an interest in Late Antiquity from a variety of universities and disciplines. This year, we explore broadly the interaction between popular and elite religious practices in Late Antiquity, but suggestions for papers dealing with other topics will also be considered. Our main aim is to stimulate interdisciplinary dialogue between philology, archaeology, history, theology, art history and other disciplines that deal with Late Antiquity. Geographically, the focus of the symposium is on the Mediterranean world.
The symposium will be organized in the premises of a zoological research station operated by the University of Helsinki at a beautiful location at Tvärminne on the southern coast of Finland ( It is organized by Classical Philology (Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki) together with an interdisciplinary organizing committee (see below).
This year’s symposium features three specially invited speakers,
–          Guy Stroumsa (Oriental Institute, University of Oxford / The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): “Reading practices in early Christianity and the individualization process”. Prof. Guy Stroumsa is the specialist of intellectual and cultural history of ancient religions, especially early Christianity with a focus on esoteric traditions. He has published e.g., Hidden Wisdom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (1996), Barbarian Philosophy: The Religious Revolution of Early Christianity (1999) and La fin du sacrifice: Mutations religieuses de l’antiquité tardive (2005, in English The End of Sacrifice: Religious Transformations of Late Antiquity (2009).
–          Sarah Stroumsa (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): “Mass education and elite formation: the Almohad version”. Prof. Sarah Stroumsa is the specialist of ancient and medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophies. She has published e.g., Maimonides in his World: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker (2009) and Freethinkers of Medieval Islam: Ibn al-Rawandi, Abu Bakr al-Razi, and Their Impact on Islamic Thought (1999).
–          Reidar Aasgaard (University of Oslo): “Childhoods A.D. 400: Three saints on Christian upbringing”. Prof. Aasgaard is the specialist of ancient religions, esp. Christianity and the history of childhood. Among his publications are The Childhood of Jesus: Decoding the Apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Eugene (2009) and My beloved brothers and sisters! Christian Siblingship in Paul (2004).
There is space for a maximum of eight more papers. If you wish to deliver a paper, please send a short abstract (of less than 300 words) by June 1st, 2012 to Dr. Ville Vuolanto (ville(dot)vuolanto(at)uta(dot)fi). Applicants will be informed by late June whether they have been accepted. We have reserved 30 minutes for each presentation, including discussion following the paper. Therefore, we recommend limiting the papers to 15 minutes.
The seminar is free. We will offer transportation from Helsinki to Tvärminne and back, as well as accommodation, meals, coffee and sauna at Tvärminne. However, we are not able to cover the costs for travelling to Helsinki first, or accommodation there. Registration for the conference will start August 15th, 2012.
The Finnish Symposium on Late Antiquity is organized annually since 1992. It started as a Finnish-language seminar for postgraduate students. However, over the years, more and more papers were presented by established scholars. Moreover, in many years, a few well-known scholars were invited from abroad, and the language of the symposium was changed to English, thus making it more and more international. This year, for the second time, we do not only have a few specially invited guests from abroad, but we invite suggestions for papers from anyone who is interested. In keeping with the symposium’s traditions, we encourage not only senior, but also junior scholars and postgraduate students to participate.
The organizing committee:
–          Maijastina Kahlos (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies / Classics, University of  Helsinki)
–          Ulla Tervahauta (Biblical Studies, University of Helsinki)
–          Ville Vuolanto (History, University of Tampere)

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