Miracles and Paradoxography in Biblical Reception from Late Antiquity



This workshop is intended to start a conversation between studies of the reception of biblical texts in late antiquity and studies of paradoxography, the ancient genre of cataloguing and describing marvels of nature, including strange animals, wondrous geographical phenomena, and apparent miracles. The recent focus in Classical studies on paradoxography has demonstrated that fascination with marvels impacted many different literary productions, and may be partly responsible for the apparent increase in fantastic, super-human, and divine aspects of literature produced in late antiquity. The workshop will encourage scholars to engage with paradoxographies and related literature, to study their authors’ attitudes toward marvelous and paradoxical phenomena, and to reflect on their prospective literary influence. A basic understanding of the genre of paradoxography is imperative in connecting any miraculous story to its literary context and helps to put an author’s literary creativity under perspective.


Marvels, Wonders, Miracles, Paradoxography, Reception History


Monika Amsler
University of Zurich

Carl Johan Berglund
Stockholm School of Theology

Marion Pragt
KU Leuven

Member Area

Wuppertal 2021 Call for Papers

We welcome papers considering the use of marvels and miracles in biblical reception, including apocalypses, extracanonical gospels, apocryphal acts, patristic, monastic and rabbinic literature. The Greco-Roman fascination with marvels of nature resulted in numerous paradoxographic writings, which may be relevant for biblical reception in many ways. Research questions may include how are paradoxes of nature used to explain biblical texts, or how are marvels used as a foil to depict future scenarios such as the end of the world? Papers may also compare marvels in texts of biblical reception with those encountered in paradoxographic literature or analyze how particular authors use marvels to sustain their arguments.