Academy of Finland
Funding decision
Applicant / Contact person Rauhala, Marika
Organisation University of Helsinki
Project title
The Dynamics of Religious Prejudice in Greco-Roman Antiquity: Limits of acceptance, Religious Identity, and Images of Otherness from the Fifth to the First Century BCE
Decision No. 308029
Decision date 13.06.2017
Funding period 01.09.2017 - 28.02.2021
Funding 265 709
WebFOCUS Report
Project description
The project examines the development of religious prejudice and factors contributing to them in Greco-Roman antiquity before the Common Era. The principal material of the study is ancient literature which is approached via study of mental images and social identity theory. The objective is to establish what was considered acceptable religious conduct and thinking in various contexts, what negative stereotypical images were associated with unwanted religiousness and why prejudices arose or abated at a given time. Prejudices are discussed as part of the elite’s bid to construct a positive religious identity and to reinforce their authority against perceived internal or external challenges. The project, conducted at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, offers new perspectives to the study of Greco-Roman mentality and it contributes to the ongoing debate on the creation of identities and otherness, the role of prejudice in intergroup relations and preconditions for tolerance.