Search SBL

Meeting Program Units

2019 Annual Meeting

San Diego, CA

Meeting Begins11/23/2019
Meeting Ends11/26/2019

Call for Papers Opens: 12/19/2018
Call for Papers Closes: 3/6/2019

Requirements for Participation

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

Program Unit Type: Seminar
Accepting Papers? Yes

Call For Papers: In 2019, the program unit organizes three sessions: (1) "Conceptualization of Divine Beings in the Ancient Near East." This joint session with Bible, Myth, and Myth Theory program unit aims at bringing together historical, cultural, and cognitive perspectives on how people in the ancient Near East thought about gods, conceptualized divine beings, and transmitted myths about heavenly agents. Cognitive science of religion has dwelled on the question why god-beliefs exist in the first place, how they persist, and which forms these conceptualizations most generally take (e.g., Guthrie, Faces in the Clouds; Boyer, Religion Explained; Barrett, Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology; Slone, Theological Incorrectness). On the other hand, historians have spent a great deal of time tracing the origins of various god-concepts and their occurrence and influence on each other in the Ancient Levant (e.g., Smith, The Early History of God; The Origins of Biblical Monotheism; God in Translation). What do these branches of scholarship have to learn from each other? Can cognitive science of religion explain which god-concepts are more successful and why? Can historical evidence question or help us to refine some of the theories presented in the cognitive science of religion (e.g., anthropomorphism)? This session is partly invited and partly open; proposals are welcome both from cognitive and/or historical perspectives. Papers will be circulated beforehand, and Mark S. Smith is invited as respondent. (2) "Parables and Blending Theory.” Proposals are welcome that demonstrate how processes of blending are essential to the construction of meaning within parables and parabolic discourses. Proposals should identify the parable(s) to be examined and state clearly how blending theory is being utilized. (3) The third session is open for any proposal using explanations from cognitive science to understand religious thought, experience, and practice.

Program Unit Chairs

Istvan Czachesz
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.

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.