Conference on

“Religious Pluralism In Europe and Asia:

Conditions, Modes, and Consequences”

Part I: From Antiquity to the Times of Colonialism
Part II: From the Age of Colonialism to Present Times


A joint venture by the Department of Religious Studies, University of Texas at Austin, and the Käte Hamburger Kolleg at Ruhr-Universität Bochum



Scheduled date:

Part I: Sept. 28-30, 2012

Part II: Fall 2013


Part I: University of Texas
at Austin, USA

Part II: Center for Religious Studies at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany


Karl Galinsky, Austin

Volkhard Krech, Bochum






The history of religions across Asia and Europe always developed and still proceeds under plural conditions. They constitute a challenge for many religious traditions and their interrelations range over a wide spectrum of conditions, modes, and consequences.  They include contact, coexistence, assimilation, and conflict and they are influenced by many factors.


The two conferences will address themselves to both synchronic and diachronic aspects of this phenomenon, which reaches from the first millenium BCE into our present times.  Some of the issues are modes of encounter (both symmetric and asymmetric), internal pluralisation, the role of social class, attempts to conceal diachronic transformations, and, of course, the political and legal regulation of religious plurality.


Religious pluralism and the varying reactions engendered by it have always been a dynamic process.  The conferences will provide a stimulating opportunity for informed perspectives on this vital topic and for future directions in research and dialogue.



Conference Part I: “From Antiquity to the Times of Colonialism”


Friday Sept. 28, 2012


               18:00      Welcome

Martha Newman (Chair, Department of Religious Studies)
Randy Diehl (Dean, College of Liberal Arts)
Karl Galinsky and Volkhard Krech (Conveners)

Keynote lecture by Thomas A. Tweed (University of Texas at Austin): “Crossing and Dwelling: Metaphors for Studying Religious Pluralism“             

                              (Legislative Assembly Room, SAC 2.302)


                              Reception (Balcony Rooms, SAC 3.112 and 3.116)



Saturday Sept. 29, 2012

(Sessions to be held in Meeting Room, SAC 1.118)

     9.30-10.00        Mini-Continental Breakfast

                              (Classics Lounge, WAG 116)

     10.00-13.15      Session I: Multiple Traditions In the Near East and the Mediterranean

                   Karl Galinsky (University of Texas of at Austin), Chair

     10.00-10.40       Eckart Frahm (Yale): “Turning Weakness into Strength: Religious Responses to Imperial Expansion in the Ancient Near East from 700 to 400 BCE”

     10.45-11.25       Erich Gruen (Berkeley): “Religious Pluralism in the Roman Empire: Did Judaism Test the Limits of Roman Tolerance?”

     11.25-11.45       Break

     11.45-12.25       Karla Mallette (Michigan): “The Soul of a New Language: Sacred Languages and Secular Texts in the Medieval Mediterranean“


     12.30-12.45       Respondent: Ra’anan Boustan (UCLA)

     12.45-13.15       Discussion


     13.15-14.45       Lunch break


     14:45-18:00      Session II: Encounters of Religions in Central and South Asia

                                                  Volkhard Krech (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Chair

     14.45-15:25       Devin DeWeese (Indiana): "Religious Frontiers and Encounters in Muslim Hagiography and Conversion Tales from Central Asia"

     15.30-16.10       Johan Elverskog (SMU): “Pluralism and the Historian: The Case of Buddhism and Islam“

     16.10-16:30       Break

     16.30-17.10       Robert Mayer (Oxford): "Pluralism and the Negotiation of New Religious Identities in 12th Century Tibet"


     17.15-17.30       Respondent: Oliver Freiberger (University of Texas at Austin)

     17.30-18.00       Discussion





Sunday Sept. 30, 2012

(Sessions to be held in Meeting Room, SAC 1.118)

      9.30-10.00       Mini-Continental Breakfast

                              (Classics Lounge, WAG 116)


     10.00-13:15       Session III: South Asia – Rituals and Architecture

                                                    Licia DiGiacinto (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Chair

     10.00-10.40       Richard Eaton (Arizona): "Four Moments in Islam's Venture in India, 1200-1650"

     10.45-11.25       Jessie Pons (Ruhr-Universität Bochum): "The role and iconography of Indra and Brahma in the Gandharan Buddhist context"

     11.25-11.45       Break

     11.45-12.25       Sven Wortmann (Ruhr-Universität Bochum): "On Brahmins and Ascetics: Religious Dynamics in Ancient India in the Light of Field-Theory "


     12.30-12.45       Respondent: Sven Bretfeld (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

     12.45-13.15       Discussion


     13.15-14.45       Lunch break


     14.45-18.15      Session IV: Between East and West

Martha Newman (University of Texas at Austin), Chair

     14.45-15.25       Jason BeDuhn (N. Arizona): “Manichaeism and the Emergence of Religious Pluralism“

     15.30-16.10       Dorothea Weltecke (Konstanz): “Christians in multi-religious cities in the Middle East”


     16.10-16.30       Break

     16.30-17.10       Ronnie Po-chia Hsia (Penn State): “From accommodation to confrontation: Christianity in China“


     17.15-17.30       Respondent: Steven J. Friesen (University of Texas at Austin)


     17.30-18.15      Discussion, Summary, & Conclusion



All sessions will be held in SAC 1.118


Sponsors of the Conference at the University of Texas, Austin:


Max-Planck Research Award for International Cooperation

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research via the Käte Hamburger Kolleg "Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe“

Department of Religious Studies, UT Austin




College of Liberal Arts

Department of Asian Studies

Department of Classics

Floyd Cailloux Centennial Professorship of Classics

Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins

South Asia Institute

The Center for European Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Drs. Prabir and Pratima Bose

 Federal Ministry of Education and Research KHK Center for European Studies

Last Update: Sept. 20, 2012 (