The Society of Biblical Literature was founded in 1880 to foster biblical scholarship.
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About SBL

The Society of Biblical Literature is the oldest and largest international scholarly membership organization in the field of biblical studies. Founded in 1880, the Society has grown to over 8,500 international members including teachers, students, religious leaders and individuals from all walks of life who share a mutual interest in the critical investigation of the Bible.
Congresses

2015 International Meeting

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Meeting Begins: 7/20/2015
Meeting Ends: 7/24/2015

Call For Papers Opens: 10/29/2014
Call For Papers Closes: 2/12/2015
Requirements for Participation

Program Units

 

Allusions in the Gospels

Dennis R. MacDonald
Wooil Moon
Description: This unit is to foster literary-critical and inter-textual approaches to the canonical Gospels. The approaches include: (1) uncovering allusive fragments of Greco-Roman, Hellenized-Jewish, and Christian texts in Gospel passages; (2) discussing whether the fragments reflect accidental confluences, non-opposite appropriations of poetic langue, or Christian emulations against anterior texts and traditions; (3) interpreting Christian meanings generated by resonances between anterior and posterior contexts of those allusions.

Call for papers: The Allusions in the Gospels section requests paper proposals on inter-textual approaches to the Gospels and their terms, motifs, ideas, traditions, typologies, characterizations, contextualizations, narrative orders, literary skills, and/or rhetorical tactics. Priority shall be given to proposals for inter-textual readings of passages in the Gospel according to Luke.

Ancient Near East

Stephen C. Russell
Description: The ancient Near East section explores the texts and material culture of the ancient world, especially Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia from the birth of writing through the Hellenistic period. Our aim is to study the ancient world with a variety of methods and from a variety of perspectives—anthropological, archaeological, art-historical, economic, legal, literary, philological, sociohistorical, etc. We welcome work that reads the literature or material culture of one region against another, as well as work that is more limited in scope. Each year, we anticipate hosting two panels: one devoted to any aspect of the study of the ancient Near East, and one focussing on a more narrowly defined theme, region, approach, or time period.

Call for papers: The ancient Near East section explores the texts and material culture of the ancient world, especially Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia from the birth of writing through the Hellenistic period. Our aim is to study the ancient world with a variety of methods and from a variety of perspectives—anthropological, archaeological, art-historical, economic, legal, literary, philological, sociohistorical, etc. We welcome work that reads the literature or material culture of one region against another, as well as work that is more limited in scope. Each year, we anticipate hosting two panels: one devoted to any aspect of the study of the ancient Near East, and one focussing on a more narrowly defined theme, region, approach, or time period. This year, in addition to papers on any aspect of the study of the ancient Near East, we welcome papers on crime--the cultural study of violence in the ancient Near East, responses to crime in the ancient textual record, archaeological evidence for crime or violence, and the visual portrayal of crime and justice.

Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible

Joel M. LeMon
Christopher B. Hays
Description: This section, formerly titled Iconography and the Bible, examines the ways that ancient pictorial material informs interpretations of biblical texts and vice-versa. We welcome papers that explore the relationships between iconographic and textual materials as well as papers that deal exclusively with iconographic issues.

Call for papers: We will have two sessions at the 2015 International Meeting. The first session is open to papers that focus on the relationship between ancient iconography and the biblical text. Papers that deal exclusively with iconographical issues are also most welcome. Our second session will focus on ecology and iconography. For this session, we welcome papers that deal with ancient conceptions of the cosmos and/or the natural world.

Apocalyptic Literature

Lorenzo DiTommaso
Description: The Apocalyptic Literature Section provides the International Meeting’s only general forum for studies related to apocalyptic literature. The Section welcomes papers that engage the wide range of apocalyptic texts, that provide analysis of the history and conventions of apocalyptic literature, and that employ diverse methodological perspectives.

Call for papers: The Apocalyptic Literature Unit invites papers in the following areas: 1. We invite papers on any topic relating to the study of early Jewish or early Christian apocalyptic literature. Papers on the interpretation of this literature through the Middle Ages are also welcome. 2. We invite papers for one or two special sessions on the topic of "Apocalypticism and Millenarianism in Latin America, 1492-2012." Multi-disciplinary research conducted over the past 30 years has illuminated the importance of apocalyptic-millennial literature, art, and social movements to the cultures and nations of South and Central America from the time of the arrival of the Europeans to the present day. ISBL 2015 in Buenos Aires provides an ideal venue for a fresh discussion of the topic in light of this scholarship and in view of new evidence, approaches, and methodologies. It is anticipated that the session papers will form the core of an edited volume that will disseminate the results of the investigation to a new audience. 3. We invite papers for a session on "Slavonic Apocrypha from Hellenistic Jewish literature," to be held jointly with the "Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha" and the "Hellenistic Judaism" Units. This is projected to be the first of two sessions (the other at ISBL 2016, in Seoul) leading up to the formation of a new ISBL Unit devoted to the study of Slavonic Apocrypha for the 2017 ISBL meeting in Berlin.

Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

Tobias Nicklas
Description: The Section fosters ongoing study of extra-canonical texts, as subjects of literary and philological investigation; as evidence for the history of religion, theology, and cult practice; and as documents of the socio-symbolic construction of traditions along lines of class and gender.

Call for papers: This year the section will have at least two sessions. 1. Depending on how many good proposals we will receive there will be at least one open session devoted to different aspects of Jewish and Christian apocryphal literature. We are especially interested in papers related to current projects. Please indicate if you proposal has been handed in to several sections (e.g. Nag Hammadi, Qumran etc.) 2. In addition, a joint session organized with the "Apocalyptic Literature" section will focus on the study of Slavonic Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. Papers for this session are invited, but good additional proposals can be accepted.

Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature

Paul A. Hartog
Description: This unit fosters academic discourse focused upon the “Apostolic Fathers” and supplemental literature, as transmitters of earlier traditions; as reflections of theology, ethics, and worship; as means of identity and community formation; and as subjects of literary and social-theory investigations.

Call for papers: This year we especially invite papers concerning Jewish-Christian relations, interactions, and identity-formation within the Apostolic Fathers and related literature. Papers may address these topics through historical, literary, theological, rhetorical, or socio-cultural lenses. Beyond this particular focus, the program unit will also consider other papers that critically examine other topics in early Christian text(s) up to the year 250 (thus including but not being limited to the so-called “Apostolic Fathers”).

Archaeology and Diaspora Judaism

Nóra Dávid
Description: This unit augments archaeology-related sessions organized at the International Meeting by providing focus on diaspora Judaism.

Call for papers: Archaeology provides a great amount of data about Judaism both in- and outside of Judea. For the history of ancient diaspora Judaism archeological finds are among our most important sources. There is a great and increasing amount of scholarly literature on diaspora Judaism. As ancient diaspora Judaism is being studied in different parts of the world and publications on it are written in many cases in the respective local languages and/or published in national journals this literature is neither easily accessible for the members of the Society nor even known. The aim of this panel is to bring together scholars researching different areas of ancient diaspora Judaism in the Roman Empire. Besides the already widely researched regions and groups (such as e.g. the Jews in ancient Egypt and in the city of Rome) the panel intends to target diaspora communities not as well known to a broader scholarly public (e.g. North-Africa, Western-Europe, etc.). Besides the invited speakers we are happy to accept papers as well!

Authority and Influence in Biblical Texts

Jan G. van der Watt
Description: The aim of this seminar is to investigate the nature of authority and leadership language as it is used in Biblical documents (both Old and New Testament). Since definitions of what leadership really is vary widely, the seminar uses a functional approach. Contributors will be asked to focus on the texts of the Old and New Testaments (each according to his or her expertise) and to investigate how authority is expressed and handled, but also how a group is convinced to move along with a leader to a common goal. Especially the dynamics of language, expression, rhetorics, etc. will be focused on.

Call for papers: The aim of this seminar is to investigate the nature of authority and leadership language as it is used in Biblical documents (both Old and New Testament). Since definitions of what leadership really is vary widely, the seminar uses a functional approach. Contributors will be asked to focus on the texts of the Old and New Testaments (each according to his or her expertise) and to investigate how authority is expressed and handled, but also how a group is convinced to move along with a leader to a common goal. This year we request participants to give special attention to hermeneutical issues as part of their papers, i.e. whether and how the Biblical information may be used to inform current debates about leadership.

Bethsaida Excavations Project

Rami Arav
Description: The Bethsaida Excavations unit reports on the current progress of the dig and on topics related to the history and traditions of Bethsaida.

Call for papers: The Bethsaida Excavations unit reports on the current progress of the dig and on topics related to the history and traditions of Bethsaida.

Bible and Empire

Christopher Hays
Matthew J.M. Coomber
Description: A unit examining the influence of imperial political powers on the development of the Bible in its historical context as well as the Bible’s use and reception throughout subsequent history.

Call for papers: The Bible and Empire group will take advantage of this first meeting of the SBL in South America in order to focus on Latin American and post-colonial issues. To that end, two of our three sessions will be oriented towards the reception and use of the Bible in colonial and postcolonial imperial contexts. Proposals and papers in Spanish are welcomed.Our first session is entitled “Postcolonial perspectives on the use of the Bible by and against modern empires.” This session will include four plenary addresses by invited speakers representing different demographics that have been especially impacted by colonial and postcolonial imperialism. Speakers will address the impact and utilization of the Bible by and against these various empires. An invited respondent will comment on the insights of the plenary presenters, and an hour will be allotted to discussion between the audience and the panel. An open call is not being issued for this session. The second session will be held as a joint session with ISBL's "Bible and its Influence" section, in conjunction with the EABS' "The Bible in the Iberian World" group. It is entitled “Reception of the Bible in Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Empires”. This too will be an occasion for focus on reception history. We invite proposals that explore the ways in which the Bible has been received and utilized in the empires of the Iberian Peninsula (i.e. Spain and Portugal), in Central and South America (whether with reference to conquistadors, indigenous empires, or contemporary post-colonial empires), and also in the Latino population in the USA (whether with reference to Latino gangs or to address cultural/political/economic imperialism). The third session will be an open session focusing on empires and imperialism in the texts of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, and the New Testament. Analyses of the ancient texts from any number of critical and interpretive perspectives are welcomed and encouraged.

Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact

Andrew Mein
Description: This program unit explores how the Bible has been used and/or influential in the way it has been received in society. The focus is upon the reception of the text in contexts other than a narrow critical-academic one.

Call for papers: In Buenos Aires we aim to have at least one open session: proposals are welcome on any aspect of the Bible's reception history. For the open sessions our preference is for papers that do not focus on the narrower history of scholarship, but explore wider aspects of the Bible's impact on religions, society and culture, art, literature and music. In addition to this we would particularly welcome papers that take advantage of our location to explore the use and influence of the Bible in Latin America: Argentina of course, but also the wider Spanish and Portuguese-speaking region. With this in mind we are also planning to hold at least one joint session with the SBL 'Bible and Empire' section, on the Bible in the Latin American experience of empire. We are also planning a wider collaboration with the EABS Research Group 'The Bible in the Iberian World', which will focus not only on the Bible in Latin America, but also the broader Iberian context.

Bible and Syriac Studies in Context

Cornelia Horn
Description: This unit offers a forum for scholars of Syriac and related languages and literatures (including Arabic) to explore the intimate connections between Syriac biblical interpretation, historiography, hagiography, and culture in Oriental Christianity, Judaism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, and Islam.

Call for papers: For the meeting in Buenos Aires, we invite papers on all aspects of the intersections between Syriac Studies, biblical literature and interpretation, historical, literary, philological, cultural, and social studies, and Oriental Christianity in its interactions with religions and traditions throughout the centuries. We are interested in papers that discuss the evidence of Syriac manuscripts for the textual criticism of the Bible and/or other early Christian writings for a joint session with the program unit "Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)." For a joint session with the Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective unit we welcome papers on the relationship between the Islamic and Syriac-speaking worlds. Topics might include, but are not limited to, Syriac and the language of the Qur'an, and the transmission of literary and religious narratives around the Near East in late antiquity and early Islamic centuries.

Bible and the Moving Image

David Shepherd
Caroline Vander Stichele
Description: The Bible and the Moving Image unit, titled the Bible and Cinema until 2011, is devoted to the use, influence, and development of biblical texts, motifs, and themes in the various media of the moving image, including cinema throughout its history, television, and the interactive narratives of gaming media.

Call for papers: One session invites proposals of papers focused on the representation of the Moses/Exodus tradition in moving images, including but not limited to Ridley Scott's 'Gods and Kings' (rel. December, 2014). A second open session invites the proposal of papers on any topic related to the use, influence, and development of biblical texts, motifs, and themes in the various media of the moving image, including cinema throughout its history, television, and the interactive narratives of gaming media. Papers which break new ground in any of these areas are particularly welcome.

Bible and Visual Culture

Katie Edwards
Rev. Michael Patella, OSB
Description: Some of the most engaging and creative insights into biblical narrative are found in paintings that adorn national and provincial galleries throughout Europe. They are a reminder that frequently our reading and understanding of biblical stories are influenced by our encounter with and response to the cultural, especially artistic, representations of a passage. One of the aims of the section, Bible and Visual Culture, is to locate distinctive and representative appropriations of biblical paintings in galleries across Europe, draw parallels between ways in which biblical texts engage the reader and biblical paintings the viewer, and to create methodologies that ensure that visual interpretations of the Bible play a central role in the 21st century in challenging (or supporting) traditional readings of biblical characters and plots. The Bible and Visual Culture Section also encourages explorations of the Bible and its influence in other visual media, such as sculpture, book illustration, film, advertising, street art and other aspects of popular culture. The benefit of such a research area is that it is multidisciplinary and makes use of insights from a range of disciplines including art history, psychology, gender studies, and postcolonial studies.

Call for papers: Papers are now invited for the Bible and Visual Culture seminar of the International SBL 2015. Proposals should focus on topics that present an original, distinctive, and creative visual interpretation of a biblical text, narrative, or character. In keeping with the seminar’s overall aim of exploring biblical works of art in the venue where the SBL takes place, we would like to give first consideration to the art in Buenos Aires, a city that is a rich center of Latin American faith and culture. Submissions may draw from such institutions as the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the MALBA, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA), Eduardo Sívori Museum, the Fortabat Art Collection, and the Juan B. Ambrosetti Museum of Ethnography. Presenters can also broaden the scope to include artists and works from throughout Latin America.

Bible in Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions

His Grace Dr. Vahan Hovhanessian
Description: This program unit will offer a forum for biblical professors and scholars from the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox traditions (the latter including Aramaic, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic, Georgian, Coptic, among others) to engage in critical study of the role of the Bible in eastern Christianity, past and present. A particular aim of this section will be to engage participating scholars in dealing with issues raised by contemporary and critical biblical scholarship. The committee invites presentation and discussion of papers from a variety of approaches and methodologies, including (but not limited to) theological, historiographic, philological, and literary studies.

Call for papers: The steering committee of the 'Bible in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions' unit invites scholars to submit proposals for papers to be read at the unit’s sessions in the SBL International meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 20-24, 2015. This year's theme of our unit is the pre-Byzentine commentaries of the Orthodox Churches of the East on the letters of Paul, including the apocryphal letters attributed to the Apostle. Proposals for any critical study of the manuscripts, text, hermeneutics and history of the commentaries in the Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek and Syriac languages are welcome. The unit welcomes also studies of issues raised in these commentaries which are of relevance to contemporary and critical biblical scholarship.

Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law

Gary Knoppers
Reinhard Achenbach
Description: The purpose of the Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law Section is to promote interdisciplinary research on ancient Near Eastern, biblical, and post-biblical law. Methodological perspectives include historical-critical, literary, legal-historical, feminist, and social-scientific approaches.

Call for papers: The session in Buenos Aires should concentrate on research done in Southern America with respect to the hermeneutical impact that the tradition of Biblical Law has on modern ethical and socio-economical discussions. Is it possible to say that Biblical Law and its social ethics have any influence on the legal and social development of modern societies? Papers should include exegetical and hermeneutical aspects of the issue.

Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)

John Tracy Greene
Description: This seminar approaches biblical literature through its most famous and pivotal characters, for it is around them that the subsequent biblical story is organized and arranged. Moreover, these characters have come to enjoy a life and fame that extends well beyond the basic Old Testament, Miqra, and New Testament, and even into the Qur’an and Islamic oral and written texts. As was demonstrated at the recent Tartu seminar, Samaritan texts and traditions (unfamiliar to many) have a contribution to make to the seminar as well. Our work seeks, among other goals, to facilitate a meaningful and informed dialogue between Jews, Christians, Muslims and Samaritans by providing both an open forum at annual conferences, and by providing through our publications a written reference library to consult. A further goal is to encourage and provide a forum in which new scholarly talent in biblical and related studies may be presented.

Call for papers: Moses, the biblical figure, has long been researched from different theological, historical, archaeological, literary, egyptological, apocryphal, and linguistic perspectives. These approaches only scratch the surface of how scholars have responded to this figure. Recent approaches to Moses in Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and literary investigations are invited. No more than 20 abstracts will be accepted for this seminar in Buenos Aires. Abstracts mirroring most recent approaches will be considered first. We seek discussion concerning a Moses to be understood in the 21st Century.

Biblical Criticism and Cultural Studies

Fernando F. Segovia
Jeremy Punt
Description: The goal of this unit is to pursue the intersection between the fields of cultural studies and early Christian studies. As such, the unit will encompass a broad variety of foci: the question of method and theory in cultural biblical criticism; the application of cultural analysis to biblical criticism and thus the academic tradition of reading; and the appeal to and deployment of early Christian texts and contexts across other traditions of reading, such as the religious-theological, the cultural-artistic, and the material-social—all broadly defined. This goal follows and expands upon two earlier incarnations: more recently, Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation; originally, The Bible and Social Location, which ran from 2003-2004 and then changed to The Bible and Critical Theory.

Call for papers: In 2015 the unit will continue two research projects launched in 2014. The first project, on Biblical Criticism in the Global South, seeks to examine the meaning and task of contemporary biblical criticism in the Global South. We will focus on Latin America and the Caribbean in 2014 (Buenos Aires). The second project, Constructing the Economics of Early Christianity, seeks to analyze the dynamics and mechanics, contexts and slants, behind the tradition of materialist approaches to early Christianity. The focus is not on economic studies of early Christianity, but on studies of such materialist studies of early Christianity. Presentations for both topics are welcome

Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity

D. Jeffrey Bingham
Description: This program unit explores the interpretative structures, methodologies, and concerns of patristic exegesis and the various assumptions underlying it.

Call for papers: This program unit explores the interpretative structures, methodologies, and concerns of patristic exegesis and the various assumptions underlying it.

Biblical Theology

Carey Walsh
Mark Elliott
Description: The unit explores the hermeneutical innovations and theological implications of the location of critical biblical interpretation within the confessional communities of the various traditions. Particular attention is given to the relationship between systematic theology, practical theology, philosophical theology, and biblical studies, with respect to their nature and status as discrete disciplines.

Call for papers: 1. Closed session: Invited papers and panel discussion on 'Some South American perspectives on Biblical Theology'. 2. Open session: the principles of Biblical Theology in the last two decades. This session will try to explore the philosophical, hermeneutical and doctrinal background to the ways in which the discipline of Biblical Theology has been imagined and executed. Particularly welcome are papers that deal with the influence of the New Yale School on 'biblical theology'

Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods

Louis C. Jonker
Description: This section, titled Historical Books (Hebrew Bible) through 2011, encourages comparative studies of literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods in order to map the common trends (theological; socio-psychological; rhetorical; etc.) occurring in historiographical (biblical; apocryphal; extra-biblical), prophetic and wisdom literature of the period.

Call for papers: Our fourth session at the 2015 meeting in Buenos Aires will bring studies on historiographical literature from the Persian and Hellenistic periods in discussion with Psalms/Psalter scholarship. At least two sessions will be organized. The first will be a joint session with the Writings (including Psalms) Section in which a panel of four invited speakers (two specializing in historiographical literature of the Persian and Hellenistic periods, and the other two in Psalms/Psalter studies) will be organized. At least one open session with five open slots will provide space for other scholars to come and share their comparative research between historiographical and Psalms literature in our collective effort to map out the trends in Persian and Hellenistic period literature. Proposals are therefore invited for these open slots. Contributions that investigate the interfaces between the composition history of the Psalter and historiographies like Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah; historical psalms in relation to historiographies; psalm superscripts in relation to historical literature of the Persian and Hellenistic periods; Psalm 151 etc. will be welcomed.

Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)

Archie Chi-Chung Lee
Description: The goal of this Consultation is to explore the interest in developing a SBL seminar or section on Contextual Biblical Interpretation, its different strategies (including “inculturation,” inter(con)textualization, and reading with “ordinary” readers) and its methodological justifications, and the extent to which all interpretations are contextual. We are especially interested in seemingly “marginal” (from the geographical, gender, faith, class, age, communal and so forth) aspects and in community.

Call for papers: We welcome papers that examine the biblical text from within a reader’s explicitly articulated context, personal as well as communal, while firmly anchored in clear methodologies. Our HB sessions this year are seeking especially, papers on texts of the Megillot (the Five Scrolls) and the so called "historical" books beyond Joshua and Judges; that is, Samuel, Kings, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles. Our NT sessions are open to any texts of the New Testament. The sessions will be a combination of solicited and proposed papers. Acceptance of papers for the HB sessions is a first step toward, but does not guarantee, publication in the corresponding volume of the ongoing contextual series Texts@Contexts (Now at Sheffield Phoenix Press).

Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish, and Christian Studies

David Hamidovic
Daniel Machiela
Description: The unit focuses on the transformations of Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian studies in the emerging digital culture. We propose to study interactions between Digital Humanities and Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian studies (literature, manuscripts, art, archaeology, epigraphy, methodology).

Call for papers: The unit focuses on the transformations of Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian studies in the emerging digital culture. We propose to study interactions between Digital Humanities and Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian studies (literature, manuscripts, art, archaeology, epigraphy, methodology).

Early Christianity and the Ancient Economy

Thomas R. Blanton, IV
David Hollander
Description: The Early Christianity and the Ancient Economy unit is the foundational component of an international, interdisciplinary project that seeks to delineate the relationship between early Christianity and the ancient economy in the period from Jesus to Justinian, demonstrating both similarities and differences in attitudes, approaches to problems, and attempted solutions.

Call for papers: The Early Christianity and Ancient Economy program unit sponsors three projects: The first project involves a study of all the major aspects of the economy in the ancient world, especially the Roman Empire. The second project examines first-century early Christianity both in relationship to the ancient economy and in regard to its own economic aspects. The third project does the same for Christianity in the second to the fifth centuries. Both synchronic and diachronic studies are encouraged, as are contributions focused on specific issues (such as money, texts, authors, themes, and events). The unit welcomes papers addressing the economy in its broadest sense, including both mercantile and non-mercantile transactions; proposals involving gift exchange and other extra-mercantile modes of transmission of goods and services are solicited. Paper proposals for all three projects are welcomed, especially those that make use of papyri, inscriptions, and other realia. Those submitting a proposal should designate in the Abstract the project for which the paper should be considered. In recognition of the meeting’s host city, the program unit also welcomes proposals treating any aspect of the economic history of Buenos Aires, as well as theological reflections on or responses to the city’s economy.

Epigraphical and Paleological Studies Pertaining to the Biblical World

Annalisa Azzoni
Robert Deutsch
Description: The unit focuses on inscriptions and icons bearing on the Bible world, with special concentration on the meaning and analysis of seals, ostraca, magic bowls, inscriptions, and scripts from the ancient Near East.

Call for papers: The unit focuses on inscriptions and writings on a variety of material objects (seals, ostraca, magic bowls, papyri, stelae, etc.) from the Biblical World, with special concentration on the analysis, interpretations, and meaning of the epigraphic data from the Ancient Near East

Epistle to the Hebrews

Eric F. Mason
David M. Moffitt
Description: This unit is designed to encourage conversation about the historical, hermeneutical, and theological issues raised in Hebrews. Special attention will be given to papers that engage topics relevant to the portion of the Epistle under consideration each year.

Call for papers: This unit will offer two sessions. A thematic session with prearranged papers will address key issues in the interpretation of Hebrews 11. Proposals are invited for an open session featuring papers on any subject related to the study of Hebrews.

Expressions of Religion in Israel

Mark Alan Christian
Antje Labahn
Description: Formerly titled "Israelite Religion," this program unit focuses on the broad scope of Israelite religion and cult beginning with the first temple period. It provides a forum for scholars to explore rapidly expanding conceptions of "Israelite religion." Contributors interpret biblical traditions and artifactual discoveries in Israel in the light of comparable traditions and material evidences in neighboring countries.

Call for papers: For the 2015 meeting in Buenos Aires, Expressions of Religion in Israel invites papers that explore the role of merchants in facilitating the exchange of religious symbols and ideas. Moving beyond the recourse to trade as a general hypothesis explaining the diffusion of disembodied ideas, this session will focus on trade as a mode of exchange taking place in the physical world, involving material goods and carried out by human agents. We welcome papers that investigate concrete cases of trade-related transmission of religious symbols and ideas based on material and/or textual evidence. Case studies might deal with, for example, archaeological traces (moulds, shipwrecks, etc.) of the trade of goods such as figurines or amulets, or texts documenting traders and customers as agents in the exchange of religious objects and ideas.

Families and Children in the Ancient World

Reidar Aasgaard
Mikael Larsson
Anna Rebecca Solevag
Description: This unit provides a forum for presenting and discussing issues related to families, children and biblical literature. The section is open to presentations on the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Testament and early Christian, Rabbinic and Greco-Roman material from a variety of perspectives and using a variety of methods.

Call for papers: For the 2015 meeting we are planning two sessions. One will be a joint session with Health Care and Disability. We encourage presentations related to issues concerning family and health including but not limited to the care of the ill or disabled children, disability and gender roles, and geriatric illness/health care. The second will be an open session. We encourage paper proposals on a broad range of topics relating to families and children in the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Testament, early Christianity, or the Greco-Roman world in general. Submissions from a variety of perspectives, such as gender, medicine, archaeology and literature, are welcome.

Feminist Interpretations

Irmtraud Fischer
Description: The aim of this unit is to provide a forum for research in issues and questions relating to feminist methods of interpretation. While specifically focused on methodological concerns, we are also concerned to ground that reflection in the reality of engagement with specific texts.

Call for papers: 2015 International Meeting For the 2015 SBL IM in Buenos Aires, the Feminist Interpretations unit will organize two sessions. Especially young researchers are welcome with their papers! 1) Open call for papers on methodological issues specifically relating to exegesis in feminist interpretation and gender studies. Papers are invited on divergent methodologies (e.g., historical critical, narratology, intertextuality…) and their relevance for gender studies. 2) Open call for papers on feminist exegesis and cultural studies, specifically on the reception history of gender relevant themes and texts of the Bible.

Gospel of Mark

Elizabeth Shively
Geert Van Oyen
Description: Our aim is to provide a forum for scholars and graduate students to explore all aspects of and approaches to the research, hermeneutics, and interpretation of the Gospel of Mark, including (but not limited to) historical, exegetical, theological, methodological, and literary studies. We are especially interested in the investigation of new questions, new areas of inquiry, and new strategies for reading Mark.

Call for papers: The Gospel of Mark unit plans two sessions. Session 1 is an invited session on the topic, “Latin American Hermeneutics and the Gospel of Mark” in which we feature and explore various approaches to interpretation, communication and pedagogy that Latin American scholars are utilizing today. Session 2 is an open session on "Special Topics in the Gospel of Mark" for which we invite proposals that suggest solutions to existing problems or that explore new strategies for reading Mark.

Healthcare and Disability in the Ancient World

Laura M. Zucconi
Description: The unit seeks to foster scholarship related to disability in all fields of biblical studies. Major areas of concern include medical history of the Ancient Near East and Greco-Roman worlds; the religious, legal, and cultural status of people with disabilities in the biblical and formative Jewish and Christian periods; the representation of disability in biblical and cognate texts, biblical theology of the same, and disability in the history of biblical interpretation.

Call for papers: The unit plans to have three sessions at the 2015 meeting. 1) A session focusing on the use of metaphor in texts relating to health and/or disability in the ancient world. 2) A joint session with the program unit Families and Children of the Ancient World focusing on issues concerning family and health including but not limited to the care of the ill or disabled children, disability and gender roles, and geriatric illness/health care. 3) An open session, welcoming paper proposals on any aspect of the study of health and disability related to the ancient Near East and Greco-Roman worlds.

Hellenistic Greek Language and Linguistics

Steven E. Runge
Peter Spitaler
Description: Hellenistic Greek forms the basis of studies relative to both testaments as well as much of the ancient world. This section welcomes papers on any aspect of the Greek found in the Septuagint, New Testament, or other Hellenistic literature. Linguistic, grammatical and lexical studies are particularly encouraged.

Call for papers: Hellenistic Greek forms the basis of studies relative to both testaments as well as much of the ancient world. This section welcomes papers on any aspect of the Greek found in the Septuagint, New Testament, or other Hellenistic literature. Linguistic, grammatical and lexical studies are particularly encouraged.

Hellenistic Judaism

Ljubica Jovanovic
Stephen Herring
Description: This section is dedicated to the study of all aspects of Judaism related to Hellenistic times. The Hellenistic period includes its chronological, cultural, and linguistic dimensions.

Call for papers: ISBL 2015 is in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is a long way from ISBL's more common European venues. In recognition of this move, Hellenistic Judaism especially welcomes papers on any aspect of diaspora and, particularly, on the reception of Scripture in diaspora. We will also continue to welcome proposals on any topic related to Hellenistic Judaism. In addition, we invite papers for a session on "Slavonic Apocrypha from Hellenistic Jewish literature," to be held jointly with the "Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha" and the "Apocalyptic Literature" program units. This is the first of two sessions (the other at ISBL 2016 in Seoul) that is expected to lead to the formation of a new ISBL unit devoted to the study of Slavonic Apocrypha for the 2017 ISBL meeting in Berlin.

Johannine Literature

Yak-Hwee Tan
Description: The main purpose of the unit is to address issues and concerns having to do with the analysis and interpretation of the Johannine literature--a major component of the Christian Scriptures, encompassing for our purposes the Gospel of John and the three Johannine letters.

Call for papers: We invite submission of papers of any topic related to Johannine literature, encompassing the Fourth Gospel and the three Johannine letters. A session will focus on the role of liberation theology in biblical interpretation of the Johannine literature.

Judaica

Mayer I. Gruber
Description: The section is concerned with all aspects of the literatures of ancient, medieval, and modern Judaisms, especially as they intersect with biblical literature. Exploration of Judaism and the arts and material culture are especially encouraged.

Call for papers: The Judaica Unit of the 2015 SBL International Meeting in Buenos Aires welcomes papers dealing with any and all aspects of post-Hebrew Scripture Judaisms especially but not exclusively in relationship to Hebrew Scripture. Multi-disciplinary papers referring to art, music, and literature are very much encouraged.

Methods in New Testament Studies

Markus Lang
Description: The unit is devoted to the exploration and application of new methods to the New Testament text. The use of literary critical methods is encouraged. The goal of the unit is to develop new ways to understand the development of the early Christian community.

Call for papers: The unit is devoted to the exploration and application of new methods to the New Testament text. The use of literary critical methods is encouraged. The goal of the unit is to develop new ways to understand the development of the early Christian community.

Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism

Andre Gagne
Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta
Description: The Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism Section provides a forum for current international research on the Coptic codices discovered at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. Research areas include: issues of text and translation; analysis and interpretation of the tractates; codicological analysis; background and provenance of the manuscripts; studies relevant to the larger social and religio-historical contexts of the Nag Hammadi texts, especially their relation to Jewish, Christian and Greco-Roman religious traditions.

Call for papers: This year the Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism section will be organizing two sessions. Paper proposals are welcome on all topics appropriate for the Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism section, but we especially encourage the submission of proposals relating to the theme of one of the following sessions: The first session will continue to explore the topic assessed last year at the SBL IM in Vienna, namely “Religious experience in Nag Hammadi and related writings”. It will examine accounts of visions, soul flights, ascents, trance, ecstasy, and other “altered-states of consciousness” (ASC) experiences at Nag Hammadi. The aim of this session is to develop a comprehensive interpretation of religious experience as described in the Nag Hammadi collection. A selection of the papers presented both at the 2014 and 2015 SBL IM conferences will be included in a volume on “Religious Experience” edited by A. Gagné and L. Roig Lanzillotta. The second session will address a more general subject, namely “Greek Philosophy and the Nag Hammadi Library”. The main interest is the philosophical background of the texts, since the analysis of both general and particular philosophical issues might shed new light on the provenance and affiliation of both authors and readerships of the writings. The approach to the codices from this perspective intends to provide Nag Hammadi and related writings a clearer place in the religious philosophical conversation that was going on in the Greco-Roman world of the first centuries CE.

Pastoral and Catholic Epistles

Felix H. Cortez
Dr. Darian Lockett
Description: The section encourages the study of the historical, hermeneutical and theological issues raised by the Pastoral and Catholic Epistles.

Call for papers: At the 2015 International SBL meeting, the Pastoral and Catholic Epistles section announces a multi-year focus on "the use of traditions in the Catholic Epistles." The long range goal is to consider the use of traditions in James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter/Jude, and 1-3 John over the course of four years. One section in Buenos Aires papers are invited on the topic of "the use of traditions in James." Special consideration will be given to papers that focus on narrative approaches and intertextuality. The second section will be open to all papers considering the Pastoral and Catholic Epistles; however, papers considering "Empire and the Pastoral and Catholic Epistles" (addressing how these letters have been used to support empire in reception historical or post-colonical perspectives) would be especially welcome.

Paul and Pauline Literature

Kathy Ehrensperger
Description: The unit provides a forum for presentation and discussion of original scholarly research on all facets of the interpretation of the Pauline Corpus in the New Testament. This includes consideration of exegetical, socio-historical, history of religions, theological, literary, history of interpretation, and methodological questions.

Call for papers: The unit provides a forum for presentation and discussion of original scholarly research on all facets of the interpretation of the Pauline Corpus in the New Testament. This includes consideration of exegetical, socio-historical, history of religions, theological, literary, history of interpretation, and methodological questions.

Pentateuch (Torah)

Michael Hundley
Stephen Herring
Description: The unit provides a forum for presentation and discussion of research on the Pentateuch / Torah, with a particular focus on transmission-historical issues and linkage of that area of inquiry with other more synchronic methodologies.

Call for papers: Call for papers: 1) We invite proposals on the Pentateuch / Torah, with a particular focus on transmission-historical issues and linkage of that area of inquiry with other more synchronic methodologies. 2) We also welcome presentations comparing the religious expressions in the Pentateuch with those of analogous cultures, whether ancient or modern, including Indo-Iranian. 3) Finally, we invite proposals addressing South American approaches or contributions to the Pentateuch.

Persian Period

James Nogalski
Description: This seminar focuses on the history and literature of Yehud in the context of the Persian period, 539-333 BCE. We have particular interests in imperialism and its effects, pluralism within the period, practices of religion within the household, and the development of temple, cult, and canon.

Call for papers: This seminar focuses on the history and literature of Yehud in the context of the Persian period, 539-333 BCE. We have particular interests in imperialism and its effects, pluralism within the period, practices of religion within the household, and the development of temple, cult, and canon. This year we will focus especially upon changing traditions concerning monarchy in the Persian period. We also anticipate an open session related to any of the topics noted above.

Place, Space, and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Gert T. M. Prinsloo
Karen Wenell
Description: Investigates the inherent spatiality of human existence and how it affects human behavior, ideology, identity, and orientation. Ancient Mediterranean texts and societies are studied from a decidedly spatial perspective. Different approaches to spatiality will enrich investigations, e.g. narratological space, critical spatiality, sociological theories on space, space and identity, space and body.

Call for papers: "In an encounter with the sacred, time and space are undistinguished in that both reflect the original moment and place of the sacred act of creation" (John D. Dadosky, The Structure of Religious Knowing: Encountering the Sacred in Eliade and Lonergan [Albany: State University of New York, 2004], 68). The quote above summarizes the essence of two themes to be explored: (1)"Time and space in the religious imagination of ancient Mediterranean cultures." We invite papers that explore the connections between time and place/space. How are places/spaces perceived in relation to notions of past, present (the now) and future? How is time constructed spatially and space constructed in temporal terms in texts/narratives? How did ancient authors 'manipulate' time and space and the intersection(s) between the two to convey their messages to real and/or imagined audiences? Papers providing analysis of particular examples utilizing a variety of theoretical points of departure (e.g. critical-spatial, sociological, literary, archaeological methods and approaches) will be welcomed. (2) "Spatial-temporal encounters with the sacred." Encounters with the divine in ancient Mediterranean societies are intrinsically linked to places/spaces (e.g. mountains, trees, temples, deserts), experiences (e.g. dreams, visions, rituals) and time (e.g. evening/morning or past/present/future). Encounters with the divine often transform human space, experience and time in various ways. Papers providing analysis of particular examples utilizing a variety of theoretical points of departure (e.g. critical-spatial, sociological, literary, archaeological methods and approaches) will be welcomed. There is an obvious and intentional overlapping between the two themes. We will welcome papers that creatively illuminate spatial-temporal intersections and its implications in encounters between the divine and human spheres in the religious imagination of ancient Mediterranean cultures.

Postcolonial Studies

Mark G. Brett
Philip Chia
Monica J. Melanchthon
Description: This unit explores the diversity of postcolonial studies and their relevance in particular contexts, encompassing critical accounts of reception history, postcolonial theory, and fresh proposals for reading biblical texts.

Call for papers: Postcolonialism, Coloniality and Resistance: This session invites biblical interpretations that reflect on the diversity of postcolonial experiences, postcolonial theories and practices (political, social and cultural) but particularly those that interrogate and reveal postcolonial displacements, practices and discourses of resistance against imperial powers from the cultural perspective of Latin America and its colonial and neo-colonial history.

Prophets

Tyler Mayfield
Johanna Erzberger
Description: This unit aims to provide an open forum for scholars to present papers on a variety of topics germane to the study of ancient Israelite prophecy and prophetic literature.

Call for papers: We invite papers on all aspects of ancient Israelite prophecy in anticipation of 2-3 sessions in Buenos Aires.

Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts

Heather A. McKay
Bas van Os
Description: Psychological Criticism complements approaches that consider texts and their impact/s from the perspective of the reader, alongside literary, rhetorical and theological approaches, identifying how texts operate within the minds of their readers, or portray thoughts and motivations of the characters in their narratives.

Call for papers: For this conference we welcome proposals applying a specific, named psychological theory or concept to a biblical text, character or concept.

Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Cecilia Wassen
Sidnie White Crawford
Description: The unit provides forum for presentation and discussion of views relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Qumran settlement, and the people of that place and of those documents.

Call for papers: We are planning three sessions. One session will focus on the question of a sacrificial cult at Khirbet Qumran. Jodi Magness will give the keynote address and her paper will be followed by a discussion between invited respondents. In connection to this subject we welcome papers for a second session that explores topics related to sacrifices and/or meals in the Dead Sea Scrolls. We also encourage ritual studies perspectives and topics on rituals that are not connected to sacrifice or meals. In addition, for a third session we invite papers on any subject related to Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective

Zohar Hadromi-Allouche
John Kaltner
Description: This unit seeks to foster comparative research on the Quran and Muslim culture, discourse, and devotional life. We encourage papers and panels that examine the Quran and Islamic tradition in the wider context of the history of the Western monotheisms; explore Islam’s profound historical relationships with Judaism, Christianity, and the biblical heritage; and promote comparative inquiry and intercommunal dialogue more generally.

Call for papers: The Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective unit of the ISBL welcomes proposals for both individual papers and pre-arranged panels at the international meeting in Buenos Aires, July 20-24, 2015. Suggested topics might include, but are not limited to, the Quran and Islamic tradition in the wider context of the history of the Western monotheisms; Islam’s profound historical relationships with Judaism, Christianity, and the biblical heritage; and comparative inquiry and intercommunal dialogue more generally. For a joint session with the Bible and Syriac Studies in Context unit, we especially welcome papers on the relationship between the Islamic and Syriac worlds. Topics might include, but are not limited to, Syriac and the language of the Qur'an, and the transmission of literary and religious narratives around the Near East in late antiquity and early Islamic centuries. Proposals for panels or individual papers can be submitted online at http://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/Internationalmeeting.aspx. The deadline for submission of proposals is February 12, 2015. Please note that membership in the Society of Biblical Literature is required in order to submit a paper proposal. For more information please contact the program unit chairs: John Kaltner, Religious Studies, Rhodes College (kaltner@rhodes.edu); Zohar Hadromi-Allouche, Divinity and Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen (zohar@abdn.ac.uk).

Ritual in the Biblical World

Ada Taggar-Cohen
Daniel Belnap
Description: The Ritual in the Biblical World Section focuses on the nature, meaning and function of ritual found in textual sources (HB, NT, non-canonical) in the larger context of the material culture of the ancient world, employing insights and methods of the field of ritual theory and enthnography.

Call for papers: 1) We invite papers for an open session on all aspects of ritual activities, with their textual, as well as archaeological and iconographical expressions, in the larger context of their cultural and religious functions in Ancient Israel and Late Antiquity. 2) At the meeting in Buenos Aires we plan a joint solicited session with the Pentateuch section on Ritual and Magic: while testing the evidence of Ritual and Magic in texts from the Pentateuch and the biblical world, the session will present a variety of cultural examples of the use of magic and ritual, trying to set up methodological tools for determining borders between these two elements in worship in the ancient world from an interdisciplinary approach.

Septuagint Studies

Kristin De Troyer
Description: This unit is open to all papers devoted to the Old Greek text and related versions.

Call for papers: The Spanish speaking world is known for its work on the so-called Lucianic text (aka Antiochean text), on especially Sam, Kings and Chronicles. Papers in this area will be especially welcomed, but we of course are also eager to hear any other Septuagint paper!

Status of Women in the Profession

Mignon R. Jacobs
Description: The Committee holds sessions each year exploring the nature of the profession as experienced by women biblical scholars. The goal of the sessions are to provide a forum for open discussion, networking, and the sharing of ideas.

Call for papers: The Committee holds sessions each year exploring the nature of the profession as experienced by women biblical scholars. The goal of the sessions are to provide a forum for open discussion, networking, and the sharing of ideas.

Stylistics and the Hebrew Bible

Elizabeth R.Hayes
Karolien Vermeulen
Description: The unit will offer a forum for scholars interested in stylistics and the Hebrew Bible. The goal is to explore the relation between form and meaning of the text drawing on a variety of approaches (rhetorical, narratological, cognitive, ideological…).

Call for papers: Stylistics and the Hebrew Bible is inviting papers on the book of Lamentations for its meeting in Buenos Aires. This session aims to explore how the language and literary features in the book of Lamentations are used to frame the message. Literary-critical and other methodologies are welcome. We especially invite papers that highlight the function of the particular language used as well as those that explore aspects of the interaction between language, literary features and message of the book.

Synoptic Gospels

Sakari Hakkinen
J. R. C. Cousland
Description: The Synoptic Gospels, which have formed a coherent unit since antiquity, have played an important role in modern scholarship. This section provides an open forum for the presentation of papers, from a variety of perspectives and using a variety of methods, on these seminal religious texts.

Call for papers: Study of the Synoptic Gospels is critical for a literate understanding of religious discussions and imperatives in today's world. This year, we especially welcome Latin-American approaches to the Gospels and their interpretation. Three sessions will be organized, and proposals are welcome for each one of them. The themes of the sessions are: 1. Orality, Memory and Literacy in the formation process of the Synoptic Gospels. Since there is no special session on Q, we invite proposals in two categories: one specializing in Q and the other on the Synoptic Gospels. 2. The Synoptic Problem Reconsidered. Intertextual relations between the Gospel of John and the Synoptic Gospels are especially welcome. 3. Special Themes on the Synoptic Gospels. All topics are welcome. Please indicate in your proposal which session your paper would fit best.

Wisdom Literature

Nili Shupak
Description: The Wisdom Literature section seeks to encourage an ongoing discourse on new ideas and methodologies in the study of Wisdom Literature. The primary focus is on Biblical wisdom - Proverbs, Job, Qoheleth, the Wisdom Psalms and other texts influenced by wisdom ideas, as well as Ben Sira and Wisdom of Solomon. The section is also concerned with the relationship between biblical wisdom literature and cognate texts of the ancient Near East.

Call for papers:

Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)

Timothy B. Sailors
Ronald van der Bergh
Description: This program unit is devoted to the text of “biblical” writings, as understood in the broad sense of the term: This includes the Jewish Bible, early Jewish literature, and the Old Testament (in Hebrew and Aramaic, Greek, and other ancient languages), as well as early Christian literature and the New Testament (in Greek, Latin, and other ancient languages). We offer a forum for the investigation of all types of material witnesses related to the text of this literature—tablets, manuscripts, ostraca, inscriptions—and for the consideration of the textual form of this literature reflected in its citation and use by ancient authors and in writings from antiquity through the Middle Ages. This consists not only of contributions that deal with the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin textual witnesses, but also those that engage evidence in Ugaritic, Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopic, Coptic, Armenian, and other linguistic traditions. A wide variety of additional issues related to textual criticism are also addressed, including epigraphy, manuscript studies, papyrology, codicology, paleography, scribal habits and the production of texts, the history of transmission (and its cultural, social, and religious settings), the practice of textual criticism from antiquity to modern times, restoration and conservation, the use of modern technology in studying this material, the production of critical editions, and discussions of particular passages.

Call for papers: Papers concentrating on any aspect of textual criticism are welcome, particularly those that deal directly with manuscripts, i.e., papers that work with material witnesses to the text—tablets, ostraca, inscriptions, papyri, majuscules, minuscules, lectionaries. For the 2015 meeting in Buenos Aires, a joint session with the program unit "Bible and Syriac Studies in Context" is planned. We therefore especially invite papers discussing the evidence of Syriac manuscripts for the textual criticism of the Bible and/or other early Jewish or Christian writings.

Writings (including Psalms)

Donald R. Vance
Description: The aim of the unit to promote all aspects of and approaches to the study of the texts commonly referred to as the Writings (Ketuvim) in the Hebrew Bible.

Call for papers: Our section continues to grow at the international meeting and once more we invite papers on any work included in the Writings of the Hebrew Bible. This year we are holding a joint session with the COMPARATIVE STUDIES OF LITERATURE FROM THE PERSIAN AND HELLENISTIC PERIODS section in which a panel of four invited speakers (two specializing in historiographical literature of the Persian and Hellenistic periods, and the other two in Psalms/Psalter studies) will present. We still invite papers on the Psalms for our normal Psalms session. Of course, papers on other books in the Writings and papers on wisdom, apocalyptic, historiography in Chronicles/Ezra-Nehemiah, etc. are encouraged and needed.
 
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