Graduate Group symposium to focus on death and afterlife in the ancient world

Posted April 14th, 2009 at 10:58 am.

symposiumThree experts on the grim reaper—or his analogues in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece—will meet at Bryn Mawr on Friday, April 17, at 4:30 p.m. in Room B21 of Carpenter Library to explore beliefs, practices, and artistic production that death inspired in those three ancient societies.

“The Restless Dead and the Perfect Tomb: A Symposium” features three half-hour lectures, followed by a round-table discussion among the participants. Sponsored by the Graduate Group in Archaeology, Classics, and History of Art, the program is free and open to the public. Taking the place of the regular Classics Colloquium, it will be preceded by tea in the Quita Woodward room at 4 p.m.

On the program:

  • “The Dead Are Always With Us: Death as an Unfinished Rite of Passage,” by Sara Iles Johnston of the Ohio State University. Johnston, a professor in OSU’s Greek and Latin department, is an authority on religion in ancient Greece and the author of, among other books, Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece.
  • “The Dead and the Living in Ancient Mesopotamia,” by Tzvi Abusch of Brandeis University. Abusch is the Rose B. and Joseph Cohen Professor of Assyriology and Ancient Near Eastern Religion in Brandeis’ department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. An expert on ancient Babylonian witchraft and magic, he is the author of numerous books and articles on ancient Near Eastern religions.
  • “You Can Take It With You: The Burial of an Egyptian Governor, 2000 B.C.,” by Rita E. Freed of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Freed, the MFA’s John F. Cogan Jr. and Mary L. Cornille Chair of the Department of Art of the Ancient World, was trained in archaeology and museum studies. She has curated a number of acclaimed exhibitions on Egyptian and Nubian art as well as publishing widely on the subject.

The symposium was planned in conjunction with an interdepartmental seminar titled “Death and Beyond” taught by Associate Professor of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies Radcliffe G. Edmonds III and Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology Mehmet-Ali Ataç. Students in the course, including graduate students in each of the three departments represented in the Graduate Group and one advanced undergraduate, will meet with the three speakers on Saturday to discuss their own research into topics relating to “death and beyond” in the ancient world.

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