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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 1622: Christian Entanglements of the Supernatural in Late Antiquity, II: Monsters and Miracles

Thursday 6 July 2023, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Ryan Denson, Department of Classics & Ancient History University of Exeter
Moderator/Chair:Frederick Kimpton, Department of Classics, Ancient History, Religion & Theology, University of Exeter
Paper 1622-aSerpents, Saints, and Sorcerers: The Dragon-Slaying Narratives of Lucian of Samosata's Philopseudes and the New Testament Apocrypha
(Language: English)
William Colman, Department of Classics, Ancient History, Religion & Theology, University of Exeter
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Folk Studies, Hagiography, Language and Literature - Comparative
Paper 1622-bOf God and a god: The Christian Veneer to the Pagan Story of Grendel in Beowulf
(Language: English)
James Buckingham, Independent Scholar, Walworth County, Wisconsin
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Pagan Religions, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 1622-cMedical Terminology in the Miracles of Cosmas and Damian
(Language: English)
Elle Jones, Department of Archaeology, Classics & Egyptology, University of Liverpool
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Language and Literature - Greek, Medicine, Religious Life

Monsters and miracles initially seem an unusual pairing, but the relationship becomes evident once we consider that the etymology of 'monster' from the Latin monstrum, a term that can also signify divine portents. Both monsters and miracles involve startling, otherwise impossible circumstances, often aligned with supernatural and divine forces that destabilize conventional boundaries of what is deemed real/natural. This session, then, explores the late antique Christian contexts wherein monsters and miracles were entangled within previously 'pagan' conceptions. Colman explores reception of a Greco-Roman monster, the drak┼Źn, in Christian cosmology. Buckingham examines the nature of a more human monster, Grendel in Beowulf, as being fundamentally pagan with only a thin Christian veneer. Jones, then, explores ancient medical terminology within the Miracles of Cosmas and Damian.