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 Competition in Late Antiquity

Program Unit Type: Section
Accepting Papers? Yes

Call For Papers: We will accept papers for two different sessions. This first session "Fighting over Fingerbones: the Competition for Relics in Late Antiquity" will explore the role of relics – the venerated remains of “holy individuals” and the objects with which they came into contact – in Greco-Roman religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in late antiquity. This includes the bodies, bones, or ashes of saints, heroes, martyrs, priests, biblical figures, founders of religious traditions, and other holy men and women, as well as the objects that they once owned and, by extension, things that were once in physical contact with them. Like other forms of material culture, relics played significant roles in the formative ages of Judaism and Christianity. We invite papers on late-antique religious texts and material culture that unearth the role that these items played in identity formation, religious competition, political propaganda, and the so-called “parting of the ways” between Judaism and Christianity. The second session "From within the Ivory Tower: Religious Experts and the 99%" will examine how the study of religion and philosophy in antiquity is largely dependent upon analyzing the literary remains of a tiny percentage of elite, educated individuals whose writings largely reflect the competition between themselves and other members of this elite group. We know far less about the religious beliefs and practices of the vast amount of men and women who could not read or write or who were not involved as cultural producers with a stake in the religion game. It is generally acknowledged that the views of religious experts were not necessarily reflective of the views of the (now silent) majority. However, the relationship between religious experts and non-experts was not one of complete disconnect, but often of active engagement, of critique, of encouragement, and of manipulation. This session will examine the various ways in which religious experts sought to shape the beliefs

Program Unit Chairs

Nathaniel Desrosiers
Lily C. Vuong

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.