Water and Religious Life in the Roman and Late Antique Near East, A Two-Day International Workshop, Durham University, March 22-23, 2016
Whilst water has permeated countless dimensions of religious life throughout history, the Roman and Late Antique Near East provides an especially rich context for the study of this topic. Our chronological range, from the Roman conquest in 64 BC to the rise of Islam in the seventh century AD, bears witness to the development of pagan, Jewish and Christian religious traditions and their interaction on local and regional scales. Our geographical span, stretching from Iraq’s western border to the eastern Mediterranean coast, incorporates a striking variety of microclimates, which fostered distinctive local responses to the hydrological environment and elevated the importance of water in both sacred and utilitarian contexts across the region. It is this concurrent religious and environmental diversity that recommends the Roman and Late Antique Near East as a stimulating setting to examine the relationship between water and religious life.