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Conference on Religious and Philosophical Conversion

Religious and Philosophical Conversion in the Ancient Mediterranean Traditions

25–27 September 2018             At the Senatssaal of the Main Building (Hauptgebäude) of the University of Bonn 


Research on the experience of religious conversion or spiritual transformation is necessarily interdisciplinary and interest in this field grows progressively. In light of this important and burgeoning area of study, CoRPC explores conversion or converting experience in the environment of the ancient Hellenistic world(s) with attention to early Judaism and early Christianity/the New Testament. Presentations will undertake both historical and philological reconstructions relying on source material and utilising interdisciplinary approaches. Similarly, discussions take up the literary use of the motif of conversion, the topic of philosophical conversion as well as ritual, social and embodied aspects of spiritual transformation.


CONFIRMED KEYNOTE SPEAKERS (in alphabetical order)

Pierre-Yves Brandt, Lausanne

Natacha Bustos, Rosario

Stephen Chester, Chicago IL

Kelley Coblentz-Bautch, Austin TX

Athanasios Despotis, Bonn

Edith M. Humphrey, Pittsburgh PA

Miguel Herrero de Jauregui, Madrid

David Lambert, Chapel Hill NC

Hermut Löhr, Bonn 

Ilaria Ramelli, Chicago IL

Rikard Roitto, Stockholm 


Angelov, Alexander (Williamsburg VA); Ayuch, Daniel Alberto (Deir El-Balamand); Berglund, Carl Johan (Uppsala); Böhm, Kerstin (Vienna); Davis, Philip Andrew (Bonn); Drews, Friedemann (Münster); Ferguson, J. LaRae (Oxford); Firmin, Steven (Oxford); Furlan, Anna Lucia (London); Grau, Sergi (Barcelona); Heimann, Raul (Berlin); Legaspi, Michael C. (State College, PA); Ostmeyer, Karl-Heinrich (Dortmund); Padilla, Sharon (Bonn); Papathanassiou, Constantine (Athens); Sol Jimenez, Elena (Cantabria); Ulrich, Jeffrey (New Jersey); Williams, Matthew N. (Durham); Zanella, Francesco (Bonn)

This meeting will have the following main subjects of discussion:


  1. 1.Theorising Conversion and De-Conversion 

  2. 2.“Turning” in the Hebrew Bible 

  3. 3.Conversion experience in Hellenistic Judaism 

  4. 4.Spiritual transformation in Qumran 

  5. 5.Conversion in the New Testament and Christian Apocrypha

  6. 6.Philosophical Conversion

  7. 7.Conversion and the Pagan Mysteries

  8. 8.Early Christian Reception of the New Testament Texts

  9. 9.Conversion in Late Antiquity

  10. 10.CSR (Cognitive Science of Religion) Approaches to Conversion Experience in the NT



Steering Committee

Kelley Coblentz Bautz (St. Edward's University in Austin)

Athanasios Despotis  (Universität Bonn)

Edith M. Humphrey (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)

Hermut Löhr (Universität Bonn)


Local Organising Committee

Hermut Löhr 

Athanasios Despotis 

Sharon Padilla                  





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