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Friday, May 8, 2020
 

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Today is:
Fri, Nov 27, 2020


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12:00pm
to
1:15pm
  Dr. Shaily Patel: Magic and the Making of Christianity  
(Academic)

The Virginia Tech Center for Humanities presents a series of talks by faculty research associates who will discuss their work, with a Q and A session to follow. All talks are free and open to the public and we invite anyone to attend.To register, click the title of this presentation, or the "more information" link below.

Dr. Shaily Patel: Magic and the Making of Christianity

Emile Durkheim wrote that there is no "church of magic," suggesting that magic is a marginalized obverse of religion. Patel's talk focuses on Origen of Alexandria's famous Contra Celsum, a text dedicated to defending Christianity against accusations of magic. According to Origen, magicians lack morality. Despite these claims, magical objects like curse tablets, amulets and papyri suggest that the practice of magic was not nearly as marginal as Durkheimian conceptions might imply. While magic may have been marginalized and maligned, it also enjoyed widespread popularity. This talk demonstrates how these contradictory facets of ancient magic might illustrate Origen's work. Instead of categorically denying Christian participation in activities associated with magic, our author offers moralizing interpretations of said activities, which, in turn, contribute to his overarching construction of Christianity. To understand formative Christianity in writers like Origen, then, one must understand Roman magic.

Shaily Patel is an assistant professor in Early Christianity in the Department of Religion and Culture. Dr. Patel's research explores the various, often contradictory, ways in which so-called magic was used to advance a number of theological ends in early Christian texts.


More information...


Location: Zoom
Price: Free
Sponsor: Center for Humanities
Contact: Dominique Francesca
E-Mail: dfrancesca@vt.edu
5402311981
   
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