A conference was recently announced here in Cambridge that many interested in the Septuagint will want to look into. On 6-8 September 2017 the Being Jewish, Writing Greek conference will be held here at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Classics. This event has developed out of a seminar hosted here this academic year that was essentially driven by the desire to pay more scholarly attention to the full range of ancient Jewish Greek literature, which is frequently ignored.
The Septuagint … and Beyond
Obviously the Septuagint falls within the range of Greek writings produced by Jews. However, as a courpus of mostly translated texts, there is considerable debate about whether or not it should be considered Jewish “literature” proper (a question bound up with issues of language, cultural identity, and genre). That is part of the reason for this conference. But there is a good deal of Jewish writing that was composed in Greek, and which clearly qualifies as literature. The non-translated books of the Septuagint, such as 1-4 Maccabbees, 1 Esdras, Judith, or Tobit are certainly among such Jewish Greek literature. But there are also quite a few others that you might never have heard of, like:
- Ezekiel’s Exagogê
- Demetrius the Chronographer
The goal of this conference is to shine a (cross-disciplinary) spotlight on these ancient sources – those translated and those composed in Greek – to consider their linguistic and literary qualities. As the conference website says,
Much has been said about the historical as well as theological contexts and content of these works. However, relatively few studies have considered these Jewish writings in Greek as literary works.
Yes, You can Submit a Proposal!
The goal is to look at these Jewish Greek sources as the products of two cultures and languages in confluence: Judaism and Hellenism, Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek. Moreover, the conference is meant to recalibrate the traditional, single-discipline approaches to these texts and instead situate both Classical and Jewish literature “in a broader Mediterranean context.”
Thus far speakers will include
- James Aitken (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity)
- Simon Goldhill (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Classics)
- Sylvie Honigman (Ancient History, Tel Aviv University)
- Nicholas de Lange (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity)
- Eva Mroczek (Religious Studies, University of California, Davis)
- Hindy Najman (Department of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford)
- Maren Niehoff (Department of Jewish Thought, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem).