The purpose of the symposium is to broaden our understanding of the related literary genres of parables, fables, and similes in the context of the Graeco-Roman world.
These genres, which make use of narrative analogy, appear in early Christian and Jewish (rabbinic) literature and in Graeco-Roman philosophical, oratory, and literary sources. However, despite the fact that these texts, their composers, and their first audiences, were part of the wider cultural context of Graeco-Roman Antiquity, they have not yet been thoroughly studied in relation to each other. In this symposium, we want to contribute to this underexplored field of research. We will tackle questions like: With which texts from Greek and Roman literature can early Christian and rabbinic parables be compared? How does the composition of fables and similes and their rhetorical use in Graeco-Roman philosophical, oratory, and literary sources relate to parable-telling in the Jewish and early Christian contexts? What similarities and differences can be found? How did the Graeco-Roman tradition of fables and similes influence the development of the genre of parable in the Jewish context? And, finally, how can the understanding of these groups of texts be improved by comparing them with one another?
During this one-day symposium, a selection of scholars will shed light on these questions and discuss examples of fables, parables, and similes in various ancient sources. The full programme of the symposium is availiable on a special website.