Skip to Main Content

Conference on Religious and Philosophical Conversion in Ancient Mediterranean Traditions (CoRPC)

We are pleased to announce the programme of the Conference on Religious and Philosophical Conversion in Ancient Mediterranean Traditions (CoRPC), which will take place at the University of Bonn from 25 to 27 September 2018 ( ).

Rationale:Research on the experience of religious conversion or spiritual transformation is necessarily interdisciplinary and interest in this field grows progressively. In light of this important and burgeoning area of study, CoRPC explores conversion or converting experience in the environment of the ancient Hellenistic world(s) with attention to early Judaism and early Christianity/the New Testament. Presentations will undertake both historical and philological reconstructions relying on source material and utilising interdisciplinary approaches. Similarly, discussions take up the literary use of the motif of conversion, the topic of philosophical conversion as well as ritual, social and embodied aspects of spiritual transformation.

Tuesday 25/9

9:00–11:10 1. Block: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Religious and Philosophical Conversion. Chair: Kelley Coblentz- Bautch (Austin, TX)

Welcome by the Dean

9:05–9:50 Keynote lecture: Contemporary Models of Conversion and Identity Transformation , Pierre-Yves Brandt (Université de Lausanne)

9:50–10:35 Keynote lecture: Conversion to Early Christianity: In-Sights from Cognitive Psychology, Rikard Roitto (Stockholm School of Theology)

10:35–11:10 Keynote lecture: Religious and Philosophical Conversion in Paul and John, Athanasios Despotis (Universität Bonn)

Coffee Break

11:30–13:05 2. Block: Conversion in the Hebrew Bible. Chair: Udo Rüterswörden (Bonn)

11:30–12:15 Keynote lectureA Conversion of the Inner Being? The Philology of Shuv in the Hebrew Bible and Beyond, David Lambert (University of North Carolina)

12:15–12:40 The Problematic Return of Ruth, Karl-Heinrich Ostmeyer (TU Dortmund).

12:40–13:05 Perspectives on Conversion in the Book of Job and the Testament of Job, Michael C. Legaspi (PennState, College of the Liberal Arts)

Midday Break

14:30–16:05 3. Block: Second Temple Judaism – Qumran and the OT Apocrypha. Chair: Michael Legaspi (Penn State)

14:30–15:15 Keynote lecture: Conversion within Second Temple Judaism?,Hermut Löhr(Universität Bonn)

15:15–15:40: Confession of Sins as Essential Part of a Conversion, Kerstin Böhm (Institut für Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, Wien)

15:40–16:05: To Make Tešuḇā’(תשובה לעשות): “Turning” in Tannaitic Literature, Francesco Zanella (Dölger-Institut, Universität Bonn/ Universität Hamburg)

Coffee Break

16:30–18:05 4. Block: Conversion in Hellenistic Mysteries. Chair: Jeffrey Ulrich (Wellesley, MA)

16:30–17:15: Keynote lecture Back to a Classic Debate: Conversion and Salvation in Ancient Mystery Cults?, Miguel Herrero de Jáuregui (Universidad Complutense Madrid)

17:15–17:40: Strategies of Conversion in the Pseudo-Orphic Hieros Logos: A Cognitive Approach, Anna Lucia Furlan (King's College London)

17:40–18:05: Can an Ass Convert? Lucius' Prayer to Isis as the Beginning of his Self-Transformation in Apuleius' Metamorphoses, Compared to Augustine's Theory of Grace, Friedemann Drews (Universität Münster)

Visit to the Metropolitan Church Agia Trias & Garden Grill

(Free admission for all speakers)

Wednesday 26/9

8:30–10:30 5. Block: Philosophical Conversion. Chair: Pierre-Yves Brandt (Lausanne)

8:30–9:15: Keynote lecture Stoic Conversion and Philosophical Paideia: Conceptual Difficulties and Thematic Affinities, Natacha Bustos (Universidad del Rosario)

9:15–9:40: The Origins of Conversion in Pagan Texts of the Second Sophistic , Jeffrey Ulrich (Wellesley College)

9:40–10:05: Conversion to Philosophy in Diogenes Laertius: Forms and Functions , Sergi Grau (ICAC - University of Barcelona)

10:05–10:30: The Awake and Sober Man’: A Key Motif in the Rhetoric of Conversion of Hellenistic Stoicism, Sharon Padilla (Universität Bonn)

Coffee Break

11:00–12:15 6. Block: Conversion in Paul and the Synoptics. Chair: Günther Röhser (Bonn)

11:00–12:15: Keynote lecture: ' Consider yourselves dead' (Rom 6:11): Biographical Reconstruction, Conversion, and the Death of the Self in the Letters of Paul, Stephen Chester (North Park University, Chicago)

12:15–12:40: Christ in the Eye of the Beholder: A Re-reading of Pauline Charis in the Autobiographical Conversion Narratives of Galatians 1 and 1 Corinthians 15, J. LaRae Ferguson (University College, Oxford)

12:40–13:05: Is there Conversion in the Synoptic Gospels? A “Problemanzeige“ , Davis Philip (Universität Bonn)

13:05–13:30 μετανοεῖτεDimensions of Conversion in the‘Sermon on the Mount’, Raul Heimann (FU Berlin)

Midday Break

14:30–16:05 7. Block: Christian Pseudepigrapha. Chair: Alexander Angelov (Williamsburg, VA )

14:30–15:15: Keynote lectureThe Elect/Election Concepts and Their Relationship to Conversion/Penitence Experiences in Christian Pseudepigrapha, Kelley Coblentz-Bautch (St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas)

15:15–15:40: Predestined for Conversion? Reconsidering Heracleon’s “Valentinian” Reading of John, Carl Johan Berglund (Uppsala University)

15:40–16:05: Conversion from Physic to Pneumatic and vice versa: Moving in and out of a Gnostic Community,Elena Sol Jimenez (University of Cantabria)

Excursion to the medieval city Bad Münstereifel

Thursday 27/9

8:30–10:55 8. Block: Conversion in Hellenistic Judaism and 1 st Ct. Christianity Chair: Miguel Herrero de Jáuregui (Madrid)

9:00–9:45: Keynote lecture Repentance in Heaven and on Earth: A Foundation for Transformation in Joseph and Aseneth?, Edith Humphrey (Pittsburg Theological Seminar)

9:45–10:10: Narrating the Conversion of Corinth. Luke’s Approach to Community Conversions, Daniel Alberto Ayuch (University of Balamand – Lebanon)

10:10–10:35 The Narratives of Conversions in the Acts of the Apostles in the Exegetical Writings of John Chrysostom, Fr. Konstantin Papathanasiou (University of Athens)

10:35–11:00: The Relationship between Almsgiving and Conversion for the New Testament Αuthors, Matthew N. Williams(Durham University)

Coffee Break

11:30–13:05 9. Block: Conversion in Late Antiquity. Chair: Hermut Löhr (Bonn)

11:30–12:15: Keynote lectureThe Question of Origen's Conversion and the Philosophico-Theological Lexicon of Epistrophē, Ilaria Ramelli (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan)

12:15–12:40: Law and Conversion in St. Augustine: Improving the Current Model , Steven Firmin (Pembroke College, University of Oxford)

12:40–13:05: Conversion from Byzantium: From Neoplatonism to the Cultural Politics of the Enlightenment, Alexander Angelov (The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA)

Conclusions 13:05–13:30 (Edith Humphrey, Pittsburgh)



Steering Committee

Kelley Coblentz Bautz (St. Edward's University in Austin)
Athanasios Despotis (Universität Bonn)
Edith M. Humphrey (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)
Hermut Löhr (Universität Bonn)

We look forward to welcoming you to Bonn. Please do not hesitate to contact u> with any questions.

On behalf of the Organising Committee,

PD Dr. Athanasios Despotis

Abteilung für Neues Testament
An der Schlosskirche 2-4
53113 Bonn, Germany
Tel. +49228739421