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Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

Postdoctoral Position on Coptic Apocrypha in the Early Islamic Period - ERC project APOCRYPHA

Deadline: 01.03.2022

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.


The Faculty of Theology at the University of Oslo has a total of 68 staff and ca. 350 students. The faculty conducts research in the fields of theology and religious studies and offers study programmes in theology and theological education for clerical ministry and a number of study programmes within the field of religion and society.

Job description

The Faculty of Theology invites applications for a 3-year position as Postdoctoral Fellow in the ERC-funded research project Storyworlds in Transition: Coptic Apocrypha in Changing Contexts in the Byzantine and Early Islamic Periods (APOCRYPHA), based at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo.

The APOCRYPHA project aims to provide the first systematic study of Coptic apocrypha covering the entire timespan of Coptic literary production. It investigates the contents, development, and functions of apocrypha over time, as they were copied, adapted, and used across Egypt throughout changing socio-religious contexts (for more information on the goals and methods of the project and its working definition of apocrypha, see this link). The project is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (grant agreement no. 865971).

We are seeking a scholar who will study the intersection between Arabic texts and traditions (both Christian and Islamic) and Coptic apocryphal texts and traditions in the Early Islamic Period (from the 7th to the 13th century). This involves comparisons between the contents of Coptic apocrypha with Christian Arabic as well as Islamic Arabic manuscripts, texts, and traditions. While comparisons of textual contents are of central importance, comparative studies of manuscripts and practices connected to their use are also potentially relevant topics of exploration. The postdoc is expected to complete a monograph that deals with any or all of the abovementioned aspects on the basis of the submitted project proposal (see below), as further developed in collaboration with the PI of the APOCRYPHA project (Professor Hugo Lundhaug), while collaborating with the rest of the APOCRYPHA research team, not least on the project’s database on Coptic apocryphal texts and their contents, as well as their material, literary, and practical contexts.

More about the position

The appointment is a fulltime position for a period of three years, starting 1 August, 2022. It is part of the APOCRYPHA project, and the applicant is expected to be physically based in Oslo for the duration of the appointment. The successful applicant will be expected to work closely together with the PI and the rest of the APOCRYPHA research team, to represent the project at relevant seminars and conferences, and to travel to collections to study manuscripts first-hand when needed. The APOCRYPHA project as a whole works from a perspective informed by material philology, and the postdoctoral fellow is expected to do the same. The postdoc is also expected to contribute to the APOCRYPHA project’s database on Coptic apocrypha, their manuscripts, and contents. The successful applicant is expected to produce a scientific monograph by the end of the period of appointment, as well as high-level academic articles.

Qualification requirements

  • Applicants must hold a PhD degree, or the equivalent, in a relevant field (History of Religions, Theology, Coptology, Arabic Studies, Classics, Byzantine Studies, Medieval Studies, or similar). Appointment is dependent on the approval of the applicant’s doctoral dissertation at the latest by the startup date, 1 August 2022.
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English
  • Proficiency in Arabic
  • Proficiency in Coptic

The following qualifications will count in the assessment of the applicants:

  • Publication record
  • Relevant research experience
  • Experience with database work and digital humanities methods
  • Proficiency in other relevant ancient languages, such as Greek, Latin, Old Nubian, or Ge’ez

Personal skills

The following personal skills are highly desirable:

  • The ability to work closely together with other researchers in a team
  • A commitment to work towards the project’s common goals
  • An open mind towards new methodological approaches and interdisciplinary collaboration
  • High personal motivation for research

We offer

  • salary NOK 534 400 – 615 800 per annum depending on qualifications, as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (position code 1352)
  • a professionally stimulating working environment
  • attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include

  • cover letter containing a statement of motivation, summarizing scientific work and research interests (max. 2 pages).
  • a project description (max. 5 pages) describing a monograph project on the practices associated with or described in Coptic apocrypha, including a progress plan. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the PI of the APOCRYPHA project, Professor Hugo Lundhaug, for guidance in the preparation of their application, since it is important that the proposed individual project fits well into the APOCRYPHA project as a whole.
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, pedagogical experience, administrative experience and other qualifying activity)
  • copies of educational certificates (academic transcripts only)
  • a complete list of publications
  • pdf’s of up to 3 relevant academic works that the applicant wishes to be considered in the assessment of the application
  • list of reference persons: 2–3 references listed with name, relation to candidate, e-mail, and phone number

The application, with attachments, must be submitted in our electronic recruiting system. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University’s grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English, German, or a Scandinavian language.

In assessing the application, special emphasis will be placed on the documented academic qualifications, the project description, and the candidate’s motivation and personal suitability. Interviews with the best qualified candidates will be arranged.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one Postdoctoral Fellow period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. We also want to have employees with diverse expertise, combinations of subjects, life experience and perspectives. We will make adjustments for employees who require this.

If there are qualified applicants with special needs, gaps in their CVs or immigrant backgrounds, we will invite at least one applicant in each of these groups to an interview.

Contact information

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