Ph.D. Student Workshop, Textual Communities in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: Formation, Influence, and Afterlife


Coined by Brian Stock as part of what he called “the rebirth of literacy” in the eleventh and twelfth centuries (Stock, The Implications of Literacy, Princeton, 1983, p.3), the concept of “Textual Communities” refers to groups of intellectuals which formed around texts. In these social and intellectual groups, texts defined the internal and external relationships of the members, and affected the hierarchical organization of the group. Ever since the term was coined, the notion of “Textual Communities” has served as a theoretical framework for many scholars in various disciplines. The term enabled scholars to explore different modes of interpretation of both canonical and non-canonical texts, the discourse around these interpretations, and the theological and intellectual outcomes they entailed. 

When it comes to Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, much work still remains to be done. From Augustine’s intellectual community of Cassiacum, through the monks of Lérins, the Jewish Tannaim, and Columbanus’ followers, to the intellectuals of the Merovingian or the Visigothic courts, many intellectual circles were formed around texts and debated their interpretations. The aim of this workshop is to open up the discussion of textual communities in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, by offering a platform for PhD students from all over the world and from various disciplines to present their own research and discuss it with others.

We encourage proposals on a wide range of topics, including (but not limited to) the following:

• Textual Communities and the interpretation of texts:

   – Text canonization and authority

   – Textual interpretation and oral culture • Textual communities and class

   – Emerging notions of social hierarchies and group formation around texts

   – Forming intellectual networks and elite culture

   – Mitigating canonical texts to the non-literate • Textual communities and “the other”

   – Defining social borders via text

   – Excluding groups and\or individuals • Textual communities and Law

   – Negotiating law codes

   – Forming ecclesiastical dogmas

• Textual communities and liturgy

   – Establishing rituals based on texts

   – Reinterpreting the sacraments

   – The textual development of prayer

• The concept of Textual Communities

   – Textual communities as a methodology

   – Critical reflection on the term


The workshop will take place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on September 5-7, 2023. The workshop will be framed by two plenary lectures, one opening the workshop, and one concluding it. These lectures will be delivered by established scholars in the field. The organizers will be able to cover the cost of accommodation to a limited number of students. Interested students are requested to send an abstract (max. 250 words) and a short CV (max. 1 page) to The deadline for submissions is April 23th, 2023.

Job – Scholarships and Fellowships

Diamond Jubilee Grants
Applications are now open for our 2023 Student Travel Grants. For one year only, we are offering a number of special £3000 awards in celebration of The Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society’s Diamond Jubilee.

Diamond Jubilee Grants are available to UK students of archaeology, religious studies, and related topics.

Recipients will be given a place on the Tel Azekah archaeological project for a four-week field season, taking place from 16 July to 11 August. In addition, they will receive £3,000 to cover the full cost of return travel to Israel from the UK, insurance, and board and lodging on the Azekah programme during the week (Sunday to Friday only).

Students will have the opportunity to work on the excavations and attend lectures on archaeology and ancient history and culture while staying at Kibbutz Netiv Ha-Lamed-He, close to the site. They will also have free time on the weekends to travel within Israel. Note that grant recipients will be expected to cover the cost of weekend accommodation and activities outside the dig themselves.

Travel Grants Available – The 2023 call for applications to the Diamond Jubilee Travel Grant from the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society

We are a small cultural and non-political charity, embracing all peoples and religions. Our mission is to make accessible the rich and fascinating archaeology of Israel and the Levant in all periods and in its historical geographical, religious and intellectual context. We focus especially on supporting, promoting and raising awareness of recent research and discovery through lectures and other events, and through our academic journal Strata.

To mark the society’s Diamond Jubilee, we are offering a number of studentships worth £3,000 each to support a student’s participation for four weeks (16 July – 11 August 2023) on the excavation of Tel Azekah : The excavation is directed by Professor Oded Lipschits (Tel Aviv University), Professor Manfred Oeming (Heidelberg University) and Professor Sabine Kleinman (Tübingen University).

The studentship will cover travel to Israel, board and lodging, including all costs associated with registration for the excavation. Students will have the opportunity to work on the dig and attend lectures on archaeology while staying on Kibbutz Netiv Ha-Lamed-He close to the site, as well as free time at the weekends to travel within Israel or to stay in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

Applications are welcome from undergraduate and postgraduate students, including PhD students, in the fields of archaeology, ancient history, theology and religious studies and other relevant disciplines.

I should be very grateful if you could encourage suitable students to consider these grants and also if you would pass on the information and the attached flier to other colleagues.

The application forms are on our website (

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With best wishes,

Sarah Pearce (Professor)

Chair, AIAS

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