Late summer-early autumn news

This is the first post after our return to Bergen from a really great summer break that was surely marked by our decision to drive all the distance that separates motherland from fatherland. During this amazing 9000 kilometers trip we learnt of course a lot about the places we drove through, we had many thoughts about how this blending of peoples and cultures that constitute Europe is kept together, and pondered – in these difficult days for many lands and nations in our continent – about how the elements of a so-called “European identity” can keep together all this human variety… Having also collected some quite good images, we wish to examine in the near future how to bring all this out to friends or a wider public. More in due time…

…for the time being, several things have kept us very busy these two weeks that we’ve been back to the North again.

Undoubtedly the most important of those, as well as the most craving, is the preparations that Henriette needs to make for the defense of her thesis that is by now publicly announced :-)

The procedure for the defence of a doctoral dissertation at the University of Bergen (called “disputas”) consists of two venues:

1. a trial lecture on the eve of the defense. Henriette has been asked to discuss long-term structures of warfare and violence as a force for social and political change in Upper and Lower Nubia from ca. 3800 BCE to ca. 1500 BCE

2. the defense itself which opens with a presentation of the thesis by the candidate followed by comments from the first opponent, Geoff Emberling, replies by the candidate and then the same round with the second opponent, Alice Stevenson.

Henriette’s defense will take place on the 3rd and 4th of September. We will surely post impressions and congratulations after that!

We just remind you here already that the title of the thesis is “War on the southern frontier of the emerging state of ancient Egypt. A warfare perspective on the history of the A-Group people in Lower Nubia during the 4th millennium BCE” and that you can find the contents in Henriette’s webpage.


Right before the final countdown for Henriette’s thesis has to begin on Monday, Alexandros managed to fly to Copenhagen for two days and participate in the annual seminar of the Nordic Coptic Network, where students, young researchers, and internationally renowned scholars, present their work and read a selected text in Coptic. Traditionally, the Network has been focusing on the Nag Hammadi texts and Gnosticism, but recently the interest has also turned to other areas of Coptic Studies. Alexandros’ presence might even add a Nubian perspective in some aspects of the future meetings of the Network and the other participants seem to welcome that.

The Netowrk’s meetings are in any case an excellent academic experience, and profitable for both younger and older generations of those participating. This year, the venue was attended by Julie Tørnkvist Lausten (University of Copenhagen), Jussi Ikkala (University of Helsinki), René Falkenberg (Aarhus University), Alexandros Tsakos (University of Bergen), Mads Weng Nielsen (University of Copenhagen), Christian Bull (University of Oslo), Lance Jenott (University of Oslo), Paul Linjamar (University of Lund), Petter Spjut (University of Uppsala), Vilja Alanko (University of Helsinki), Antti Marjanen (University of Helsinki), Ivan Miroshnikov (University of Helsinki), Kenneth Lai (University of Helsinki), Nanna Liv Olsen (University of Copenhagen), Kristine Toft Rosland (University of Oslo), and last but not least our host Tilde Bak Halvgaard (University of Copenhagen). The sequence of the names follows our appearance in the following photo, starting from the upper row and moving from right to left (unfortunately Julie and Jussi had left when the photo was taken).

group photo

Here you can also see the program of the meeting:

Thursday August 20th

09:00   Welcome

09:15   Paul Linjamar: Stoic notions in the Tripartite Tractate

10:00   Coffee break

10:30             Kenneth Lai: Lusting for Dominion: Early Ecclesiastical Politics and Eastern “Valentinianism” in the Tripartite Tractate (NHC I, 5)

11:15   Kristine Toft Rosland: New Testament allusions in the Apocryphon of John

12:00   Lunch

13:00             Vilja Alanko: She will harm many souls if her body remains well’ – The Disabled Body in the Coptic Act of Peter (BC 8502)

13:45   Short coffee break

14:00             Reading of the Epistle to Rheginos (with coffee in between)

18:00   Dinner 

Friday August 21st

9:15     Ivan Miroshnikov: A Coptic Private Letter from the Ilves Collection (Finland)

10:00   Coffee break

10:30             Antti Marjanen: A Liturgical Paper Codex in the Ilves Collection

11:15   Petter Spjut: Procreative Imagery and Cosmology in On the Origin of the World

12:00   Lunch

13:00             Mads Weng Nielsen: What kind of body is this? An examination of the nature of the resurrected body in the Letter to Rheginos

13:45   Short coffee break

14:00   Reading of the Epistle to Rheginos (with coffee in between)

17:00   General discussion, next meeting, etc.

So, the plan is that the next meeting will take place in Lund, Sweden, and we are all looking very much forward to it already!

Closing this short report here are some more photos from the Copenhagen meeting:

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Finally, and bringing this post to an end, it is worth noting that this week arrived to Bergen two of the members of the Aurora-team (Rémi Dewière and Silvia Bruzzi) and on Friday we will be meeting to present our thoughts on contexts and usages of writing in Africa and to exchange ideas about the future of the collaboration. A report from this venue will bring me back to the blog next weekend, and in fact there are more news of interest for the readers of Medieval Sai Project that I will post then, so stay tuned…

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One Response to Late summer-early autumn news

  1. ounoginiri says:

    my very best wishes to you both dear friends!!!!!!!!!!!

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