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May 16, 2017

International Conference 2017: Intolerance - Polemics - Debate: Cultural Resistance in the Ancient World

In 2015, the department of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Origins of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) organized a first conference on acculturation focusing on the “positive” side of acculturation, i.e. amalgamation, under the title: Sharing and Hiding Religious Knowledge: Strategies of Acculturation in Early Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Traditions (22-24 April 2015). In our second conference, which will take place 16-18 May 2017, we will focus more on the “negative” side of acculturation, i.e., resistance. We will approach this topic from the angle of religious, cultural and philosophical intolerance in Antiquity, under the title: Intolerance – Polemics – Debate: Cultural Resistance in the Ancient World.

This approach would break the rather general issue of cultural resistance down to one particular, feasible form that resistance can take, that of intolerance—a very relevant contemporary issue. Furthermore, by specifying intolerance as religious, cultural and philosophical, we move beyond the widespread modern assumption that the natural antithesis is between religion, on the one hand, and culture on the other hand, as if the normal subject of cultural resistance is religion, rather than culture or philosophy. By explicitly addressing various types of intolerance: religious, cultural and philosophical, we broaden the approach, and highlight the fact that both religions, cultures and philosophies can be intolerant. It also offers the opportunity to enquire into the nature of intolerance: is every assertion of values and norms, is every exclusivism necessarily intolerant?


For more information, including the programme of the conference, please visit the conference website.