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Lecture | FLARe lecture series

The "Serpent of the Desert" and the "Lion’s Whelp": Transformations of Christian Apocalypticism and Interreligious Polemics

Wednesday 19 May 2021
Framing Late Antique Religion Lecture Series
This is an online event. Please register below to receive the link to the lecture.
Byzantine mosaic depicting a camel caravan in Bosra, photo by Jadd Haidar

The Arab Muslim conquests of the Eastern provinces of the Byzantine Empire as well as of Persia were perceived by the local Christian population as events of a deep apocalyptic significance, as documented in the contemporary literature. The time-frame, the geographical location, the common language and culture and perhaps more importantly the common literary genre and agenda allows for the study of these texts as a specific concise body of literature. The shared literary discourse pertains to a long Jewish and Christian apocalyptic tradition evidenced in pre-Islamic apocalyptic texts, which serve as inspiration sources and literary models for the post-Islamic literary production. In this presentation, I will discuss how this literature constructed an image of the Muslims as the symbolic “Other” based on long established cultural stereotypes and by exploiting traditional apocalyptic topoi.

About Emmanouela Grypeou

Emmanouela Grypeou has a PhD in the field “Languages and Cultures of the Christian Orient” from the University of Tübingen and is associate professor of the History of Christianity at Stockholm University in Sweden. Previously, she has held research and teaching positions at the University of Erfurt and the Humboldt-University in Berlin in Germany, at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford in the UK, and as a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia in the US. Her research focuses of the interactions between Eastern Christianity with Judaism and Early Islam respectively, as well as on apocalypticism and eschatology.

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