VACANCY: postdoctoral researcher

Job vacancy: Fulltime Postdoctoral Researcher (2 years) at Ghent University (Belgium)

The ERC-funded research group Novel Saints. Studies in Ancient Fiction and Hagiography of the Department of Literary Studies at Ghent University (Belgium) is seeking a specialist in hagiography to work as a Database Coordinator. The Principal Investigator is Prof Dr Koen De Temmerman.

The successful applicant will start employment in 2020. In order to be eligible, candidates must have obtained their PhD degree at the time of application or demonstrate convincingly that they will have that degree in hand by the start of their employment. Applicants should have a PhD degree on the subject of late antique and/or medieval Christian hagiography (or a related field) in one or more of the following languages: Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Georgian, Greek, Latin, Slavonic and/or Syriac. Scholars whose expertise is in one or more of the eastern languages in this list are particularly encouraged to apply. Only scholars who have had their PhD for fewer than six years may apply for this position. Good IT-skills are required.

The (online) database charts stories of erotic love and desire in hagiographical narratives in a variety of late antique and medieval languages. The researcher will contribute new entries to the database, identify and explore areas for further development, coordinate the progress of the database, work with other contributors (both external and internal) and liaise with the publisher about the print version of the database. He/she will also actively participate in publications, either as author or as co-author together with the PI and/or other team members.


For this position, we offer:

1. a contract for one year of full-time employment as a postdoctoral researcher, followed by a renewal for another year upon positive evaluation (a longer contract with a lower percentage of employment can be negotiated);
2. an internationally competitive salary that depends on seniority and corresponds to the salary scales for postdoctoral researchers as established by the Flemish government;
3. office space in the University and a solid and engaging academic working environment with a strong international profile. The successful candidate will be able to interact with scholars and students affiliated with various departments and research institutes at Ghent University, such as the Department of Literary Studies, the Department of History, the Department of Oriental Studies, the Ghent Institute for Classical Studies, the Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies, the Ghent Centre for the Study of Christian Traditions, and the Group of Early Modern Studies.


For this position, we expect that the successful applicant

1. will contribute to the strong research tradition of the Department and the University by coordinating an online database according to the latest research findings;
2. will come and live in Belgium, work closely together with the other team members and the project’s international advisory board, and contribute to a pleasant and stimulating atmosphere;
3. will contribute to the scholarly activities of the research group (e.g. by organizing events in collaboration with the Principal Investigator and/or other members of the team, etc.).


How to apply?

(a) Applications should include

1. a cover letter highlighting why the applicant is interested in this position and what added value they expect to bring;
2. a full curriculum vitae (including accurate information both on the applicant’s command of the relevant languages and on grades and study results, e.g. official results lists if available);
3. a writing sample of ca. 40 pages of published (or forthcoming) work that in the applicant’s view is particularly good or relevant to the position.

Applications should be sent by email to the Research Coordinator, Dr Evelien Bracke (


(b) In addition, we kindly ask candidates to arrange for two letters of reference to be sent directly to by the referees.


Deadline: applications should arrive no later than 20th December 2019.

Please address any queries to the Principal Investigator (


Ghent is an attractive medieval town, with a strong economic base and lively cultural scene. Just 30 minutes by train from Brussels, two hours from Paris and Amsterdam and two and a half hours from London, it is ideally situated at the heart of European intellectual life.

Julie and Julián at Byzantine Narrative colloquium in Buenos Aires

Our colleagues Julie Van Pelt and Julián Bértola went to Buenos Aires for the Third Byzantine Colloquium of the University of Buenos Aires, entitled ‘Narration in Byzantium, synchronic and diachronic narratological perspectives’. This colloquium gathers Byzantinists from around the world, and the proceedings will be published in Anales de filología clásica.

Julie presented a paper entitled ‘She or He? A narratological perspective on pronoun-shifts in the Life of Theodora (BHG 1727)’. Julián spoke about ‘Lecturas bizantinas de historia y de historias: notas narratológicas a escolios en verso’.


Julie Van Pelt defended her PhD thesis!

Congratulations to Julie Van Pelt who successfully defended her PhD thesis on ‘Saints in Disguise: Literary Performance in Greek Late Antique Hagiography’ at her viva!

Novels by the seaside: Olivier Demerre speaks at RICAN 9

The 9th RICAN (Rethymnon International Conference on the Ancient Novel) took place in Crete on 9-11/10 and was organised by Prof. Stelios Panayotakis. The subject of this edition was Body and Text in the Ancient Novel. 20 papers ranging from Chariton to Heliodorus to Petronius and Apuleius covered several aspects of the subject in a studious and friendly atmosphere. Olivier Demerre gave a paper on Daphnis and Chloe’s winter-scene at the beginning of book 3. In his paper, he offered a metatextual reading of the hunt motif, using Ovid’s Ars Amatoria as a hermeneutical tool.

It was also the occasion to meet researchers from around the globe, enjoy the Greek sun and the tasty Cretan cuisine, as you can see on this picture featuring (from left to right) Olivier, Stephen Trzaskoma, Nick D’Alconzo, Ian Repath, and Ken Dowden.

Benjamin De Vos gives a lecture at Tartu University

At the request of Prof. Janika Päll (Tartu University), Benjamin De Vos (Ghent University) was invited to give a lecture about the relationship between the only (remaining) Christian novel, the Pseudo-Clementines (which is the subject of the Phd of Benjamin De Vos), and classical rhetorical education. This lecture fits in the rhetorical research of classical texts done by the Research Group of Classical Languages in Tartu. The warm welcome, the pleasant and stimulating intellectual atmosphere, and the discussions afterwards inspired us for the future and will lead to more cooperations between the two universities (which fits in the larger U4 society).

Benjamin also gave a lecture (Achilles and Polyxene as Adam and Eve: Post-Homeric mythology as a new Genesis story in the Jewish-Christian Pseudo-Clementine novel (4th c.)) on occasion of the EASR-conference in Tartu (Estonia). We can see here (from the left) Benjamin, Francesco Massa (from the University of Fribourg) who organised the session together with Daniel Barbu (who stands at the utter right, CNRS), Elisa Manzo (Naples), Chiara Di Serio (La Sapienza) and Mélanie Lozat (Geneva/Roma).

Benjamin De Vos in ‘Zonder Wet geen Zonde’ lecture series

For the series of lectures ‘Zonder Wet Geen Zonde’ on the relationship between ‘Law’ and ‘Sin’, organised by the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences (Ghent University), Benjamin De Vos dealt with both inseparable themes in the Pauline Letters and Early Christianity in his lecture: ‘Paulus: voorbij wet en zonde?’ ( Thereafter, a nice, big audience committed the sin (?) of asking a lot of interesting questions…

Benjamin De Vos at U4 Antiquity Winter School

Several of our colleagues went to the U4 Winter School dealing with Classical Antiquity and its reception. This year, the Winter School took place in the Eternal City of Rome. We can see here Geert De Mol, Benjamin De Vos, and Cristina Cocola (being excited!). Tineke Melkebeek, Emmanuel Roumanis, Antonia Apostolakou, prof. Mark Janse and prof. Danny Praet were also present. Apparently, the Romans did not trust Benjamin with his Bucatini all’ Amatriciana (they were right).