Friday, 16 May 2014

Upcoming conference: "New Antiquities: Transformations of the Past in the New Age and Beyond" at the Freie Universität Berlin, 26-27 June 2014

Antinous bust in Potsdam, April 2014.
On Thursday 26 and Friday 27 June, the Freie Universität Berlin ("Free University of Berlin") will be holding an academic conference titled "New Antiquities: Transformations of the Past in the New Age and Beyond". Organised by Almut-Barbara Renger and Dylan Burns, the event will seek to undertake a "critical examination of how individuals and groups appeal to, reconceptualize, and reinvent the religious world of the ancient Mediterranean as they attempt to legitimize developments in contemporary religious life (1960s–present day)." As such, it contains a variety of papers on the themes of contemporary Paganism and Neo-Gnosticism, and looks set to be a really interesting event. The program is now available online, and while I am unsure if tickets are yet available for purchase, those who want to attend should keep their eyes peeled.

I will be one of those presenting a research paper at the conference, in my case on "The Revived Cult of Antinous", in which I delve into one of the smaller forms of contemporary Paganism to have emerged over the past few decades: Antinoan religion. Antinous was of course a real human being, being the young lover of Hadrian, one of the "five good emperors" of Rome. Upon Antinous' early death, Hadrian proclaimed him to be a divinity, resulting in a cult devoted to his worship spreading across the Empire. Although that particular religious movement subsequently fell to the rise of Christianity, Antinous remained a significant figure in European culture, and in the latter part of the 20th century and early years of the 21st, various individuals set about to revive his worship. Due to the same-sex nature of the relationship between Hadrian and Antinous, the Antinoan new religious movement attracts a largely gay following, with some practitioners having openly declared Antinous to be "the Gay God". Based upon my own first-hand research into the movement, my paper will outline its development, as well as the beliefs and practices of its followers, and the manner in which it has made use of archaeological evidence in crafting a religion for the present day.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to reading the completed research paper