Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Philip Sellew on “Resurrecting Early Christian Lives: Digging in Papyri in a Digital Age”

Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 6pm in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, Macalester College

Excavations in the trash heaps of the Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus uncovered half a million scraps of paper giving us unprecedented evidence of human activity from the ancient Mediterranean world. Countless bits of everyday writing from Greco-Roman times were deposited in these garbage dumps: letters, contracts, tax records, census returns, petitions, recipes, school exercises. Editing, interpreting, and publishing these papyri has been a painfully slow process, with only 6,000 of those half a million texts yet in print. Our Minnesota-based project is using web-powered crowd sourcing to speed up the work and expand its horizons into new areas, such as texts written in the Coptic language representing the concerns of early Christian inhabitants of Egypt in late Roman times.

About the speaker: Professor Phillip Sellew's teaching involves the history of religions in Greek and Roman antiquity, with a special interest in early Christianity. Most of his published work is on the Gospels: Mark, Luke, the Q source, and the Coptic Gospel of Thomas. A second area of research is Coptic: the language and literature of Egyptian Christianity (and Gnosticism too) in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. His own writing projects these days center on Luke, Thomas, and various Coptic liturgical and hagiographical texts. 

*Location and parking information can be found here (#29 on the map)

A no-host dinner with the speaker will follow the lecture at Pad Thai Grand, 1681 Grand Avenue, St. Paul.

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