"Religion in the Ancient World" Glanville Study Day & Lecture 2018

This year's Glanville Lecture in Cambridge was given by Jan Assmann who is an expert on the religion of Ancient Egypt, and to go along with the lecture there was a study day which had 6 speakers (including Assmann) who each told us about a different topic to do with religion in the ancient world. (Well, the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern portion thereof.)

In Our Time: Akhenaten

Back in the summer while In Our Time wasn't airing new episodes we dug back through the archives and found a (rare) Egyptian related one that we didn't think we'd listened to before - about Akhenaten, which aired in 2009. The experts on the programme were Richard Parkinson (British Museum), Elizabeth Frood (University of Oxford) and Kate Spence (University of Cambridge). (As it's so old affiliations of the experts have probably changed.)

"At the Gate of the Ancestors: Saint Cults and the Politics of the Past at Abydos" Janet Richards (Sackler Lecture at the British Museum)

The 2015 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology was given by Janet Richards, on the subject of saint cults in general and specifically the one of Idy at Abydos and how that fits into the wider sacred landscape there. The lecture was part of a colloquium about Abydos in general, which I didn't go to (although J did) and I remember the lecture as including a lot of references back to things they'd discussed in the colloquium.

In Our Time: Josephus

Josephus was a Jewish and Roman historian in the 1st Century AD who wrote (amongst other things) about the Roman-Jewish war that lead to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the 18th Century this book was widely read by Christians as it appears to provide historical evidence for Jesus; and Josephus was held up as one of the great historians. However to Jews he was a much more controversial figure and wasn't read or referred to until much later in the Enlightenment.

In Our Time: Matteo Ricci and the Ming Dynasty

Matteo Ricci was a Jesuit priest who went to China in the 16th Century with the aim of converting the Chinese to Christianity. He wasn't particularly successful in that goal, but he was influential on European attitudes to China & vice versa. Discussing him and his mission on In Our Time were Mary Laven (University of Cambridge), Craig Clunas (University of Oxford) and Anne Gerritsen (University of Warwick).

In Our Time: Al-Ghazali

Al-Ghazali was a leading intellectual in the Islamic world of the 11th Century AD, a philosopher, lawyer, teacher, thinker and mystic who made important contributions to Islamic philosophy and to sharia law. The experts on In Our Time who discussed his life and work were Peter Adamson (LMU in Munich), Carole Hillenbrand (Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities) and Robert Gleave (University of Exeter).

In Our Time: Ashoka

Ashoka was the ruler of a vast empire in the 4th Century BC which included nearly all of India. He is known today from both archaeological evidence (a series of pillars & rocks inscribed with his edicts) and textual evidence (later Buddhist histories). The three experts who discussed him on In Our Time were Jessica Frazier (University of Kent and the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies), Naomi Appleton (University of Edinburgh) and Richard Gombrich (Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies and University of Oxford).

Swallowed by the Sea: Ancient Egypt's Greatest Lost City; Lost Kingdoms of Central America;Treasures Decoded

Swallowed by the Sea: Ancient Egypt's Greatest Lost City was a one-off programme presented by Lucy Blue about the city of Heraclion which existed at one of the mouths of the Nile for around a thousand years. It vanished beneath the waves in the 2nd Century BC, and in modern times it was thought to be purely mythical. However at the beginning of the 21st Century a team of French underwater archaeologists discovered the site off the modern coast of Egypt and have been excavating it ever since.

In Our Time: The Talmud

The Talmud is one of the most significant texts in Judaism, second in importance only to the Torah. It is in part a commentary on the Torah, and in part an ongoing discussion (or argument) between various Rabbis & sages about Judaism, the Law and how to interpret the Law. The three experts who discussed the Talmud on In Our Time were Philip Alexander (University of Manchester), Rabbi Norman Solomon (Oxford Centre for Jewish and Hebrew Studies) and Laliv Clenman (Leo Baeck College and King's College London).


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