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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Water and Religious Life in the Roman and Late Antique Near East A Two-Day International Workshop at Durham University

23rd March 2016, 09:00 to 21:00, Department of Classics and Ancient History, Dr James Corke-Webster

Convened by Eris Williams Reed and Stephen Humphreys.

Co-organised by the Departments of Archaeology and Classics & Ancient History.

Held under the auspices of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East.

Generously supported by:

Institute of Advanced Study, Durham

Ritual, Religion, Belief and Place Research Group, Durham Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Durham

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Durham

The Classical Association


Tuesday 22nd March 2016: Institute of Advanced Study

6:30pm: Veronica Strang (Durham) - Hydrotheological Cycles: water serpent beings and religious spatio-temporalities

7:15pm: Drinks reception

Wednesday 23rd March 2016: Department of Classics and Ancient History

9:15am: Welcome and introduction

9:30am: Session One. Chair: James Corke-Webster (Durham)

Stephen Humphreys (Durham) - Beyond Baptism: A Consideration of Christian Sacralisation of Water in the Near East

Rick Bonnie (Helsinki) - Moving Beyond Homogeneity: On Jewish Experiences of Purification Rituals in Early Roman Galilee

Ine Jacobs (Oxford) - Water on display in Late Antiquity? A survey of contexts, continuity and disruption

11:10am: Coffee

11:40am: Session Two. Chair: Rune Rattenborg (Durham)

Allison Lee (Durham) - Water and the Ad-Deir Plateau: Resolving Issues of Reutilisation

Julian Richard (Namur) - Urban oases or sacred pools? A few thoughts on the deeper meaning(s) of nymphaea in the Roman East

Rubina Raja (Aarhus) - The Gardeners of the Upper Valley. The importance of water to urban (religious) life in Gerasa

1:20pm: Lunch

2:50pm: Session Three. Chair: Donald MacLennan (Durham)

Eris Williams Reed (Durham) - Ecological approaches to religious continuity: pagans, Jews and Christians at Banias

Dominic Dalglish (Oxford/British Museum) - Continuity as response: the significance of water between the god of Doliche and Jupiter Dolichenus

Lucinda Dirven (Amsterdam) - Water, Fish and Rituals in Lucian's De Dea Syria. Continuity and Change of Mesopotamian Traditions

4:30pm: Coffee

5:00pm: Roundtable. Chair: Ted Kaizer (Durham)

5:30pm: Break

7:30pm: Dinner

Registration and Further Information:-

Registration is free and includes coffee breaks on Wednesday. To register, please indicate the sessions you wish to attend via our Doodle Poll:, entering your name and institutional affiliation as you would like it to appear on your name badge.

Please also indicate on our Doodle Poll, no later than Monday 14th March, if you would like to join us for the wine reception on Tuesday (£5 on the door) and/or the workshop dinner on Wednesday. If you have any dietary requirements, please contact Eris Williams Reed ( directly.

For directions, a campus map of Durham can be found at

Thanks to the generosity of the Classical Association, a number of bursaries are available to defray attendance costs for national and international postgraduates. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please email by 1st March 2016 with the following details:

- Basic information: Name, institutional affiliation, year of study and thesis title

- A brief statement (200 words max.) of why the workshop would benefit your academic and professional development

- A provisional breakdown of expenses (travel and, where necessary, accommodation)

For more information about Postgraduate events and the Institute of Advanced Study, please visit the following website:

Contact for more information about this event.