Nederlandse Onderzoekschool voor Theologie en Religiewetenschap
Netherlands School for Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion

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INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE Power of Parables: Narrating Religion in Late Antiquity

In 2014 the NWO-project Parables and the Parting of the Ways started, supervised by Eric Ottenheijm (Utrecht University), Marcel Poorthuis (Tilburg University) and Annette Merz (PThU). This comparative research collects, translates and compares early Rabbinic and Christian parables, and is guided by the question why the production of parables ceased in Christianity whereas this genre remained in use in Rabbinic Judaism after the 1st century.

Over the last years researchers have engaged in conversations, seminars, and meetings to discuss the nature and functions of parables. To conclude this project on parables, the international conference Power of Parables: Narrating Religion in Late Antiquity is organized, which takes place from June 24th until 26th in the city centre of Utrecht. International researchers will contribute to the conference by presenting their papers and exchange knowledge on parables. The different contributions emphasize the thematic richness of the genre: from banquets to vineyards, from depraved sons to slaves.

The conference program contains various highlights. Lieve Teugels will present her latest book The Meshalim in the Mekhiltot. An Annotated Edition and Translation of the Parables in Mekhilta de Rabbi Yishmael and Mekhilta de Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Galit Hasan-Rokem (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) will provide a public lecture called Doublespeak of the Rabbis: Folk Narrative Poetics of late Antique parables and at the Utrecht University Hall. Moreover, each day will start with a thematic keynote lecture, presented by respectively Tal Ilan (Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin), Ruben Zimmermann (Johannes Gutenberg-Universit├Ąt Mainz) and Catherine Hezser (SOAS University of London). The complete program can be found in the attachment.

All interested parties are invited to join the conference (for free). Please register via, and by mentioning the parts or days of the program you would like to participate in (only Tuesday afternoon is not accessible for external guests). For more information, please visit our conference website:

When: 24-06-2019 until 26-06-2019
Where: Utrecht Centre of the Arts (UCK)