31 August 2012
Genres and Ethics: How Early Christian Texts Produce Ethical Teaching. The challenge of the “ethical turn”
Within the study of early Christianity, the interaction between the construction of ethics and the production of literature plays a pivotal role. Until now there does not exist a concise method or concept for looking at the interaction between ethics and literary genres in order to answer the following questions: Why and how have Christians during the first generations shaped their ethical discourse by means of certain kinds of literary genres? To what extent do the literary genres (e.g. letter, historiography, apocalyptic, tractates) that are used in early Christianity simply adopt Greco-Roman and Hellenistic-Jewish forms and genres, i.e. how do they participate in the general frame of ancient literature and ethics, designed by philosophy and ethics? And to what extent do they create "new" types of literature as well as new ethical discourses? To answer these and similar questions – especially in the light of the post-modern interest in ethics as it is pointed out in the ethical turn – will lead to a paradigmatic shift in studying early Christian ethics as well as early Christian literature. Course offered by Department of Culture and Society.
Eve-Marie Becker, Aarhus University, Karla Pollmann, St. Andrews and Hermut Löhr, University of Münster
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