Redefining the Sacred: Religious Identity, Ritual Practice, and Sacred Architecture in the Near East and Egypt, 1000 BC - AD 300

A workshop to be held on March 19-21 2009, Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, University of Oxford.

Organised by Elizabeth Frood (University of Oxford) and Rubina Raja (University of Aarhus)

The workshop theme is situated at the interface between the study of texts, architecture, and archaeology, integrating domains of evidence that are normally treated separately and often generate contradictory interpretations of religious ideas and practices. Sacred space and ritual landscapes have become a major focus of interest in archaeology over the last decade but, because of the richness of the material in these regions, few broader comparative studies have been undertaken. Most studies concentrate on single contexts and isolated periods. Despite the realities of geographical distance and political separation, the cultures of the Near East and Egypt from the first millennium BC to AD 300 were dynamically interconnected and mutually dependent. Religious architecture, which was central to ancient environments, is at the core of expressions of relationship and difference. By bringing together ancient historians, philologists, Assyriologists, classical archaeologists, and Egyptologists, the aim is to explore the immense potential of diachronic studies of sacred space.

Attendance is by invitation only.
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The conference is supported by the European Science Foundation