Monday 27 January will be the first day of a three-day conference on Jewish, Christian and Muslim Travel Experiences to be held at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the UG and at the Protestant Theological University (PThU) in Groningen. Travel and pilgrimage have become central research topics in recent years. The conference aims to contribute to the study of ancient travel and to foster interaction between the study of ancient travel in the Humanities and the study of broader human experience in the Social Sciences.
Dr Susanne Luther , Assistant Professor of the New Testament at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies and co-convener of the conference: ‘ The subject of travel and pilgrimage have become central research topics in recent years – also against the backdrop of our modern society, where travel, mobility, commuting, migration and, more recently, the climate-related problems of travel are increasingly the focus of debate. With regard to our focus on the period from the 3rd century BCE to the 8th century CE, recent developments in scholarship have brought interesting insights to light. Some archaeologists and historians have applied globalization theories to ancient intercultural connections, while classicists have rediscovered travel as a literary topic in Greek and Roman writing. Scholars of early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have been rethinking long-familiar pilgrimage practices in new interdisciplinary contexts.’
Susanne Luther continues: ‘In the Department of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Origins at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, we regularly organize department conferences that foster cooperation between researchers from different disciplines within our department and also give colleagues from other departments within our Faculty the opportunity to engage in discussion on a topic. This year,
Dr Clare Wilde and I (UG) are organizing the conference together with Bärry Hartog (PThU). By organizing this conference jointly with the PThU, we are continuing a tradition of collaboration between our two universities. This cooperation has helped to strengthen Groningen’s impact on the international academic community within the field of religious studies and theology, as evidenced by the interest shown in our conference by scholars from all over the world. We have invited colleagues from the UG and PThU to speak at the conference, as well as researchers from Israel, England, Iceland, Canada, and the US who are specialists on the topic of travel in ancient times.’
‘Our conference aims to contribute to the study of ancient travel in two ways. First, our focus will be on experiences of travel. Our main question will be: How did travellers in the ancient world make sense of their journeys, real or imaginary, and of the places they visited? Second, by treating Jewish, Christian, and Islamic experiences together, we seek to develop a longue durée perspective and explore the ways in which travel experiences across these three traditions resembled one another. By focusing on “experiences of travel”, we hope to foster interaction between the study of ancient travel in the Humanities and that of broader human experience in the Social Sciences.’
‘By studying processes of travel and intercultural exchange in antiquity (with a focus on the period from the 3rd century BCE to the 8th century CE) and how these resemble or differ from travel and globalization today, we can gain a better understanding of ourselves. That’s why we hope to inspire a more general debate about these questions in the long term,’ says Luther.
Please register with Susanne Luther (
Guest are especially welcome at two public lectures:
Mon 27 Jan 2020 8.30 a.m.
Wed 29 Jan 2020 2 p.m.
Monday & Wednesday: Old Courtroom, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen (Oude Boteringestraat 38)
Tuesday: Film Room, Protestant Theological University (Oude Ebbingestraat 25)
The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Heritage in Contemporary Europe
Editors: Todd H. Weir and Lieke Wijnia
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