Graeco-Roman Society and the New Testament


The research group focuses a) on various aspects of the social life and cultural world of the Graeco-Roman cities and communities in which Jews and Christians operated (e.g. household networks and religion, kinship, gender, friendship and other relationships, slavery, prostitution, social and geographical mobility, social groups, everyday life in Graeco-Roman cities etc.). These local communities, their cultural systems and social structures provide the socio-historical and cultural context of the New Testament texts and can therefore provide valuable insight into the early Christian groups, b) on artefacts from the Graeco-Roman world (e.g. coins and archeological findings) or non-literary texts preserved on stone, papyri or are material that can shed light into the life of Jewish and Christian groups of this time, and c) on methodological issues and lenses that are relevant to the discussion of the Graeco-Roman material culture and can contribute to the reconstruction of the social and cultural context of the New Testament communities. Papers that present interdisciplinary approaches to the topics under discussion and offer new insights and fresh interpretations of Jewish and Christian sources placing them within their socio-historical and cultural context are welcome.



Graeco-Roman, Archaeology, Epigraphy, History, Papyri


Ekaterini Tsalampouni
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Patrick Hommel
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

Soeng Yu Li


Member Area

Syracuse 2023 Call for Papers

Multiculturalism and ethnic identities 

For the 2023 meeting of our group two sessions are scheduled: 


1) The significance of the study of race and ethnicity has become evident in biblical studies of the 21st century. More particularly, the insights gained by the research of historians of ancient culture and social anthropologists as well as fresh readings of ancient sources through the lenses of cultural theories have brought into question the prevalent, mainly Western, constructions of ethnic identities in the ancient world and also challenged preconceptions regarding the ethnic awareness of ancient Jewish and early Christian groups. It is concluded that ethnicity conceptions in the ancient world differ from modern preoccupations and that they were dynamic and diverse. These conclusions are of importance for the discussion of early Christianity and its relation to ancient Judaism but also for determining the impact of the earlier paradigm in modern reconstructions of the early Christianity and its alleged inclusive nature. For the 2023 meeting in Syracuse we invite papers focusing on the vocabulary and strategies employed by various groups in the Graeco-Roman world to construct and maintain their ethnic identities, the factors (social, cultural or others) that play an important role in shaping these identities, the interaction of these identities in the multicultural landscape of ancient cities, material evidence (archaeological, epigraphic or other) that provide evidence for these ethnic identities and, finally, the importance of these insights for the discussion of ethnic identity and multiculturalism in the New Testament. 


2) An open session where papers on any topic within range of the interests of the research unit are welcome.