Call for Applicants to the 2022-2023 Shohet Scholars Grant Program for Research on the Ancient Mediterranean

The Shohet Scholars Grant Program of the International Catacomb Society is now accepting applications to the Shohet Scholars cohort of 2022-2023. Submission deadline is January 15, 2022 (11:59 p.m. EST).

This annual grant program funds research on the Ancient Mediterranean from the Hellenistic Era to the Early Middle Ages. Shohet Scholars may do their research in the fields of archeology, art history, classical studies, history, comparative religions, or related subjects. Of special interest are interdisciplinary projects that approach traditional topics from new perspectives.

One or more Shohet Scholars will be selected each year. The primary intent of the grant is to support significant, innovative research that can be completed and reported upon within and shortly after the award period. Grants may be made to seed innovative approaches and new ideas or to cover specific expenses or phases of a larger project under the direction of the applicant. At this time, awards in the range of $2,000 to $30,000 will be made. A complete history of past and present Shohet Scholars awards is available on the ICS webpage: www.catacombsociety.org.

Scholars meeting the above criteria may apply for Shohet Scholar funding if they are individual or institutional members of the ICS at the time of the application submission deadline of January 15, 2022 and in possession of a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree or the equivalent.

Non-U.S. citizens may apply if a co-applicant is a legal permanent resident (i.e. already in possession of "green card" or Form I-551) or native or naturalized citizen of the U.S.A., meets all eligibility requirements, and has a legitimately active and credited leadership role in the proposal. Co-applicants must submit as individuals all the necessary forms except for the research proposal, list of permissions, and budget proposal, which may be filed jointly. Please click here for additional details about candidate eligibility.

Deadlines and Decisions
The application deadline for the 2022-2023 academic year is January 15, 2022. The award announcement for the 2022-2023 academic year will be made by May 1, 2022, for funding to be disbursed on 15 July 2022. Please note that all funding is awarded directly and exclusively to the USA-based awardee, for distribution among project co-applicants. The ICS does not wire or transfer money to bank accounts outside of the USA. Click here for application forms and instructions and here for assistance.

Questions?
If you have any questions about the suitability of proposed projects, application procedures, or any other matters related to the Shohet Scholars Program, please consult our FAQ page or reach out to us at shohetscholars (at) catacombsociety.org.

Introducing the 2021-2022 Shohet Scholars Grant Program Recipients

The Executive Board and Directors of the International Catacomb Society announce with great pleasure the Shohet Scholar Grant Program recipients for 2021-2022. In this application cycle, the ICS sought to to support specifically
junior scholars without full-time employment, early career (untenured) faculty, or young scholars who
receive little to no institutional support for their research. As always, it was not easy to make a selection, since all the projects had interesting aspects and were well worth funding.

  1. Chris Stantis (Research Fellow, National Museum of Natural History) and Kevin Salesse (Postdoc, Université Libre de Bruxelles) “Awakening the dead: approaching the social fabric of Pompeii through mobility and funerary customs using molecular bioarchaeology.” This project seeks to shed new light on the social fabric of Pompeii through the mobility dynamics and funerary practices of its inhabitants from a longue durée perspective by analyzing 238 human skeletons.
  2. J. Gregory Given (Independent Scholar), “Open Letters: Ignatius of Antioch and the Reconstruction of Early Christianity.” An analysis of the letters of Ignatius of Antioch that argues they are best interpreted as an “open text” and outlines the larger implications for Early Christian Studies, Classics and other related fields.
  3. Rebecca Harris (untenured Assistant Professor, Messiah University), “Living in the Liminal: The Present as a Place of Access in Qumran Literature.” Applying theories of liminality to the archaeology and literature of the Qumran community, this study demonstrates how Qumran group identity and ritual-liturgical practice cultivated a sense of present communion with divine beings and offered the worshiper assurance of future incorporation into the heavenly realm. This project brings together the study of texts and archaeology with theory.

The Shohet Scholars Grant Program of the International Catacomb Society desires to support scholars of demonstrated promise and ability who are judged capable of producing significant, original research that is consistent with the above goal. Shohet Scholars may do their research in the fields of archaeology, art history, classical studies, history, comparative religions, or related subjects. The work need not focus explicitly on the Roman catacombs, but it should be within the sphere of the Mediterranean world from the late Hellenistic Period to the end of the Roman Empire. Of special interest are interdisciplinary projects that approach traditional topics from new perspectives. Project abstracts of past Shohet Scholar Grant Program recipients can be found here. To learn more about the Shohet Scholars Program, and upcoming deadlines for applications, please visit this link.

With many thanks to our colleagues in the jury for giving their time, energy, and wisdom to a successful outcome.

Sincerely,
Prof. Annewies van den Hoek,
President of the International Catacomb Society

ICS Executive Board Report and 2020 Annual Appeal

Boston, December 19, 2020

Dear Friend of the ICS,

This time of year we are all on the receiving end of many letters concluding with the words: “Please be as generous as you can” – even in an unusual year as we just experienced! In how many cases, however, can the works we encourage reach as far back as the dawn of the Common Era? In the last year, our mission, “to increase knowledge about the interconnections between Judaism, Christianity, and the surrounding ancient world” has been carried out through lectures and through our judicious grant program.

In May we awarded our annual Shohet Scholarships to two recipients, who will be able to spread their research out over multiple years because of the ongoing pandemic. The ICS also plans to provide a Zoom forum for future lectures and reports of the grants.

Davide Tanasi (Associate Professor, University of South Florida, Department of History)
Title: The Digital afterlife of the Catacombs of Abbatija tad-Dejr at Rabat (Malta)
Abstract: The research aims at the reappraisal through the application of 3-D Scanning, Remote Sensing and 3-D Visualization of the multifaceted Maltese catacomb complex of Abbatija tad-Dejr, whose occupation phases range from Late Roman to Late Medieval period. The site currently inaccessible and in derelict state was not subject to any excavation or new interpretative study since the 30s. The production of a 3D model combined with a spatial analysis will produce an updated technical documentation necessary to characterize it. An interactive virtual replica of the complex and all it iconographic features will be made accessible on a web platform for public enjoyment.

Joan Connelly (Professor, Classics, New York University) and Monika Więch (Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences, Department of Classical Mediterranean Cultures)
Title: Yeronisos–Meletis Necropolis Project, Peyia, Paphos District, Cyprus
Abstract: The dozen spectacular rock-cut chamber tombs of the small cemetery of Meletis at Agios Georgios tis Pegeias near Paphos in Cyprus had been thought to be fully looted long ago. But the discovery in 2018 of a thirteenth tomb will forever change our understanding of burial practices within a wealthy sector of the local community during late Hellenistic through Roman times. This project calls for excavation, documentation, preservation, and publication of a family tomb established in the 1st century B.C.E. under Ptolemaic Egyptian influence and continuing in use until the 5–6th century C.E. Investigation of this unique sepulcher provides a rare opportunity for us to understand better the social and cultural history of rock-cut tombs in Cyprus and across the Mediterranean world.

Consistent with our goal of supporting significant, innovative research these grants support a wide range of disciplines encompassing archeology, art history, and classical studies. None of this work would be possible without the help of our sponsors and supporters.

In addition to our grant program, in 2021 we look forward to several more lectures, generously offered by former grant recipients and members of our distinguished ICS Board.
If you are a member we hope that you will renew your membership, or, if you are not a member, that you will consider becoming one. Your donations are tax deductible. Further information is available on our website, www.catacombsociety.org. 
Please be as generous as you can.

For the Executive Board of the International Catacomb Society,
with thanks and best wishes,

Annewies van den Hoek, President
Philip Olander, Secretary

International Catacomb Society
217 Hanover Street, Suite 130413
Boston, MA 02113
info@catacombsociety.org

Call for Applications to the 2021-2022 Shohet Scholars Grant Program for Research on the Ancient Mediterranean

The Shohet Scholars Grant Program of the International Catacomb Society is now accepting applications to the Shohet Scholars cohort of 2021-2022. Submission deadline is January 15, 2021 (11:59 p.m. EST).

This annual grant program funds research on the Ancient Mediterranean from the Hellenistic Era to the Early Middle Ages. Shohet Scholars may do their research in the fields of archeology, art history, classical studies, history, comparative religions, or related subjects. Of special interest are interdisciplinary projects that approach traditional topics from new perspectives.

One or more Shohet Scholars will be selected each year. The primary intent of the grant is to support significant, innovative research that can be completed and reported upon within and shortly after the award period. Grants may be made to seed innovative approaches and new ideas or to cover specific expenses or phases of a larger project under the direction of the applicant. At this time, awards in the range of $2,000 to $30,000 will be made. A complete history of past and present Shohet Scholars awards is available on the ICS webpage: www.catacombsociety.org.

Please note: For the grant cycle of 2021-2022, the ICS Shohet scholarship fund seeks to support specifically junior scholars with PhD but without full-time employment, early career (untenured) faculty, or young scholars who receive little to no institutional support for their research.

Scholars meeting the above criteria may apply for Shohet Scholar funding if they are individual or institutional members of the ICS at the time of the application submission deadline of January 15, 2021 and in possession of a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree or the equivalent.

Non-U.S. citizens may apply if a co-applicant is a legal permanent resident (i.e. already in possession of "green card" or Form I-551) or native or naturalized citizen of the U.S.A., meets all eligibility requirements, and has a genuinely collaborative and credited leadership role in the proposal. Co-applicants must submit as individuals all the necessary forms except for the research proposal, list of permissions, and budget proposal, which may be filed jointly.

Deadlines and Decisions
The application deadline for the 2021-2022 academic year is January 15, 2021. The award announcement for the 2021-2022 academic year will be made by May 1, 2021, for funding to be disbursed on 15 July 2021. Please note that all funding is awarded directly to the USA-based awardee, for distribution among project co-applicants and collaborators. The ICS does not wire or transfer money to bank accounts outside of the USA.

Click here for application forms and instructions and here for assistance.

Questions?
If you have any questions about the suitability of proposed projects, application procedures, or any other matters related to the Shohet Scholars Program, please consult our FAQ page or contact us at shohetscholars (at) catacombsociety.org.

Letter from the ICS Executive Board on Society Events and Programs in 2020

Boston, August 25, 2020

Dear friends and colleagues of the ICS:

We hope that you are keeping safe and well during these difficult times. The corona virus has upended our lives in ways that we could not have imagined six months ago. Just as pandemic dislocations have required us individually to adapt to a new reality, the International Catacomb Society, too, has had to make some adjustments.

À propos, two highly anticipated events supposed to have taken place this year will have to be rescheduled:

The meeting scheduled for May in New York, featuring a lecture by Professor Steven Fine, was a casualty of the lock-down.

The upcoming 40th ICS anniversary celebration, originally scheduled for October at the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East (HMANE), will be postponed.

Both these events will take place at a time when it will be safe to meet.

In a happier development, not even a plague of biblical proportions could deter the Shohet Scholar committee from its appointed task. The committee completed its annual mission by awarding grants to two important archeological projects. It should be noted, however, that these awards will be distributed to cover a period of two years instead of the customary one year: http://www.catacombsociety.org/news-and-events/

Finally, board members will be relieved to know, even in this topsy-turvy world, that the new normal of meetings on Zoom will allow the annual ICS board meeting to take place in September. Please mark your calendars for the 26th proximo.

Details regarding all of the above will be available on our website: http://www.catacombsociety.org/

Until we meet again, please keep safe and well.

With our very best wishes on behalf of the ICS Executive Board,

Annewies van den Hoek, president
Philip Olander, secretary

Inquiries to: info@catacombsociety.org

Introducing the Shohet Scholars for 2020-2021

May 8, 2020

The Officers and Directors of the International Catacomb Society are pleased to announce the Shohet Scholars for 2020-2021:

Davide Tanasi (Associate Professor, University of South Florida, Department of History)
Title: The Digital afterlife of the Catacombs of Abbatija tad-Dejr at Rabat (Malta)
Abstract: The research aims at the reappraisal through the application of 3-D Scanning, Remote Sensing and 3-D Visualization of the multifaceted Maltese catacomb complex of Abbatija tad-Dejr, whose occupation phases range from Late Roman to Late Medieval period. The site is currently inaccessible and in derelict state and has not been subject to any excavation or new interpretative study since the 1930s. The production of a 3D model combined with a spatial analysis will produce an updated technical documentation necessary to characterize it. An interactive virtual replica of the complex and all it iconographic features will be made accessible on a web platform for public enjoyment.

Joan Connelly (Professor, Classics, New York University) and Monika Więch (Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences, Department of Classical Mediterranean Cultures)
Title: Yeronisos–Meletis Necropolis Project, Peyia, Paphos District, Cyprus
Abstract: The dozen spectacular rock-cut chamber tombs of the small cemetery of Meletis at Agios Georgios tis Pegeias near Paphos in Cyprus had been thought to be fully looted long ago. But the discovery in 2018 of a thirteenth tomb will forever change our understanding of burial practices within a wealthy sector of the local community during late Hellenistic through Roman times. This project calls for excavation, documentation, preservation, and publication of a family tomb established in the 1st century B.C.E. under Ptolemaic Egyptian influence and continuing in use until the 5–6th century C.E. Investigation of this unique sepulcher provides a rare opportunity for us to understand better the social and cultural history of rock-cut tombs in Cyprus and across the Mediterranean world.

We congratulate these scholars on the impact and quality of their work.

Sincerely, Prof. Annewies van den Hoek on behalf of the Shohet Scholars Program Committee

Call for Applicants to the 2020-2021 Shohet Scholars Grant Program for Research on the Ancient Mediterranean

The Shohet Scholars Grant Program of the International Catacomb Society is now accepting applications to the Shohet Scholars cohort of 2020-2021. Submission deadline is January 15, 2020.

This annual grant program funds research on the Ancient Mediterranean from the Hellenistic Era to the Early Middle Ages. Shohet Scholars may do their research in the fields of archaeology, art history, classical studies, history, comparative religions, or related subjects. Of special interest are interdisciplinary projects that approach traditional topics from new perspectives.

One or more Shohet Scholars will be selected each year. The primary intent of the grant is to support significant, innovative research that can be completed and reported upon within and shortly after the award period. Grants may be made to seed innovative approaches and new ideas or to cover specific expenses or phases of a larger project under the direction of the applicant. At this time, awards in the range of $2,000 to $30,000 will be made. The Shohet Scholars Program reserves the right not to make a grant in a year in which there are no applications meeting the requirements of the program. A complete history of past and present Shohet Scholars awards is available on the ICS webpage, www.catacombsociety.org

Eligibility
Scholars of all institutional affiliations and independent scholars may apply for Shohet Scholar funding if they are individual or institutional members of the ICS at the time of the application submission deadline of January 15, 2020 and in possession of a doctoral degree or the equivalent. Preference will be given to applicants in the early postdoctoral or launching stage of their careers (i.e., persons awarded the doctorate within six years prior to the application deadline).

Non-U.S. citizens may apply if a co-applicant is a legal permanent resident (i.e. already in possession of "green card" or Form I-551) or native or naturalized citizen of the U.S.A. and Canada, meets all eligibility requirements, and has a genuinely collaborative and credited leadership role in the proposal. Co-applicants must submit as individuals all the necessary forms except for the research proposal, list of permissions, and budget proposal, which may be filed jointly.

Employees, contractors, and members of the Board of Directors or Advisory Board of the ICS and their families are ineligible. No applicant will be denied consideration or selection because of race, religion, or ethnic origin. Any fraudulent misrepresentation of self and information about a proposal will result in a disqualification.

Reporting Requirements
Shohet Scholar grant recipients are expected to: 1. acknowledge the Shohet Scholars Program of the International Catacomb Society in all publications and activities that are funded in part or in whole with the award with direct notification to the Society when these events occur and 2. provide the Shohet Scholarship Committee no later than three months after the end of the fellowship year with a brief, illustrated report of the work carried out or in course, suitable for publication on the ICS website.

Deadlines and Decisions
The application deadline for the 2020-2021 academic year is January 15, 2020. The award announcement for the 2020-2021 academic year will be made by May 1, 2020, for funding to be disbursed on 15 July 2020. Please note: starting in 2018, all funding is awarded directly to the USA-based awardee, for distribution among project co-applicants and collaborators. The ICS will no longer wire or transfer money to bank accounts outside of the USA.

Click here for application forms and here instructions and for assistance.

Questions ?
If you have any questions about the suitability of proposed projects, application procedures, or any other matters related to the Shohet Scholars Program, please consult our FAQ page or contact us at shohetscholars (at) catacombsociety.org.

Introducing the Shohet Scholars for 2019-2020

The officers and directors of the International Catacomb Society are pleased to announce the Shohet Scholars of 2019-2020:

Lily Vuong, Central Washington University: “The Apocryphal Mary in Text, Pictorial Art, and Iconography"

This project examines the ways in which Marian Apocryphal material culture (mosaics, sculptures, ivory carvings, book covers, illuminated manuscripts, physical space of churches, etc.) were used to reinforce early Christian devotion, faith, and piety. At the same time, it also aims to explore the reciprocal relationship between text and art, and how early Christian identities shaped by Marian apocryphal literature intersected with the identities of those who valued Marian material culture as a necessary component to their religious lives.

Kevin McGinnis, Stonehill College: “Does a Priestly People Have Priests?
Early Christian Leadership in its Polytheistic Context"

The research funded by this grant will contribute greatly to an analysis of how Christians came to represent their ecclesiastical leaders as priests from the third to sixth centuries C.E. The standard narrative of how the priesthood developed starts with the period of the Jesus movement and proceeds rather uncritically from there. This narrative has largely determined how early Christian art has been interpreted. This project will counter that narrative, in part through a comparison of Christian and Roman depictions of religious leaders. The ultimate goal is to show how, when, and why Christians appropriated the title ‘priest’.

Joan Breton Connolly, New York University“: Yeronisos – Meletis Necropolis Project, Peyia-Paphos District, Cyprus

This project calls for systematic excavation, documentation, preservation, and publication of a newly discovered rock-cut tomb at the Meletis Necropolis, southwestern Cyprus. Preliminary investigation suggests a family tomb established in the second century BCE under Ptolemaic Egyptian influence, continuing in use through Late Roman times. The tomb preserves a prime example of monumental funerary culture in Hellenistic Cyprus, Ptolemaic influence in the Paphian countryside, and the evolution of Alexandrian funerary display strategies into Roman times. Investigation of this unique sepulcher provides a vital first step in writing a comprehensive social and cultural history of Hellenistic/Roman rock-cut tombs in Cyprus and across the Mediterranean.

More Than Just Mosaics: ICS NYC Lecture on Latest Finds from the Huqoq Excavations in Israel, 13 April 2019 at 4:30 p.m.

More than Just Mosaics: The Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel's Galilee

Saturday, 13 April 2019, 4:30 p.m. (reception to follow)

Fordham University - Lincoln Center Campus
School of Law Building
Room 7-119 (Hill Conference Room)
150 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023 (map)

Since 2011, Professor Jodi Magness has been directing excavations in the ancient village of Huqoq in Israel's Galilee. The excavations have brought to light the remains of a monumental Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue building paved with stunning and unique mosaics, including biblical scenes and the first non-biblical story ever discovered decorating an ancient synagogue. In this slide-illustrated lecture, Professor Magness describes these exciting finds, including the discoveries made in last summer's season.

The Huqoq Project was awarded a Shohet Scholars grant from the International Catacomb Society in 2016, and Prof. Magness now serves on the Society's advisory board. For more information about Prof. Magness' work in progress at Huqoq, please visit:

http://jodimagness.org/cv.php

The ICS NYC Lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Theology and the Program in Jewish Studies at Fordham University.