Einar Thomassen elected as Honorary Member of the EASR
Einar Thomassen was elected as Honorary Member of the European Association by the General Assembly during the conference of the EASR in Vilnius, Lithuania (4 - 8 September 2023).
Einar Thomassen is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Bergen and is one of the foremost specialists of gnosticism and early Christianity. He took his PhD at the University of Saint Andrews in 1982, with a thesis on “The Tripartite Tractate from Nag Hammadi”. After his PhD he held academic positions in different Norwegian universities, leading to his appointment as Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Bergen in 1993.
From early on the main focus of his research has been Valentinianism, the most important current of Christian gnosticism in late antiquity, considered heretical by mainstream Christian theologians. In order to understand the historical development of Valentinianism, Thomassen worked intensively on the Coptic manuscripts of Nag Hammadi. Years of research that had started with the translation of the Tripartite Tractate for his PhD dissertation culminated in 2006 with the publication of his celebrated monograph, The Spiritual Seed: The Church of the “Valentinians”, in the Brill series of Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies. Appreciated worldwide for his specialist studies, Thomassen has however not refrained from engaging with broader perspectives on religious history, with the publication of a historical introduction to Christianity, first published in 2000, and a monograph on ancient religions in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, first published in 2010. He recently published a monograph on the early Gnostics and is now preparing a textbook on comparative aspects of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Thomassen has been quite active in service and leading roles for the scholarly community. He was President of the Norwegian Association for the History of Religions from 1994 to 1998, and took on important positions in the EASR as Vice-President from 2010 to 2013, and then as President from 2014 to 2019. We should also mention here that not only has he been a regular presence at EASR conferences since the early days of our Association, but has also played an important role as organiser of the third EASR conference, held in Bergen in 2003. He has also been the editor of Numen, the flagship journal of the International Association for the History of Religions (2000–2008) and editor of the important Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies series at Brill (2008–2018).
For all his academic achievements and the many years of service for our discipline and scholarly community, it is a pleasure to confer on Einar Thomassen the Honorary Membership of the EASR.
In Memoriam: Albertina (Tineke) Nugteren
The news that Albertina Nugteren (Tineke for her friends and close colleagues) has passed away on 17 September 2022 has filled me with great sadness. Tineke has been the Treasurer of the EASR for two terms, between 2014 and 2019, which coincided with my two terms as General Secretary. We worked together closely during that period and I appreciated our collaboration immensely. She was an associate professor at the University of Tilburg for many years, specializing in Indian religions and Buddhism.
I met Tineke in the summer of 1997 at a conference on new religious movements at the Free University of Amsterdam. She was presenting a paper on the influence of Tantra on Western esotericism. Since I was quite interested in the subject I went to listen to her. At the end of the panel I introduced myself and we talked about our common research interests. We promised to keep in touch and we saw each other again the next year in Turin at another conference. This time we were even presenting our papers in the same panel. After that, we occasionally wrote and sent each other some of our drafts and publications.
In 2013 her name came to my mind when new officers had to be found for some of the positions in the Executive Committee of the EASR. I was then coming to the end of my second term as Treasurer of the Association and it was important that a trustworthy, capable person would be found to take up such a delicate job. If it could be someone living in the Netherlands, where the bank account of the EASR was registered, even better. It occurred to me that Tineke might be an ideal candidate. I contacted her, she accepted graciously to be nominated for the position, and she was eventually elected. It was nice to renew our acquaintance and start a new collaboration. Tineke had already served the Dutch Association for the Study of Religions (NGG) as General Secretary a few years before, and knew therefore quite well how scholarly organizations function. She was very thorough in keeping track of our financial transactions, while being always kind and friendly. Both I and the then President Einar Thomassen knew that we were in safe hands with her.
Sadly, in June 2016 Tineke was diagnosed with cancer. A melanoma she had been treated for successfully many years before had come back. This was dramatic, unexpected news. She had to cancel her participation in the EASR conference in Helsinki that was only a month away and start a new series of treatments as soon as possible. For a while she continued to attend to EASR matters, but at some point it was clear that she needed to focus on her personal situation. Luckily, our Deputy Treasurer Franz Winter was ready to step in and replace Tineke while she was away. Although the prospects the doctors were presenting to her were grim, Tineke never lost courage and confidence. After some months of treatments, which included the removal of a tumor in her brain, she felt well again and was able to get back to work. We were incredibly happy and impressed to see her again with us at the 2017 conference in Leuven. Her resilience and courage were an example for all the members of the Executive Committee and the EASR at large. From that moment on, she was able to take on her duties again until the end of her second term in 2019. She had been given only six months of life when she was diagnosed in 2016. It is a testimony of her energy and passion for life that those months became six years instead.
Apart from her service in the EASR and the NGG, Tineke was a prolific scholar and an excellent teacher. She will be missed by her students and colleagues. The EASR is immensely grateful to her for all the work she has done, even in the presence of such extraordinary, cruel challenges.
Former General Secretary of the EASR (2014-2019)
European Association for the Study of Religions elected committee members statement concerning war against Ukraine
We, the elected committee members of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR), condemn the war waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and its citizens. We sincerely hope that peace and justice will prevail. We express our deepest solidarity and offer support to the Ukrainian Association of Researchers of Religion (UARR) and to all Ukrainian colleagues. In 2023 the Ukrainian Association of Researchers of Religion is set to host the EASR annual conference. We remain committed to facilitating it to do so, in whatever form possible.
March 2, 2022
The European Association for the Study of Religions promotes the academic study of religions through the international collaboration of scholars in Europe whose research has a bearing on the subject.
The objective of the EASR is pursued by the usual means of scholarly activity such as the arrangement of conferences, symposia or colloquia, the encouragement of scholarly publications, the exchange of information through electronic or other means, and other activities.