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Doctoral Fellowship Program in Byzantine Literature 2019-2021, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Publish Date: Feb 13, 2019

Deadline: Mar 10, 2019


The Institute for Early Christian and Byzantine Studies of the Greek department at KU Leuven is seeking to employ one well-qualified research fellow for two years, at the level of PhD student. The successful candidate will work on a project on the political application of biblical exegesis at the Byzantine court of the ninth to eleventh centuries. The project is funded by the research council of KU Leuven, and the fellowship involves collaboration with the Universität zu Köln.


The project aims to document, interpret and explain the role of biblical exegesis in the justification of anti-Jewish measures taken by emperors of the Macedonian dynasty. Those measures were inspired mainly by political and ideological instead of religious reasons (and were as a rule not approved by the church). In a process of justifying them from a theological perspective, literature was written that quotes passages from the Bible and explains them in an appropriate fashion, finding biblical approval for the imperial anti-Jewish policy. This can be observed in a varied corpus of essentially non-exegetical texts linked to the court of the Macedonian emperors: letters, question-and-answer literature, anacreontic poetry, adversus Iudaeos literature, legal texts etc. It is the aim of the project to chart this literary corpus and to investigate the way it deals with biblical exegesis. This involves the identification of biblical passages that tend to be selected and the analysis of interpretative approaches as well as comparison with contemporary exegesis issued by the Church and an interpretation of these data in relation to Byzantine history.

The successful candidate will be expected to complete a doctoral dissertation in the framework of this project. The precise topic of the dissertation will tie in with the candidate’s interests and will be determined in dialogue with the supervisors, professors Reinhart Ceulemans (Leuven) and Claudia Sode (Köln). The thesis will be written in English or German.

The dissertation will be a joint degree, from KU Leuven (main institution) and the Universität zu Köln. The first two years are fully funded by KU Leuven, and the successful candidate will be expected to work in Leuven. In the course of that period, funding bodies in Belgium, Germany and elsewhere will be solicited, both by the supervisor and by the candidate, to fund the remaining time needed to complete the dissertation. In this regard, the candidate will be expected to work in Köln for a minimum of six months.

The candidate will pursue her/his own PhD research but is expected to actively contribute to the scholarly activities of the research group (such as participation in joint publications and the organization of conferences) and to devote a maximum of 20% of her/his time to service to the department and faculty and limited teaching assistance.


The successful candidate will have:

  • an MA degree in Classics or Byzantine studies
  • a strong command of classical Greek, and at least good notions of medieval Greek
  • competence in Byzantine literature and history and a demonstrable interest in research on those fields
  • experience and an interest in biblical studies
  • very good knowledge of English or German and at least good reading skills of several other languages relevant to the field (such as French, Italian, Modern Greek);
  • the attitude to contribute to a research team and to be open to international collaboration and mobility; the willingness to participate in the search for further project funding


  • a full-time, two-year fellowship at KU Leuven, with an affiliation with the Abteilung Byzantinistik und Neugriechische Philologie of the Universität zu Köln
  • a competitive salary as established by the Flemish government (ca 2,000€ net / month: further details from https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/phd); a travel allowance for research purposes will be available
  • office space at KU Leuven, membership of the Greek department and the Literary Studies research unit and a stimulating and lively academic working environment with a strong international profile;
  • the prospect of a joint PhD degree from two European universities with a tradition of excellence in the field;
  • the possibility to work in an international team and gain international experience.


To apply, complete the online application tool below (deadline: 10 March 2019). Make sure to include as attachments: a cover letter outlining your background and motivation, and a detailed CV (including accurate information on grades and study results).

One recommendation letter should be sent to reinhart.ceulemans@kuleuven.be by 10 March 2019 (to be sent directly by the referee, not through the candidate).
Upon selection, a number of candidates will be asked to produce a writing sample. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview, which will take place in the first weeks of June, either in Leuven or through video conference. Travel and accommodation costs forthe interview will not be covered.
For more information please contact Prof. Reinhart Ceulemans (reinhart.ceulemans@kuleuven.be) or Prof. Claudia (claudia.sode@uni-koeln.de).
Solliciteren voor deze vacature kan tot en met 10/03/2019 via onze online sollicitatietoepassing
KU Leuven wil een omgeving creëren waarin alle talenten maximaal tot ontplooiing kunnen komen, ongeacht gender, leeftijd, culturele herkomst, nationaliteit of functiebeperking. Hebt u vragen in verband met toegankelijkheid of ondersteuningsmogelijkheden, dan kan u ons contacteren via diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.
For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:


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