The study of apocalyptic thinking, and especially the understanding of its historical antecedents and contexts, is one of the primary keys to understanding the cultural history of the past two millennia. At the same time, it is in itself a vital discourse in its historical context, within the wider theological, historical, and literary dynamics of antiquity.
For further exploration of this subject, the University of Zurich is organising an international conference, which will be held at the Monte Verità Conference Centre in Ascona, Switzerland, from 16.07. to 19.07.2023.
We seek to discuss aspects of research in apocalyptic thinking with two areas of focus:
1. The transcultural dimensions of apocalypticism considered through the comparative study of the continuities and discontinuities between ancient cultures.
2. The Spannungsfeld of apocalypticism vis-a-vis contemporary literary and intellectual traditions that critiqued it.
Questions of interest include:
• How did the interplay of apocalyptic thinking, prophecy, and responses to it from perspectives of politics and literature of the time manifest itself?
• How can the study of ancient apocalypticism be aided by interest in contemporary critiques thereof, e.g. in considering the burning of the Sibylline Books or the reflections in Augustine’s De civitate Dei book XX, among many other cases?
• Where lie the current boundaries and trajectories in current research on these subjects in a variety of disciplines and how can we rethink them?
• What constitutes an engagement – affirmative or critical – with apocalyptic ideas that gained traction around the turn of the eras?
We seek to navigate questions of how eschatological urgency and longue duree, literature of crisis and political countermovements, and other such intellectual notions interacted with each other in ancient literature and thought.
Invited guests include leading researchers from a range of disciplines, including biblical studies, Greek and Latin philology, Egyptology, Iranistics, Ethiopian studies, and Ancient History, working in Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, among others.
The deadline for the submission of proposals for papers is December 1st, 2022.