15. Naples 2023 (June)

15th Nangeroni Enoch Seminar Meeting

DATE: June 5-8, 2023

THEME: “‘Listen to the Sibyl in all things’: Reconsidering the Sibylline Oracles”

CHAIRS: Olivia Stewart Lester, Hindy Najman, and Gabriele Boccaccini

SECRETARY: Joshua Scott

— The Nangeroni Meetings are organized by the Enoch Seminar, with the support of the Nangeroni International Endowment, in memory of Alessandro Nangeroni (1940-1999), a renown Italian journalist, writer and University professor, who devoted his life to the Jewish-Christian-Muslim trialogue. —

This conference will bring scholars of ancient Judaism, Classics, and early Christianity together for an interdisciplinary re-examination of the Jewish-Christian Sibylline Oracles. These texts, historically underappreciated by biblical scholars and classicists, are becoming a site of growing interest as both disciplines increasingly turn to texts outside of their own canons, more deeply integrate gender into the study of antiquity, further their exploration of the themes of authenticity and forgery, and reassess relationships between Jews, Christians, and their neighbors across the ancient Mediterranean world.

Some of the topics we will explore include:

  1. The Figure of the Sibyl: What roles does gender play in the presentation of sibylline prophecy across the collection? What are the political and literary implications of taking up a sibyl as a figure for producing Jewish and Christian prophecy?
  2. Sibylline Pseudepigraphy: How does the ongoing production of Sibylline Oracles relate to larger Hellenistic, Roman, Jewish, and Christian practices of pseudepigraphic writing? How do the Sibylline Oracles resemble or participate in Jewish prophetic pseudepigraphy, and how might they have been shaped by Hellenistic and Roman educational techniques?
  3. Sibylline Interpretation: How do the Sibylline Oracles reinterpret Greek mythology, poetry, and philosophy, on the one hand, and Jewish and Christian scriptures, on the other? How has the language of the Sibylline Oracles been inflected by surrounding literature, including the Septuagint and Homeric epic?
  4. Sibylline Oracles as Oracles: How do the Sibylline Oracles resemble or differ from other oracle collections in antiquity? Why might the oracle as a literary type have appealed to ancient Jewish and Christian sibylline writers?
  5. Time in the Sibylline Oracles: How is time constructed within the collection: past, present, and future? In what ways do the Sibylline Oracles participate in the tropes of apocalyptic eschatology, and how do they transform them?
  6. Judaism and Christianity in the Sibylline Oracles: What can we learn from the Sibylline Oracles about intellectual and literary interactions between Jews and Christians in antiquity? How do we make sense of the distinct Jewish and Christian layers of the text alongside the Christian preservation of these texts as a collection?​​​​


Draft Schedule

** Times listed according to Central European Standard Timezone (Naples’ Time Zone)**

** LOCATIONS – SEE MAP BELOW: Monday and Tuesday, the Main Conference Hall at the Orientale University (Via Chiatamone 61/62 – Red Circle 3 on Map); Wednesday and Thursday, Federico II University (Via Porta di Massa 1 – Red Circle 2 on Map)***

  • Monday, June 5 (Main Conference Hall, Orientale University):

    • 9:00am  Opening Remarks 

    • 9:30–11:00am  Session 1

      • 9:30–9:50am  Eric Gruen, “The Sibyl, Cassandra, and Rome”

      • 9:55–10:15am  Yelena Baraz, “The Sybil and female prophets in Lucan’s Civil War”

      • 10:15–11:00am  Discussion

    • 11:00-11:15am  Coffee Break

    • 11:15am–12:45pm  Session 2 

      • 11:15–11:35am  Helen Van Noorden, “Visible Eschatology in the Sibylline Oracles”

      • 11:40am–12:00pm  Robert Hall, “Listening to Divine Speech: Does Sibylline Oracles 5 Invite Revelatory Inquiry?”

      • 12:00–12:45pm Discussion

    • 12:45-2:30pm Lunch

    • 2:30–4:00pm  Session 3 

      • 2:30–2:50pm  John Collins, “Why Did Jews Write in the Name of the Sibyl?”

      • 2:55–3:15pm Lorenzo DiTommaso, “The Post-Classical Sibylline Tradition”

      • 3:15–4:00pm Discussion

    • 4:00-4:15pm  Coffee Break

    • 4:15–5:45pm  Session 4 

      • 4:15–4:35pm  Jane Lightfoot, “Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια; Sibylline truths

      • 4:40–5:00pm  Kenneth Atkinson, “Periodization in the Sibylline Oracles: Insights from Pseudo-Seneca’s Octavia”

      • 5:00–5:45pm  Discussion

    • 5:45pm  Dinner

  • Tuesday, June 6 (Main Conference Hall, Orientale University):

    • 9:00–10:30am  Session 5 

      • 9:00–9:20am  Luigi Santopaolo, “‘Apocalyptic Iconogenesis’: a comparative analysis of the imagery evolution in the Aramaic Daniel and in the Sibylline Oracles”

      • 9:25–9:45am  Ollie Parkes, “Mapping eschatology: the spatio-temporal co-ordinates of Jerusalem and the heavenly kingdom in the Sibylline Oracles

      • 9:45–10:30am  Discussion

    • 10:30am  Coffee Break

    • 10:45am–12:15pm  Session 6 

      • 10:45–11:05am  Xavier Lafontaine, “The Sibylline Collection in Byzantium: A Many-Faced Sibyl?”

      • 11:10–11:30am  Ashley Bacchi, “Recentering from the Margins: The Sibyl, Feminist Discourse, & Future Potential”

      • 11:30am–12:15pm  Discussion

    • 12:15-2:00pm  Lunch

    • 2:00–3:30pm  Session 7 

      • 2:00–2:20pm  Vicente Dobruruka, “The ‘King from the Sun’: an Eastern title as it appears in the Sibylline Oracles”

      • 2:25–2:45pm  Giovanni Bazzana, “Pseudepigraphy and Politics. Observations on the Transmission of the Sibylline Oracles in the Early Roman Period”

      • 2:45–3:30pm  Discussion

    • 3:30pm  Coffee Break

    • 3:45–5:15pm  Session 8 

      • 3:45–4:05  Daniel C. Smith, “Some Shall Say in Hellas that I am of Foreign Land: Exotic Prophecy in Sibylline Discourse”

      • 4:10–4:30pm  Miguel Vargas, “Sibylline Oracles 5 as Cross-Cultural Discourse”

    • 5:30pm Host Event (with refreshments)

    • 7:00pm  Dinner 

  • Wednesday, June 7 (Federico II University):

    • 9:00–10:30am  Session 9

      • 9:00–9:20am  Olivia Stewart Lester, “Not Parting, but Process: Sibylline Oracles and the ‘Parting of the Ways’”

      • 9:25–9:45am  Timothy Sailors, “Sibylline Books and the Christian Sibylline Oracles”

      • 9:45–10:30am  Discussion

    • 10:30am  Coffee Break

    • 10:45am–12:15pm  Session 10

      • 10:45–11:05am  Francis Borchardt, “The Sibylline Library from Myth to History”

      • 11:10–11:30am  Oana Capatina, “Rethinking the Reception of the Sibylline Oracles: Early Christian Apologists and Material Evidence”

    • 12:15pm Lunch

      Afternoon excursion and dinner

  • Thursday, June 8 (Federico II University):

    • 9:00–10:30am  Session 11

      • 9:00–9:20am  Elizabeth Stell, “Complete Prophecy and Oracles of the Fragmentary”

      • 9:25–9:45am  Max Leventhal, “The Sibyl in Search of Perfect Language”

      • 9:45–10:30am  Discussion

    • 10:30am Coffee Break

    • 10:45am–12:15pm  Session 12

      • 10:45–11:05am  Luke Neubert, “Oracular and Prophetic Literature in an Egyptian Context: the 3rd Sibylline Oracle in Conversation with Demotic Texts

      • 11:10–11:30am  David Potter, “Sibylline Personalities: Alternative Appropriations of Prophetic Authority”

      • 11:30–12:15am  Discussion

    • 12:15-2:00pm  Lunch

    • 2:00–3:30pm  Session 13

      • 2:00–2:20pm  Anne Eusterschulte, Title TBD

      • 2:25–2:45pm  Simon Goldhill, “The Precarity of the Conditional”

      • 2:45–3:30pm  Discussion

    • 3:30pm  Coffee Break

    • 3:45–5:15pm  Session 14

      • 3:45–4:05pm  Jean-Michel Roessli, “The Reception of the Sibylline Oracles in 17th- and 18th-Century England”

    • 5:30–6:30  Closing session

*Photo by Mentnafunangann, hosted on Wikimedia Commons.