Postdoctoral Fellow SNSF, Uni Bern
Gaetano Spampinato (*1995) was born and grew up in Catania, on the east coast of Sicily. After graduating from high school at the Liceo Classico Gulli e Pennisi, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Classics at the University of Bologna (2013-106) and, subsequently, a Masters in Classical Philology and History of Religions (2016-2019). Gaetano was also a student of the Collegio Superiore (2013-2019), the school of excellence at the University of Bologna, which provides interdisciplinary education to highly selected students. At the Collegio, he had the opportunity to explore various disciplines and research approaches beyond philology, including medieval history and the anthropology of religions. Throughout his years as a student, Gaetano pursued various academic interests and gained research experience abroad. He was hosted at the École Biblique et Archéologique (2016) in Jerusalem while completing his BA dissertation and was an exchange student at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris (2016). Gaetano also attended courses at University of Cyprus in Nicosia (2016) and at the Institute of Balkan Studies in Thessaloniki (2017), where he focused on studying Byzantine and modern-Greek language and history.
Since September 2019, Gaetano has been working as a Doctoral Assistant at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, as part of the SNSF Eccellenza Project “The Religious Competition in Late Antiquity”, under the direction of Prof. Francesco Massa. His doctoral research focuses on analysing how late antique heresiologists, particularly Epiphanius of Salamis and his Panarion, constructed the image of heretics through their descriptions of (real or imagined) rituals from the 4th century onwards. This investigation into ritual practices in heresiological texts has revealed the development of a “heresiological model” in Late antique heresiology, a model which subsequently influenced later authors in how they portrayed “otherness”. One such example is seen in how John of Damascus dealt with the “heresy of the Ishmaelites” – Islam. During the final phase of his PhD, Gaetano conducted a research period at the Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik of Vienna. He was also Visiting Fellow at the University of Bielefeld, where he conducted a seminar on religious lexical changes in Late Antiquity.