Event: Thursday, 10/23
"How Could We Be Idolaters?"
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Presenter: Cecilia Palombo (NES)
Paper title: "How Could We Be Idolaters?" Representing Christians as Pagans Between Byzantium and Islam (6th-7th Centuries)
Discussant: Jack Tannous (HIS)
A light lunch will be served
Sixth- and seventh-century sources from Byzantium and the Near East are witness to an increasing controversy on the saints’ cult, the worship of relics, and the means of intercession between God and humankind. This debate and its doctrinal implications often involved the use of idolatry as a polemical category and the representation of the adversaries as polytheists. Somehow starting from Gerald Hawting's fundamental work, this paper aims at showing how the ‘idea of idolatry’ in that period was not only a stereotyped form of inter-religious diatribe, but above all a traditional weapon functional to a new, specific controversy. Contemporary sources will be put side by side, so as to highlight, on the one hand, their different perspectives on the saints’ cult and on the intercession attributed to holy figures; on the other, their sharing common images, arguments and concerns. This analysis will include Jewish and Christian polemical materials from the 6th and the 7th centuries, written in Jewish Aramaic and Greek, as well as few specific Qur’ānic passages, which will be re-contextualized in the light of the contemporary debate.
The Princeton Islamic Studies Colloquium is a forum for discussion and peer review of graduate students' research projects and guest scholars' works-in-progress in the field of Islamic Studies. The Islamic Studies Colloquium formed in the spring of 2009 with the hope of encouraging an interdepartmental discussion and circulation of ideas among graduate students and professors with an interest in Islamic Studies.
The colloquium meets once or twice a month over lunch to discuss a pre-circulated paper, and all attendees are expected to have read and reflected on the paper beforehand. A discussant initiates the conversation with a summary of the work in progress' main argument, taking care to identify what the piece contributes to current scholarship as well as the potential for further development. Following the author's response, a moderator conducts an hour of mediated discussion. The forum is led and organized by graduate students.
PISC is supported by the generosity of Princeton University's Department of Religion, the Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Center for the Study of Religion.
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