Laura Salah Nasrallah, professor of New Testament and early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School (HDS), has received funding from the Battelle Memorial Institute to organize a symposium. Scholars of diverse disciplinary training will meet for a symposium during the 2012-13 academic year to discuss the topic “How Bodies Matter: Religion, Archaeology, and Physical Anthropology in the Ancient Mediterranean World.”
A working group of scholars from the areas of New Testament, archaeology, Roman history, and physical anthropology will be joined by scientists from the Battelle Memorial Institute. They will meet at HDS to brainstorm about what human remains might reveal about health, nutrition, kinship, ability, propensity to disease, etc., and how these would help us to understand religious life and practice in the Roman Empire; to advance the study of the social, economic, and political environment of the emergence of earliest Christianity and the period of the high Roman Empire; and to see what data can be collected and shared across the disciplines of classics/Roman history, New Testament/early Christianity, archaeology, physical anthropology, and science.
The hope is to imagine together ways in which the gap between what is known and what is wished could be known about religion in antiquity can be narrowed by innovations in the sciences, by data-sharing, and by developing new methodologies together.
As the world’s largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing needs through its four global businesses: Health and Life Sciences, Laboratory Management, National Security, and Energy, Environment, and Material Sciences. To learn more about the Battelle Memorial Institute, visit its website.