Back in September the call for papers for a very interesting workshop was released at the Ancient Esotericism blog (and elsewhere). “New Antiquities: Transformations of the Past in the New Age and Beyond”, put together by Almut-Barbara Renger (Freie Universität Berlin) and my good colleague Dylan Burns (Universität Leipzig), calls attention to the myriad uses and imaginings of antiquity in contemporary religious discourses. A fascinating field that has received quite some attention from religious studies scholars interested in such things as the construction of tradition or mnemohistory. What’s particularly interesting about this workshop is that it aims to mobilize the antiquity specialists as well, who, a bit too often perhaps, have tended to avoid dealing with questions related to such modern “reception history”. It’s also an excellent platform for bridging the studies of ancient and contemporary esotericism.
The deadline for submitting paper proposals has now been extended to January 31. Below follows the description of the workshop, pasted from the extension notice:
New Antiquities: Transformations of the Past in the New Age and BeyondThe twentieth century witnessed a surge of fascination with the religious culture of the ancient Mediterranean, whose allure was appropriated in innovative ways by various actors and movements ranging from Rudolf Steiner to Goddess-cult(ure)s, from Neo-Gnostics in Brazil to the Russian New Age. In these diverse interpretations and productive misunderstandings of antiquity, ancient gods, philosophers, religious specialists, sacred institutions, practices, and artifacts were invoked, employed, and even invented in order to legitimize new developments in religious life. Focusing on the contemporary period (from the 1960s to the present day), our goal is to identify and analyze these appropriations and changes of ancient religious life. We seek critical, scientific papers that take an historical, philological, and/or sociological approach towards transformations and constructions of the past in the literature and cultural discourse of the New Age and beyond, extending into movements such as Neo-Paganism and Neo-Gnosticism. Join us for a workshop in Berlin, from 26–28 June 2014!Selected papers from the workshop will be published in the peer-reviewed Brill series, Metaforms: Studies in the Reception of Classical Antiquity. Participants will need to provide their own funding.Deadline for the submission of abstracts: 31 January 2014.Contact info:Please send abstracts together with a CV (both no more than 500 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org.