Conference Announcement: Teaching and learning in the ancient Mediterranean


Bookish Circles:
Teaching and learning in the ancient Mediterranean (Part II)
A series of collaborative colloquia and seminars of the Heythrop Centre for Textual Studies

Prompted by insights from the social sciences and furnished with twentieth-century manuscript discoveries, recent analysts have achieved considerable refinement in the study of literacy in the ancient Mediterranean. A set of related questions has come to the fore. What kinds of literacy can be discerned? What purposes did they serve in various ancient contexts? And in what kinds of social circle were certain sorts of literacy at home? Posing such questions has allowed discussion to transcend previous deterministic conceptions where orality and literacy were viewed as evolutionary stages in a linear process; where attention focused principally on what percentage of people were literate; and where this literacy was a largely undifferentiated category.

In this project we pursue the task of distinguishing varieties of ancient literacy, the social functions they served and the circles in which they did so. Bringing classicists together with analysts of the ancient Jewish and early Christian materials can only improve our hopes for historical insight. The discussion will continue to illuminate areas of ancient Jewish and early Christian studies where a canonical perspective still hampers social historical enquiry in some quarters. To this end, we explore ancient varieties of adult teaching and learning with a view to casting further light on kinds and functions of literacy in the ancient Mediterranean.

Booking for Bookish Circles, Part II

Delegates may register for one or both days, at a charge of £25 per day. This includes lunch each day as well as tea and coffee breaks throughout the day. Please book here:

Delegates may also join speakers at an evening meal from 18:00 on Friday 25th November at the Randa Lebanese restaurant, Kensington Church Street, London (a few minutes walk from Heythrop College), for an additional £30 per head. This will need to be paid in cash on the day.

Related events

Part I took place at Heythrop College, 29th-30th July 2016. Part III comprises individual seminars held at Heythrop College between December 2016 – June 2017. For details of Parts I-III, and online footage of speaker’s papers, please visit:

Direct queries to Jonathan Norton: