Lived Scriptures in Late Antiquity


In Late Antiquity, there was no “Bible” and the level of literacy was low. Yet, “biblical texts” were used and interpreted in multiple contexts. This research unit studies biblical receptions in Late Antiquity (ca. 1st–7th centuries CE) in the widest sense of the term. What texts were considered “biblical”? How did the ancients relate to authoritative texts and use them? What impact did these texts have on their readers’ lives? Inspired by discussions on lived religion, the research unit aims to broaden the focus from the dominant to the margins and to reconstruct a diversity of perspectives on scriptures in Late Antiquity. We emphasize the situatedness of texts in particular socio-historical, cultural and geographical locations, appreciating the corporeality of the past. We invite papers that examine scriptures and their receptions in Late Antiquity as “lived”. We especially welcome contributions that are informed by culture and gender critical approaches as well as the framework of lived religion.


Reception, Lived Religion, Late Antiquity, Early Judaism, Early Christianity

Current Term:



Susanna Asikainen

University of Helsinki

Marianne Bjelland Kartzow

University of Oslo

Outi Lehtipuu

University of Helsinki

Member Area

Sofia 2024 Call for Papers

For the 2024 Conference in Sofia, the Lived Scriptures in Late Antiquity research unit invites papers that explore practices or experiences related to scriptures and their use in Late Antiquity. We encourage presenters to pay attention to the varying situations and locations in which receptions of biblical texts, themes, and figures take place. All papers dealing with the impact of scriptures (broadly received) on various forms of early Christian, Jewish or ”pagan” life are welcome!