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Ancient World Seminar: Clare Wilde (Groningen) – “Late Antique Christianity in Crisis: A Quranic Perspective”

When:Mo 21-09-2015 16:15 - 17:30
Where:Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (Oude Boteringestraat 38), room 130
Click to enlarge. Poster design by Caroline van Toor.
Click to enlarge. Poster design by Caroline van Toor.

The Qur'ān is intimately familiar with Christians and Christianity, but the precise nature of the Christianity known to the Qur'ān remains a matter of intense scholarly debate. This talk will examine the Qur'ān in the light of the turbulent 6th century in order to understand the Christianity that the Qur'ān expected (and expects) its auditors to know. As the Qur'ān references both doctrinal debates and disputes over ecclesiastical administration addressed at the Council of Chalcedon (451 CE) and fiercely debated in following decades, might it shed new light on the reception of Chalcedon? For example, although less well-known than the violence that erupted in Egypt soon after the Council, south Arabia provided anti-Chalcedonians martyrs (in the 520s): the so-called martyrs of Najran, possibly attested in Q 85 as the People of the Ditch. In the light of recent scholarship on qur'ānic narratives and Late Antique Syriac homilies, particular attention will be given to the reception of Chalcedon in Syriac literature.

Clare Wilde joined the Groningen faculty of Theology and Religious Studies early in 2015 as a Rosalind Franklin Fellow. She is a specialist in Islamic Origins whose research interests lie at the intersection of Qur'anic and Late Antique Studies, with special attention for the reception history of the Qur’an in Islamic and Christian traditions. She has studied Religious Studies at Princeton, Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Pontifical Institute for the Study of Arabic and Islam in Rome and obtained her PhD in Church History (Syriac, Arabic and Latin traditions) from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Before coming to Groningen, she has held teaching positions at Georgetown University (Washington DC) and the University of Auckland (New Zealand).