In recent research it was often pointed out that Judaism was a multifaceted religion with diverse perspectives on the meaning of institutions like e.g. Torah, Temple, and Land. It was also suggested that in various strands of Judaism different texts or figures were of central importance and that even the Torah was not the essential point of reference in all kinds of Judaism. Moreover, the political, cultural and social circumstances in the Mediterranean world differed from one region to another. Is it therefore justified at all to speak of essential characteristics which despite of the differences can be regarded as unifying features of all Jewish groups, communities and parties? Or is it more appropriate to use the designation “Judaism” only in the plural as has been suggested already many years ago? Another important aspect is the relationship between self-perception and the view of outsiders (e.g. Greeks and Romans) on Jews and Judaism. The conference is intended to deal with these questions in an atmosphere of high academic quality with and lively discussions. The individual sessions will be devoted to Judaism in different periods and geographical regions, as e.g. Elephantine, Samaria, Judea and Alexandria or as it appears in writings like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the writings attributed to Moses or Enoch. The conference will also focus on Judaism in the Roman Empire and on the encounter of Judaism and Christianity in the first centuries of the common era.
The individual sessions are planned as units with two speakers who will concentrate on the same topic from their particular perspective. Each unit will last 90 minutes, with two presentations of 30 to 35 minutes, followed by a discussion.
The contributions to the individual units will be published in a volume with conference proceedings.
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