Search SBL

Meeting Program Units

2014 Annual Meeting

San Diego, CA

Meeting Begins11/22/2014
Meeting Ends11/25/2014

Call for Papers Opens: 12/20/2013
Call for Papers Closes: 3/4/2014

Requirements for Participation

Religious World of Late Antiquity

Program Unit Type: Section
Accepting Papers? Yes

Call For Papers: Religious World of Late Antiquity Section will cosponsor four sessions in 2014. For one session, cosponsored with Social History of Formative Christianity and Judaism, we invite proposals on “Fun, Games, Laughter and Play in the Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity.” It can be argued that religious ritual is an elaborated form of play, and that many cultural dynamics and art forms gain new meaning when considered as games, in the context of other games. What kinds of entertainments, games and jokes and forms of play were part of the religious expression of people in Late Antiquity? What is the role of “fun” within the structures of religious establishment? Or are fun and play, by their very nature, always transgressive and dangerous to authority? We welcome papers on “frivolous” behaviors and activities that religious authorities complained about in their writings, as well as on the kinds of jokes or entertainments that they, themselves, enjoyed; on surviving games or texts about them as well as visual representations of feasting, frolicking, and comical creatures in the “religious” environment of Late Antiquity. We also welcome methodological explorations of how to identify and discuss “fun” in ancient sources. Please submit copies of a single proposal for this session to both cosponsoring sections. Three additional invited sessions will include: a book review session, cosponsored with Space, Place, and Lived Experience in Antiquity, that will consider recent work on religion, power, and urban space in late antiquity; a panel cosponsored with History and Literature of Early Rabbinic Judaism on “Wealth: Theology, Social Vision, and Self-Fashioning from the Bible to Late Antiquity”; and a session cosponsored with the new International Quranic Studies Association, that will highlight recent scholarship exploring the links between the late antique empires, Arabia, and the rise of Islam.

Program Unit Chairs

Cynthia M. Baker
Lynn LiDonnici

Propose a Paper for this Program Unit

If you are a SBL member, you must login before you can propose a paper for this or any other session. Please login by entering your SBL member number on the left in the Login box.

For all other persons wanting to propose a paper, you must communicate directly with the chair of the program unit to which you want to propose. Chairs have the responsibility to make waiver requests, and their email addresses are available above. SBL provides membership and meeting registration waivers only for scholars who are outside the disciplines covered by the SBL program, specifically most aspects of archaeological, biblical, religious, and theological studies.

Questions About Membership?

  • Call 866-727-9955 Toll Free in the US
  • Call 404-727-9498 Outside the US
  • Fax us at 404-727-2419
  • Email us at

© 2023, Society of Biblical Literature. All Rights Reserved.