CFP: “Kings and Power: Exploring Jewish Texts in their Hellenistic Context” (Helsinki, 3-4 Dec. 2016)

Kings and Power: Exploring Jewish Texts in their Hellenistic Context
A CSTT Workshop in Helsinki, December 3-4, 2016

The Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence “Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions” aims at a more comprehensive understanding of the emergence and influence of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and other ancient Jewish literature within the multicultural milieu of the ancient eastern Mediterranean region. It provides an interdisciplinary approach to cultural, societal, ideological, and material changes in the period when the sacred writings of Judaism were created, transmitted, and continuously transformed. The researchers of the CSTT examine ancient Jewish texts from the point of view of archaeology, sociology, and history of religion, to mention but some of the most influential methodological frameworks.

Kings and Power: Exploring Jewish Texts in their Hellenistic Contexts is a two day workshop. The meeting days are December 3-4, 2016. The aim of this workshop is to provide the scholars of different levels (doctoral students, postdocs and senior researchers) with a forum where to interact beyond disciplinary boundaries. With this purpose in mind, we invite junior and senior researchers to submit a proposal for our meeting.

Within the framework of the title Kings and Power: Exploring Jewish Texts in their Hellenistic Contexts themes related to kingship and different political power structures in the Jewish and Greek texts will be analyzed. How do the texts deal with these themes? How do they draw on earlier material, and how is their agenda shaped by the impact of Greek thought? In addition to texts where political matters are present explicitly, the workshop will examine the core themes in variegated literary and social contexts such as prophecy, belief, and wisdom thought.

The goal of this workshop is to contribute to the discussion on Hellenistic Judaism. On the one hand, the presentations of the meeting will contextualize the Jewish texts, i.e., Judaism and Hellenism are not two separate entities but Jewish texts were written within their Hellenistic contexts. On the other hand, the plural “Hellenistic contexts” highlights the numerous forms that Judaism took in the late second temple period.

We welcome abstracts of short papers that would explore these topics from both textual as well as material perspectives. Our concept is that the papers should rather be short posters than lengthy conference lectures (ca. 15 minutes presentation followed by 15 minutes of discussion). We encourage the participants to explore the theme of kingship from e.g., archaeological, historical, philosophical, and theological points of view. People willing to present their work in the meeting are also encouraged to explore methodological aspects of analyzing Jewish texts in Hellenistic contexts.

Katell Berthelot (Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Aix-en-Provence, France) is a historian specialized in Judaism of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Her particular areas of expertise include the Hasmonean dynasty and their wars and the notion of humanism in ancient Greek and Jewish thinking.

Joan Taylor (King’s College, London) is an archeologist and Biblical scholar. Her research interests are (among others) Second Temple Judaism, particularly the Jewish legal schools (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, “Zealots”) and popular religious movements, Alexandrian Judaism, Philo of Alexandria, and the “Therapeutae” and Comparative Graeco-Roman religion and philosophy: literary, epigraphical and archaeological evidence.

Researchers interested in presenting at this event are invited to submit a title and abstract (ca. 300 words). Proposals should be submitted no later than September 12, 2016 to Elisa Uusimäki via email address:

The meeting will take place in the centre of Helsinki, Nervanderinkatu 11.

We kindly ask participants to register before the meeting. It can be done by November 20, 2016 by sending an email to Tuukka Kauhanen ( Attendance of the event is free.

Please note that CSTT will not be able to contribute to travel and accommodation costs. Should you need any help in finding accommodation in Helsinki, please contact the organizers of the meetings. We will be glad to help you.

For any questions related to the event, please contact Tuukka Kauhanen (

The organizing committee,
Jutta Jokiranta
Tuukka Kauhanen
Hanna Tervanotko
Elisa Uusimäki
Sami Yli-Karjamaa