WHEN GODS SPEAK TO MEN: Divine Speech according to Textual Sources in the Ancient Mediterranean Basin

Colloque international – les 14 et 15 juin 2018

Organisateurs : Stéphanie Anthonioz, Alice Mouton et Daniel Petit

Lieu : Maison des chercheurs, Lille.


The ways men seek divine words in Antiquity through their prayers and rituals have often been studied, whether they look for words of encouragement or need to acquire some knowledge about a decision to take or an event to come. However, the ways divine words are articulated and mediated have seldom been studied in a comparative approach. In other words, the literary form each divine speech takes (narratives, letters, annals), the medium through which it is conveyed (dreams, oracles, prophecies or any other divinatory form), as well as the material object upon which it is inscribed (tablets, leather rolls or papyri, monumental inscriptions) deserve further attention. Literary and divinatory forms should be of special interest, as much as the documents and material objects that are used to convey them. For instance, divine speech has sometimes been found  on material supports that were deemed to be destroyed or recycled. Furthermore, it seems that the status of divine speech changed over time in different areas of the Ancient Mediterranean Basin. Its orality became worth preserving. Consequently, the material support acquired a status on its own, as much as divine speech itself. The aim of this symposium is to bring together experts from various fields, namely History, History of Religion, Archaeology, Epigraphy, Palaeography, Linguistics, etc., in order to examine the diversity of divine speech as it is articulated and mediated. The contexts in which divine speech occurs will be examined, as well as its literary and material forms.


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Thursday 14, 2018

9h30 S. Anthonioz, D. Petit and A. Mouton: Welcoming speech

10h00 D. Lefèvre (Geneva Univ.): When the Egyptian gods speak. Divine speech in context

10h30 G. Selz (Vienna Univ.): «The word of the god is with him throughout the day». Exploring divine speech and its functions for humans according to Sumerian sources

11h00 Coffee break

11h30 M. Nissinen (Helsinki Univ.): The Material Aspect of Prophecy

12h00 C. Roche-Hawley (CNRS): The Writing of the Gods in Ancient Mesopotamia

12h30 Lunch at the University restaurant

14h30 A. Mouton (CNRS): Divine Speech in Hittite Dreams

15h00 A. Gilan (Tel Aviv Univ.): Divine Speech in Hittite Historical Texts

15h30 Coffee break

16h00 S. Anthonioz (Lille Univ.): Biblical Prophecy: Writing and Media Associated

16h30 E. Tracy (St Andrews Univ.): Divine Human Relational Dialogue

17h30 A. Venanzi (Sorbonne Univ.): Communicating with the Gods: The West Semitic

Friday 15, 2018

9h30 C. le Feuvre (Sorbonne Univ.): Language of Gods and Cratylic Conceptions in Ancient Greek

10h00 M. Lesgourgues (Montreal Univ. & Paris X Univ.): Gods’ secretaries: on preserving oracles in the oracular Greek shrines during Hellenistic and Roman times

10h30 Coffee break

11h00 R. Loriol (Lyon Univ.): Divine Signs in Roman Narratives

11h30 E. Tigchelaar (Leuven Univ.): The Transformation of Divine Speech in Second Temple Judaism

12h00 Lunch at the University restaurant

14h00 A. Ohali (Paris III Univ.): The Daughter of God: The Feminine Identity of the Heavenly Voice in Ancient Rabbinic Literature

14h30 S. Varlik (Istanbul Univ.): Revelation in Islamic Philosophy between Intellect and Imagination

15h00 Coffee break

15h30 J.-B. Lecuit (Lille Univ.):  Divine Speech from the Dogmatic Point of View

16h00 S. Anthonioz, D. Petit and A. Mouton: Closing remarks


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