On Tuesday 23 May, Steve Mason will give his inaugural lecture as Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions and Cultures at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen.
The lecture is titled 'Why does the Ancient Past Matter in the Public University? The Case of Jews and Christians.' Mason says that his talk 'will situate my research at the RUG in two contexts: the public university as a unique locus of critical inquiry and the lamentable history of Jewish Christian relations'. These contexts, he explains, make possible his collaborative investigations into the extensive writings of the ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, his studies of ancient and modern historiography, and his inquiries into particular historical events in Roman Judaea, notably the Jewish-Roman War of 66 to 74. He adds, 'I’m looking forward to joining up the dots on 23 May!'
Building bridges around the ancient Mediterranean can be seen as the common thread that runs through Mason’s career; bridges between disciplines and between ancient and modern times. He believes that a critical understanding of our shared past, recent and ancient, throws light on our modern identities, including the sources and potential resolutions of conflict.
Steve Mason first studied Judaism and Early Christianity at McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada). After his Ph.D. (University of St. Michael's College, 1986, by way of the universities of Jerusalem and Tübingen) he worked at The Pennsylvania State University, as Head of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, and at Toronto’s York University, most recently as Canada Research Chair in Greco-Roman Cultural Interaction. From 2011 to 2015 he held the Kirby Laing Chair in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen. Mason was the first Dirk Smilde Fellow at the Qumran Institute of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen. In August 2015 he was appointed Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions and Cultures at this Faculty.
On Tuesday 23 May he will ceremonially accept this position by way of an inaugural lecture, titled Why does the Ancient Past Matter in the Public University? The Case of Jews and Christians.
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