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Institute of Advanced Study

Dr Ted Kaizer

Ted Kaizer is Senior Lecturer in Roman Culture and History. His main research interest is the social and religious history of the Near East in the Late Hellenistic and Roman period. During his Christopherson/Knott Fellowship he will be working on his book project on ‘The Religious Life of Dura-Europos’, a small-town on the Euphrates river known amongst scholars as the ‘Pompeii of the Syrian desert’.

Dr Kaizer’s overall project concerns the first-ever comprehensive study, to be published as a monograph, of the religious life of Dura-Europos, a small-town on the Euphrates river in the Parthian and Roman periods, known amongst scholars as the ‘Pompeii of the Syrian desert’ for the richness of its finds. The religious life of Dura-Europos has, in contrast to that of most other cult centres in the Roman Near East, received little scholarly attention, and there is no monograph study of its cultic variety. Following an interdisciplinary approach that involves archaeology, both Classical and Semitic epigraphy, and iconography, Dr Kaizer’s project aims to fill the void by producing a comprehensive overview of Dura’s Tempelgeschichte, providing full details of how all the relevant finds can be linked to individual places of worship. A detailed and systematic study of the various temples, cults, deities, worshippers and religious calendars in Dura will have invaluable implications for the understanding of religious life outside the main cult centres, and will provide a methodological framework for the study of cultural life in the small-towns of the Roman provinces in general. An important part of the project is related to the use of sacred calendars in the formation of a locality’s ‘rhythm of religious life’.

As a side-project, Dr Kaizer’s involvement in the prestigious international project on the Bibliotheca Cumontiana (the re-publication of all works by the Belgian scholar Franz Cumont, for which Dr Kaizer has responsibility for two volumes on Dura-Europos) will allow him to produce the best possible historiographical foundation for his research on Dura’s religious life.

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