HumSam-prisen 2021

Dynamic mediators and distant gods

Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi

Symposium in honour of the 2021 HumSam Prize winner Ingvild Sælid Gilhus. The symposium will be streamed live. 


Statue av engel

Dynamic Mediators and Distant Gods

Communication between gods and humans is seldom straightforward. Most religions, in antiquity and today, “monotheistic” and “polytheistic” alike, have been densely populated with intermediate supernatural beings. Conversely, on the human side, religious experts have been tasked with such mediation. This symposium explores the nature and roles of such mediators (human and supernatural) in antiquity and today.

The symposium focuses on the ancient roots of present-day religion and on the application of models and concepts from contemporary religion and culture in order to understand the past.

In what ways can the present throw light on the past and in what ways does the past live on in the present?

What can the application of present-day perspectives on the past reveal about continuity and change in people’s relationship with the divine, or human nature in general?

The symposium invites creativity in perspectives and methods, unconventional use of theory across time periods, and curiosity-driven research, all in celebration of the inspirational work of Ingvild Sælid Gilhus.

A recording of the symposium can be seen here

Ingvild Sælid Gilhus, vinner av HumSamprisen 2021, professor i religionshistorie ved UiB.
Ingvild Sælis Gilhus,(foto Skjalg Bøhmer Vold). Vinner av HumSam-prisen 2021.


Jan Bremmer (University of Groningen)
Margit Warburg (University of Copenhagen)
Steven Sutcliffe (University of Edinburgh)
Hugo Lundhaug (University of Oslo)
Sissel Undheim (University of Bergen)
Siv Ellen Kraft (The Arctic University of Norway UiT)
Christian Bull (MF - Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society)
Anne Kalvig (University of Stavanger)
Einar Thomassen (University of Bergen) moderator
Ingvild Sælid Gilhus (University of Bergen)


Liv Ingeborg Lied (MF - Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society) Moderator
Jorunn Økland (The Norwegian Institute of Athens)

Laura Feldt (The University of Southern Denmark)
Anders Klostergaard Petersen (University of Aarhus)



09.00–09.15     Prize Ceremony
09:15- 09:30     Introduction by Einar Thomassen

09.30–10.00    Jan Bremmer: Quo vadis domine? Total devotion and the Acts of Peter 
10.00–10.30    Sissel Undheim: Playful awe: Demigods, demons and metamodern mythologies in contemporary popular culture 
10.30–11.00    Siv Ellen Kraft: Green and grounded. The afterlives of Sámi religion 

11.00–11.30    Coffee break

11.30–12.00    Hugo Lundhaug: Divine Intermediaries in Coptic Apocrypha 
12.00–12.30    Christian Bull: Magic Clothes: Material Mediation of Distant Gods 
12.30–13.00    Margit Warburg: Miracle Men and Mediators of Modernity: Abdu'l-Baha and Menachem Schneerson

13.00–14.15    Lunch

14.15–15.30    Panel conversation

15.30–15.45    Coffee break

15.45–16.15    Steven Sutcliffe: Between Scotland and Norway: From Life Reform to New Age Spirituality
16.15–16.45    Anne Kalvig: Familiarized Necrodialogues across Culture 

16.45–17.15     Coffee break

17.15–18.15    Ingvild Sælid Gilhus: Relating to Angels: Past and Present 

19.00–              Dinner


If you have any questions, please contact Gro Havelin on email or phone (+47) 22 84 15 00.