International Summer Seminar at PPCU August 4, 2010
PPCU’s campus in Piliscsaba hosted the international Enoch Graduate Seminar from July 18 to 23 2010. University president, professor at the Department of Old Testament Studies, György Fodor opened the event.
The international conference was named after the biblical figure Enoch who is thought to be the author of numerous ancient Jewish non-biblical apocrypha. Not only was the existence of these texts known to Christianity, but they were also amended and passed on. (The works only survived through Christian tradition.) Thus, a constant topic of the seminars is Jewish and Christian cultures and their relations. Sources include Persian, Hellenistic and Roman works of the Middle East: mainly Greek translations of apocrypha and pseudoepygraphical literature, Hebrew and Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls, early Christian literature, works of Hellenistic and rabbinic Jewish literature. The biennial seminar hosts doctoral school students and young graduates who can pass into the program based on their abstracts. The two previos were hosted by Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame.
The chairpersons of the seminar in Piliscsaba were initiator of the seminars, professor Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan), representative of the host institute and organiser of this year’s event, professor Ida Fröhlich (PPCU Faculty of Humanities), professor Géza Xeravits (Sapientia College of Theology of Religious Orders).
Fifteen of the eighteen participans came from the UK (University of Cambridge, University of Durham, University of Manchester), Denmark (University of Copenhagen), France (Université de Paris IV – Sorbonne), Israel (Tel-Aviv University), Russia (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow), Canada (McGill University) and the USA (Marquette University, Rice University, University of California – Los Angeles, University of Michigan). The event had three Hungarian participants, two of whom are students of PPCU’s Doctoral School in History and one who graduated in Hebrew studies at PPCU, currently attending the doctoral school of Eötvös Loránd University.
The thematic blocks of the seminar in Piliscsaba dealt with the themes of Enochian literature as well as biblical interpretation, the ideas of the era, the culture of Jewish disapora in Egypt, apocrypha and works of pseudoepigraphyical literature (particularly the texts known as the Fourth Book of Ezra and the Second Book of Baruch), the sources of Christian history in the New Testament and the themes of rabbinic literature.
The theses sent in by the participants one month prior to the seminar were discussed in 60-minute sessions. Besides the topics closely related to the essays, the discussions also dealt with broader historic, genre, traditional and other issues, offering a wider perspective and a new approach to some of the theses.
The discussions were followed by lectures: Gabriele Boccaccini spoke about the Online Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism. Ida Fröhlich’s lecture (titled ”Jewish Magic”) dealt with ancient Jewish healing magic through a Qumran psalm and ritual text. In his video lecture, Armin Lange of Universität Wien (Austria) talked about a Jewish amulet found in an ancient Jewish child’s grave in Halbturn, not far from the Austrian-Hungarian border.
The seminar sessions were supported by a visit to the lapidary of the Hungarian National Museum, where the participants were guided by archeologist Zsolt Mráv.
The best theses are published in the international periodical, ”Henoch”, and some of the works will be available in Hungarian.
In 2012, the University of Notre Dame is going to host the event. For more information, please visit www.enochseminar.org.