Events

MNR

"My thought has always been that archaeology should be used as a tool to unveil history instead of being locked up in an ivory tower for the knowing few.  Also, that it should arouse interest in preserving the precious vestiges of our past before they vanish."
- Estelle S. Brettman, Founder, International Catacomb Society

Since its founding in 1980, the International Catacomb Society has sponsored lectures that have brought scholars from around the world to lecture in the Boston area.

In November 1999, the International Catacomb Society announced their sponsorship of the Estelle Shohet Brettman Memorial Lecture Series at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in the Department of Art of the Ancient World. In 2005 the lecture series was permanently endowed. The series presents lectures and other programs dealing with the cultural, artistic, and religious history, and related archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean world, primarily the Roman Empire and its provinces during the period of the 5th century B.C.E. through the 7th century C.E.  All lectures are free and open to the public.

ICS also sponsors tours of ancient sites, and conferences and special lectures at member institutions.  Join ICS to receive advance notice of and priority access to these events.

Upcoming Events

Friday, September 30, 2016, 4-6 p.m.  Celebration in honor of retiring Harvard Divinity School professor, Annewies van den Hoek, with remarks by Prof. Robin M. Jensen of Notre Dame (Professors van den Hoek and Jensen are Vice Presidents of the ICS).  Braun Room, Andover Hall, Harvard Divinity School, 45 Francis Ave, Cambridge, MA.

Saturday, October 1, 2016, 1-3 p.m.  Directors' Meeting of the International Catacomb Society, Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, 50 Goddard Avenue, Brookline, MA.

Saturday, October 1, 2016, 10 a.m. - noon.  8th annual joint meeting of the Boston and Providence Patristics Groups.  Speaker: Prof. Georgia Frank (Colgate University) on “Petrification and Portability: Monks as Statues in Early Byzantium.”  Location: Theology Dept. Seminar Room
St. Catherine of Siena Hall, Providence College, 1 Cunningham Sq., Providence, RI 02918.  Please contact ICS Director Arthur Urbano for more information (aurbano@providence.edu).

Past Events

2016

Friday, September 26, 2016.  Showing of Karen Audette’s documentary “The Nike Chariot Earring,” which tells the amazing story of how a mystery was solved and how the earring was found by Florence Wolsky, co-founder and long-time board member of the ICS. The documentary is part of the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge.

Thursday, May 5, 2016 12:30 to 2 p.m. (Brooklyn College, NY)
Christianity Underground: Death, Ritual and the Catacombs of Ancient Rome
Nicola Denzey Lewis (Brown University) & Jessica Dello Russo (Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana)
Amersfort Lounge, 2nd Floor Brooklyn College Student Center Campus Road and East 27th Street, Brooklyn, NY  Flyer
For information: 718.951.5847 wolfeinstitute@brooklyn.cuny.edu

Saturday, February 27, 2016, 12-2 p.m.  Directors' Meeting of the International Catacomb Society, Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, 50 Goddard Avenue, Brookline, MA

2015

Friday, December 17, 2015, at 2:00 pm, Université de Bordeaux
Kevin Salesse, anthropologie des Populations Passées et Présentes, Université de Bordeaux
"Isotope archaeo-biogeochemistry , reconstruction of diet and mobility patterns, and biocultural interactions. Mass graves of the Catacomb of Saints Peter and Marcellinus (Rome 1st-3rd cent. AD)".

Thursday, December 3, 2015, 10-12 noon, Room 2241, Nyack College, 2 Washington Street, New York, NY
NYACK Graduate Program in Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins Colloquia Series on Reading the New Testament as Second Temple Jewish Literature
10-10:40: Jessica Dello Russo. "Figures in the Shadows: Contextualizing Jewish Tombs in the Catacombs of Rome"
10:40-11:20: Steven Notley. "Pontius Pilate: Discordant Images in a Historical Portrait"
11:20-12:00: Steven Fine. "Between Paidea and Sinai: Torah Shrines and the Visual Culture of Diaspora Jews"
Free and Open to the Public

Monday, November 9, 2015, 5-6:30 p.m., Andover Hall, Harvard Divinity School
Professor Christoph Markschies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany
"Demons and Diseases"
Lecture co-sponsored with Harvard Divinity School and the Boston Area Patristics Group.

October 25, 2015, 2-3 p.m., Alfond Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Professor Anthony Tuck, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
"Poggio Civitate: Life and Death of an Etruscan Hill Town"
Estelle Shohet Brettman Memorial Lecture Series
Click here for more information.

October 15, 2015, 7:30 p.m., Rabinowitz Room, Library, Harvard Divinity School
Professor Annewies van den Hoek, Harvard Divinity School
"Female Splendor: The Role and Meaning of Twelve Women Saints in the Apse of the Euphrasian Basilica of Porec (Parentium)"
Co-sponsored with the Boston Area Patristics Group

September 26, 2015 (Providence College, Providence, RI)
International Catacomb Society Symposium and Annual Meeting
Co-sponsored with the Providence College School of Art and Sciences, the Center for Catholic and Dominican Studies, and the Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange Committee
Presentations by previous Shohet Scholars:
Arthur Urbano (Providence College): "Wisdom Made Visible: Iconography and the Fashioning of Philosophical Culture in Late Antiquity"
Nicola Denzey Lewis (Brown University & Princeton University): "Catacomb Religion: Uncovering Ordinary Christianity in the Centuries Before and After Constantine"
John R. Levison (Southern Methodist University): "The Historical Roots of Early Christian Pneumatology"
Lee M. Jefferson and Thomas McCollough (Centre College): "The Christian Veneration Complex at Khirbet Qana”
Program.
For pictures, see: https://www.facebook.com/joanrbranham/posts/10206285498914452?pnref=story

September 6, 2015, Via Appia Pignatelli, 4, Rome, Italy
Marzia Di Mento, Dora Cirone, Tom Rankin, ISAR
Giornata Europea della Cultura Ebraica 2015
Co-sponsored with the Fondazione per i Beni Culturali Ebraici in Italia and the International Society for the Archaeology, Art and Architecture of Rome

May 30, 2015, Via Appia Pignatelli, 4, Rome, Italy
Marzia Di Mento, Tom Rankin, ISAR
Atlas Obscura Day Tour the Jewish Catacomb of Vigna Randanini
Co-sponsored by the International Society for the Archaeology, Art and Architecture of Rome

April 9, 2015, Rabinowitz Room, Harvard Divinity School
David Gurevich, Fulbright Post-Doctoral Fellow, Harvard University
“Archaeology and Anthropology of Pilgrimage Movements”
Lecture co-sponsored with Boston Area Patristics Group

March 8, 2015, Alfond Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Gregory Nagy, Professor of Classics, Harvard University
“Considering Homer”
Estelle Shohet Brettman Memorial Lecture Series

2014

April 13, 2014, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Kenneth Lapatin, Associate Curator of Antiquities, Getty Villa
“Carvers and Collectors: The Lasting Allure of Ancient Gems”

2013

March 17, 2013, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Elizabeth Bolman, Tyler School of Art, Temple University
“The Red Monastery Church and the Angelic Life in Christian Upper Egypt”

2011

November 5, 2011, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
“Aphrodite and the Gods of Love: A Symposium”
The symposium is made possible with endowment support from the International Catacomb Society Fund.
“Aphrodite and the Gods of Love, A Symposium” was held in conjunction with the MFA exhibition "Aphrodite and the Gods of Love" (on view in the Torf Gallery from October 26, 2011 to February 20, 2012), the first devoted to the ancient goddess. An international team of experts, drawn largely from the contributors to the exhibition catalogue presented papers on different aspects of this complicated goddess: her cults and ancestors, the philosophy of beauty, and Eros.

2010

October 1, 2010, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Deborah Carlson, Texas A&M University
“Tracking the Destination of a Marble Column Lost at Sea: The Shipwreck at Kizilburun, Turkey”
International Catacomb Society Lecture

2008

November 22, 2008, Sheraton Boston Hotel, SBL Annual Meeting
Colum Hourihane, Director of the Index of Christian Art, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University
“Reinterpreting the Enigma: Pontius Pilate in Early Christian Art”
International Catacomb Society Lecture

October 5, 2008, Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Miranda Marvin, Professor of Art and Classical Studies, Wellesley College and author of Language of the Muses: The Dialogue between Greek and Roman Sculpture
“Looking at Ancient Sculpture with New Eyes”

April 6, 2008, Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Jas Elsner, Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
“Pharaoh’s Army Got Drownded”: Some Reflections on Jewish and Roman Geneaologies in Early Christian Art”

2007

March 30, 2007, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Joseph Rife, Classics Department, Macalester College
“Society, Ritual, and Death at a Port in Roman Greece: Finds from the Kenchreai Cemetery Near Corinth”
Shohet Scholars Program Grant Recipient Lecture

2006

November 19, 2006, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Marjorie Venit, Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Art History and Archaeology, University of Maryland
“Images of the Afterlife in the Monumental Tombs of Greco-Roman Alexandria”

March 5, 2006, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Jorge Silvetti of Machado Silvetti Associates; Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Principal in Charge of Design of the Getty Villa
“Reimagining the Getty Villa”

2005

November 16, 2005, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Sharon Salvadori
“The Early Christian Orant: The Remaking of an Image in Late Antique Rome”
Shohet Scholars Program Grant Recipient Lecture

May 22–24, 2005, University of Chicago Divinity School
The Shohet Conference on Roman, Jewish and Christian Burials
“Commemorating the Dead: Texts and Artifacts in Context” (program)

April 3, 2005, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Richard Brilliant, Anna S. Garbedian Professor in the Humanities,
Columbia University
“Hope that Unlocks the Gates of Hades: Roman Funerary Arts”

2004

March 21, 2004 , Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Donald Kyle, Professor of History,
University of Texas, Arlington
“Revisiting the Ancient Olympic Games: Gods, Athletes, and Spectators”

2003

March 2, 2003, Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Adrienne Mayor, Classical folklorist and author of The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times
“The Monster of Troy: Fossil Discoveries in Classical Antiquity”
Adrienne Mayor will discuss the heroes and monsters of classical mythology and ancient perceptions of fossil remains in the light of modern scientific and archaeological research.  her exciting insight that a scene on a 6th century BCE Corinthian vase in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is the earliest depiction of a fossil in ancient art is leading to a new understanding of the background and origins of many well-known Greek and Roman myths.

2002

October 27, 2002, Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
William Tronzo, Professor of Art History, Tulane University
“The Catacomb on Via Latina Twenty Years Later”
Discovered in 1955, the Via Latina Catacomb is the richest and most unusual ensemble of architecture and painting surviving from fourth-century Rome. Its varied and ornate chambers are decorated with elaborate wall paintings, which show a mix of Old and New Testament themes and pagan subject matter. William Tronzo, whose study of the site began over twenty years ago, guides the audience through the catacomb and the historical issues surrounding it.

March 10, 2002, Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Olga Palagia, Professor of Classical Archaeology,
Department of Archaeology and Art History, Athens University
“Master of Classical Greek Sculpture: Scopas and Boston”
Scopas, once of the great Greek sculptors and architects of the 4th century BCE, gained fame for his work on the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, and eventually recognition as an important influence on the High Classical style and development of European Art. Professor Palagia reviews his career and points out the stylistic links between his work and sculptures in the MFA's collection, including a masterful bronze head of a goddess.

January 13, 2002, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Jodi Magness, Associate Professor,
Departments of Classics and Art History, Tufts University
“Jerusalem in the Time of Herod the Great”
In this lecture, Prof. Magness reviews the history of Jerusalem between the first century b.c.e. and the first century c.e. and discusses the most prominent archaeological remains, including richly decorated houses, the city’s fortification system, and Temple Mount, which was rebuilt by Herod. She also addresses Jewish burial customs in Jerusalem, including the problem of the location of Jesus’s tomb.

2000

December 3, 2000, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Thomas F. Mathews, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
“A Clash of Gods: Christian versus Pagan Icons”
Icons, panel paintings of sacred subjects, are most often associated with Christian Byzantium, but are not unique to it.  This lecture considers early Christian art in the broader context of the surrounding Graeco-Roman and Jewish world, and examines how early Christian and pagan art borrowed from - and often competed with - each other.

March 26, 2000, Baltimore Hebrew University
Symposium on Jews and Christians in Ancient Rome
The symposium was sponsored by the BHU Program in the History of Jewish-Christian Relations and cosponsored by the International Catacomb Society and the Walters Art Gallery. The speakers were John Hanson, St. Mary’s Seminary and University on Jews and Christians in First Century Rome; Steven Fine, Baltimore Hebrew University on Jews in Ancient Rome: Archaeological and Rabbinic Sources; and Gary Vikan, The Walters Art Gallery, on Christians in Ancient Rome and their Art.

Before 2000

November 21, 1999, 61 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
International Catacomb Society SBL/AAR Reception

November 9, 1997, Andover Newton Theological School
Bernadette Brooten, Brandeis University
“Women as Leaders in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity”
Event photographs (link)

November 14, 1995, Andover Newton Theological School
Symposium on Recent Research on Ritual Explorations and Art of the Jewish and Christian Catacombs with Robin M. Jensen, Annewies van den Hoek, John J. Herrman, and Bruce Beck
and the Estelle Shohet Brettman Memorial Lecture
Leonard Rutgers, Utrecht University
“The Jewish Catacombs of Ancient Rome: New Insights and Perspectives”
Co-sponsored with The Andover-Newton Theological School
Event photographs (link)

October 23, 1994, Rosovsky Hall, Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel
Lisa Kahn, University of Tulsa
“King Herod’s Caesarea: Political Dream or Religious Nightmare”
Co-sponsored by Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel & Archaeological Institute of America, Boston Chapter
Prof. Khan presents an overview of the important site of Caesarea Maritima in Israel. One of the most ambitious construction projects in history, the seaside city expressed the lust for power and fame of the Idumanean prince installed by the Romans in the 1st century BCE as king over the Jews. She focuses especially on Herod's building projects, including new discoveries of the remains of a Herodian Roman temple of great size and beauty which once overlooked the harbor.
Event photographs (link)

May 11, 1994-August 30, 1994, Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem
Exhibit: Vaults of Memory: Jewish and Christian Imagery in the Catacombs of Rome"
In conjunction with the second anniversary of the Bible Lands Museum
Event photographs (link)

March 7, 1993, Yenching Library Auditorium, Harvard University
Walter Persegati, Former Secretary General and Treasurer of the Vatican Museums, International Coordinator, Patrons and Friends of the Vatican Museums
“Michelangelo Rediscovered: The Cleaning of Michelangelo’s Frescoes in the Sistine Chapel”
Event photographs (link)

April 25, 1990, Hebrew College
Marisa de Spagnolis, Director of the Office of Excavations of Nocera and Sarno, Italy
“The Ancient Jewish Congregation at Nocera”
Co-sponsored with Hebrew College
Inaugural Lecture of the International Catacomb Society's Commemorative Founders' Lecture Series in Memory of Dr. Mark D. Altschule, Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin, Louise LaGorce Hickey, and Robert M. Morrison

April 22, 1990, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Baldassare Conticello, Superintendent of Archaeology at Pompeii
“Rediscovering Pompeii: A New Interdisciplinary Approach”
Co-sponsored with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Event photographs (link)

September, 1989, Spertus Museum of Judaica, Chicago
Estelle Shohet Brettman, Executive Director, International Catacomb Society
Introduction to the exhibit "Vaults of Memory" on display from September, 1989 to January, 1990, at the Spertus Museum of Judaica, Chicago
Event photographs (link)

October 6, 1987, Rabb Lecture Hall, Boston Public Library
Cornelius C. Vermeule III, Curator of Classical Art, Museum of Fine Art, Boston
“The Graeco-Roman Background for Jewish Art in the Roman Empire”

September 17, 1987, Rabb Lecture Hall, Boston Public Library
Moshe Dothan, Professor of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"An Image of the Sun God in an Ancient Synagogue at Tiberias"
Co-sponsored with Hebrew College and the Archaeological Institute of America, Boston Society

September 15, 1987, Rabb Lecture Hall, Boston Public Library
Estelle Shohet Brettman, Executive Director, International Catacomb Society
"Vaults of Memory: Roots and Origins"
Opening of Exhibition "Vaults of Memory: Jewish and Christian Imagery in the Catacombs of Rome"
Event photographs (link)

December 1, 1985 - December 10, 1985, Rome and environs
Estelle S. Brettman et al
"Volte della Memoria" Tour
Tours of the Latium coastline; Ostia Antica; Cerveteri Etruscan Necropolis; Vatican Necropolis; Papal Palace and Museums; Vatican Secret Archives; Jewish Catacomb of Vigna Randanini; Catacombs of San Sebastiano and SS. Pietro e Marcellino; and Jewish Ghetto of Rome
Event photographs (link)

November 6 1985-December 5, 1985, National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome, Italy
"Volte della Memoria: Immagini da Roma Sotterranea"
Exhibit of the International Catacomb Society
Event photographs (link)

April 12, 1984, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
Estelle S. Brettman, Executive Director, International Catacomb Society
“Scholars, Saints, Scrolls, and the Hereafter”

December 7, 1983, Francis A. Countway Library, Harvard Medical School
Estelle S. Brettman, Executive Director, International Catacomb Society
Lecture to the Countway Associates of Harvard Medical School

September 25, 1981-December 15, 1981, Kelsey Museum of Ancient and Medieval Archaeology, University of Michigan
Exhibit of "Vaults of Memory: Jewish and Christian Imagery in the Catacombs of Rome"

April, 1980, Vatican Museums
Estelle S. Brettman, Executive Director, International Catacomb Society
"Greek and Latin Inscriptions from the Jewish Catacombs of Rome"
Lecture to the American Jewish Congress Peace Mission Group
Event photograph (link)

1980, Radcliffe College
Estelle S. Brettman
Talk at the Annual Alumnae Dinner

January 6, 1980, Rabb Lecture Hall, Boston Public Library
Estelle S. Brettman
“Judaism and Christianity in the Catacombs of Rome”

January 2, 1980, Hebrew College, Brookline, MA
Fr. Cesare Colafemmina
“The Jews in Southern Italy”

December 28, 1979, Boston, MA
American Institute of Archaeology (AIA) Centennial Meeting
Letizia Pitigliani, Accademia Tiberina
"The Roman Jewish Catacombs"

December 28, 1979, Boston, MA
Colloquium: "Diaspora Judaism Under the Roman Empire: Recent Archaeological Evidence"
American Institute of Archaeology (AIA) Centennial Meeting
AIA Deputy Coordinator: Estelle S. Brettman
A. T. Kraabel, University of Minnesota, Presiding
Cesare Colafemmina, Universita' di Bari
"The Jewish Catacombs of Venosa"
Dean L. Moe, Stobi Excavations
"The Synagogues of Stobi, Yugoslavia"
A. T. Kraabel, University of Minnesota
"The Jewish Communities of Western Asia Minor"
Eric M. Meyers, Duke University
"Galilean Synagogues and the Eastern Diaspora"
Jacob Neusner, Brown University, Respondent

December 10, 1979 - February 11, 1980
Boston Public Library - Copley Square, Boston, MA
Judaism and Christianity in the Catacombs of Rome
Exhibit curated by Estelle S. Brettman, Florence Z. Wolsky, Cornelius C. Vermeule, III and Richard Zonghi for the Centennial of the Archaeological Institute of America

November 20, 1979, Temple Emanuel, Newton, MA
Estelle Shohet Brettman
“Motifs and Symbols in the Jewish Catacombs of Italy”
Sponsored by the Combined Adult Education Program of four Newton, MA synagogues

September 25, 1979, Hebrew College, Brookline, MA
Estelle Shohet Brettman
"Archaeology: An Unveiling of History"
Sponsored by the New England Women's Association of Hebrew College

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