Concordia to Co-Host Conference in Denmark
Mar 27, 2012
An international conference focusing on new research on classical Greek culture is being co-sponsored by Concordia College. It will be held at the University of Copenhagen.
Dr. Peter Schultz, chair of Concordia’s art department, is a co-organizer of the conference. Many leading experts in the fields of classics, art history, and the history of religion will discuss various aspects of ancient Greek cult during the event May 4-6.
Schultz says that Greek cult practice was made up of many diverse elements, including architecture, art, music, dance and ritual at countless sanctuaries throughout Greece. The conference will focus on new research in these areas and how these spheres overlapped to create and express ancient Greek religious experience. Many of these same elements are still used in religious practices today.
“Religion is one aspect of ancient Greek culture that has left concrete traces we can still see and study,” says Schultz.
The design of cult buildings, the myths that surround ritual, the merging of music, spectacle and the sense of the divine all influenced later Western religious culture, especially Christianity.
“It is important to remember that our own faith tradition began as one rooted in early Greek religion,” says Schultz.
Dr. Mark Wilson Jones (University of Bath, England), a leading expert on Greek and Roman sacred architecture, will be a principal speaker at the conference. His research has fundamentally changed the way modern scholars understand Greek and Roman architectural design.
Schultz says Jones’ involvement has drawn some of the world’s top scholars to this conference.
“This international gathering of scholars positions Concordia as a prominent player in the global academic scene,” says Schultz.
The lifetime achievements of Dr. Erik Hansen of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts will be honored at the event. Hansen has helped interpret key aspects of Greek temple architecture throughout his influential teaching and writing career.
“He has shown us how the ancient Greeks built their temples,” says Schultz. “One of the reasons for organizing this conference is to honor his role in helping scholars understand this important aspect of ancient Greece religion.”
Schultz will discuss his own research on the probable function of a temple at the Greek sanctuary of Epidauros that is thought to have involved ritualized healing, although its exact use has been a mystery to scholars. Schultz’s work involves collaboration with colleagues from Vanderbilt University, Princeton and the University of Athens.
Concordia has partnered with the SAXO Institute at the University of Copenhagen, McMaster University in Canada, the Danish Institute for Mediterranean Studies and the Theran Institute to sponsor this event.
“This is global collaboration and cooperation at its best,” says Schultz.