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Meeting Program Units

2020 Annual Meeting

Boston, MA

Meeting Begins11/21/2020
Meeting Ends11/24/2020

Call for Papers Opens: 1/7/2020
Call for Papers Closes: 3/11/2020

Requirements for Participation

Lived Religiousness in Antiquity


Program Unit Type: Section
Accepting Papers? Yes

Call For Papers: We will have 3 sessions. (1) Session 1 will address the question: Does it make sense to distinguish between “Christian” and “pagan”? The session seeks to problematize the distinction regularly drawn in scholarship between “Christian” and “pagan” (or: “gentile,” “Roman”) persons, texts, practices, images, etc. Questions for reflection include: (a) How do scholars decide if a text is “Christian” or not? Is a shopping list or business letter written by a baptized person a “Christian” document? If a person who rejects traditional claims about Jesus writes a story about him, is that a “Christian” text? (b) How does one decide if a practice is “Christian”? If a baptized person is a vegetarian, does that make his or her avoidance of meat a “Christian” practice? If someone participates in a ritual in honor of Jesus only once a year, is that person a “Christian”? Is the practice “Christian”? (c) Does it make sense to discuss criteria that would define which ancient persons, texts, practices, images, etc., should be considered “Christian” for scholarly purposes? If not, what are some alternative approaches for determining which practices, texts, etc., are “worthy of scholarly attention” for those whose work ostensibly concerns “early Christianity”? Proposed papers in this session should discuss the strengths and weaknesses of possible criteria or approaches, illustrating methodological points with concrete examples from the ancient world. (2) A second session will be held jointly with the Religious Experience in Antiquity unit. The topic is “The Everydayness of Religious Experience.” Papers are invited that examine the intersection(s) of “religious experiences” (broadly understood) in the lived experiences and everyday lives of ancient peoples. This call is open to scholars working in all periods and geographical regions of antiquity. (3) Proposals are invited for an open session on “Lived Religiousness.” Papers should be well-developed and theoretically sophisticated.

Program Unit Chairs

David A. Creech
Julia Snyder

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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