Welcome of New Member

We are pleased to welcome our new member Moritz Strohschneider who is a research assistant at the Institute of German Philology at LMU Munich.

Moritz Strohschneider received his PhD in Tübingen in 2018 with the study Neue Religion in Friedrich Hölderlins später Lyrik (Berlin / Boston 2019). His research interests include cultural criticism in early 20th century literature: Currently he is preparing a book entitled Genealogie der Unordnung. Antireformatorische Kulturkritik im 20. Jahrhundert. It deals with the critique of modernity, which authors such as Stefan Zweig and Rudolf Borchardt described as a late consequence of the Reformation. In his habilitation thesis, Verabschiedung der Gegenwart, he deals with the often religiously motivated utopian concepts of the ‘Reich’ in the German literature between 1918 and 1939. In addition, he is working on the European psalm song in the early modern period. Together with Prof. Dr. J. Robert (Tübingen), he is editing Martin Opitz’s Die Palmen Davids (1637/38). Recent publications: „Mythen der deutschen Nation in Friedrich Hölderlins Germanien (1801/1802) und Heinrich von Kleists Germania an ihre Kinder (1809)“, in: Philipp Anton Knittel (ed.): „Seit ein Gespräch wir sind.“ Friedrich Hölderlin und Heinrich von Kleist im Dialog, Bielefeld 2023, S. 137–162; „Legendarisches Erzählen und die Poetik literarischer Sachlichkeit in Joseph Roths Roman Tarabas. Ein Gast auf dieser Erde (1934)“, in: Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch 62/2021, S. 265–289.


New Directions in Ancient Greek Religion

We are pleased to inform you that the Department of Classics and the Center for the Study of Religion at Ohio State University are announcing a special colloquium in honor of Professor Fritz Graf.

New Directions in Ancient Greek Religion: A colloquium in honor of Fritz Graf  will take place On Friday, April 21, 2023 (9:00 am-4:30 pm, eastern time). 

(by ABR)

For the full program and more information see the conference notice at this link. On the program you will also find the link for Zoom registration.


Call for Papers: Charms, Charmers and Charming

The Materiality and Performance of Charms

(by ABR)

The International Society for Folk Narrative Research (ISFNR) Committee on Charms, Charmers, and Charming invites submissions for its 2023 conference, which will be held at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, from 29-31 August, with an excursion on 1 September. Submissions are due by 15 March 2023.

The conference will explore verbal rituals, whether written or spoken, that aim to provide protection, healing, and similar benefits to their users. Papers discussing this topic from any discipline, dealing with any region or historical period, are welcome. The conference theme of materiality and performance seeks to enable comparison between practices that might be distant in place and time. Particularly encouraged are papers that explore how written charms are made and how spoken charms are performed.

Topics might include:

  • Interactions between charmers and patients
  • Spaces and places where charms are performed
  • Ritual actions taken during the performance of charms
  • Interplay between the words and materials of written charms and talismans
  • The relationship between charm performance and religious ceremony
  • Wearing, carrying, and consuming powerful words.

Proposals for 20-minute papers should be sent to Katherine Hindley
(, including a title, 200-word abstract, and brief biography of the presenter. The language of the conference is English.

The conference will take place at NTU’s One North campus. There will be no registration fee for the conference, but the excursion will be chargeable.

For more details, click here.


CfP: Late Antique Cult of Saints in Eastern Christianity

We are happy to spread the word about a Call for Papers for a conference on the Late Antique Cult of Saints in Eastern Christianity, 4–5 May 2023 at the University of Oxford.

Scholarship on Late Antique Christianity has long focused on the Christian West, often ignoring communities and liturgical traditions in the Eastern regions of the early Christian world.

This resulted in a relative lack of interest, and therefore, scholarship, on numerous communities whose heritage is in danger of disappearing. However, the last couple of decades has seen an increasing focus on these arguably long-forgotten ‘Christianities’ and their communities, heritage, and literary productions.

Following this crucial shift in scholarship, young scholars (doctoral students and early career researchers from disciplines such as archaeology, philology, gender and sexuality studies, anthropology, theology, religious studies, art history, the social sciences and history) are are invited to a conference at the University of Oxford to further explore the various traditions cultivated in Christian communities residing in these marginalised areas of the Late Antique world. As a tribute to Peter Brown’s legacy in the study of Late Antiquity, the conference will survey these communities through the prism of the cult of saints.

Attention will be given to the function of saints within Eastern Christianity in Late Antiquity, focusing on, but not limited, to Syriac, Armenian, Greek, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Arabic communities. Proposals on a wide range of topics are welcome, including, but not limited to: 

– The role of saints within the Christian community as models of intercession
– Divination and magical practices within the cult of saints
– Gendered saints and gendered cults, and the contribution of women to the cultivation of narratives and practices
– The developing theology of the cult of the saints
– The construction of saints’ narratives
– Bodily practices associated with the cult of the saints
– The utilisation of saints in legal contexts and legislation around saints and their worship
– Appropriation and adoption of saints and their holy sites by other religious or Christian traditions
– Saints and martyrs as intermediaries and interconnectors between different religious or Christian traditions
– The economic and political functions of saints and their shrines

Papers may last no more than 20 minutes and will be followed by 5 minutes for questions. A number of accepted speakers will be asked to submit a shortened version of their paper to Oxford University’s The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity Database ( following the conference. Interested scholars are asked to submit an abstract of no more than 200 words alongside a short academic bio (max. 100 words) and an academic CV (max. 2 pages) to before 1st March 2023. 

For more information on the Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme wich the conference is part of click here.

(picture by ABR)


CfP for a Panel on “Religious Knowledge and Authoritative Texts”

We would like to draw your attention to a panel on “Religious Knowledge and Authoritative Texts in Judaic, Christian, Gnostic, Neoplatonist and Other Polytheistic Traditions” (1st century BCE-2nd century CE) to be held at the 14th Celtic Conference in Classics, in Coimbra, Portugal, on July 11-14th 2023. The panel seeks to bring ca. 10-15 scholars together to examine how ancient groups used authoritative texts and narratives to legitimize their knowledge – practices found in various forms of Judaism, Christianity, Gnosticism, Stoicism, Neoplatonism, and ‘pagan’ polytheism.

Possible topics and questions include (but are by no means limited to):

  • What types of interpretative practices were used to generate meaning in authoritative texts across different traditions (e.g. allegory, rationalization, euhemerism, exegesis)?
  • Were such creative interpretations an inevitable response to the evolution of a fixed canon, or are there meaningful differences between traditions that would necessitate an alternative analysis?
  • How was authenticity affirmed or contested through the use of authoritative texts, and through competition over the comparative merits of canons?
  • What role did political, social, and economic factors play in negotiating the legitimacy and authority of canons? How did subject or minority communities use and adapt their authoritative texts in the face of foreign cultural and political domination (esp. Greek and Roman)? Who wrote the rules of the games which evolved?
  • How did new ways of reading authoritative texts and the competition between canons shape the development of new religious ideas? How did the (de)contextualization of canonical texts affect their impact?
  • What opposing voices do we find in antiquity about interpretative practices? Do we find a developed conceptual opposition between historicizing and ahistorical readings of ancient texts?

Ancient authors and texts particularly relevant to the discussion include (but are by no means limited to): Philo, Paul, Heraclitus’ Homeric Problems, Josephus, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, the Gospels, New Testament Apocrypha, Seneca, Irenaeus, the Hermetic corpus, Tatian, Justin Martyr, Origen, Minucius Felix, Clement of Alexandria, Lucian, Aelius Aristides, Apuleius.

The panel will consist of a combination of invited speakers and speakers chosen from abstracts submitted in response to this call for papers. Scholars interested in presenting a paper (ca. 40 minutes) are asked to submit a 300-400 word abstract to the organizers by February 1, 2023. Papers are welcome in English, French, Portuguese, and German. 

For any questions, please contact Anthony Ellis (University of Bern, and/or Inger Kuin (University of Virginia, For the full CfP see the Pdf. General information about the conference is available here.

(pictures by ABR)


Lecture by Marina Warner, ‘Viral Spiral: Multiple Shape-shifting from Ovid to Covid’

We would like to bring to your attention the Goldsmiths Centre for Comparative Literature’s Annual Lecture, Thursday January 19, 2023, 6.15pm GMT:


A group of metamorphoses in myths and legends features gods and in between creatures, who are not quite divine and not quite mortal either,  who can change their shape multiple times. For example, Mestra, the daughter of Erisychthon, is given this gift by the gods when her father sells her, and she is able to elude the clients he panders her to.

Marina Warner will explore stories of multiple transformations in and out of different bodies, and reflect on their significance in relation to today’s concerns with fluid identities and interspecies contact and contagion.

The lecture will be in person and and online. 

To attend in person, book at:

The lecture will take place in the Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths, University of London, Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW.  For directions and a campus map see:

To attend online, book at

Marina Warner writes fiction and cultural history. Her award-winning books explore myths and fairy tales; they include From the Beast to the Blonde (1994) and Stranger Magic: Charmed States & The Arabian Nights (2011). She has published five novels and three collections of short stories, including Fly Away Home (2014). Her most recent book, Inventory of a Life Mislaid (2021) is an ‘unreliable memoir’ about her childhood in Egypt where her father opened a bookshop in 1947. She contributes regularly to the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books and to artist’s catalogues, for example for Paula Rego’s retrospective at Tate Britain (2021). She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, a Distinguished Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy.  In 2015, she was awarded the Holberg Prize in the Arts and Humanities, and in 2017 she was given a World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. Since 2016, she has been working with the project in Palermo, Sicily, and is currently writing a book about the concept of Sanctuary. She lives in London.

More information can be found here.


We are back

During the last months our blog has been under construction due to technical issues. As you can see we made some changes and are still working on some details.
We apologize for the long absence and are happy to announce that we are now back to our regular posting schedule.

Thank you for your patience and a happy new year 2023!


Vacation Time: Happy Summer Holidays

(by Almut-Barbara Renger)

“Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.” ― Charlaine Harris

Dear all,

We are taking a break. May your summer fill up with lots of delicious fruits and, of course (!) good books. Enjoy your vacation and make some memories to remember forever!

the HolyLit Team


Ecology in Genesis 1, with Ellen Bernstein

(by Almut-Barbara Renger)

We would like to bring a clip to your attention which is an excerpt of the Spotlights episode featuring Rabbi Ellen Bernstein. In this clip, she discusses her ecological interpretation of the Bible, specifically the ecological implications of the first chapter of the book of Genesis. She wrote a wonderful book on the topic, The Splendor of Creation: A Biblical Ecology (Pilgrim Press).

More information about the book can be found on the publisher’s website here.
Details for the full episode are available here.
You can watch the clip below or listen to it here.

This is really worth to be checked out – particularly when you are interested in the interrelations of religion and ecology!



Book and Paper Prize – Call for Submissions 2022

The Women’s Section of the American Folklore Society invites submissions for the Elli Köngäs-Maranda Student and Professional Prizes, which honor Köngäs-Maranda as a pioneering feminist folklorist. The prizes recognize superior work on women’s traditional, vernacular, or local culture and/or feminist theory and folklore.  

Submission deadline: July 15, 2022 

Prize recipients do not have to be members of the American Folklore Society. The section will announce awards in late September. 

EKM Student Prize 

• For an undergraduate or graduate student paper (up to 30 pages in length) produced as part of a degree program. Must be English-language or with English translation.

• Entrants may be those currently enrolled in their degree program as of the submission deadline or those who were enrolled during the academic year ending in 2022. 

• Carries an award of $100. 

• Papers are to be submitted as an email attachment to EKM Committee Chair Patricia Sawin

EKM Professional/Non-Student Prize 

• Eligible work includes publications, films, videos, exhibitions or exhibition catalogues, or sound recordings. The committee accepts English-language or English subtitled texts.

• Materials must have been published/produced between August 15, 2020, and July 15, 2022. 

• Carries an award of $250. 

• The committee requires three copies of books, videos, etc., or digital links. For addresses to which to send copies, please contact EKM Committee Chair Patricia Sawin