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Erich Pracht - New PhD at the The Research Unit New Testament Studies

On April 1, 2019, I began work at the Department of Theology at Aarhus University. Within that Department, I am affiliated with the New Testament research unit and, outside of it, I am a member of the research project “Epistolary Visions of Transformational Leadership: Cicero—Paul—Seneca,” an interdisciplinary and international enterprise with contributors from five northern European universities (cas.au.dk/evtl). The group’s project leader is Prof. Eve-Marie Becker.

I am particularly interested in the relationship of New Testament narrative texts with ancient historiography. During my time at Emory University (Atlanta), this curiosity was cultivated alongside a budding interest in the book of Acts. I became interested in questions of whether and to what extent we may appropriately understand Acts as a work of history, various points of contact the book may have with other ancient history-writers, and how modern theories of history-writing may elucidate the narrative. I became particularly interested in the field of leadership studies during a two-month visit to Aarhus in the summer of 2018, funded by AUFF.

My project, then, seeks to investigate how we can conceive of a writer of history as exercising leadership and how this compares with the way(s) letter-writers do the same. Using transformational leadership as a guiding framework, I ask how two ancient letter-writers—Cicero and Paul—execute leadership in the course of their own self-fashioning and how two history writers—Sallust and Luke—also execute leadership by means of a different genre in their reception of these literary profiles. This interdisciplinary endeavor will be carried out with the support of the stimulating research environment at Aarhus University, the cooperation of the EVTL research group and its affiliates, and the guidance of my principal supervisor, Eve-Marie Becker (WWU Münster), and two co-supervisors—Kasper Bro Larsen (Aarhus) and Henriette van der Blom (Birmingham)—each of whom have expertise germane to this study.