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Religion and the Resilient City: Implications of the Ambivalences of Urbanity and Religion

Lecture 4/4 in the series "Roman Religion Through an Urban Lens" by UrbNet visiting professor Jörg Rüpke (Max-Weber-Kolleg, Universität Erfurt)

Info about event


Thursday 9 November 2023, at 12:00 - at


Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Aarhus University, Moesgård Allé 20, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark (Building 4230-232)


Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet)

Religion and the Resilient City: Implications of the Ambivalences of Urbanity and Religion, lecture 4/4 in the series Roman Religion Through an Urban Lens. 

Jörg Rüpke 
(Max-Weber-Kolleg, Universität Erfurt). 

The concept of resilience is comparatively new in its broad use. Before 2008/09, the term was very rarely used in discussions about cities. Almost always, then, it was about the risks of climate change. In the last decade, however, as just noted, “resilience” emerged as a key category in discussions of urban management and planning, modifying and in some cases replacing concepts such as sustainability and stability. Resilience is usually seen as a property of social and material constellations. With regard to the ancient Mediterranean, resilience has been attributed not only to the fortification of cities but also to literary genres and specific deities. The final lecture discusses the role of religion in any increase in resilience in more detail. It proposes a differentiation for the interplay between urbanity and religion with regard to the question of a religiously enhanced urban resilience that helps to define more precisely the points at which urban and religious ideas and practices can modify, reinforce, or cancel each other. This is argued on the basis of the history of religion and urban history of the city of Rome in Antiquity.