Appel à contribution – Beyond Authority: Composition and Transmission in Late Antiquity

Beyond Authority: Composition and Transmission in Late Antiquity

Princeton University
20th-22nd of March, 2016

Beyond Authority will focus on the composition and transmission of texts and traditions in Late Antiquity. We intend to dismantle the regnant presumption that late antique authors and tradents compose and transmit texts for the sole purpose of asserting and maintaining authority.

Guiding questions for participant contributions include:

  • To what extent did late antique Jews, Christians, and Muslims understand transmission and composition as a process that occurs in the context of authority? How else were they understood?
  • How should we approach authoritative texts composed or transmitted in a non-authoritative manner, or vice-versa?
  • Beyond the preservation and dissemination of authorized material, what else is at stake in the transmission of texts, and how do we talk about these factors?
  • How is the validity of unimpeachably ‘authoritative’ documents negotiated with reference to charges of pseudepigraphy and coercion?
  • What are the communal ramifications for labeling certain processes of composition or transmission authoritative to the exclusion of others?

Scheduled Participants include: Maria Doerfler (Duke), Martha Himmelfarb (Princeton) , Hindy Najman (Oxford), Jeremy Schott (Indiana), Ishay Rozen-Zvi (Tel Aviv), and Moulie Vidas (Princeton). Participants will each have 45 minutes for presentation and discussion of pre-circulated papers, during which time we hope to foster collaborative, productive conversation that will inform selected contributions to a published volume.
The conference is generously supported by the Princeton University Department of Religion, the Program in Judaic Studies, the Center for the Study of Late Antiquity, the Council of the Humanities Stewart Fund in Religion, the Department of Classics, the Center for the Study of Religion, the Department of Comparative Literature, and the Center for Human Values.
Those interested should submit a 300-500 word abstract to Domestic travel and accommodations will be provided for those selected to participate.
Deadline for submissions is November 1, 2015.