CFP: Jerusalem as Construct in Tradition and History, Dublin, 2-3 Sep 2013

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Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference:

‘Jerusalem as Construct in Tradition and History’

2-3 September 2013, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies and the Herzog Center, School of Languages Literatures and Cultural Studies, Trinity College Dublin

Jerusalem, sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, is among the world’s oldest cities, with a rich and complex history. Seemingly home to a West Semitic people known as the Jebusites prior to establishment of the Davidic kingdom, Jerusalem was conquered in the 8th century BCE, and this heralded the city’s long subjection under empire through the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods. Alexander’s successors styled it as a Hellenized city-state during the Ptolemaic and Seleucid periods, after which, Jerusalem enjoyed a short period of independence under the Hasmoneans. The Roman Empire established Judea as a client kingdom with Jerusalem as the seat of the Herodian dynasty and then as subject to Roman rule from Caesarea. After its destruction in 70 CE, Jerusalem was re-built as Aelia Capitolina under Hadrian and Christianized from Constantine onwards. Caliph Umar ushered in the era of the Caliphs, taking the city from the Byzantines in the seventh century. The Crusaders re-established the city as the Kingdom of Jerusalem until it was wrested away by Saladin.

Jerusalem’s history as a real city in space and time (in which people live, work, etc.), a place of worship, a site of pilgrimage, and a battleground, is derived from both textual and material evidence. As both a spiritual and a temporal centre, Jerusalem has inspired traditional accounts that are often idealized, legendary, and symbolic, and these accounts are powerful forces that have informed how Jerusalem has been understood. The purpose of this conference is to explore historical and literary perspectives of Jerusalem from the Biblical period to the end of the Middle Ages.

Interdisciplinary scholarship is encouraged from fields such as archaeology, history, religious studies, biblical studies, classics, and Jewish and Islamic Studies.

Topics and themes might include:

Jerusalem in the Biblical accounts

– Destruction of Jerusalem in history and tradition

– Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina

– Constantine’s Christianization programme

– Jerusalem as center for pilgrimage in Biblical, Jewish, and Christian traditions

– Jerusalem in Greek and Roman authors (e.g., Strabo)

– The place of Jerusalem in Islamic history and tradition

– Customs and practices in history and tradition

– Jerusalem and political propaganda

– Cultural identity under foreign rule

– Co-habitation of a plurality of traditions


Our keynote speaker is the distinguished Professor Steve Mason of the University of Aberdeen who will be presenting a paper on ‘Jerusalem as * Mētropolis*’, looking at the ancient categories typically employed in discussing ancient Judaea and their significance. In addition to authoring many scholarly books such as *The Judaean-Roman War of 66 to 74: A Historical Inquiry *and *Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins: Methods and Categories, *Prof. Mason is the series editor (and author of two volumes therein) of the first comprehensive English-language commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus.

Participants will be invited to explore Trinity’s Weingreen Museum of Biblical Antiquities, home to a collection of artefacts from excavations in Jerusalem and elsewhere.

Abstracts are expected to be approximately 250 words. Please submit as a PDF or Word document to ****** by no later than 1st June 2013. Upon review of abstracts, we will announce presenters, who will be expected to submit their papers no later than a week in advance of proceedings to facilitate distribution to the other presenters. Participants will be encouraged to familiarize themselves with all papers prior to the event.

Each presenter will be allocated 40 minutes for both presentation and subsequent discussion. Presenters will summarize their papers for 20 to 30 minutes of their 40 minute allocation, which is roughly 2000-3000 words depending on presentation style. It is our eventual aim to publish the proceedings of the conference; therefore, the papers themselves will likely exceed the content of the presentation.

Format guidelines for abstract:


Name and e-mail

Affiliated Institute

Title of Paper


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