Update: Due to the winter outbreaks of COVID in several states, we have rescheduled the symposium for 3-5 November. A revised program will be posted in early September.

The Program in Biblical and Early Christian Studies in ACU’s Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry is hosting a symposium in Melbourne on 3–5 November 2021 to showcase the cutting-edge research currently being done in Australia in the fields of late antique studies and early Christian studies.

The event will be built around plenary addresses from investigators on projects in these fields funded by the Australian Research Council over the past five years (see below). As is evident from this collection of projects, Australian research in these areas spans an impressively diverse range of scholarly approaches including social history, political history, lived ancient religion, religious pluralism and conflict, literary studies, philosophical studies, and ancient material culture.

The aim of the event is to provide a forum for disseminating the knowledge generated by these projects, while also exploring the insights sparked by inter-disciplinary dialogue across them, with an eye towards potential cross-institutional collaboration on future projects. With that goal in view, we seek proposals for short communications from scholars at all career stages. We invite two types of short presentations: a traditional conference paper on a focused topic or a discussion of an idea for a grant project in some stage of development that might invite interest or collaboration from other participants.

Our hope is that this setting provides a venue for workshopping ideas and for early career researchers to receive mentoring in the grant process. The current plan is to hold the event in-person at ACU’s Melbourne campus.

Due to the closure of international borders, this means that it will be open only to Australian and New Zealand participants. If an in-person event proves impossible due to state border closures, it will be shifted to an online format. Financial support is available for a limited number of early career researchers to help cover the cost of airfare and accommodation. If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please note this when you submit your proposal. Proposals of 200-250 words should be sent to becs.events@acu.edu.au by 12 April 2021.


3-5 November 2021


Room 2, Level 7, Daniel Mannix Building, Main Campus, Fitzroy (Room: 403.7.02)

Speakers include

Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides (Macquarie University), ‘The History of Inebriation and Reason from Plato to the Latin Middle Ages’

Dirk Baltzly (University of Tasmania), ‘The Cosmic Contextualisation of Plato’s Moral and Political Philosophy in Proclus’ Commentary on the Republic’

Matthew R. Crawford (ACU), ‘Human Diversity and Divine Causation between Julian and Cyril’

Peter Edwell (Macquarie University ), ‘Crises of Leadership in the Eastern Roman Empire (250- 1000 CE)’

Iain Gardner (University of Sydney), ‘Manichaean Liturgical Texts and Practices from Egypt to China’

Wendy Mayer (Australian Lutheran College), ‘Memories of Utopia: Destroying the Past to Create the Future (300-650 CE)’

Richard Miles (University of Sydney), ‘The Rise of Decline in the Later Roman Empire’

Bronwen Neil (Macquarie University ), ‘Dreams, Prophecy and Violence from Early Christianity to the Rise of Islam’


Please note: This page will be updated with a full program and further details by the end of May.


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