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Meeting Program Units

2018 International Meeting

Helsinki, Finland

Meeting Begins: 7/30/2018
Meeting Ends: 8/3/2018

Note that the deadline for paper proposals is 11:59 PM (23:59) Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5) on the day PREVIOUS to the deadline below.


Call For Papers Opens: 10/18/2017
Call For Papers Closes: 2/15/2018
Requirements for Participation

What a God is Not – The Early History of Negative Theology (EABS)


Program Unit Type: Section
Accepting Papers? Yes

Call For Papers: The question “What is a god?” has been treated extensively in literature. In this session, we want to approach that question from a different angle. When people start to answer this question in a negative way, namely by negating positive statements about gods or by questioning the human ability to understand the divine at all, this demonstrates a more sophisticated approach to this question. In treating traditions from various places within one session and bringing experts from various field together, we hope to gain new insights in the emergence, interconnectedness and influence of these traditions. Negative theology is usually thought to have started with Plato. This session aims at investigating the history of negative theology in the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia before Plato and thereby investigating negative theology before Plato. We use a quite broad definition of negative theology, namely as describing god by negating positive statements (has no human form, does not walk around, is not born by a mother, …). This session should provide a common ground for a broad comparative approach and we especially encourage researchers with a background in Early Greek Religion and Philosophy, Egyptology, Hittitology, Assyriology and Old Testament Studies to bring relevant texts to our attention and to discuss them in this session.

Program Unit Chairs

Sebastian Fink
Stéphanie Anthonioz

Propose a Paper for this Program Unit

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If you are a member of the European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS), but not of SBL, please click here to propose a paper.

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.

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