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Working Title

Trauma and Traumatization in and Beyond Biblical Literature

Edited by: Eve-Marie Becker, Jan Dochhorn and Else K. Holt (all: AU)

Trauma is not only a modern concept which derives from 20th century psychiatry: It is an ancient phenomenon which predates our modern societies. Here, psychiatry meets the Humanities (e.g. history, art history, sociology, politics, and religion).

During a joint seniorseminar at the Faculty of Theology in Aarhus (Fall 2009 and Spring 2010), scholars in the fields of Old and New Testament, as well as Patristics, explored how the concept of trauma can be applied to (para‐)biblical texts. Throughout the course of the seminar, it was found that studying Biblical texts as trauma‐literature inspires exegesis, as well as opens up a multiplicity of methods and dimensions which help to broaden and deepen the trauma‐discourse.

The aim of the international and decidedly interdisciplinary conference (”Trauma and Traumatization in and Beyond Biblical Literature”, Date: 6.6.-9.6.2012, Aarhus University) is to demonstrate how a highly developed expertise in interpreting Biblical and cognate literature is a substantial part of the overall discourse on the historical, literary, social, political, and religious dimensions of trauma in past and present. The Research Units for Biblical Studies at the University of Aarhus combine strong competencies in literary and historical exegesis of (para‐)biblical and patristic texts with the approach of religious studies, and such a project as this also builds a bridge to strong fields of research in psychiatry and psychology at AU which deal with e.g. autobiography and memory. Participants will include internationally leading scholars, external scholars who are related to the topic as well as scholars from Aarhus University.




The contributions that will be presented at the conference (more than 20) will be published, prospectively as volume 2 of SANT:

  • Trauma and mental disorders the theoretical and empirical approach: Raben Rosenberg, AU
  • The trauma-discourse within Biblical Studies OT perspective: Kathleen O’Connor, Atlanta
  • The trauma-discourse within Biblical Studies NT perspective: Colleen Shantz, Toronto
  • The role of autobiographic memory: Dorthe Berntsen, AU
  • Religious/literary strategies of survival: Louis Stulman, Findlay, OH
  • The shape of a trauma (?) Religion and violence: Armin Geertz, AU
  • Perpetuating and shaping traumata martyr-literature: Lucy Grig, Edinburgh
  • Retrospective Diagnosis – Prospects and Limitations: Karl-Heinz Leven, Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • History of Psychopathology: Nadine Metzger, Erlangen-Nuremberg (short-paper)
  • Towards Paul’s traumata: Eve-Marie Becker, AU
  • The continuation and substitution of intra-cultural traumata the destruction of the temple and/or the death of the Justice as test cases: Adele Reinhartz, Ottawa
  • Traumatic events in history: Andreas Mehl, Halle-Wittenberg
  • Nero-redivivus: Jan Dochhorn, AU
  • „Sulla’s proscriptions as a traumatic event in Roman history – recollections from the late Roman republic to late antiquity“: Alexandra Eckert, Halle-Wittenberg (short-paper)
  • „Concepts of defeat“: Frank Ursin, Halle-Wittenberg (short-paper)
  • Traumata in Israel? History and literature: Daniel Smith-Christopher, Los Angeles
  • Daughter Zion: The Image of a Traumatized Woman/Man/People/City in OT Poetic Literature: Else K. Holt, AU
  • Traumata in their cultural settings: Roberto Castro, Mexico
  • Trauma and shame: Virginia Burrus, Drew University