Centre for Advanced Study

at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

Metamorphoses: Resurrection, Taxonomies and Transformative Practices in Early Christianity


Former 2006/2007 Humanities - Theology


The project aims at exploring how ideas and experiences of transformation were expressed in Early Christianity. It assumes new patterns of interpreting Pre-Constantinian Christianity not so much in uniform and evolutionary terms but as a diversity of groups and beliefs. Despite a claim to exclusiveness and experiences of conflict and persecution, the early Christians depended upon and actively exploited existing forms of thought, speech and behaviour. They yielded to given discourses while slowly establishing new ones. What were the frameworks within which transformative ideas and experiences of having become "a new being" were shaped; the analogies upon which they were drawn; and the parameters by which transformation was being noted and actually asserted? The focus on transformation might help connect topics that so far have been studied separately, and the project covers the following main areas: 1. Transformation and Taxonomies: Webbing Continuity with Discontinuity; 2. The Generation of a Third Race: Transformation through Initiation into a New Social Order; 3. Resurrection Rehearsed: Asceticism as Transformative Practice (including explorations of transformation as designed by a hierarchical configuration of gender; martyrdom and the ascetic agon as transformation, and the idea of the bios angelikos, the possibility of attaining a likeness to the angels or rehearsing life in paradise); 4. Resurrection: Negotiating Continuity and Transformation, where the traditional Christian belief in a resurrection of the flesh as opposed to assumed Greek ideas of immortality will be critically examined and challenged by a nuanced reading of manifold Greco-Roman, Jewish and Christian sources.


  • Buell, Denise Kimber
    Professor Williams College 2006/2007
  • Collins, Adela Yarbro
    Professor Yale University 2006/2007
  • Collins, John J.
    Professor Yale University 2006/2007
  • Czachesz, István
    Research Fellow University of Groningen 2006/2007
  • Engberg-Pedersen, Troels
    Professor University of Copenhagen 2006/2007
  • King, Karen Leigh
    Professor Harvard University 2006/2007
  • Lehtipuu, Outi
    Lecturer University of Helsinki 2006/2007, 2020/2021
  • Lied, Liv Ingeborg
    Professor MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society (MF) 2006/2007, 2020/2021
  • Lundhaug, Hugo
    Professor University of Oslo (UiO) 2006/2007, 2020/2021
  • Marjanen, Antti Sakari
    Dr. University of Helsinki 2006/2007
  • Rubenson, Samuel
    Professor Lund University 2002/2003, 2006/2007
  • Songe-Møller, Vigdis
    Professor University of Bergen (UiB) 2006/2007
  • Thomassen, Einar
    Professor University of Bergen (UiB) 2006/2007
  • Økland, Jorunn
    Professor University of Oslo (UiO) 2006/2007

Previous events

Group leader

  • Turid Karlsen Seim

    Title Professor Institution University of Oslo (UiO) Year at CAS 2006/2007