As you may have seen already, the CSTT now has its own Youtube channel, where we’ll showcase the latest biblical and related research to the wider Finnish public. You can reach the Youtube channel by clicking on the button in the website’s upper-left corner.vThe videos will also be displayed in our new “video”-section on our website (see left-side menu > ‘Videot’).
We hope that these videos — so far all in Finnish — may be useful for high school teaching and to engage high school pupils with current research in biblical studies and related fields! So far two videos have been posted online, one with Saana Svärd and one with Juha Pakkala.
Please tell us below in the comment-section what you think about the videos and what you’d like to see to be changed in terms of format!
In late October the CSTT co-hosted a workshop on mortuary ritual together with the REECR. The workshop was a cross-disciplinary gathering, where scholars working within the fields of archaeology, religious studies and biblical studies could discuss aspects of mortuary ritual practices, such as funerary rituals, mourning, ancestor worship and other kinds of death-related ritual behaviour.
The two-day program consisted of eleven presentations by researchers working on contemporary thanatology (death studies) and ritual, the archaeology of death and mortuary ritual, and mortuary ritual in ancient texts. The workshop was an opportunity for scholars working in religious studies, archaeology and biblical studies to exchange ideas, material and methodologies and throughout the two days the discussion was lively, open and engaged.
During the workshop it quickly became clear that although the presentations covered a timespan of almost 3000 years and the case-studies came from places as far apart as the Levant and Karelia in Eastern Finland there were many common denominators and aspects that kept appearing. The importance of space and materiality in relation to mortuary ritual was apparent both in contemporary and ancient practices. In many cases mortuary ritual aims to create presence out of absence and this is achieved by strategic interaction with objects and places. Another aspect that was central to many of the examples was the status changes that the dead undergo in mortuary ritual as they are transformed from corpses to the recently deceased and to venerated ancestors. It was apparent that the life of the dead in the sphere of mortuary ritual is surprisingly dynamic and changeable.
In the very first presentation on the first day of the workshop Professor Terhi Utriainen from the University of Helsinki introduced the concept of the ritual subjunctive mode. The ritual subjunctive, which was originally proposed by the American religious studies scholar Jonathan Z. Smith, is an ‘as-if’ mode of behaviour that combines the ways things actually are with the ways people would like them to be. This concept of ritual as an idealized version of the world turned out to be a very fruitful category to apply to several of the case-studies presented at the workshop. In tombs, in texts and in ritual practices the dead are often presented as peaceful, powerful and content and perhaps most important of all they are accessible. In this way, mortuary ritual enables continued social interaction with the dead so that although the living die, the dead live on – at least for as long as they are commemorated and their presence is ritually enacted.
The papers presented at the workshop will be revised and published by the Finnish Exegetical Society in a volume edited by Dr. Kirsi Valkama and Professor Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme. The book is expected to come out in 2018.
Laura Wickström works as coordinator at FIME’s office in Beirut October 2015 – November 2016. She is a doctoral student at Åbo Akademi University and holds a Master of Arts degree in comparative religion and currently specializes in Islam and ecology within the Department of Comparative Religion.
The CSTT is seeking enthusiastic candidates for several fixed-term positions of University researchers, Postdoctoral researchers and Doctoral students. The university and postdoctoral researcher positions are for periods ranging from one to three years. The period of the doctoral student positions may range from one to four years.
The workshop on patterns of change in the development of biblical texts, a CSTT-organized event in Helsinki in the month of May, showcased important examples of textual differences that are attested by the different witnesses to the Hebrew Bible. Continue reading Change is Messy→
Professor Thomas Wilhelmsson, Chancellor of the University of Helsinki, visited CSTT on Monday 24 March. The Chancellor is, among other things, in charge of promoting research and the university’s social interaction, and it was in this capacity that he wanted to learn more about CSTT. Continue reading Chancellor Visits CSTT→
The Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki