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Meeting Program Units

2018 Annual Meeting

Denver, CO

Meeting Begins11/17/2018
Meeting Ends11/21/2018

Call for Papers Opens: 12/18/2017
Call for Papers Closes: 3/6/2018

Requirements for Participation

Mind, Society, and Religion: Cognitive Science Approaches to the Biblical World

Program Unit Type: Seminar
Accepting Papers? Yes

Call For Papers: The program unit now runs as a seminar. Papers are both invited and accepted upon proposal. We encourage presenting thought experiments or a hypothesis for joint discussion, as well as seeking suitable cognitive theories and adapting existing ones. In 2018, there will be three sessions: (1) The first session, “Materiality and the senses in the study of religion,” will explore the role of materiality and the senses in ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern religion. We welcome papers that apply cognitive archaeology and cognitive science of religion in an attempt to illuminate sensory, material, and embodied aspects of ancient religious practices and texts, as well as presentations from non-cognitive disciplines but seeking to complement or engage a cognitive approach. We encourage all presenters to make explicit in their abstracts their theoretical foundations and methods.(2) The second session is invited and will focus on the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7), using cognitive and social scientific theories to explore its effects and persistent appeal. How do these approaches help to explain the sometimes difficult claims and injunctions in this discourse? In what ways do cultural specifics interact with the transcultural claims of these theories? To what extent and why does the Sermon inspire empathy, moral behavior, reciprocity, risk taking, trust and commitment to a social identity? Papers in sessions 1 and 2 are circulated prior to the meeting and summarized at the meeting. If you wish to receive any of the papers, please contact Istvan Czachesz ( The third session is open for any paper that uses scientific explanations of human thought and behavior to understand religious thought, experience, and practice.

Program Unit Chairs

Jutta Jokiranta

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.

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