ERC Support Received for Late Antique Research
MF Professor Victor Ghica will lead a project that will shed new light on how Christianity rose to prominence in the Roman Empire during the fourth century.
- There is every reason to congratulate Professor Victor Ghica, says MF Rector Vidar L. Haanes.
- The competition for research funding from the European Research Council is very fierce, and only the very best researchers come out on top.
Material Sources from Egypt
Professor Ghica's project is based on archaeological sources collected over the last twenty years in the Egyptian desert. According to the professor, these material sources from the 4th century are composed of a wide variety of artifacts, and cast a radical new light on Christianity in Egypt.
- The ERC usually funds ground-breaking projects, and teams that are capable of shifting scholarly paradigms,” Ghica says. “It might sound overly ambitious, but this is what this project aims to do. Based on a coherent and rich set of material sources coming from Egypt, the project tries to bring a new understanding of the way in which Christianity conquered the Roman world during the fourth century, a period which determined much of the religious destiny of the world we live in.
We asked Professor Ghica a few questions about the significance of his project.
- What do you think makes this field of research so significant, that so much time can be spent on it?
- For the archaeology of Late Antique Christianity, this project offers at the same time almost unknown archaeological material and new methods in approaching the evolution of Christianity in the 4th century.
- What does it mean for you to receive this grant?
- It is obviously a luxury to pursue research having basically all the means to do it. In my case, this is also a unique opportunity to continue and expand the research that I have been carrying out for many years in Egypt.
- What are you hoping for from this research?
- The most important goal is to bring to light the unique material which this project relies on, and do justice to it by analyzing it in a multidimensional manner and from various angles. On a more personal level, as coordinator of the project, I hope for a team whose chemistry could lead to trans and cross-disciplinarity that is often a game changer in research.
Ghica's five-year project has been meticulously planned and organized. The first year will be dedicated to fieldwork, technical processing of archaeological data and recruiting of the scientific team.
- We hope to bring world class researchers of early Christian material culture to MF, Ghica commented.
Rector Haanes expressed his delight that MF is developing an increasingly advanced competence in Late Antique and Early Christian history.
- It will be very important for MF to have an outstanding research environment with this kind of expertise, he says.
Rector Haanes also wrote that,
- This is not just a high-profile theoretical project, but a project of considerable relevance for understanding religion in today's society, and it is directly relevant to MF's study programs.