Project Group: The Bible and Antiquity

Interdisciplinarity is the key to academic research in the 21st century. It stands at the core of the work of this project group.

Through the enormous increase in knowledge and material in all disciplines of both biblical studies and the study of antiquity more widely, a trend has increased that especially early-career researchers are in a position of need to restrict themselves to narrow fields of study, which they can deal with comprehensively and competently in order to establish themselves in the academic community. This constriction often leads to a Theoriedefizit, once important methods and notions lie outside of the traditional preoccupations of their discipline.

Especially in the study of antiquity, however, an understanding of neighbouring disciplines is essential. This is not least due to the dynamic manner of interaction between cultures during that time, for instance between biblical Israel, the ancient Near East, and ancient Greece, where a profound level of interaction existed.

Broadening interdisciplinary horizons

If one dealt in one’s research with authoritative discourses around the figure of Moses, which gave rise to a long intellectual and literary tradition, one can learn from how similar traditions emerged around the figure of Homer in the Greek speaking world. If one pursued research on textual criticism of the Hebrew or Greek languages, one can become enabled to better contextualise one’s sources through comparison with epigraphic material through new digitalised approaches of classical archaeology. If one considered oneself to be primarily a historian, an awareness of the close engagement with texts and the characteristics of literary genres in philology is crucial to understand one’s own sources better.

All these examples illustrate the potential of a conscious and constructive exchange amongst researchers studying antiquity.

Exchange, Learning, and Networking Opportunities for Junior Researchers

The project group especially aims towards providing opportunities to early-career researchers to facilitate exchange, occasion for professional networking, and a place to learn about new developments in all areas of biblical studies and the study of antiquity. It is hoped that this will enable them to transfer their expertise gained through this project to their own research and teaching. To this end, this project seeks to provide a platform, which is hoped to be a starting point for developments in a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to biblical studies, the study of ancient Judaism, classical philology, archaeology, history, and theology.

Subsidization by the Graduate Campus of the University of Zurich

The project is kindly supported with a grant by the Graduate Campus of the University of Zurich through the Peer Mentoring programme. The organisers would like to extend their gratitude for this support. It is moreover mentored by Konrad Schmid and Jörg Frey , to whom the organisers would also like to express their thanks.

Past events

Authenticity and Forgery
Session on Authenticity & Forgery in the cloister of the Zurich Grossmünsterr

Image 1: Session on Authenticity and Forgery in the cloister of the Zurich Grossmünster, 18 May 2021

Image 2: In discussion, Konrad Schmid (l.) and Jörg Frey (c.), moderated by Moritz F. Adam

18 May 2021: “Authenticity and Forgery in the Literature of the Old and New Testaments as well as Jewish antiquity more widely”. A dialogue between Konrad Schmid, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism, University of Zurich, and Jörg Frey, Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Zurich



Dr. Daniel Maier
    is a postdoc at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Zurich, and Assistent at the Chair of New Testament Studies, Ancient Judaism, and Hermeneutics. He received his PhD from the Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität of Munich in 2020, where he wrote a dissertation on the concept of happiness in the New Testament and Ancient Judaism, supervised by Professor Loren Stuckenbruck. His current project for his Habilitation deals with the Ethiopic tradition of the Apocalypse of Peter.

Moritz F. Adam, M.Phil
    is a doctoral student at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Zurich, and Assistent at the Chair of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism. Since 2020 he is pursuing a PhD project on the subject of the relationship between the book of Ecclesiastes and Jewish Apocalypticism, supervised by Professor Konrad Schmid. Moreover, he has been awarded a scholarship by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes).

Dr. Matthias Hopf
    is a postdoc at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Zurich. In 2014 he received his PhD from the Augustana Divinity School in Neuendettelsau, Germany, with his thesis being a literary study of the Song of Songs as a dramatic-performative text. Currently he is working on a project on the anthropology of the Holiness Code, supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (Schweizerischer Nationalfonds).

Barbara Holler
    is working in Ancient History and was awarded a doctorate from the University of Zurich with a dissertation on the financing of public sacrifices in the Hellenistic Polis. She is currently preparing the publication of her book and is pursuing a project on the depiction of historians of antiquity in contemporary novels. Moreover, she is interested in various forms of receptions of antiquity. She is the managing director of the Zurich Center for the Study of the Ancient World at the University of Zurich.

Annamária Seres
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