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Congresses

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: 2/14/2018
Requirements for Participation

Program Units

 

Allusions in the Gospels and Acts

Dennis R. MacDonald
Wooil Moon
Description: This unit is to foster literary-critical and inter-textual approaches to the canonical and extra-canonical gospels and acts of the apostles. The approaches include: (1) uncovering allusive fragments of Greco-Roman, Hellenized-Jewish, and Christian texts in gospel passages and apostle narratives; (2) discussing whether the fragments reflect accidental confluences, non-opposite appropriations of poetic langue, or Christian emulations against anterior texts and traditions; (3) interpreting Christian meanings generated by resonances between anterior and posterior contexts of those allusions.

Call for papers: For 2018, the Allusions in the Gospels and Acts section requests paper proposals on inter-textual approaches to the canonical and extra-canonical gospels and acts of the apostles and their terms, motifs, ideas, traditions, typologies, characterizations, contextualizations, narrative orders, literary skills, and/or rhetorical tactics. Priority shall be given to proposals for allusions to the Hellenistic Jewish literature in gospel passages and apostle narratives.

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Ancient Near East

Stephen C. Russell
Description: The ancient Near East section explores the texts and material culture of the ancient world, especially Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia from the birth of writing through the Hellenistic period. Our aim is to study the ancient world with a variety of methods and from a variety of perspectives—anthropological, archaeological, art-historical, economic, legal, literary, philological, sociohistorical, etc. We welcome work that reads the literature or material culture of one region against another, as well as work that is more limited in scope. Each year, we anticipate hosting two panels: one devoted to any aspect of the study of the ancient Near East, and one focussing on a more narrowly defined theme, region, approach, or time period.

Call for papers: In 2018, we will have two invited panels on the multimodality of inscriptions organized by Alice Mandell and Lisa Cleath. This session investigates new readings of inscriptions from the Near East and Mediterranean through Late Antiquity that explore writing as a multimodal technology. We curate studies that examine how written artifacts not only functioned as communication and record, but also reflected, developed, and actively shaped social contexts through their material instantiations. We also invite submissions for one or more open panels on any relevant topic.

Tags: Anatolian (Hittite, Luwian, Hurrian) (Ancient Near Eastern Literature - Region), Ancient Near East - Bronze Age (History & Culture), Ancient Near East - Hellenistic Period (History & Culture), Ancient Near East - Iron Age (History & Culture), Ancient Near East - Late Antiquity (History & Culture), Ancient Near East - Neo-Assyria (History & Culture), Ancient Near East - Neo-Babylonia (History & Culture), Aramaic (Philology / Linguistics (incl. Semiotics)), Comparative Approaches (Interpretive Approaches), Egyptian (Philology / Linguistics (incl. Semiotics)), Hebrew (classical) (Philology / Linguistics (incl. Semiotics)), Latter Prophets - Ezekiel (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Northwest Semitic - Canaanite (Phoenician, Punic, Moabite, Ammonite) (Ancient Near Eastern Literature - Region), Social-Scientific Approaches (Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology) (Interpretive Approaches), Torah/Pentateuch - Genesis (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint))

Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible

Christopher B. Hays
Joel M. LeMon
Description: This section, formerly titled Iconography and the Bible, examines the ways that ancient pictorial material informs interpretations of biblical texts and vice-versa. We welcome papers that explore the relationships between iconographic and textual materials as well as papers that deal exclusively with iconographic issues.

Call for papers: The ISBL program unit ‘Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible’, in collaboration with the EABS research unit ‘Iconography and Biblical Studies’, invites abstracts for our open session on iconography or iconographic exegesis of the Hebrew Bible. Since we are collaborating with EABS, we also welcome contributions on the New Testament for this session. In addition to our open session, we welcome papers on the topic of “Image and Text in Assyria” to recognize and celebrate the work of The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project based in Helsinki. For this session we welcome papers that explore the relationship between image and text in Assyria. Papers that focus on the Neo-Assyrian period are especially encouraged.

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Anthropology and the Bible (EABS)

Anne Katrine Gudme
Emanuel Pfoh
Description: The aim of this unit is to foster ethnographic readings of biblical stories, both Old and New Testaments, and anthropological perspectives on the archaeology, the history and the literature of ancient Palestine in its Near Eastern context. Relevant topics for discussion are:-Political and historical anthropology of ancient Palestine (city-states, urbanization, state-formation processes, ethnogenesis).?-Mediterranean anthropology in biblical narrative (patronage, hospitality, feud, honour and shame, food).?-Sociology and anthropology of religion and ancient Palestinian cultic and ritual data (aniconism, iconography, burial, cultic places, etc.).?-Sociology and anthropology of biblical studies (the production of academic knowledge and its impact on society).?-Comparative analysis of Biblical and Eastern Mediterranean literature from an anthropological perspective.

Call for papers: In 2018 we are planning three sessions: -one session that is open to papers on anthropological perspectives in biblical literature and in the biblical world in general (cf. the description of the research unit above), -one thematic session that sets out to explore and evaluate the concept of shamanism in the Bible and cognate textual traditions (invited papers). This session is a continuation of our session on Shamanism in the Bible in Berlin 2017. For the 2018 meeting in Helsinki we have invited papers that focus on Shamanism in other textual traditions than the Bible (e.g. gnostic literature, rabbinic literature, ANE texts) and in papers that discuss the delineation of shamanism as a cultural phenomenon and its cross-cultural applicability. -and a thematic session on food in biblical literature organized jointly with the ISBL consultation on Food as Concept/Symbol/Metaphor (open session with some invited papers). For this session we particularly invite papers that focus on one of the following themes: 1) God as the one who Provides/Removes Food for the Benefit/Demise of Humanity; 2) Food as the Symbol for Life Itself; and 3) Meal of the Divine and Food for the Divine.

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Apocalyptic Literature

Lorenzo DiTommaso
Description: The Apocalyptic Literature Section provides the International Meeting’s only general forum for studies related to apocalyptic literature. The Section welcomes papers that engage the wide range of apocalyptic texts, that provide analysis of the history and conventions of apocalyptic literature, and that employ diverse methodological perspectives.

Call for papers: The Apocalyptic Literature Section provides the International Meeting’s only general forum for studies related to apocalyptic literature. The Section welcomes papers that engage the wide range of apocalyptic texts, that provide analysis of the history and conventions of apocalyptic literature, and that employ diverse methodological perspectives.

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Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

Janet Elizabeth Spittler
Julia Snyder
Description: The Section fosters ongoing study of extra-canonical texts, as subjects of literary and philological investigation; as evidence for the history of religion, theology, and cult practice; and as documents of the socio-symbolic construction of traditions along lines of class and gender.

Call for papers: At the 2017 meeting, we began a multi-year project focused on the development of new scholarly practices that take the witness of extant manuscripts seriously. Drawing on the insights of New Philology, we want to encourage scholarship on Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in which the focus is reoriented from a quest for hypothetical original texts to an appreciation of the situatedness of textual material within specific manuscripts. We also want to develop new ways of labeling and speaking about our material that better reflect textual fluidity and the reuse and repurposing of textual material. We will continue this discussion in 2018, and encourage paper proposals that offer concrete suggestions for better scholarly practices, particularly in the presentation of texts. Detailed descriptions of existing digital editions with which the researcher is involved and concrete discussion of technologies that can assist in the production of such editions are also warmly welcomed. (NB: Those interested in proposing papers on any of the above topics are encouraged to contact Julia Snyder or Janet Spittler for more information about the current state of the discussion.) In relation to this theme, one session (to be co-sponsored by the Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism Program Unit) will focus on the transmission of apocrypha in Egypt. Proposals are also welcome for an additional open session that will highlight other creative, well-developed personal research projects on extra-canonical Jewish and Christian literature. NB: Those with papers on the Apostolic Fathers, Septuagint, or Qumran (unless they directly relate to the project described above), are encouraged to submit to those other sections. Please do not submit the same proposal to more than one section.

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Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature

Taras Khomych
Nancy Pardee
Description: This unit fosters academic discourse focused upon the “Apostolic Fathers” and supplemental literature, as transmitters of earlier traditions; as reflections of theology, ethics, and worship; as means of identity and community formation; and as subjects of literary and social-theory investigations.

Call for papers: This year we especially invite proposals concerning two different topics. One session will focus on the broad theme of "Community and Identity" in the Apostolic Fathers and related literature. Under this theme possible areas of investigation include (but need not be limited to): problems and methodology; identity—means of formation and formulation; communities of origin vs. reception; identity as actual, ideal, projected, advocated; identities in conflict; community/identity in relation to ethnic, social, cultural, and political contexts. The topic of our second session is “Apostolic Fathers Beyond New Testament”. To date, research into the writings of the Apostolic Fathers has tended to focus on the relationship between this collection and the texts which later formed the New Testament. However important, this issue largely overshadows the question of distinctiveness of the Apostolic Fathers. Our second session, therefore, invites scholars to pay special attention to the features (vocabulary, themes, practices, etc), which distinguish the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, individually or as a group, from the New Testament.

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Archaeological Fieldwork in the Bronze and Iron Age Levant (EABS)

Kirsi Valkama
Raimo Hakola
Rick Bonnie
Description: This session introduces and discusses recent archaeological investigations in the Levantine region with a focus on the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Persian period.

Call for papers: This session aims to familiarize scholars of the Hebrew Bible and cognate studies with recent archaeological research related to their time period, as well as recent technical and methodological advancements in the field of archaeology. The session is open to papers on recent fieldwork, synthetic analyses of multiple field season, as well as any area of current archaeology research. It especially encourages archaeological investigations that make use of recent technical advancements and/or critical reflections on how to interpret archaeology with textual evidence.

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Archaeological Fieldwork in the Hellenistic-Roman Mediterranean (EABS)

Kirsi Valkama
Raimo Hakola
Rick Bonnie
Description: This session introduces and discusses recent archaeological investigations in the Mediterranean basin with a focus on the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine worlds.

Call for papers: The session aims at familiarizing scholars of New Testament and cognate studies with recent archaeological research related to their time period, as well as recent technical and methodological advancements in the field of archaeology. The session is open to papers on recent fieldwork, synthetic analyses of multiple field seasons, as well as any area of current archaeology research. It especially encourages archaeological investigations that make use of recent technical advancements and/or critical reflections on how to interpret archaeology with textual evidence.

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Authority and Influence in Ancient Times

Jan G. van der Watt
Description: The aim of this seminar is to investigate the nature of authority and leadership language as it is used in Biblical documents (both Old and New Testament). Since definitions of what leadership really is vary widely, the seminar uses a functional approach. Contributors will be asked to focus on the texts of the Old and New Testaments (each according to his or her expertise) and to investigate how authority is expressed and handled, but also how a group is convinced to move along with a leader to a common goal. Especially the dynamics of language, expression, rhetorics, etc. will be focused on.

Call for papers: The aim of this seminar is to investigate the nature of authority and leadership language as it is used in Biblical documents (both Old and New Testament). Since definitions of what leadership really is vary widely, the seminar uses a functional approach. Contributors will be asked to focus on the texts of the Old and New Testaments (each according to his or her expertise) and to investigate how authority is expressed and handled, but also how a group is convinced to move along with a leader to a common goal. Especially the dynamics of language, expression, rhetorics, etc. will be focused on.

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Bible and Empire

Ana T. Valdez
Christopher M. Hays
Description: A unit examining the influence of imperial political powers on the development of the Bible in its historical context as well as the Bible’s use and reception throughout subsequent history.

Call for papers: At the 2018 International SBL Meeting, the Bible and Empire group will host three sessions. Our first session, to be offered in conjunction with the EABS “Bible and Politics” group, will be entitled “After Empire: The Role of the Bible in Young Nations (1917-2017) Emerging from Major 19th and 20th Century Empires”. The goal of the session is to explore the reception and influence of the Bible in nations, such as Finland and various Balkan states, which established their independence after breaking away from a large empire. A second session, entitled “Eschatology and Empire”, will be dedicated to exploring the intersections between Jewish and Christian eschatologies and imperial actions and ideology. This session welcomes papers focused on both the biblical texts themselves and their reception in subsequent centuries. Third and finally, papers are invited for an open session on empires and imperialism in the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, the New Testament, and in subsequent reception history. Analyses of from any number of critical and interpretive perspectives are welcome. Potential contributors may contact the session organizers with any questions. Christopher M. Hays: cmhays@gmail.com Ana T. Valdez: manavaldez@gmail.com

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Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact

David Tollerton
Jo Carruthers
Description: This unit offers a forum for papers on both the theory of reception studies and critical analysis of historical and contemporary case studies related to the Bible’s use and influence, in spheres ranging from art, literature and music to religion, society and culture.

Call for papers: For the joint SBL/EABS meeting in Helsinki in 2018, ‘Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact’ (SBL) will be meeting together with ‘The Biblical World and Its Reception’ (EABS). The combined seminar will be holding three/four sessions. As 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we especially invite papers which take as their focus the use and reception of biblical monsters and/or creation narratives. Given the location of our meeting in Finland, the first country in Europe to give women the vote, we also welcome papers which engage with the Bible in relation to issues of gender and politics. There will in addition be a closed (invited) session on the Bible and blasphemy. A final session will be open and thus may include any topic that is relevant to the seminar’s general interests in the reception, influence, and impact of the Bible.

Tags: History of Interpretation (Interpretive Approaches)

Bible and Syriac Studies in Context

Cornelia Horn
Description: This unit offers a forum for scholars of Syriac and related languages and literatures (including Arabic) to explore the intimate connections between Syriac biblical interpretation, historiography, hagiography, and culture in Oriental Christianity, Judaism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, and Islam.

Call for papers: This unit offers a forum for scholars of Syriac and related languages and literatures (including Arabic) to explore the intimate connections between Syriac biblical interpretation, historiography, hagiography, and culture in Oriental Christianity, Judaism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, and Islam.

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Bible and Visual Culture

Caroline Vander Stichele
David Shepherd
Description: The Bible and Visual Culture is premised on the recognition that some of the most engaging and creative interpretations of biblical texts are to be found in visual media from antiquity to the present. Further encouragement to attend to visual interpretations of the Bible is offered by our awareness that such readings have often captured the collective and especially popular imagination to a far greater extent than have many written interpretations and in doing so, these visualizations have shaped and influenced our reading and understanding of the biblical texts themselves. The section offers an academic space for the critical exploration and discussion of biblical texts, characters, motifs and themes as they are represented in visual media including (but not limited to) painting, sculpture, print making, illustration, moving pictures (including film, television and gaming), advertising, street art and other expressions of visual culture. The section welcomes efforts to situate visual interpretations of the Bible within a wider hermeneutical context and to explore the ways in which such interpretations challenge or support other non-visual readings of biblical texts. The nature of the subject explored in this section demands an openness to the insights of a range of different approaches and disciplines beyond biblical studies, including (but again, not limited to) art history, psychology, film, theatre as well as studies in gender and postcolonialism.

Call for papers: There is an open call for papers for one session. We also invite papers for another session focusing on local visual depictions of or interactions with the Bible which have some connection to Helsinki, Finland or other countries of Scandinavia.

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Bible Translation Workshop (EABS)

Paraskevi Arapoglou
Simon Crisp
Description: This workshop focuses on issues of Bible translation. Since the Bible has been the most frequently translated book through the ages, the history of its translation and the theoretical and historical background of these endeavors create a fascinating field of research. The workshop proposes an investigation of the field based not only on a historical overview of the epistemological approach to Bible translation, but also an investigation based on interdisciplinary approaches: biblical studies, linguistics, translation studies, literary criticism, social and cultural studies. Our main interest is not only to identify but to address issues that pertain to the field of Bible translation within its historical, social, ideological and cultural context.

Call for papers: “Bible Translation at the intersection of narratives and metaphors: perspectives and problematics” The Bible Translation workshop invites scholars from the fields of both biblical and translation studies to submit their abstracts for this year’s meeting in Helsinki. Within the context of the critical discussion of Bible translation we welcome papers focused on interdisciplinary approaches. The main focus of the 2018 workshop is on metaphor and ambiguity. We wish to examine how the metaphors and allusiveness of the source text, deeply embedded in another time and different traditions, can be rendered through the use of metaphorical tropes in the modern world. Can contemporary translation and literary theories in conjunction with hermeneutical approaches to the text provide useful insights, while at the same time maintaining the uniqueness of the source text? We hope that the workshop will provide a space where a new conceptual framework can be formed and that it can serve as a basis for further critical discussions in the broader field. Abstracts of not more than 300 words and with a reference to their theoretical basis should be submitted through the 2018 Meeting’s platform.

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Biblia Arabica: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians, and Muslims

Camilla Adang
Meira Polliack
Description: Jews, Christians, and Samaritans living under Muslim rule translated their sacred scriptures into Arabic. Interest in this vast treasure of texts has grown, and their contribution to the history of interpretation and religious history is considerable. This unit will discuss these translations, as well as how they were influenced by the Qur’an and used in inter-religious conversations.

Call for papers: We plan the following joint sessions of Biblia Arabica (SBL), The Bible in Arabic (EABS) and IQSA members. A. Two invited sessions. 1. “The Arabic Commentary Literature: Between Jewish and Christian Approaches to the Bible”. 2) “Biblical materials in Qur’anic commentaries (Tafsir) - Islamic elements in Jewish and Christian commentaries in Arabic.” B. Open session(s). We invite proposals on “Approaches to Translation and Interpretation”. Papers dealing with any aspect of Arabic Bible translation as outlined above in the General agenda will be considered. While the emphasis has hitherto been on the Middle Ages, we also encourage discussion of printed pre-modern and modern translations.

Tags: Commentary (Text and Translation), Tradition History/Tradition Criticism (Interpretive Approaches), Translation and Translation Theory (Text and Translation)

Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law

Gary Knoppers
Reinhard Achenbach
Description: The purpose of the Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law Section is to promote interdisciplinary research on ancient Near Eastern, biblical, and post-biblical law. Methodological perspectives include historical-critical, literary, legal-historical, feminist, and social-scientific approaches.

Call for papers: During the 2018 Helsinki Meeting, we will be hosting one open session (paper proposals are welcome) and one special session dedicated to reviewing the recently completed 4-volume commentary, Deuteronomium (Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament; Stuttgart: Herders, 2012-2016) by Eckart Otto. This special review session will include a response by the author.

Tags: Law (Comparative Religion / History of Religion), Law Codes & Legal Documents (Ancient Near Eastern Literature - Genre)

Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)

John Tracy Greene
Description: This seminar approaches biblical literature through its most famous and pivotal characters, for it is around them that the subsequent biblical story is organized and arranged. Moreover, these characters have come to enjoy a life and fame that extends well beyond the basic Old Testament, Miqra, and New Testament, and even into the Qur’an and Islamic oral and written texts. As was demonstrated at the recent Tartu seminar, Samaritan texts and traditions (unfamiliar to many) have a contribution to make to the seminar as well. Our work seeks, among other goals, to facilitate a meaningful and informed dialogue between Jews, Christians, Muslims and Samaritans—foregrounded in the academic study of the treatment of characters across texts and traditions—by providing both an open forum at annual conferences, and by providing through our publications a written reference library to consult. A further goal is to encourage and provide a forum in which new scholarly talent in biblical and related studies may be presented.

Call for papers: Biblical literature, the literatures of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and related literatures all place an importance on literature as an important medium for disseminating important “truths” to those with whom the writers wish(ed) to communicate. To Moses, Paul, and Muhammad have been ascribed three anthologies that flow from a similar world-view. Through the three (plus) bodies of literature, one notices a similar theme (not necessarily style) that demonstrates an association by writers who have inherited a specific, progressive Middle Eastern world-view. That world-view has, of course, been informed by neighbors of the core groups of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in a most positive way. Several authors or scribes have been identified as making this traditional literature available to us: Moses, the Hebrew prophets, the writers during the Persian and Greek periods (including the contributors to the New Testament and related literature), and the dictated version of the Prophet Muhammad’s Qur’an. These we intend to explore in great detail.

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Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity

Paul A. Hartog
Description: This program unit explores the interpretative structures, methodologies, and concerns of patristic exegesis and the various assumptions underlying it.

Call for papers: This year we especially invite papers examining the intersection of intertextuality with the theme and practice of “imitation.” How did patristic writers seek to imitate (or, conversely, differentiate themselves from) biblical authors? How did patristic exegesis interpret and borrow themes of imitation (of God. of Christ, of past and present exemplars) from scripture texts? How did patristic authors use and adapt biblical paraenesis, narratives, and values in their own, new constructions of mimesis and imitatio? We will also consider other proposals which contribute to our understanding of the structures, methodologies, concerns and assumptions functioning within patristic readings of biblical texts

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Biblical Reception History and Authority in the Middle Ages and Beyond (EABS)

Katja Ritari
Ritva Palmén
Description: This unit addresses questions pertaining to biblical interpretation, power, and authority in the Middle Ages and beyond.

Call for papers: In recent research in biblical studies, reception history has become an increasingly important but controversial topic of discussion. We maintain that new understandings and interpretations of biblical narratives are strongly linked with given cultural and social milieu and often serve practical aims in the given community. This emphasis of the context of interpretation brings along an important question of power and authority. Whose interests the new biblical interpretations serve? How novel expression of traditional texts become authoritative? How is the authority of biblical narratives upheld in changing circumstances? We invite contributions that focus on the use of biblical texts after the formative period of canonization, i.e. in medieval and early modern periods. We are interested in addressing what faith communities considered important, as well as asking what the role of an individual author is in the process of re-reading and interpreting biblical texts. In addition to more focused case studies of interpretation of particular biblical passages in different cultural environments, we also wish to open the interdisciplinary discussion about the ways in which biblical or authoritative texts have been read and exploited in communities of faith, thereby encouraging novel analyses of relationship between biblical texts and contemporary concerns. The more theoretical approaches which aim to explain the dynamics of power and the re-interpreting of sacred texts are also welcome.

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Bodies of Communication (EABS)

Lieve M. Teugels
Karin Neutel
Peter-Ben Smit
Description: Bodies of Communication is a research unit fostering conversations on the body as a location of religious expression. As the study of religion moves away from religious doctrines and institutions towards an increasing interest in the lived experience of religion, the human body takes up a more central place. In Biblical and related texts, issues in which the body is inevitable bound up, such as food and sexuality, birth and death, are never far away. While bodies are often policed in religious settings, they also offers a site for resistance and deviance, and a means of opposing traditional norms. Both the abstract and idealized body and the concrete body that exists and lives in time and space can be understood to express religious narratives and structures. This session aims to increase understanding of the body as a significant site in the period of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, as well as in contemporary interpretations and resonances. It especially encourages engagement with issues that are relevant for contemporary culture and society.

Call for papers: The 2018 session will centre on the theme of pleasure and pain, encouraging an exchange of ideas about both the positive and the negative experiences associated with embodiment in biblical contexts. What is the role of bodies in connection with topics such as suffering, asceticism, joy, and ecstasy, and how do bodies then relate to non-physical personal and cultural spheres? Papers are invited that focus on any aspects of bodily pleasure and pain, both in biblical texts in the broadest sense, as well as in relation to their reception. We are open to multi-disciplinary approaches and are especially interested in contributions that connect ancient sources with contemporary cultural and social issues.

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Canonical Approaches to the Bible (EABS)

Johannes Taschner
Matthias Millard
Description: "The research group »Canonical Approaches to the Bible« focusses on the role of the Bible as canon, an aspect long considered by mainstream historical-critical scholarship to be marginal and preliminary to the actual task of exegesis. The canonical approach considers it necessary to explore both the different shapes of the canon (diachronically and synchronically) as well as the relationship between different communities of faith and practice that emerge from the different shapes of canon. The »canonical quality of the Bible« is not a secondary attribute; it is a factor intrinsic to the literature itself. As biblical texts came into existence they were from the outset canonical, i.e. highly relevant for a community. For the recipients of these texts, »canon was and is the primary context for interpretation« (Georg Steins). The concept of canon thus encompasses literary, sociological and theological aspects of the biblical text. Historical questions are also not ignored; quite to the contrary: they play a vital role, as each aspect of canon has a historical dimension. This research group gathers scholars from the fields of Old and New Testament who are interested in the different shapes and aspects of the Bible as canon." The »canonical quality of the Bible« is not a secondary attribute; it is a factor intrinsic to the literature itself. As biblical texts came into existence they were from the outset canonical, i.e. highly relevant for a community. For the recipients of these texts, »canon was and is the primary context for interpretation« (Georg Steins). The concept of canon thus encompasses literary, sociological and theological aspects of the biblical text. Historical questions are also not ignored; quite to the contrary: they play a vital role, as each aspect of canon has a historical dimension.

Call for papers: "Openings and endings of biblical books as elements of a canon theology In this session we are looking for papers dealing with openings and/or endings of biblical books which give an insight towards the arrangement of a special canonical shape. E.g. Joshua 1 or Maleachi 3 frame the part of the prophets in the canon of the Hebrew Bible, the end of the book of Daniel or Matthew 1 mark the end of the first part resp. the beginning of the second part of the Christian Bible. But also beside these well known examples of a canonical theology one can ask interesting questions: What is the difference between Samuel or Chronicles if you read these books as a unit of one ore two books? How does Rut 1 change if this book is arranged as the opening of scriptures? Is Acts 28 closing the first part of the canon of the New Testament or does Act 1 open the collection of letters? We are open to many methodical approaches (e.g. reader orientation, historical approaches looking for preforms of canon, …) and to every shape of a canon. "

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Catholic Epistles

Dr. Darian Lockett
Kelly Liebengood
Description: This unit provides a forum for sharing original research regarding all aspects of and approaches to the interpretation of the Catholic Epistles (James, 1–2 Peter, 1–3 John, and Jude) as a collection or individual letters, including a variety of critical methodologies and especially welcome studies demonstrating interdisciplinary approaches.

Call for papers: We invite original research on the interpretation of the Catholic Epistles (James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude) which use a variety of methodologies and/or interdisciplinary reading strategies. For 2018, we are particularly interested in receiving paper proposals that explore strategies for reading the Catholic Epistles together (either as a collection of seven letters or smaller collections such as 1–2 Peter, or 1–3 John), and/or papers that consider the reception history of the Catholic Epistles as a whole or any one of these texts individually.

Tags: Hebrews and Catholic Epistle (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Hebrews and Catholic Epistles - 1 John (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Hebrews and Catholic Epistles - 1 Peter (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Hebrews and Catholic Epistles - 2 John (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Hebrews and Catholic Epistles - 2 Peter (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Hebrews and Catholic Epistles - 3 John (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Hebrews and Catholic Epistles - Hebrews (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Hebrews and Catholic Epistles - James (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Hebrews and Catholic Epistles - Jude (Biblical Literature - New Testament)

Centralization and Cult in Persian Period Israel: Biblical, Historical and Comparative Perspectives (EABS)

Christophe Nihan
Katharina Pyschny
Description: "The special session aims at renewing the conceptualization and understanding of centralization in ancient Israel, especially during the Persian/Early Hellenistic periods, from a combined perspective including biblical, historical and comparative approaches. It is based on the following issues raised by the current scholarly discussion: (a) The discussion involves various levels of analysis—biblical texts, history, archaeology, comparative evidence—which have not always been adequately distinguished; in addition, the discussion has not given enough attention to the contribution of theoretical approaches of centralization. (b) Since W.L.M. de Wette, centralization has usually been limited to cultic aspects. In light of more recent approaches, it is essential to understand centralization as a more comprehensive process, in which the cultic aspect is only one among several others (i.e., administrative, economic, political, etc.). (c) Up to now, the debate on centralization has largely focused on Deuteronomy and 2 Kgs 22–23, without acknowledging the plurality and diversity of centralization concepts within the Hebrew Bible itself. (d) In former research, centralization was predominantly analyzed from a Judean perspective, without taking into account the textual evidence suggesting a broader Israelite perspective (esp. Deut 12; 27 in MT and SamP). (e) Comparative evidence often serves only as an “analogy-argument”, but has not been fully investigated for reshaping the conceptualization/understanding of centralization. Against this background, the session will bring together experts of various fields in order to discuss biblical, epigraphic and archaeological evidence as well as aspects of material culture related to processes of centralization in the Persian period."

Call for papers: The three-part session will exclusively consist of invited papers.

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Citizens and Aliens in Greco-Roman Antiquity (EABS)

Joona Salminen
Maijastina Kahlos
Description: Citizenship is one of the most debated issues in the present-day Europe, and therefore we wish to open up contextualized discussions on its roots in the Greco-Roman Antiquity.

Call for papers: Citizenship and its criteria were redefined many times during the Roman rule in the Mediterranean area. In the conquests and crises, new ideas of defining the good members of Roman society emerged. The Constitutio Antoniniana by Emperor Caracalla in 212 granted citizenship to all free provincials. Philosophers and orators cherished the idea of cosmopolitan citizenship. Recognition of loyal Roman citizens/subjects in terms of religion became more emphatic from the early 3rd century CE onwards and this continued in the course of the Christianization of the Empire. We welcome papers on the theme “Citizens and Aliens in the Roman Empire”. The theme is widely understood with topics ranging from the Roman citizenship, the intertwining of ‘political’ and ‘religious’ spheres, and the markers of loyalty to early Christian and Jewish discourses of citizenship, also the heavenly citizenship, philosophical and juridical discourses of local and universal citizenships, as well as discussions on the altering religious criteria of citizenship and exclusion and alienation.

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Comparative Methodology (EABS)

Reimund Bieringer
Tavis A. Bohlinger
Description: "The Comparative Methodology unit explores methodological questions foundational to comparative analyses, specifically between Jewish and Greco-Roman texts of the Second Temple period. The goal of this research unit is to make explicit what is too often only implicit in scholarly comparative work, the underlying justifications and methods which make a comparison “work”. Participants are encouraged to challenge past assumptions about the how and why of comparisons by drawing upon philosophical and phenomenological resources, and additionally, to consider the perceived benefits of the comparative endeavour. Furthermore, comparisons seek to grant new insights into source materials, but how these results are measured in terms of quality has yet to be determined. The Comparative Methodology unit seeks to address these shortcomings by encouraging scholars to think deeply about the means and outcomes of their comparative work, in order to generate new heuristic tools through which comparisons might be more explicity defined and beneficially utilized."

Call for papers: A new workshop for 2018, the Comparative Methodology session at EABS in Helsinki seeks papers that specifically address issues of methodology in comparative analyses of ancient texts. We welcome contributions that seek to answer the questions of “why” and “how to” juxtapose texts by putting them into dialogue, including Greco-Roman, Early Jewish, and New Testament. Papers ideally should follow a two-part approach, firstly dealing with questions of method, secondly presenting a case study of said method through the juxtaposition of two (or more) ancient texts. Authors are encouraged to address some of the following questions: 1) How should we construct a comparison between two texts, i.e., what are the necessary criteria? 2) Are comparisons necessary to biblical studies, and what would be lost without them? 3) How should the outcomes of comparative analyses be assessed in terms of value and legitimacy, and per what criteria? 4) Is there a certain level of competence in various texts and authors that justifies one’s comparative work? 5) Which philosophical resources are most helpful in conceiving comparisons? We welcome your submissions for EABS 2018 in Helsinki.

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Concepts of Leadership in the Hebrew Bible (EABS)

Katharina Pyschny
Sarah Schulz
Description: The research group focuses on the different conceptions of leadership in the Hebrew Bible. By analyzing the diverse and sometimes even contradictory concepts of leadership in the Old Testament it aims at reconstructing the history of religious and/or political “authorities” in Israel and Early Judaism. Various functions and aspects of human leadership like “judge”, “priest”, “prophet” and “king” will be examined in a literary, (religious and tradition) historical and theological perspective with special emphasis on conceptual changes, developments and shifts. In methodo- logical respect, the unit appreciates multiple approaches (e. g. from literary studies, sociology, cultural studies) and seeks to combine synchronic and diachronic perspectives. It will be asked, which aspects and functions are portrayed positively or negatively and how the relation between human and divine leadership is described and evaluated. Moreover, the respective literary and theological contexts of the different human leadership concepts and their relation to Ancient Near Eastern traditions will be analyzed. A further important aspect concerns changes or discrepancies within the biblical illustration of leadership: Can the alternation or transformation of leadership concepts be linked to the phenomenon “innerbiblical exegesis/ interpretation”? How can discrepancies between the texts be explained? Do changes in the attitude towards certain aspects and functions of human leadership follow a linear development throughout the biblical history? Are there any hints at the “Trägerkreise” behind the texts? By addressing these questions the research group seeks to contribute not only to biblical theology, but also to the relation between the history of Israel/Early Judaism and the literary history of the Hebrew Bible.

Call for papers: At its third meeting in Helsinki the research group will host a session of invited speakers on the topic “Concepts of Leadership in the Chronistic Literature” analyzing human leadership in the Books of Chronicles as well as Ezra and Nehemia. The focus will be on the question of how the depiction and characterization of human leadership evolves during post-exilic times. Based on the results of the last two meetings which focused on the Pentateuch, the Former Prophets and selected Prophetic Literature, the session(s) aim(s) at outlining continuities and discontinuities in the conceptualization of leadership: How consistently were the ideas of leadership available before the exile been followed in post-exilic times? To which degree and how have they been adapted? How have they been integrated into emerging theological concepts? etc. The session of invited speakers will be complimented by an open session. Papers in English dealing with the years’ guiding theme or any other aspect related to the intersection between biblical and historical “authorities” in the Chronistic Literature or connected methodological challenges are cordially invited. In addition to diachronic approaches the research group appreciates papers from multiple (synchronic) perspectives (e. g. from literary studies, sociology, cultural studies) and papers with synchronic as well as diachronic perspectives.

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Construction of Identity in the Ancient World: Intersections and Reflections (EABS)

Joanna Töyräänvuori
Description: This is an interdisciplinary session on identity and identity formation in the ancient world (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Anatolia, ancient Israel, and others). Our special focus is on gender, religious identity, nationality and the stratification of ancient societies, ie. class and occupation based identities.

Call for papers: Questions of identity and identity formation have begun to make inroads into the study of the ancient world in recent years. Especially questions of gender and ethnic identity have been in the focus of scholarly attention. With more and more material available and more differentiation in the methodological tools, the study of ancient identities is diversifying and requires an interdisciplinary approach. This research group aims at bringing together scholars working on the ancient Near East and those who specialize in Greek and Roman Antiquity, as well as other ancient cultures. We invite papers on all aspects of identity in the ancient world (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Anatolia, ancient Israel, and others), and especially encourage approaches based on gender, religious identity, nationality and the stratification of ancient societies, ie. class and occupation based identities. We particularly hope to contribute to the discussion on the intersectional construction of identity in the ancient world.

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Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)

Athalya Brenner-Idan
Gale A. Yee
Description: The goal of this Consultation is to explore the interest in developing a SBL seminar or section on Contextual Biblical Interpretation, its different strategies (including “inculturation,” inter(con)textualization, and reading with “ordinary” readers) and its methodological justifications, and the extent to which all interpretations are contextual. We are especially interested in seemingly “marginal” (from the geographical, gender, faith, class, age, communal and so forth) aspects and in community.

Call for papers: The aim of this Seminar is to underline the significance of contextual interpretation and the contribution of contextual awareness to biblical studies. Issues of different strategies (including “inculturation,” inter(con)textualization, and reading with “ordinary” readers) and methodological justifications are to be seriously explored. We are especially interested in the “marginal” (from the geographical, gender, faith, class, age, communal and so forth) aspects of interpretation of the Bible. Proposals are invited for 4 planned sessions: 1. On the Books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah. 2. On the Psalms. 3. On any books of the New Testament. 4. Since this is a joint Meeting with the EABS, 1-2 joint session(s) with the EABS research project group, 'The Bible in the 21st Century', is being planned and proposals invited, on the topic of Government, Ethics and Resistance: Case Studies in the HB and the NT. All sessions will be a combination of solicited and proposed papers. We welcome papers that examine the biblical text from within a reader’s explicitly articulated context, personal as well as communal, while firmly anchored in clear methodology. Acceptance of papers for the sessions is a first step toward, but does not guarantee, publication in the ongoing contextual series Texts@Contexts (Now at Bloomsbury Publishing; see http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/samuel-kings-and-chronicles-i-9780567671158/ for the latest, and fifth, volume in the Hebrew Bible Texts@Contexs; a sixth volume, on the Five Scrolls, will be published in early 2018).

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Deconstructive Poetics (EABS)

Francis Landy
Hannah M. Strommen
Description: In the 1980s there was an efflorescence of books on the poetics of the Hebrew Bible, such as Adele Berlin Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative; Robert Alter’s two books on the art of biblical narrative and poetry; and Meir Sternberg The Poetics of Biblical Narrative. Since then, however, there has been rather little. More recent work on poetics, moreover, has tended to be formalistic, to separate structure and style from questions of meaning and interpretation. The Deconstructive Poetics research group has two objectives: i) to investigate how the biblical writers constructed their literary works through the intricate interplay of sound, sensation, argument, and symbolism; and ii) how the biblical writers simultaneously deconstructed their poetic worlds, through phenomena such as ambiguity and word-play. Deconstruction evokes the playfulness and uncontrollability of writing, the tendency of every whole to fragment, to impart the incoherence of the world. It also implies an openness to a variety of post-structuralist approaches and agendas. Structuralism was an heroic attempt to reduce all human cultural productions to a limited set of logical operations and issues. Post-structuralism is both more subjective, in that it calls attention to the plurality of readers and reading communities, and less so, since the subject him/herself is in question. Post-structuralism engages with the strangeness of the text, its resistance to interpretation, its diverse voices, the text as performance, for example of gender. Approaches to be engaged with in the group may include parapoetics, the poetics of reception, as well as stylistics and rhetorics.

Call for papers: For the meeting in Helsinki in 2018 we invite papers for one open session, on any topic related to deconstruction, post-structuralism, gender theory, aesthetics, or reception exegesis, on texts either from Hebrew Bible or New Testament. We also invite papers for a special session on The Postmodern Bible, written by the ‘Bible and Culture Collective’ in 1997 (Yale University Press). Experimental in its multi-authored form, and providing a much-needed resource for the intersection between literary theory, cultural criticism and biblical studies, this collection of articles forged new and exciting pathways in biblical criticism. As it is twenty years since The Postmodern Bible was published, we would like to take the opportunity to invite papers that reflect on the significance and impact of The Postmodern Bible, on individual contributions in the book, on postmodernism and the Bible today, and on future directions for theory and the Bible.

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Developing Exegetical Methods (EABS)

Raik Heckl
Thomas Wagner
Description: This research unit is focusing on the development of exegetical methods. The aim is to reach a more detailed and precise description of the processes of literary history in the Hebrew Bible. The main interest of the group is to develop exegetical methods by analysing the synergy effects, which will appear by combining various methodological perspectives on the text. Therefore we will focus on discourse analytical approaches during the forthcoming 5-years circle. Since literary history of Biblical texts was understand and decoded in terms of philological methods (first and foremost source criticism and redaction criticism) this research unit will emphasize an alternative approach by investigating texts on the basis of discourse analytical concepts to give a new perspective on the literary history of Biblical texts. As the discussions of the first 3-years cycle demonstrated the literary history of Biblical texts grants an insight into the process of communication across generations with texts which are not available to the same extent in any other ancient cultural context. Within the process of the formation of Biblical texts not only the author’s intended meaning but also the ancient reception and the effects they had onto the reader become apparent. To each respective topic we will open a two-part session. In the first part we will start with detailed textual analyses and in the second part open methodological reflections by papers and a final panel discussion. All sessions will be open for papers for scholars on all levels; student member’s papers are also warmly welcome especially when presenting results from PhD studies.

Call for papers: Evoking coherence in redactional processes of Fortschreibung and in re-writing Biblical texts Harmonization processes within the Biblical literature are evoked by various intentions, which altered in the course of literary history. Evoking coherence is one of the major attempts of redactors / scribes to re-edit texts to give relevance to the text under changing historical situations. Historical-critical investigations of Biblical texts focussed on literary criticism from the very beginning. Biblical texts contain discrepancies and literary tensions which lead generations of exegetes to reconstruct sources of the existing texts to explore the pre-history of a text. But in the eyes of the redactors of the texts the so-called ‘discrepancies’ and ‘literary tensions’ were irrelevant since they perceived the texts as coherent. In the 2018 session we will focus on the techniques by which editors and authors increased coherence of the transmitted text. This session fosters a methodological reflection of how to trace processes of evoking coherence in the Fortschreibung and re-writing of Biblical texts. Proposals focusing on the material basis of editorial processes are particularly encouraged to propose. This session will be jointly offered with the research unit 'Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in Light of Empirical Evidence‘ chaired by Reinhard Müller and Juha Pakkala.

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Diachronic Poetology of the Hebrew Bible and Related Ancient Near Eastern and Ancient Jewish Literature (EABS)

Reinhard Müller
Urmas Nõmmik
Description: The research group focuses on historical developments in the use of poetic figures during the creation, editing and transmission of the Hebrew Bible. It is based on the assumption that the stylistic figures used by the authors of ancient Hebrew poetry did not remain completely unaltered during the long history of the Hebrew Bible, but were modified and changed in the course of time, and also new poetic figures were created. The large number of diversified poetic forms that we find in the transmitted texts of the Hebrew Bible is, at least in part, due to a complex development of form and style. In order to deepen the diachronic perspective, and in dialogue with genre history, the research group will also investigate in a comparatistic perspective related literature from the Ancient Near East and Early Judaism, e.g., from the Ugaritic corpus or from the Dead Sea scrolls.

Call for papers: For the EABS 2018 Congress in Helsinki, we welcome any paper that addresses poetological questions in a methodologically transparent historical perspective. Comparative perspectives placing Ancient Hebrew poetry in the context of ancient Near Eastern poetical literature are particularly welcome.

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Digital Humanities in Biblical Studies, Early Jewish and Christian Studies (EABS)

Claire Clivaz
David Hamidovic
Pete Philipps
Description: This research group focuses on the transformation of Biblical studies, early Jewish and Christian studies in the emerging digital culture. Initiated in the forties by Fr. Roberto Busa, the field of the Digital Humanities has been so called since 2001. This label is linked to several research centers, with PhD, master and bachelor degrees and qualifies the computing transformation of Humanities and Social sciences. Biblical studies, Early Jewish and Christian studies are integrating progressively the digital culture to their fields, and the purpose of this seminar is to make visible and to stimulate this topic in EABS.

Call for papers: The Digital Humanities in Biblical Studies, Early Jewish Studies and Early Christian Studies research group chairs cordially invite the submission of proposals for papers and/or panel discussion topics for the forthcoming meeting in Helsinki 2018. We plan to hold three sessions welcoming papers. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted via the ISBL website, via the EABS DH section (co-chairs Claire Clivaz, David Hamidovic and Pete Phillips), or via the SBL DH section (co-chairs David Hamidovic and Dan Machiela). We encourage proposals covering the entire spectrum of DH topics applied to Biblical Studies, Early Jewish Studies and Early Christian Studies. This year, we request papers particularly on: • Multimodal expressions of biblical texts: YouTube and other video channels are presenting biblical texts in multimodal formats, using text, image, and sound. How is a written text transformed by the digital culture? Can we compare biblical exegesis on written texts and on multimodal objects? How should we consider the usual instruments of exegesis in light of digital production? • Qumran and Dead Sea scrolls: a special session will be held jointly with the Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls unit. It invites proposals on ongoing research projects that produce new digital/online editions of the Dead Sea Scrolls or make use of digital tools in studying the scrolls and presenting data. • Early Jewish and Christian texts through digital tools: This session welcomes papers on all digital tools used in our fields. Presentations on empirical approaches with demonstration for users are also welcomed.

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Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish, and Christian Studies

David Hamidovic
Daniel Machiela
Description: The unit focuses on the transformations of Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian studies in the emerging digital culture. We propose to study interactions between Digital Humanities and Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian studies (literature, manuscripts, art, archaeology, epigraphy, methodology).

Call for papers: The Digital Humanities in Biblical Studies, Early Jewish Studies and Early Christian Studies research group chairs cordially invite the submission of proposals for papers and/or panel discussion topics for the forthcoming EABS meeting in Helsinki 2018. We plan to hold three sessions welcoming papers. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted via the International SBL meeting website, via the EABS section Digital Humanities and Biblical studies, Early Jewish and Christian studies (co-chairs Claire Clivaz, David Hamidovic and Pete Phillips), or via the SBL section Digital Humanities and Biblical studies, Early Jewish and Christian studies (co-chairs David Hamidovic and Dan Machiela). Proposals for both sections will be discussed together. We encourage proposals covering the entire spectrum of Digital Humanities topics applied to Biblical Studies, Early Jewish Studies and Early Christian Studies. This year, we request papers particularly on: • Multimodal expressions of biblical texts: YouTube, Vimeo, and other video channels are presenting biblical texts in multimodal formats, using text, image, and sound. How is a written text transformed by the digital culture? Can we compare biblical exegesis on written texts and on multimodal objects? How should we consider the usual instruments of exegesis (such as dictionnaries, commentaries, etc.) in light of digital production? • Qumran and Dead Sea scrolls: a special session will be held jointly with the Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls unit. It invites proposals on ongoing research projects that produce new digital/online editions of the Dead Sea Scrolls or make use of digital tools in studying the scrolls and presenting data. • Early Jewish and Christian texts through digital tools: This session welcomes papers on all digital tools used in Biblical, Early Jewish, and Christian Studies. Presentations on empirical approaches with demonstration for users are also welcomed.

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Dispelling Demons: Interpretations of Evil and Exorcism in Ancient Near Eastern, Jewish and Biblical Contexts (EABS)

Gina Konstantopoulos
Description: This session considers the different interpretations of demons and monsters as seen in ancient Near Eastern, Jewish, and Biblical material. It aims to understand how such liminal beings were represented in these different, though connected, contexts, and how they were characterized in both textual and artistic depictions. Demons and other supernatural beings were often constructed in negative: created and defined through measures that could be taken to protect against them or exorcize them from an afflicted individual. The ways in which such figures could be fought or expelled, as well as the qualities that defined a number of benevolent supernatural figures that worked to oppose their malevolence, speaks to their important, but often fluid and shifting, roles in each context and culture.

Call for papers: Demons and monsters are found as independent, yet connected, figures in ancient Near Easter, Jewish, and Biblical contexts. Many figures were tied to particular geographic or topographic locations or representative of certain illnesses or afflictions. Others, aided by their inherently liminal qualities, moved from one context to the next, migrating from earlier to later periods. In doing so, their origins and functions were often reinvented and repurposed to fit their new setting. This session invites papers that consider the role and representation of demons and monsters in these contexts, particularly in light of how such figures were protected against, and the rituals and texts utilized to combat them.

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Early Christianity (EABS)

Paul Middleton
Description: The constitutive idea of this seminar is to treat Early Christianity as a multivalent phenomenon, characterized by a fundamental diversity. The focus is on interchanges and interactions between various groups and movements in the ancient Mediterranean world that had an impact on developing Christianity, including the interrelations between various Christian groupings. Papers offered to this seminar may focus on both canonical and non-canonical writings as well as other source materials and may apply a variety of methods. We highly encourage interdisciplinary approaches and particularly welcome contributions that cross boundaries between traditional disciplines.

Call for papers: Ritual and Worship: Worship and liturgical practices can not only reflect doctrinal and theological convictions, but also help develop, shape, or even create them. For this reason, the practice of liturgy and worship has been dubbed a ‘theological laboratory’. This year, for the EABS Early Christianity section, papers are sought that explore any aspect of liturgy, worship, or ritual in early Christianity. Papers might address the development of any particular liturgical practice; the relationship between worship and the development of Christology; the place, context, background, or content of hymns (canonical or extra-canonical); the role of hymns in the development of ‘orthodoxies’; how historical or contemporary liturgical or hymnody interpret the past; or any other aspect of the theme. Papers are also invited for an open session on any aspect of the Unit’s aims.

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Early Christianity and the Ancient Economy

David Hollander
Thomas R. Blanton, IV
Description: The unit is the foundational component of an international, interdisciplinary project that seeks to delineate the relationship between early Christianity and the ancient economy in the period from Jesus to Justinian, demonstrating both similarities and differences in attitudes, approaches to problems, and attempted solutions.

Call for papers: The Early Christianity and Ancient Economy program unit sponsors three projects: The first project involves a study of all the major aspects of the economy in the ancient world, especially the Roman Empire. The second project examines first-century early Christianity both in relationship to the ancient economy and in regard to its own economic aspects. The third project does the same for Christianity in the second to the fifth centuries. Both synchronic and diachronic studies are encouraged, as are contributions focused on specific issues (such as money, texts, authors, themes, and events). The unit welcomes papers addressing the economy in its broadest sense, including both mercantile and non-mercantile transactions. Paper proposals for all three projects are welcomed, especially those that make use of papyri, inscriptions, and other realia. Those submitting a proposal should designate in the abstract the project for which the paper should be considered. In recognition of the meeting’s host city, the program unit also welcomes proposals treating any aspect of the economic history of Helsinki (or, more broadly, of Finland), as well as theological reflections on or responses to the city’s economy.

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Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in light of Empirical Evidence (EABS)

Juha Pakkala
Reinhard Müller
Description: The research group focuses on the editorial techniques applied by ancient scribes during the creation and transmission of the Hebrew Bible. It investigates ancient editorial techniques in light of empirical or documented evidence provided by parallel versions in different books or divergent textual traditions. What can be learned from this evidence about the factual scribal techniques or ancient methods of editing, and how do they relate to the classic methodological assumptions made in redaction criticism which seeks to reconstruct redaction history without empirical evidence? "The research group focuses on the editorial techniques applied by ancient scribes during the creation and transmission of the Hebrew Bible. It investigates ancient editorial techniques in light of empirical or documented evidence provided by parallel versions in different books or divergent textual traditions. What can be learned from this evidence about the factual scribal techniques or ancient methods of editing, and how do they relate to the classic methodological assumptions made in redaction criticism which seeks to reconstruct redaction history without empirical evidence? Leading questions of the research group are: How do the editorial changes that are empirically observable relate to the respective older text, how do they impact its form and message? Would the changes we observe by comparing parallel versions and divergent manuscript traditions be detectable also in the case that such documented evidence would be unavailable? What methodological conclusions need to be drawn from these observations?"

Call for papers: Papers proposed for the open session should deal with the question, what can we know about the growth of the texts in light of the textual history or other documented evidence (such as manuscript evidence, variant editions, parallel texts etc.).

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Emotions and the Biblical World (EABS)

Françoise Mirguet
Dominika A. Kurek-Chomycz
Description: The Emotions and the Biblical World research group explores the role that emotions play in biblical writings, and in Early Judaism and Early Christianity more generally. This includes but is not limited to patterns of articulating emotions, their significance in worship and broadly understood religious experience, the role of emotions in strategies of persuasion, the vocabulary used to describe emotions and their manifestations, translating emotions discourse, as well as the social and cultural factors that influence their expression, suppression or repression, with a particular focus on the relationship between emotions and gender, and between emotions and the construction of otherness. The literary corpora that we consider are not limited to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, but include also other Early Jewish and Early Christian writings.

Call for papers: Emotions, Communities, Identities: Over the last twenty years, much research has been devoted to the connection between emotions, social formations, and identity. For William Reddy, “emotional regimes” are imposed by the ruling elite, while “emotional shelters” allow for alternative emotional standards. Medievalist Barbara Rosenwein, however, argued that most societies present a more complex organization: dominant emotional norms are partly embraced and partly rejected by subordinate groups. She proposed the concept of “emotional community”—a group that values (or devalues) the same set of emotions, which function as an internalized sense of identity. Benno Gammerl proposed the notion of “emotional styles,” expressing the fluidity of an identity based on emotion(s), in its ability to transcend other boundaries. Following Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of habitus, Monique Scheer defines emotions as embodied practices. Since the body is always socially shaped and conditioned, there is no dichotomy between a “natural” body and emotional norms. In Margaret Wetherell’s words, “affective practices sediment in social formations”; emotions are formative of communities as much as communities construct a frame in which emotions are experienced. In our 2018 session, we welcome a broad range of papers that address the connection between emotions, social groups, and identities. We hope to bring together different methodologies and discuss texts from various time periods and cultural contexts (Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East, Second Temple Period and Hellenistic Judaism, New Testament, Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity).

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Enoch within and outside the Books of Enoch: parabiblical writings, iconography and oral tradition (EABS)

Alexey Somov
Florentina Badalanova Geller
Ivan Miroshnikov
Description: "The corpus of parascriptural writings attributed to the biblical patriarch Enoch was originally composed in either Aramaic or Hebrew no later than 1 st cent. BCE, although some of its constituents (e.g. The Astronomical Book, The Book of Watchers) are dated to a much earlier period (3 rd cent. BCE). Its intellectual offspring survived in multilingual cultural landscape of the apocalyptic Judaeo-Christian traditions in three versions. 1 Enoch is fully attested in Ethiopic, with a number of extant segments in 2 Aramaic from Qumran, as well as Greek passages (embedded in the Byzantine chronographic compositions); there are also fragments in Latin. 2 Enoch is wholly extant only in Church Slavonic (hence its designation as the Slavonic Apocalypse of Enoch), and 3 Enoch is attested exclusively in Hebrew. Significantly, The Book of Watchers, which was also known to the Church Fathers (e.g. Tertullian and Origen), was quoted as “scripture” in the Epistle of Jude (1:14-15). Since hitherto the scholarly discourse has been focused predominantly on apocryphal compositions ascribed to Enoch (i.e. 1, 2 and 3 Enoch), the current session will be aiming at the interdisciplinary analysis of his image not within, but outside of the writings designated by his name."

Call for papers: Scholars with broad interdisciplinary interests are invited to participate. Along with specialists from the area of Enochic studies, researchers in related fields are encouraged to contribute papers dealing with allusions and references to Enochic imagery (even if Enoch himself is not directly mentioned).

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Epigraphical and Paleological Studies Pertaining to the Biblical World

Annalisa Azzoni
Robert Deutsch
Description: The unit focuses on inscriptions and icons bearing on the Bible world, with special concentration on the meaning and analysis of seals, ostraca, magic bowls, inscriptions, and scripts from the ancient Near East.

Call for papers: The unit focuses on inscriptions and icons bearing on the Bible world, with special concentration on the meaning and analysis of seals, ostraca, magic bowls, inscriptions, and scripts from the ancient Near East.

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Epistle to the Hebrews

David M. Allen
Madison N. Pierce
Description: This unit is designed to encourage conversation about the historical, hermeneutical, and theological issues raised in Hebrews. Special attention will be given to papers that engage topics relevant to the portion of the Epistle under consideration each year.

Call for papers: In 2018, this unit will offer two sessions. For the first session, we welcome papers on the reception of one or more figures or characters in Hebrews 11. For the second session, we welcome papers on any subject related to the study of Hebrews.

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Europe Contested: Contemporary Bible Readings Performed by "Ordinary" Readers in a European Context (EABS)

Gitte Buch-Hansen
Sharon Jacob
Description: After the inaugural workshop at the 2015 annual meeting, we established a 3-year research unit in order to investigate into the following: • How “ordinary” Europeans read and interpret biblical texts; • How the unique contextual realities of present-day Europe impact upon the readings produced by “ordinary” European readers; • How to meet the methodological challenges experienced when undertaking such research in a European setting. In this context, we use “European” to refer solely to Europe’s geographical borders, as opposed to definitions derived from ethnicity or history. Similarly, “ordinary” refers to any pre-critical reader of the Bible (i.e. someone that does not have knowledge of Hebrew, Greek or Latin, or the higher-critical methods of biblical interpretation). Once a prominent player in global affairs, and the birthplace of Western culture, Europe now finds itself on the cusp of great political, economic, and cultural change. With an increased movement between people from within the borders of Europe and a growing influx of migrants and refugees from other continents (caused partly by war, partly by economic and ecological crises), the notion of “European-ness” has become fluid and contested. This research group therefore seeks to analyse the way in which “ordinary” European readers engage with biblical texts as a means of investigating this changing nature of Europe and European identity. This unit ultimately therefore seeks to ask: • Who are “Europeans” today? • Which kind of values should be seen as “European”? • And how do these “Europeans” engage with the Bible in order to clarify European identity issues?

Call for papers: The goal of this session is to provide a formal, yet supportive platform upon which scholars working within the field of contextual biblical interpretation in a European context can present and share their fieldwork findings. Whilst preference will be given to papers that address the two themes below, this session also welcomes any contextual readings of biblical texts produced by groups of ‘ordinary’ readers from faith, interfaith or non-faith perspectives, so long as such papers explore readings which somehow engage with ‘Europe’ as a geographical, historical and political phenomenon. Thus, we also invite papers that engage in the response to Europe and European culture and politics in a post-colonial context. However, scholars contributing to this session must draw upon case studies from their own fieldwork. Session One. Biblical Interpretation and Policy Making The academic study of real readers’ engagement with the Bible has demonstrated a high potential for policy making. We invite papers that demonstrate how ‘data’ from their research can be used to inform procedures and change practices in the governmental system (e.g. national refugee boards) or in the Church (e.g. the liturgy) etc. Session Two. Reading the Bible with Non-Believers The fact that the Bible is the Holy book of the Church, but also has gained a culturally ‘canonical’ status may produce contradictory relations with and sentiments toward the biblical texts among non-believers. We invite papers that explore the hermeneutics of non-believers.

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Families and Children in the Ancient World

Jeremy Punt
Louise Tsui-yuk Liu
Description: This unit provides a forum for presenting and discussing issues related to families, children and biblical literature. The section is open to presentations on the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Testament and early Christian, Rabbinic and Greco-Roman material from a variety of perspectives and using a variety of methods.

Call for papers: Families and Children in the Ancient World section plans to host two sessions. The first will be an open session. We encourage paper proposals on a broad range of topics relating to families and children in the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Testament, early Christianity, or the Greco-Roman world in general. Submissions from a variety of perspectives, such as gender, medicine, archaeology, and literature, are welcomed. The second session calls for papers on children sacrifices liturgically or metaphorically in various material or non-material ancient cultures.

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Feminist Interpretations

Lilly (SJ) Nortje-Meyer
Marianne Bjelland Kartzow
Description: The aim of this unit is to provide a forum for research in issues and questions relating to feminist methods of interpretation. While specifically focused on methodological concerns, we are also concerned to ground that reflection in the reality of engagement with specific texts.

Call for papers: The Feminist Interpretations unit will organize the following sessions. 1) Methodological and hermeneutical issues specifically relating to exegesis in feminist and gender studies. In this session papers should focus on different methodologies (e.g., historical critical, narratology, intertextuality, decoloniality, interreligious, Intersectional and transnational studies ...) and their relevance for gender studies. 2) Feminist exegesis and cultural studies, specifically on the reception history of gender relevant themes and texts of the Bible. 3) Junior section of gender relevant exegesis of biblical texts. In this section we expect papers of young researchers presenting their research projects. We welcome papers that examine biblical texts from a gender perspective, firmly anchored in clear methodology. 4) In this session we are particularly interested in papers discussing current biblical feminist theory and practice in Finland and other Nordic countries and the issues faced by women scholars in these contexts.

Tags: Gender and Sexuality Criticism (incl. Feminist, Womanist, Masculinity Studies, Queer Theory) (Interpretive Approaches)

Food as Concept / Symbol / Metaphor

Alexey Somov
Claudia D. Bergmann
Description: This unit will invite contributions that discuss biblical and extra-biblical texts, in which food takes on symbolic or metaphoric value. It will explore the role of food (and drink) in rituals, in the creation and definition of communal and religious identity, and in the lives of individuals. It will also invite contributions about texts that use food terminology and imagery when imagining life in the world to come or otherworldly realms.

Call for papers: While a thematic session on food in biblical literature organized jointly with the EABS group on Anthropology and the Bible focusses on individual studies on God and Food (see the joint call for papers for details), we also search for papers that address methodological issues in the study of Food as a Symbol / Concept / Metaphor. These papers can address Metaphor, Ritual, Cultural, and Sociological Studies etc. as they can be applied to biblical and extrabiblical literature.

Tags: Hebrew Bible (Ideology & Theology), New Testament (Ideology & Theology), Religious Traditions and Scriptures (History of Interpretation / Reception History / Reception Criticism)

Gospel of Mark

Geert Van Oyen
Elizabeth Struthers Malbon
Description: Our aim is to provide a forum for scholars and graduate students to explore all aspects of and approaches to the research, hermeneutics, and interpretation of the Gospel of Mark, including (but not limited to) historical, exegetical, theological, methodological, and literary studies. We are especially interested in the investigation of new questions, new areas of inquiry, and new strategies for reading Mark.

Call for papers: The Gospel of Mark unit is planning two sessions for the 2018 International Meeting. Both sessions are open for proposals; one session is open for all topics, and the other session will focus on “Change in the Gospel of Mark.” Although the word “change” does not occur in the Gospel of Mark, it is amazing how predominant the theme is. Jesus’ first words contain an appeal to conversion. Many individual episodes are stories about change: miracle stories and exorcisms, but also the parable of the sower and the story of the empty tomb. Overall, the final situation is different from the initial situation. Characters such as the disciples or Jesus go through an evolution, while others, such as the opponents, do not. Time has changed with the coming of the kingdom, and important themes like purity, the temple or Sabbath receive a new meaning. Some of Jesus’ sayings, including the paradox of being great by serving, demand a completely new attitude. One could ask, In what sense does the story seek to change the reader? Or what exactly is the final change from passion to resurrection? In this session, we invite presentations about the function of change in a particular pericope or in the whole of the Gospel of Mark. We especially welcome scholars who investigate how literary techniques and rhetorical strategies are used to communicate this experience of change.

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Graeco-Roman Society and the New Testament (EABS)

Ekaterini Tsalampouni
Jennifer Krumm
Soeng Yu Li
Description: The research group focuses a) on various aspects of the social life of the Graeco-Roman world in which Jews and Christians operated (e.g. household networks and religion, kinship, friendship and other relationships, slavery, prostitution, social and geographical mobility, social groups, everyday life in Graeco-Roman cities etc.) that are part of the socio-historical context of the New Testament texts and therefore provide insight into them, and b) on artifacts from the Graeco-Roman world (e.g. inscriptions, papyri and archeological findings) that can shed light into the life of Jewish and Christian groups of this time. Papers that present interdisciplinary approaches to the topics under discussion and offer new insights and fresh interpretations of Jewish and Christian sources placing them within their socio-historical context are welcome.

Call for papers: Two sessions are scheduled for the meeting in Berlin: a) an open session where papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the research group are welcome. b) a thematic session focused on ""Marginal groups in Graeco-Roman cities"". The concept of marginality has been widely used in sociology but has not often been discussed in the context of Graeco-Roman society. Various persons, social, professional or religious groups (the early Christian groups among others) have been regarded as marginal in different social, geographical or cultural contexts. The present session will attempt to apply the insights of the previous sociological studies on data (both literary and material) from the cities of the Graeco-Roman world and to explore the notion of marginality in this world as well as its various manifestations in different local communities. More specifically, we invite papers that will focus either on methodological issues regarding maginalization processes and manifestations in the ancient world, especially in the realm of religion (however, not confinded in it) or critically discuss particular pieces of evidence that could provide information about various groups or persons living on the margins of the Graeco-Roman society. Moreover, studies that can relate the sociological discussion on marginalization with the New Testament evidence are welcome.

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Healthcare and Disability in the Ancient World

Rebecca Raphael
Description: The unit seeks to foster scholarship related to disability in all fields of biblical studies. Major areas of concern include medical history of the Ancient Near East and Greco-Roman worlds; the religious, legal, and cultural status of people with disabilities in the biblical and formative Jewish and Christian periods; the representation of disability in biblical and cognate texts, biblical theology of the same, and disability in the history of biblical interpretation.

Call for papers: The unit welcomes paper proposals on any aspect of the study of health and disability related to the ancient Near East and Greco-Roman worlds. Major areas of concern include medical history; the religious, legal, and cultural status of people with disabilities or healthcare providers; the representation of disability in biblical and cognate texts, and biblical theology. The two open-call sessions will be themed based on grouping papers accepted. In addition, for a joint session with the EABS Talmudic Medicine unit, we would like to see proposals dealing with diachronic perspectives on conceptions of the body from the ANE through Talmudic period. Comparisons across Israelite, Judaic, early Christian, Graeco-Roman and Irano-Persian/Zoroastrian religio-medical traditions are particularly welcome.

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Hellenistic Greek Language and Linguistics

Jermo van Nes
Description: Hellenistic Greek forms the basis of studies relative to both testaments as well as much of the ancient world. This section welcomes papers on any aspect of the Greek found in the Septuagint, New Testament, or other Hellenistic literature. Linguistic, grammatical and lexical studies are particularly encouraged.

Call for papers: Hellenistic Greek forms the basis of studies relative to both testaments as well as much of the ancient world. This section welcomes papers on any aspect of the Greek found in the Septuagint, New Testament, or other Hellenistic literature. Linguistic, grammatical and lexical studies are particularly encouraged. Also welcome are papers on verbal aspect for a joint session with The Greek of Jews and Christians through the Pax Romana Research Group of the European Association of Biblical Studies.

Tags: Greek - Attic (Philology / Linguistics (incl. Semiotics)), Greek - Koine (LXX, NT, Patristics) (Philology / Linguistics (incl. Semiotics))

Hellenistic Judaism

Ljubica Jovanovic
Description: This section is dedicated to the study of all aspects of Judaism related to Hellenistic times. The Hellenistic period includes its chronological, cultural, and linguistic dimensions.

Call for papers: We welcome papers on any aspect of Hellenistic Judaism including proposals on Hellenistic Jewish literature and its reception history. This year we are happy to invite presentations for two joint sessions which we will hold with the research unit “Hellenistic Judaism (EABS).” One session is on “Food and Eating in Hellenistic Judaism,” and the other on Hanukkah, including its reception and present meaning and various aspects of “The Hanukkah Complex.” In recognition of the work on Dead Sea Scrolls by our Finnish hosts, we invite papers for a session on the topic “Research on Apocalyptic, Apocryphal, and Second Temple Literature in the Nordic, Baltic, and North Slavic Lands,” to be held jointly with the program units “Apocalyptic Literature (ISBL),” “Rethinking Biblical Written Tradition through Slavonic Interpretations (ISBL),” and “Slavonic Apocrypha” (EABS).

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Hellenistic Judaism (EABS)

Noah Hacham
Ory Amitay
Description: This research group provides a forum for discussing the broad scope of Hellenistic Judaism: history and historiography, theology, literature, society, economy and culture of the various Hellenistic Jewish communities, as well as the relationship between the motherland and Hellenistic Diaspora Jews, and their attitude towards the native population, society and culture

Call for papers: In Helsinki we will have joint sessions of EABS and SBL, which will be devoted to discuss two themes: Hanukkah and food and eating. The Hannukah issue will include two sessions, one for invited papers and one open session. This session invites papers dealing with various aspects of what might be termed the Hanukkah complex: a historical analysis of the events from the Seleukid takeover of Eretz-Israel to the rededication of the temple by Judas; the sources on which we rely for information about these events (Daniel; 1,2,4 Maccabees; Josephus etc.); Judean society in the first third of the second century BCE; the reception of Hanukkah through the ages and its meaning in the present age; and any other topics that might be relevant to the discussion The second theme is food and eating in Hellenistic Judaism. Food and eating are fundamental identity markers. Different Peoples and religions are characterized, inter alia, by their cuisine and by dietary customs surrounding their consumption or non- consumption of foods. The Jews’ dietary practices and the types of foods that they consumed were among the singular facets of Jewish life that were apparent to Greek observers. Thus, for example, the Letter of Aristeas goes to great lengths to elucidate the distinctive Jewish dietary practices. Food and eating were a major preoccupation of Hellenistic Jews and this session will be devoted to exploring this multifaceted subject. Papers on all aspects of food and eating in Hellenistic Judaism are welcome."

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Historical Approaches to the Bible and the Biblical World (EABS)

Florian Lippke
Katharina Pyschny
Lukasz Niesiolowski-Spano
Description: This research unit provides a forum on historical method when dealing with the history of Palestine/Israel (“Geschichte Israels”) and the relevant media mainly in the second and first Millennium BCE. We seek to foster scholarly and open-minded discussions integrating archaeology, history of media (incl. literary theory) and cultural studies. Beside a core-panel with frequent presence, invited papers are scheduled as well as open sessions.

Call for papers: There will be no open call for papers for 2018.

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History of Biblical Scholarship in the Late Modern Period

Shani Tzoref
Description: This unit provides a forum for critical inquiry into the history of biblical scholarship in the late modern period. It encourages analytical investigation of biblical scholarship in the 19th and 20th centuries within the framework of knowledge production, the history of the humanities, institutional history, and cultural history. Biographical portraits, textual analyses, and surveys of scholarly trends are treated as first-order data supporting second-order analyses. Given the interest of biblical scholars in the history of the discipline, in light of the necessity for sustained reflection on the epistemological apparatuses and methodological proceedings undergirding it, and in view of the increased attention granted to the history of the human sciences more broadly, it supports a thorough historicization of research into the biblical literature.

Call for papers: The consultation unit for the History of Biblical Scholarship in the Late Modern Era invites the submission of abstracts for one open session, and for two themed sessions on Nordic Scholarship, sponsored jointly with the Local Committee of the Helsinki ISBL. The unit is dedicated to critical analytical investigation of biblical scholarship within the framework of knowledge production, the history of the humanities, institutional history, and cultural history. Biographical portraits, textual analyses, and surveys of scholarly trends are treated as first-order data supporting second-order analyses. The open session welcomes any submission relevant to the unit topic and methodological approach. The joint themed sessions are (1) Biblical Scholarship in Nordic lands. This session invites papers that examine the contributions of 19th and early 20th century Nordic scholars to critical study of the Hebrew Bible, in keeping with the unit's critical analytical approach (as above). Some recommended areas of inquiry are: notable sub-specialties, such as Psalmodic literature, cult tradition and history, ANE religion; methodological analyses of the contributions of individual scholars or schools of scholarship; geographical interactions and influences, e.g., the relationship between Finnish and German scholarship. (2) Holy Land Explorers: In Recognition of Hilma Granqvist. Hilma Granqvist (1890-1972) was a Finnish anthropologist and ethnographer who conducted long field studies in the 1920s in the then British Mandate of Palestine. She published her findings in several books on marriage customs, birth, and childcare in Arab villages. She also took hundreds of photographs related to her areas of interest. Inspired by Granqvist's groundbreaking work, this session invites papers that explore the contributions of Holy Land explorers to Biblical scholarship.

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Iconography and Biblical Studies (EABS)

Florian Lippke
Izaak J. de Hulster
Description: Why iconography? Archaeology provides Biblical Studies with information essential for understanding the biblical text in its historical context. An important branch of archaeology is iconography. Ancient Near Eastern iconography provides the (scholarly) community not only with information about the world in which the Bible emerged and was written, but also evidence relating to the perception, symbol systems, and so forth of the people who inhabited this ‘world’. Studying pictorial material contemporary to the biblical documents (Hebrew Bible and New Testament) affords insight into the historical context of the text and facilitates an awareness of how the people contemporaneous with the text thought, imagined, and observed reality. Thus, iconography merits sustained attention and effort to gain a more nuanced and more complete picture of many aspects of Biblical Studies. "Why iconography? Archaeology provides Biblical Studies with information essential for understanding the biblical text in its historical context. An important branch of archaeology is iconography, the study of pictorial expressions. Pictorial expressions depict a vast range of subjects: the natural and cultivated world, daily life, rituals, ideas – even imaginative notions (e.g. symbols, imagery). Thus, ancient Near Eastern iconography provides the (scholarly) community not only with information about the world in which the Bible emerged and was written, but also evidence relating to the perception, symbol systems, and so forth of the people who inhabited this ‘world’. Studying pictorial material contemporary to the biblical documents (Hebrew Bible and New Testament) affords insight into the historical context of the text and facilitates an awareness of how the people contemporaneous with the text thought, imagined, and observed reality. For these reasons, and others, iconography merits sustained attention and effort as a road which leads to a more nuanced and more complete picture of many aspects

Call for papers: "The EABS research unit ‘Iconography and Biblical Studies’, in collaboration with the ISBL program unit ‘Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible’ invite you to submit an abstract for our open session, presenting your research on iconography or iconographic exegesis of the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. Thematic session ‘Image and Text in the Assyrian Periods’ – To recognize and celebrate the work of The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project based in Helsinki, we welcome papers that explore the relationship between image and text in the Assyrian periods."

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Intersections: A Forum for Research on Ancient Israel, Hebrew Bible, and Cognate Topics (EABS)

Göran Eidevall
Kristin Joachimsen
Description: "Intersections" provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and discussion of the full range of methods and interdisciplinary investigations currently being applied to the study of the Hebrew Bible, ancient Israel, and cognate topics, including their contemporary receptions. It celebrates diversity and encourages presentations by scholars working in less-trodden areas/approaches. "Intersections" aims at countering current tendencies toward the fragmentation of our field into separate mini/micro-fields and at furthering interactions among scholars using various approaches and working in different areas in order to stimulate new insights through cross-fertilization.

Call for papers: This session is open for all paper proposals related to studies concerning the Old Testament, Hebrew Bible, and Ancient Israel which do not fit in any of the other seminars or workshops.

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Israel in the Ancient Near East (EABS)

Anna Elise Zernecke
Noga Ayali-Darshan
Description: Ancient Israel was in all phases of its history embedded in the different cultural frameworks of the ancient Near East. The research group aims at creating a common forum for scholars investigating issues of religion, language and culture in the ancient Near East and welcomes participants from across the range of subjects and time periods.

Call for papers: The Syro-Anatolian Legacy The knowledge of the Syro-Anatolian civilisations of the second millennium – the Hurrians, the Hittites, the West-Semites, the Luwians etc. – has grown considerably over the last decades. However, their affinity with their 1st millennium successors in the ancient Near East, including ancient Israel, is often unobtrusive. The chairs invite papers on all aspects of the Syro-Anatolian legacy in the 1st millennium, e.g. in language, material culture, mythology, rituals, and religious traditions. Additionally, there will be an open session for papers addressing other topics covered under the rubric ‘Israel in the ancient Near East’. Please note that abstracts longer than 250 words will not be accepted.

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Johannine Literature

Richard K. Min
Dirk G. van der Merwe
Description: The unit promotes the study of the Johannine literature, a major component of the Christian Scripture; addressing the issues and concerns having to do with the analysis and interpretation of the literature.

Call for papers: The unit promotes the study of the Johannine literature, a major component of the Christian Scripture; addressing the issues and concerns having to do with the analysis and interpretation of the literature.

Tags: Gospels - John (Biblical Literature - New Testament)

Judaeans in the Persian Empire (EABS)

Anne-Mareike Wetter
Caroline Waerzeggers
Jason M. Silverman
Description: This research group seeks to treat the Persian Empire as a significant social and historical context for the development of Second Temple Judaism rather than just a chronological time frame. The emphasis is more on historiographic than literary questions, with a strong commitment to interaction with cognate disciplines (e.g., Assyriology, Achaemenid studies, Iranology, social sciences).

Call for papers: Call for Helsinki 2018: "Elite Cultures and Achaemenid Koine". JPE invites abstracts that consider changing local hierarchies and elite networks in dialogue with the emergence of a broader Achaemenid Koine as attested in material culture and manifested in regional literatures. How can we understand the relations between pre-existing local elites, the Iranian imperial elites, and emerging elites? Where should we assign the components of reinscribed memory, distance/migration, and appropriation among the groups concerned? JPE especially welcomes papers that evoke the possibility of microhistories of social hierarchies. Papers that look at diachronic changes between the Achaemenid and earlier and later empires are also welcome. JPE expects to have at least one open session, and one invited session in conjunction with other Near Eastern sections planned for Helsinki.

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Judaica

Elad Filler
Shamir Yona
Description: The unit draws together scholars from around the world to explore diverse issues that are related to Hebrew Scripture in its relationship to ancient, medieval, and modern Judaisms: medieval lexicography and poetics, musical exegesis, philosophy, and the study of the Talmud in the Far East.

Call for papers: The 2018 Judaica unit invites papers related to Hebrew Scripture in its relationship to ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish Philosophy and musical exegesis.

Tags: Ancient Near East - Iron Age (History & Culture), Apocalyptic Literature and Related Works (Early Jewish Literature - Jewish Pseudepigrapha), Art, Film, Music, and Literature (History of Interpretation / Reception History / Reception Criticism), Babylonian Talmud (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Biblical Interpretations (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Biblical Texts (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Comparative Approaches (Interpretive Approaches), Dead Sea Scrolls (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Expansions of the Old Testament and Other Legends (Early Jewish Literature - Jewish Pseudepigrapha), Hebrew (classical) (Philology / Linguistics (incl. Semiotics)), Hymns and Prayers (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Jerusalem Talmud (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Jewish (Ideology & Theology), Jewish Pseudepigrapha (Early Jewish Literature - Jewish Pseudepigrapha), Josephus (Early Jewish Literature - Other), Legal Writings (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Lexicography (Text and Translation), Literary Criticism (incl. poetics, new criticism, formalism, close reading, narratology) (Interpretive Approaches), Mishnah (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Nonliterary Texts (lists, contracts) (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Other Jewish Compositions (e.g., 1 Enoch) (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Other Rabbinic Works - Exegetical Midrashim (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Other Rabbinic Works - Haggadic Midrashim (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Other Rabbinic Works - Halakic Midrashim (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Other Rabbinic Works - Homiletical Midrashim (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Other Texts (Early Jewish Literature - Other), Philo (Early Jewish Literature - Other), Prayers, Psalms, and Odes (Early Jewish Literature - Jewish Pseudepigrapha), Rabbinic Literature (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Rule Documents (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Sectarian Texts (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Targumic Texts (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Testaments (Early Jewish Literature - Jewish Pseudepigrapha), Tosefta (Early Jewish Literature - Rabbinic Literature), Wisdom and Philosophical Literature (Early Jewish Literature - Jewish Pseudepigrapha)

Literary Features – Fact or Fiction (EABS)

Elizabeth R.Hayes
Karolien Vermeulen
Description: The research group aims at providing a forum for scholars with an interest in “literary features” in the Hebrew Bible and other ancient Near Eastern texts. Features include widely found phenomena such as alliteration and paronomasia, but also the typical biblical parallelismus membrorum and other structurally embedded features such as chiasm and inclusio. In addition, also devices that exploit the double or multiple meanings of words are included, such as Janus parallelism and double entendre. The group is interested in the functionality of all of these features in textual corpora of the ancient Near East and in particular the Hebrew Bible. We welcome a broad variety of methodological approaches to tackle the following questions: what does a particular feature do in a text (from as small as a line to a large corpus of texts)? How does it affect the reading experience? How does it shape the meaning of a text? And finally, how do the feature, the reader, and the text produce meaning together?

Call for papers: For the Helsinki meeting in 2018 we will organize two sessions: one thematic session and one open session. The first session will focus on the theme “Down in the Hebrew Bible.” We invite papers that address literal as well as metaphorical or conceptual spaces of depths and low elevation. Spaces can include, but are by no means limited to, geographical locations such as depths of water or lower elevations, spaces of despair, and other actual or metaphorical spaces. Abstracts should indicate which spaces will be discussed in the paper, which methodology will be used, and what insights the paper offers in the stylistics of low spaces in the Hebrew Bible. This session will be a joint session with the EABS Research Group Literary Features: Fact or Fiction. A selection of papers will be peer reviewed for publication. A second session will be open to all who address the main research aim of the session as described on the website. When in doubt, please feel free to contact the chairs at biblicalstylistics@gmail.com, or alternatively at erussell.hayes@gmail.com.

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Medicine in Bible and Talmud (EABS)

Lennart Lehmhaus
Markham Geller
Description: The group focuses on medical ideas and healing practices in the Bible and Rabbinic sources, as well as in closely related or contemporary traditions (e.g. New Testament, Qumranic texts, apocryphal traditions, Targum, early Christian texts). The group will address the complex and often subtle processes of reception, adaptation and production of (secular or scientific) medical knowledge in the transformative period of (Late) Antiquity. Particular attention will be paid also to the interplay between form and content. In which way did specific hermeneutics and forms of representation not only serve as a ‘channel’ for transmission or seal for authority but also as a method for acquiring knowledge? An analysis of these specific ways of appropriation of medical ideas and practices will help to grasp the particular cultural or religious (Mesopotamian, Jewish, Christian, Graeco-Roman) character of the epistemologies and the knowledge generated through these exchanges. Contributors should aim at offering a comparative perspective by keeping an eye on the embeddedness of medical discourses in their surrounding cultures( ancient Babylonian, Near Eastern, Graeco-Roman, Persian, Byzantine/Syriac or early Islamicate traditions). Such a perspective will allow for assessing Jewish and Talmudic medical knowledge within a broader history of ancient knowledge cultures and helps to determine their distinct epistemologies or particular Jewishness. Furthermore, a synchronic and diachronic perspective enhances to highlight various processes of transmission, transfer, rejection, modification and invention of the issues under discussion. While addressing the interaction between various medical discourses, the group will consider different strategies (borrowing/ camouflage/ negation etc.) which may relate to still unsolved questions in the transcultural history of science(s) and knowledge in (Late) Antiquity.

Call for papers: For 2018 we invite proposals for papers or for panel-sessions, preferably with a comparative perspective, on the theme “The ways of the amorites – magico-medical knowledge and practices among Jews and others in (Late) Antiquity”. Our thematic panel will deal with ideas and practices that blur earlier dichotomies between magic or 'folk medicine' and ‘rationale’, or ‘scientific’ medicine in Jewish, Early Christian, and related ancient traditions. The program unit welcomes presentations studying healing approaches that range from the so-called 'Dreckapotheke' (‘dirt pharmacy’), use of healing charms, amulets etc., to bodily interaction with patients or the production of specific devices ( incantation bowls, amulets etc.). Practices like divination, dream interpretation, dream healing and incubation are to be included. Papers may address the representation in particular texts, objects and contexts. Not only the discursive framing (genres, canonical corpora) but also materiality and utilization of language are of interest. Furthermore, studies will explore agency (transmitters/experts), institutions or institutionalization as well as aspects of self-assertion, expertise and competition within the ancient "medical marketplace". What was the attitude of so-called intellectual elites (rabbis, philosophers,medical authors, Christian clergy) to and their involvement in these approaches to healing? Finally, but related to the previous questions, the contributions could interrogate the gendered hierarchies of authority and expertise regarding magico-medical knowledge and practice. In addition, for a joint session with the SBL Healthcare and Disability in Antiquity unit, we seek proposals on conceptions of the body from the ANE through Talmudic period. Comparisons across Israelite, Judaic, early Christian, Graeco-Roman and Irano-Persian/Zoroastrian religio-medical traditions are particularly welcome. Contributions on other related topics are also invited.

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Metaphor in the Bible (EABS)

Danilo Verde
Prof. Dr. Antje Labahn
Reimund Bieringer
Description: This seminar understands itself as continuing the tradition of the longstanding and prolific EABS seminar “Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible.” The new factor is the expansion of the subject unto the study of the New Testament. It is the goal of this research program to foster a dialogue and mutual enrichment between the study of metaphors in the areas of the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible and of the New Testament. The seminar will focus both on the aspect of metaphor theories and on using multiple theories for the interpretation of metaphors in the Bible. In the comparison of the presence or absence of metaphors and their role and function in Biblical texts, we shall be looking for the specifics of the use of metaphor in particular time periods, genres, contexts or other traditions.

Call for papers: This year the research unit Metaphor in the Bible intends to investigate biblical metaphors not as “isolated events of discourse”, but as parts of a network of metaphors. According to Ricœur, “a metaphor never comes alone. One metaphor calls for another and all together they remain alive thanks to their mutual tension and the power of each to evoke the whole network” (Paul Ricœur, “Biblical Hermeneutics,” Semeia 1975/4: 29-148, here 94). From this perspective, metaphors are not to be considered individually, but rather as belonging to a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. We welcome papers that investigate the mutual tension between metaphors and clusters of metaphors, in either a specific biblical book or in entire biblical traditions (e.g., the prophetic tradition, the wisdom tradition, etc.). This year, we intend to hold four sessions. In Session 1, invited senior scholars will inquire into the aforementioned phenomenon in both the Hebrew Bible (+ Deuterocanonical books) and the New Testament. Sessions 2, 3, and 4 are open to all EABS and ISBL members who wish to submit proposals on the topic “networks of metaphors in the Bible”. Furthermore, we encourage the submission of proposals about networks of metaphors in Ancient Near Eastern literary and non-literary texts. While metaphorical phenomena in the Bible have been thoroughly and extensively studied over the past decades, the study of metaphors in Ancient Near Eastern literature is still at its very beginning. Hence, this year we also intend to foster the research on “networks of metaphors” in the Ancient Near East. We intend to publish the results of the sessions.

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Methodological Pluralism in the Study of Genesis

Annette Schellenberg
Prof. Michaela Bauks
Description: The unit provides space for scholarly exchanges on the book of Genesis and encourages a diversity of methodological perspectives. In particular, it is interested in approaches that emphasize (a) cultural (ANE) comparisons, (b) oral and written origins and transmission history, (c) inner-biblical interpretation, and (d) reception history, ancient and modern.

Call for papers: This year we invite papers that focus on one or more of the following: (a) composition and transmission, including issues of oral tradition, composition history, and textual complexity (scribal revisions and multiple editions); and (b) inner-biblical interpretation and intertextuality, including co-texts within Genesis and in other biblical books.

Tags: Ancient Near East - Iron Age (History & Culture), Religious Traditions and Scriptures (History of Interpretation / Reception History / Reception Criticism), Torah/Pentateuch - Genesis (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint))

Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism

Dylan M. Burns
Hugo Lundhaug
Description: The Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism Section provides a forum for current international research on the Coptic codices discovered at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. Research areas include: issues of text and translation; analysis and interpretation of the tractates; codicological analysis; background and provenance of the manuscripts; studies relevant to the larger social and religio-historical contexts of the Nag Hammadi texts, especially their relation to Jewish, Christian and Greco-Roman religious traditions.

Call for papers: The ISBL Section Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism invites papers on any topic related to the study of Nag Hammadi and Coptic Gnostic literature, particularly the following two themes, which will serve as our focus in separate sessions at the 2018 meeting. The first is the transmission of apocrypha in Egypt, highlighting textual fluidity and perspectives from New Philology; this topic will be explored in a session co-sponsored by the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha Program Unit. Second, we call for papers that explore cognitive science-approaches to the Nag Hammadi (and related) literature. Papers dealing with other issues in the study of Nag Hammadi may be included in an open session.

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Nationalism, Religion, and Archaeology (EABS)

Kirsi Valkama
Raimo Hakola
Rick Bonnie
Description: This session examines the complexities related to the political impact of archeological field work and interpretation.

Call for papers: As a discipline rooted in the 19th century world of European colonialism and nation-state formation, archaeology has throughout its history been entangled in politics of nationalism, race, ethnicity, and religious worldviews. Because of the visual and tangible nature of its evidence, archaeology has been (and still is) at the forefront of identity construction and communication. No country in the Mediterranean basin, as elsewhere, has been left undebated; from the Acropolis in Athens to the Temple Mount/Haram esh-Sharif in Jerusalem. This session aims to increase understanding of the modern political impact of archaeological fieldwork and interpretation, as well as of site preservation and presentation. It especially encourages engagement with issues relevant today and best practices in terms of fieldwork, site management, and public outreach. The session topic is important to address, especially to non-archaeological audiences, who are often not fully aware of the political and ethical implications and decisions of fieldwork and site conservation practices. We invite papers on any topic relevant to the aim of the session.

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Northwest Semitic Epigraphy Related to the Biblical World (EABS)

Robert Deutsch
Regine Hunziker-Rodewald
Description: The objective of the present research group is to advance the Ancient Near Eastern research by integrating the constantly growing corpus of epigraphic material from the 1st millennium BC. Northwest Semitic inscriptions, found mainly on ostraca, seals and seal impressions are important prime sources, contemporary with the formation of the biblical texts. Equally important for our epigraphical research are all the relevant fields of study in the material culture of the 1st millennium BC from the southern Levant. According to EABS’ policy, only papers dealing with material from controlled excavations will be considered.

Call for papers: The objective of the present research group is to advance the Ancient Near Eastern research by integrating the constantly growing corpus of epigraphic material from the 1st millennium BC. Northwest Semitic inscriptions, found mainly on ostraca, seals and seal impressions are important prime sources, contemporary with the formation of the biblical texts. Equally important for our epigraphical research are all the relevant fields of study in the material culture of the 1st millennium BC from the southern Levant. According to EABS’ policy, only papers dealing with material from controlled excavations will be considered.

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Orality and Literacy in Early Christianity (EABS)

Ma. Marilou S. Ibita
Sandra Huebenthal
Simon Butticaz
Description: Exegetes and historians of Early Christianity are gradually rediscovering the importance, principles and functions of orality in ancient communication. Although this discovery has led to some excesses and simplifications (cf. the recent criticism by L. Hurtado, 2014), the status and interaction of orality and writing within the cultures of the Greco-Roman world as well as the Christian subculture deserve being taken seriously and analyzed in depth. This inquiry, involving a strong hermeneutic and methodological potential, is nowadays being led (almost) exclusively in the English speaking world and in (South) Africa. Our research group proposes to fill in the blank within European exegesis and bring its own contribution to the debate. Its intention is, to start with, to describe the status and role of orality in the context of the cultures of the 1st century Mediterranean world, especially of the Christian subculture, its interactions with written texts and the degree of literacy in the proto-Christian microcosm. Once this cultural background has been set, we aim to explore two different cases and forms in the ancient Christian communication – the Pauline letters and the Gospel of Mark – and the interface of orality and writing in them.

Call for papers: After exploring orality and literacy in the Pauline correspondence (Berlin, 2017), focus will shift once more to the Gospels as a different Gattung of Early Christian communication. Building on the outcomes of the previous sessions, the Gospel of Mark as the earliest macro-narrative of emerging Christianity will be explored with special attention to the question of the oral and textual transmission(s) of Jesus memories. This includes the fields orality/literacy, social memory theory and performance criticism. Presenters will deal with questions of how and why Jesus traditions might have been transported in a certain medium and what reasons might lay at the heart of medial shifts. Taking the Gospel of Mark as the study object means looking in two directions: How did the Gospel of Mark come about and how did it influence the emergence of later texts like Matthew and Luke. Thus, it implies both the transition from orality to writing as a response to an experience of crisis or a Traditionsbruch (cf. Assmann) as well as performances of Mark and their influence on the later Gospel tradition. As in the previous years, the research group will have sessions with invited speakers and open sessions. For the open session we encourage proposals from the areas: 1) Orality Studies, Form Criticism and Memory Approach of Mark’s Gospel: Old Questions and New Insights, 2) Mark’s Gospel as a Response to a Traditionsbruch, 3) Performance Criticism of Mark’s Gospel and 4) Aural/Oral Style and Patterns in Mark’s Gospel.

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Parables in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity: Towards a New Comparative Approach (EABS)

Annette Merz
Lieve M. Teugels
Description: Within ancient Judaism only the Jesus movement and the pharisaic / rabbinic movement share the extensive use of parables as a form of religious teaching, reflection and propaganda. This research group examines the methodological problems, the scientific benefits and pitfalls of comparative research into parables of Jesus transmitted in early Christian literature and the parables extant in Rabbinic literature.

Call for papers: In the 2018 meeting we will concentrate on processes of redactional re-working and integration of parables in Christian and rabbinic literature. Papers will be accepted that concentrate on one of the following 3 sub-areas: 1) Get a better understanding of the rhetorical strategies that are used in parables to serve certain religious (e.g. Christological, exegetical) purposes within a literary unit/work. 2) To gain insights in the processes of development of the parable genre in Christian and rabbinic circles. 3) To relate those developments to the overall processes of differentiation within both emerging Christianity and early Judaism, eventually developing into separate religions.

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Paul and Pauline Literature

Kar-Yong Lim
Description: The unit provides a forum for presentation and discussion of original scholarly research on all facets of the interpretation of the Pauline Corpus in the New Testament. This includes consideration of exegetical, socio-historical, history of religions, theological, literary, history of interpretation, and methodological questions.

Call for papers: The unit provides a forum for presentation and discussion of original scholarly research on all facets of the interpretation of the Pauline Corpus in the New Testament. This includes consideration of exegetical, socio-historical, history of religions, theological, literary, history of interpretation, and methodological questions. Papers that focus on how the cultural experiences of present-day readers contribute to a fuller understanding of texts are also encouraged.

Tags: Pauline Epistles (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - 1 Corinthians (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - 1 Thessalonians (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - 1 Timothy (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - 2 Corinthians (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - 2 Thessalonians (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - 2 Timothy (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - Colossians (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - Ephesians (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - Galatians (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - Philemon (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - Philippians (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - Romans (Biblical Literature - New Testament), Pauline Epistles - Titus (Biblical Literature - New Testament)

Pentateuch (Torah)

Michael Hundley
Stephen Herring
Description: The unit provides a forum for presentation and discussion of research on the Pentateuch / Torah, with a particular focus on transmission-historical issues and linkage of that area of inquiry with other more synchronic methodologies.

Call for papers: 1) We invite proposals on the Pentateuch / Torah, with a particular focus on transmission-historical issues and linkage of that area of inquiry with other more synchronic methodologies. 2) We also welcome presentations comparing the religious (and other) expressions in the Pentateuch with those of analogous cultures, whether ancient or modern.

Tags: Torah/Pentateuch (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Torah/Pentateuch - Deuteronomy (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Torah/Pentateuch - Exodus (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Torah/Pentateuch - Genesis (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Torah/Pentateuch - Leviticus (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Torah/Pentateuch - Numbers (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint))

Persian Period

Christine Mitchell
Richard Bautch
Description: This seminar focuses on the history and literature of Yehud in the context of the Persian period, 539-333 BCE. We have particular interests in imperialism and its effects, pluralism within the period, practices of religion within the household, and the development of temple, cult, and canon.

Call for papers: At this year's meeting there will be an open session and two thematic sessions. We invite submissions for all three sessions. One thematic session concerns changing views on the ways in which the Achaemenids and Persia more generally influenced developments in Yehud between 539 and 333 BCE. The other thematic session considers changing views on the concept of diaspora as it is expressed in Jewish texts from the Persian period.

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Place, Space, and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Gert T. M. Prinsloo
Karen Wenell
Description: Investigates the inherent spatiality of human existence and how it affects human behavior, ideology, identity, and orientation. Ancient Mediterranean texts and societies are studied from a decidedly spatial perspective. Different approaches to spatiality will enrich investigations, e.g. narratological space, critical spatiality, sociological theories on space, space and identity, space and body.

Call for papers: Investigates the inherent spatiality of human existence and how it affects human behavior, ideology, identity, and orientation. Ancient Mediterranean texts and societies are studied from a decidedly spatial perspective. Different approaches to spatiality will enrich investigations, e.g. narratological space, critical spatiality, sociological theories on space, space and identity, space and body.

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Pleasure in Early Christian and Jewish Literature (EABS)

Siiri Toiviainen
Description: Pleasure is a frequent topic in ancient sources across philosophical and religious boundaries. Often ancient authors view pleasure as a threat to the virtuous life, many echoing the maxim that it is the source of all evil. At the same time, depictions of the human/divine encounter are peppered with rich language of delight and enjoyment. Furthermore, many ancient authors acknowledge that religious discourse and spiritual formation require a pleasurable component in order to hold the audience’s attention and ensure its continued participation. The ambiguous role of pleasure is reflected in attempts to differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable forms and sources of enjoyment.

Call for papers: While recent decades have witnessed an increasing scholarly interest in pleasure in the fields of classics and ancient philosophy, it has so far has received only sporadic attention within the study of Jewish and Christian antiquity. This thematic session invites participants to extend the academic study of pleasure to the full spectrum of early Christian and Jewish sources. The topic may be approached with diverse methods and from a wide variety of perspectives. Possible areas to discuss include but are not limited to: - Legitimate and illegitimate pleasures - Receptions of anti-/hedonist rhetoric and argumentation - The role of pleasure in moral instruction - Pleasures of religious practice -Pleasure in the garden of Eden/in afterlife - Pleasures of food/sex/comfort

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Political Biblical Criticism

Fernando F. Segovia
Jeremy Punt
Description: The unit seeks to pursue, on the one hand, the task of criticism, its vision and mission, in the contemporary world and, on the other hand, the development of a political approach, globalsystemic in orientation, to focus on major crises of the world—migration, inequality, climate—bringing together thereby, in interdisciplinary fashion, Biblical Studies and such other fields as Migration Studies, Economic Studies, and Climate Studies.

Call for papers: In 2018 the unit retains a twofold focus. The first is on the crisis of migration, encompassing all of its dimensions (e.g., refugees, diaspora), and its bearing on interpretation. Here, therefore, we welcome papers that bring together, in some way, Biblical Studies and Migration Studies, whether in terms of texts or trajectories of interpretation. The second is on political/liberationist criticism of the Bible. Here, consequently, we welcome papers that deal with the dynamics and mechanics of this type of criticism, whether in historical or contemporary perspective.

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Postcolonial Studies

Mark G. Brett
Monica J. Melanchthon
Philip Chia
Description: This unit explores the diversity of postcolonial studies and their relevance in particular contexts, encompassing critical accounts of reception history, postcolonial theory, and fresh proposals for reading biblical texts.

Call for papers: The Postcolonial studies unit invites papers for two sessions: For the first, we seek papers that explore the impact of postcolonialism on hermeneutics, methodology and the interpretation of biblical narratives. For the second, we welcome papers that read biblical narratives alongside postcolonial, native/cultural texts.

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Prophecy and Foreign Nations (EABS)

Hannes Bezzel
Dr. Matthijs J. De Jong
Uwe Becker
Description: In the course of the last decades, research in the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible has undergone a major change: The phenomenon of the prophetic book as a literary genre sui generis has drawn more and more attention – regarding both its so-called final form and its literary history. In this context, especially for those interested in diachronic research, the comparison with the extra-biblical Ancient Near Eastern prophecies has become an important issue not least for the questions of the origins of the prophetic books and the emergence of a theologically reasoned prophecy of doom. Thus, it has been especially the interrelation between salvation prophecy and a theology of judgment that has become the focus of scholarly attention. Compared with that, the oracles concerning foreign nations have passed a little bit from view, even though they take up a large part of the Biblical prophetic tradition. Therefore, in a recent publication on the topic (Holt et al. [eds.], Concerning the Nations, 2015), Martin Sweeney regards it as a worthy task to try an “attempt at stimulating research on the Oracles concerning the Nations” (xvii). The proposed research unit wants to contribute to this field of research and intends to approach the current discussion of the literary history of the prophetic books from this angle. The leading questions are: What is the literary and theological interrelation of the oracles concerning foreign nations with the Ancient Near Eastern salvation prophecy on the one hand and the Israelite prophecy of doom on the other? Was there a fixed genre of “prophecy concerning foreign nations”, and if so, where was its Sitz im Leben? How can the intertextual relationship between the respective passages of the several Biblical books be determined? Which processes of re-reading and actualising of tradition finally lead to a kind of uniform prophetic image which is reflected by the so-called tripartite eschatological pattern of the prophet

Call for papers: The 2018 meeting of the research unit “Prophecy and foreign nations” will address “foreign nations in the Book of Ezekiel”. Having discussed the foreign nations in the Book of Isaiah in 2016 and in Book of Jeremiah in 2017 – with regard to the Book of Ezekiel the main questions are: How can the oracles concerning foreign nations be interpreted with regard to the redaction history of the book? In which way can the literary interrelationship be determined between the respective passages in Isa, Jer and Ez? Papers addressing connections not only with Isa and Jer but also with the Book of the Twelve are welcome as well.

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Prophets

Alphonso Groenewald
Johanna Erzberger
Description: This unit aims to provide an open forum for scholars to present papers on a variety of topics germane to the study of ancient Israelite prophecy and prophetic literature.

Call for papers: The Prophecy unit welcomes proposals for papers on prophecy and prophetic texts in the Bible. Two or more sessions are planned for the unit. Session I will be an open session with the focus on prophetic texts in the late Persian and Hellenistic period. Session II will focus on the books of Jeremiah and Baruch. Papers should be 20 minutes long with additional 10 minutes left for discussion.

Tags: Former Prophets (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Former Prophets - 1-2 Kings (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Former Prophets - 1-2 Samuel (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Former Prophets - Judges (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Former Prophets -Joshua (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets (not including The Twelve) (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - Ezekiel (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - Isaiah (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - Jeremiah (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Amos (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Habakkuk (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Haggai (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Hosea (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Joel (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Johah (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Malachi (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Micah (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Nahum (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Obadiah (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Zechariah (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Latter Prophets - The Twelve - Zephaniah (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint))

Prophets and Prophecy (EABS)

Prof. Elie Assis
Yisca Zimran
Description: This unit aims to provide an open forum for scholars to present papers on a variety of topics germane to the study of ancient Israelite prophecy and prophetic literature. All approaches to prophetic literature are welcomed, including historical, literary, rhetorical and theological. We invite paper proposals through the open call for papers.

Call for papers: This coming year, 2018, we plan to focus on theological aspects of the books of Isaiah and Micah. We invite submissions of papers that discuss the worldviews which expressed in one of these two books, or papers which deal in comparing between them. We aim to foster discussion about definitions of concrete concepts; discussions of historical development of concepts within and between the books; the relationship between different theological perceptions in one or both books; synchronic analysis of theological concepts that appear in the prophetic book; and related ideas.

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Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts

Linda Joelsson
Eben Scheffler
Description: Psychological Criticism complements approaches that consider texts and their impact/s from the perspective of the reader, alongside literary, rhetorical and theological approaches, identifying how texts operate within the minds of their readers, or portray thoughts and motivations of the characters in their narratives.

Call for papers: The psychological aspects of human life are integral to human existence, but they represent an under-examined area in Biblical studies. Biblical authors show great interest in people's capacity to cope psychologically with their circumstances, in their interpretations of life situations, and in how to effect change – both internal and external. This section investigates the potential of an examination of Biblical texts with regard to symbols and archetypal images, unconscious factors in biblical motifs and practices, psychodynamic aspects, biblical personalities, religious experience, and the psychology of biblical ethics. We invite papers on the psychological aspects of the biblical themes and texts, as they may be found behind the texts, in the texts themselves, and in their reception up to the present day. In a time of emering racism, concurrent with a deepening climate crisis, exploring defense mechanisms appear to be a promising approach to the interpretation of present-day politics, a psychological factor exploited by populism. How would this situation be dealt with, and how would it resonate with Biblical themes and texts? This year we especially welcome papers that explore defense mechanisms, (such as denial, displacement, regression, repression, rationalization, sublimation) without excluding other themes and approaches. We prefer papers that make explicit use of existing psychological theories. The intersection between biblical theology and psychology is a meeting between two disciplines in their full right – each with their specific questions and areas of expertise, but very much complementary to each other.

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Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Jutta Jokiranta
Matthew Goff
Description: The unit provides forum for presentation and discussion of views relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Qumran settlement, and the people of that place and of those documents.

Call for papers: The Qumran and Dead Sea Scrolls unit welcomes papers for four separate sessions. 1) The first session is on Ethics and Policies regarding Unprovenanced Materials. This session continues the conversation begun in ISBL Berlin 2017 sessions on the "Tracing and Facing the Possibility of Forgeries." The current focus moves from identification of forgeries towards Ethics and Policies in the academic community and beyond, participating in wider discussions concerning heritage management, measures to stop illicit trade, and cooperation needed in the academia for a sustainable future. The session is partly invited (in collaboration with the WCOM [Working with Cultural Objects and Manuscripts] project) and partly open. 2) The second session is a joint session with Ritual in the Biblical World unit. It welcomes papers exploring ritual experience that relates to the Dead Sea Scrolls/the Qumran movement or other relevant late Second Temple evidence, with a special focus on festival landscapes, festival time, habitus and ritual innovation in interaction with ritual theory. 3) The third session is a joint session with Digital Humanities unit. It invites proposals on ongoing research projects that produce new digital/online editions of the Dead Sea Scrolls or make use of digital tools in studying the scrolls and presenting the data. 4) The fourth session is open, and welcomes proposals on any relevant topic with a clear abstract stating the task or question, sources, and methods or theoretical framework.

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Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective

Abdulla Galadari
John Kaltner
Description: This unit seeks to foster comparative research on the Quran and Muslim culture, discourse, and devotional life. We encourage papers and panels that examine the Quran and Islamic tradition in the wider context of the history of the Western monotheisms; explore Islam’s profound historical relationships with Judaism, Christianity, and the biblical heritage; and promote comparative inquiry and intercommunal dialogue more generally.

Call for papers: The Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective unit of the ISBL welcomes proposals for both individual papers and pre-arranged panels at the international meeting in Helsinki, July 30-August 3, 2018. Suggested topics might include, but are not limited to, the Quran and Islamic tradition in the wider context of the history of the Western monotheisms; Islam’s profound historical relationships with Judaism, Christianity, and the biblical heritage; and comparative inquiry and intercommunal dialogue more generally. Proposals for panels or individual papers can be submitted online at http://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/Internationalmeeting.aspx. The deadline for submission of proposals is February 14, 2018. Please note that membership in the Society of Biblical Literature is required in order to submit a paper proposal. For more information please contact the program unit chairs: Abdulla Galadari, Khalifa University / Al-Maktoum College (aigaladari@gmail.com); John Kaltner, Religious Studies, Rhodes College (kaltner@rhodes.edu).

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Relationship between the "Major Prophets" and the "Scroll of the Minor Prophets": text, methodology, hermeneutics and Wirkungsgeschichte (EABS)

Guido Benzi
Elena Di Pede
Donatella Scaiola
Description: "The study of prophetic texts has often been characterized by fragmentation; little interest has been reserved to the composition within individual books, and to the relationships between the so-called Major Prophets and the Twelve Minor Prophets. Exegesis has usually been interested into the identification of the original forms of the oracles or into the Sitz im Leben of the various biblical passages, without giving enough attention to the text in its present form; moreover, little space has been devoted to hermeneutical and theological issues. A diachronic method was often followed, attentive to the origins and to the history of the formation both of individual books and of the prophetic corpus, rather than a synchronous, canonical methodology, more oriented to the theology of the texts. These observations are the background from which to advance the study. Without denying the value of the studies so far elaborated and the methodology predominantly used, our goal is to explore the links and the relationships between the major and minor prophets from a methodological, hermeneutical, and theological point of view. The questions we will try to answer are the following: • How to study the relationships within the prophetic corpus, and what methodology /methodologies to use? • What consequences can be derived from the hermeneutical and theological point of view? • Which texts can be taken into consideration?"

Call for papers: For the year 2017-2018 we want to focus on the relationship between "Major Prophets" and "the Scroll of Minor Prophets"; in order to show how these biblical texts are related to each other. We invite to submit proposals that take into account exegesis, theology and the Wirkungsgeschichte of these texts. Methodological reflections on prophetic literature are also welcome.

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Rethinking Biblical Written Tradition through Slavonic Interpretations

Anissava Miltenova
Ljubica Jovanovic
Description: Some of the lost Second Temple texts are found in the DSS, but for still unknown reasons many are preserved only in centuries later Slavonic versions. Along the studies of the Vorlage and transmission of Slavonic versions, we welcome papers that address their appropriation and adaptation in receiving Slavic cultures.

Call for papers: We are calling for presentations on all traditions and aspects of Middle Age Slavonic sacred texts. This year we will focus on the study of North Slavic commentaries on biblical themes. The second session will focus on the current state of digitization of Slavonic manuscripts and on the publication of the critical editions of Slavonic sacred literature. Studies on manuscript traditions, linguistic analysis, and works on lexicographical projects are welcome. The third session will include proposals on Nordic and Baltic biblical scholarship on the Slavonic readings of the Bible. We also want to invite all biblical scholars from the Balkan and Slavic lands to present their work in our section. In recognition of the work on Dead Sea Scrolls by our Finnish hosts, we invite papers on the topic “Research on Apocalyptic, Apocryphal, and Second Temple Literature in the Nordic, Baltic, and North Slavic Lands,” to be held jointly with the program units “Apocalyptic Literature (ISBL),” “Hellenistic Judaism (ISBL),” and “Slavonic Apocrypha” (EABS).

Tags: Art, Film, Music, and Literature (History of Interpretation / Reception History / Reception Criticism), Biblical Texts (Early Jewish Literature - Dead Sea Scrolls), Intertextuality (Interpretive Approaches), Law and Politics (History of Interpretation / Reception History / Reception Criticism), Oral Traditions (History of Interpretation / Reception History / Reception Criticism), Popular Culture (History of Interpretation / Reception History / Reception Criticism), Religious Traditions and Scriptures (History of Interpretation / Reception History / Reception Criticism)

Ritual in the Biblical World

Daniel Belnap
Pekka Pitkänen
Description: The Ritual in the Biblical World Section focuses on the nature, meaning and function of ritual found in textual sources (HB, NT, non-canonical) in the larger context of the material culture of the ancient world, employing insights and methods of the field of ritual theory and ethnography.

Call for papers: The Ritual in the Biblical World section will offer at least two planned sessions of papers at the 2018 International Meeting in Helsinki, Finland. 1) The first session will be an open session consisting of papers on the role of ritual experience, including the formation, maintenance and dissolution of ritual structures in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and other cultures of the Ancient Near East. 2) The second session will be a joint session with the Qumran and the Dead Sea Scroll unit and will consist of papers exploring ritual experience that relates to the Dead Sea Scrolls/the Qumran movement or other relevant late Second Temple evidence, with a special focus on festival landscapes, festival time, habitus and ritual innovation in interaction with ritual theory. We invite all who are interested in participating in either session to submit their paper proposals.

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Septuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

Timo Tekoniemi
Tuukka Kauhanen
Ville Mäkipelto
Description: "The workshop focuses on the Septuagint versions of the historical books and their influence on the larger methodological framework of Hebrew Bible studies. Since the scholarship of Septuagint historical books is currently in a state of flux and many questions are open, there is a need for a forum to discuss these issues on a wider scope. The aim of this workshop is to illuminate various aspects relating to the textual history of the Greek versions and their underlying Hebrew source texts. This includes questions concerning translation technique, vocabulary and syntax; text-critical issues; revision history; daughter versions; and the impact of Septuagint studies on the textual and editorial history of the Hebrew Scriptures. In Helsinki we plan to organize session(s), with a special focus on various aspects of the books of 1 and 2 Samuel since the Göttingen critical editions for these books are being prepared at the University of Helsinki."

Call for papers: For the 2018 Helsinki meeting we invite proposals exploring various aspects of the Septuagint historical books. All proposals relating to the issues outlined in the program are warmly welcome. We would especially like to encourage proposals on the books of 1 and 2 Samuel and their Greek revision history. Your proposal can be a traditional conference presentation, but our workshop also offers the possibility to test and discuss ideas that are still works in progress, for example a draft paper outlining textual problems or findings.

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Septuagint Studies

Kristin De Troyer
Tuukka Kauhanen
Description: This unit is open to all papers devoted to the Old Greek text and related versions.

Call for papers: There will be two sessions: 1. Septuagint Syntax. Submitted proposals must be directly related to the study of the syntax of the Septuagint. The session continues the work at the Soisalon-Soininen Centennial Symposium, Helsinki 2017 (see http://blogs.helsinki.fi/soisalon-soininen-centennial/). 2. General Septuagint studies. All proposals dealing with Septuagint and cognate issues are welcome! However, if your contribution touches upon the Historical Books, please consider the EABS session Septuagint of Historical Books.

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Slavonic Apocrypha (EABS)

Basil Lourié
Ljubica Jovanovic
Description: Despite its “Slavonic Apocrypha” name, this research unit is intentionally broad in scope and provides a forum in which both biblical scholars and Slavists can discuss current issues in their fields and exchange ideas. It includes the traditionally understood Slavonic Apocrypha, i.e. translations of Hellenistic pseudepigrapha, as well as a variety of sacred literature in Slavonic and its intertextuality, such as theological discourses, historiographies, hagiographies, liturgical texts, and folk tales that are intertwined with biblical texts in both manuscripts and religious practices. Lexicographical works and linguistic analysis of Slavonic manuscripts are central research fields in this forum. We also welcome contributions from scholars of other academic fields that discuss these topics. Slavonic Apocrypha are studied as biblical reception history. Because the mechanism of intertextuality in Slavic religious literature was more powerful and longstanding than the assessment of marginality and the differentiation of the texts according to canonical/noncanonical, our forum aims to contribute to the ongoing search for a comprehensive term for apocalyptic, pseudepigraphical, and apocryphal literature. This unit addresses the pressing need for a platform where European scholars of “Slavonic Apocrypha” and their international colleagues can express their concerns, discuss solutions, and set mutual goals. It promotes the publication of critical editions of “Slavonic Apocrypha” and discusses the concerns over the digitization project of Slavonic manuscripts. While the name “Slavonic Apocrypha” is inadequate for this corpus of literature, we will wait and allow the scholarly consensus in the field to lead us to a better one. Slavonic Apocrypha are studied as biblical reception history. Because the mechanism of intertextuality in Slavic religious literature was more powerful and longstanding than the assessment of marginality and the differentiation of the texts according

Call for papers: We accept papers on all topics of Slavonic Apocrypha as defined in our programme. We welcome interdisciplinary approaches that use different methodologies that explain manuscripts’ condition, their accessibility to scholars at large, and their interpretations. The topics may range from lexicographic issues, linguistic oriented textual investigation, and literary development. Finally, we will focus on the historic discussion of Nordic and Baltic interpretations of Slavonic Apocrypha and reevaluate it in a contemporary light. Because of the proximity of the North Slavic lands to Helsinki, which is the venue of the 2018 conference, we will dedicate a session to North Slavonic biblical and related manuscriptal traditions and their interpretations. In recognition of our joint meeting with ISBL, we invite papers for a session on the topic “Research on Apocalyptic, Apocryphal, and Second Temple Literature in Nordic, Baltic, and North Slavic Lands,” to be held jointly with the ISBL program units: “Rethinking Biblical Written Tradition through Slavonic Interpretations,” “Apocalyptic Literature,” and “Hellenistic Judaism.”

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Slavonic Parabiblical Traditions (EABS)

Florentina Badalanova Geller
Description: The appreciation of Slavonic parabiblical heritage goes far beyond its significance for Slavonic studies. Even though the Church Slavonic MSS containing witnesses to Judaeo-Christian apocryphal and pseudepigraphic writings may date from a relatively late period, they are considered to be offspring of much earlier texts (originally in Hebrew and Aramaic, but also in Greek, as well as Syriac and Latin). For many of these compositions, their Vorlagen may be dated to the early Second Temple period. Hence the study of Slavonic parabiblical writings can contribute significantly to a better understanding of Judaism of the Hellenistic age and thus of the roots of Rabbinic Judaism, early Christianity, Gnosticism, and later mystical thought. Slavonic translations of Byzantine Chronographic accounts will also be treated. Not only are parabiblical written texts to be included within this purview, but also iconography and vernacular oral tradition (including “Folk Bible” compositions).

Call for papers: Papers are invited on various aspects of parabiblical traditions, with special emphasis on Slavonic apocryphal writings, oral tradition and iconography. The aim will be to compare and contrast Slavonic texts with others (extant in Hebrew / Aramaic, Greek, Syriac, Latin, Romanian, Armenian, etc.) but scholars working in all of these fields are welcome to apply. This year’s panel is in cooperation with the TOPOI Excellence Cluster, FU Berlin. Please send your proposals to fgeller@zedat.fu-berlin.de, but you will also need to submit your abstract via the submission system on the EABS/SBL website(s).

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Sociological and Anthropological Approaches to the Study of the Evidence of the Mishnah (EABS)

Jack Lightstone
Simcha Fishbane
Description: What can we know of the society and culture of Jews of Roman Palestine generally or of the early rabbinic movement specifically at the end of the second and beginning of the third centuries? While we have relevant archaeological evidence and writings (primarily of non-Jews), there is arguably only one major literary source produced by Palestinian Jews themselves of the era. It is the early rabbis’ Mishnah (and arguably, perhaps some of Mishnah’s companion sources, notably in Tosefta).

Call for papers: "Papers (25 min.) are invited that consider the sociological and anthropological treatment of evidence of the Mishnah—on its own and in conjunction with other evidence,—that address any of the following themes: • the better understanding of social and cultural patterns of contemporary Palestinian Judaism and Jewish society; • the reconstruction of major aspects of the sociology and culture of the early rabbinic movement itself; • the better understanding of the sociology and culture of the “world” defined by and in Mishnah’s substance, even if that world does not mirror any contemporary, historical Palestinian Jewish world."

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Status of Women in the Profession

April D. DeConick
Description: The Committee holds sessions each year exploring the nature of the profession as experienced by women biblical scholars. The goal of the sessions are to provide a forum for open discussion, networking, and the sharing of ideas.

Call for papers: We are inviting papers that discuss the issues surrounding teaching gender and the Bible in varying locations and contexts (where we take locations and contexts to be broadly and flexibly defined). The session will explore how our scholarship and teaching about the study of gender and the Bible impacts and even transforms our students. We welcome scholars to reflect on challenges and opportunities related to teaching and writing about gender and the Bible.

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Stylistics and the Hebrew Bible

Elizabeth R.Hayes
Karolien Vermeulen
Description: The unit will offer a forum for scholars interested in stylistics and the Hebrew Bible. The goal is to explore the relation between form and meaning of the text drawing on a variety of approaches (rhetorical, narratological, cognitive, ideological…).

Call for papers: For the Helsinki meeting in 2018 we will organize two sessions: one thematic session and one open session. The first session will focus on the theme “Down in the Hebrew Bible.” We invite papers that address literal as well as metaphorical or conceptual spaces of depths and low elevation. Spaces can include, but are by no means limited to, geographical locations such as depths of water or lower elevations, spaces of despair, and other actual or metaphorical spaces. Abstracts should indicate which spaces will be discussed in the paper, which methodology will be used, and what insights the paper offers in the stylistics of low spaces in the Hebrew Bible. This session will be a joint session with the EABS Research Group Literary Features: Fact or Fiction. A selection of papers will be peer reviewed for publication. A second session will be open to all who address the main research aim of the session as described on the website. When in doubt, please feel free to contact the chairs at biblicalstylistics@gmail.com, or alternatively at erussell.hayes@gmail.com and karolien.vermeulen@uantwerpen.be."

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Synoptic Gospels

J. R. C. Cousland
Sakari Häkkinen
Description: The Synoptic Gospels, which have formed a coherent unit since antiquity, have played an important role in modern scholarship. This section provides an open forum for the presentation of papers, from a variety of perspectives and using a variety of methods, on these seminal religious texts.

Call for papers: The Synoptic Gospels Section invites papers in two areas. The first is papers that focus on parables occurring in one or all of the synoptic Gospels. We would particularly welcome papers that involve new methodological approaches to the parables, or questions relating to the hermeneutics of parables. The other area is open to any topic that relates to the Synoptic Gospels.

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Textual Criticism of the New Testament, the Old Testament and the Qur’an (EABS)

Alba Fedeli
Theodora Panella
Description: This research group focuses on the textual study and criticism of sacred texts from the ancient Eastern Mediterranean world that later had a global influence; the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’anic text. All three have similarities and differences. They have influenced other writings and at the same time have themselves undergone external influence bearing on questions of interrelationship, orality, textuality and language. Not only the aforementioned characteristics, but also their preservation and the copying as well as the proliferation of manuscripts are of particular interest to textual scholars. The sine qua non of this research unit for Textual Criticism is the study of the major witnesses to the text of the Old Testament – the Hebrew Bible, the texts from Qumran, the Septuagint, the Masoretic Text – as well as the Aramaic Targumim, the Syriac translations, the Vulgate, Commentaries and others. Of course, also the study of the Critical and the Majority Text, of the versions of the New Testament, as well as the Patristic citations and commentaries, but also Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha and others. And finally, the research unit includes the textual criticism of the Qur’an, standard text or authoritative text, and the qira’at tradition (that corresponds to different readings); the cultural milieu and context in which the Qur’anic text has been transmitted and used and the tradition of the commentaries.

Call for papers: Two sessions are scheduled for the meeting in Helsinki: 1. an open session where papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, the Old Testament and the Qur’an research group are welcome. 2. a thematic session “Manuscript Grouping” where we will attempt to explore the field of the relationship between manuscripts and their classification trying to answer questions such as: how do we define manuscript textual traditions? If we group manuscripts on the basis of agreement and disagreement in variation between them, when do we consider a variation significant and characteristic as opposed to insignificant? Do manuscript groupings reflect chronological or geographical stages of development? The field of manuscript grouping will be approached from different angles and from different textual traditions. The Textual Criticism of the New Testament, the Old Testament and the Qur’an research group cordially invites the submission of proposals for papers for the forthcoming EABS meeting in Helsinki. We welcome paper proposals that focus on the above mentioned topics and related aspects.

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The Bible and Ecology (EABS)

Ekaterini Tsalampouni
Ma. Maricel Ibita
Ma. Marilou S. Ibita
Description: Ecological crisis is one of the main challenges in need of combined response in the last decades. In the critical discussion regarding its roots, biblical scholars have turned to the biblical text and its interpretation through the ages, searching for possible misinterpretations that supported ideologically the environmental exploitation and degradation. They also developed different methodological models for reading the biblical text from an ecological perspective. In light of the pressing global ecological crisis, the research unit would like to continue the critical and inter/trans-disciplinary exploration of the Bible and ecology. The research unit aims to: • explore and employ various methodological trends in reading well-known and uncharted biblical and early Christian texts from ecological perspective; • analyze the use of these texts from the perspectives of various stakeholders including but not limited to biblical scholars from all over the world; • to promote dialogue with various groups from different global locations, within and beyond biblical exegesis and theology, that can improve the ecological biblical interpretation and contribute to other areas of knowledge while enhancing knowledge distribution

Call for papers: 2018: Bible, Ecology, and Other Disciplines When we started in 2016, the articulation of the major trends on the development of hermeneutical approaches and methodologies has been the focus of the preliminary workshop on ecological hermeneutics. On the first year of the research unit in 2017, we focused on critical and peripheral theological readings of the biblical texts and on critical voices on environmental issues deriving either from non-European contexts or from other areas of environmental ethics in order to enrich the discussion with their voices. In 2018, the research unit determines possible ways of a fruitful encounter between eco-theology and sciences in dialogue with the biblical text. For the 2018 EABS and ISBL joint meeting, there will be sessions with invited speakers and open call for papers. For the open session(s), we welcome papers that clearly highlight how the biblical ecological hermeneutics can have an inter-, intra-, multi, cross-, and/or trans-disciplinary dialogue with other disciplines in addressing various ecological issues.

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The Bible in Arabic in Judaism, Christianity, Islam (EABS)

Athalya Brenner-Idan
Camilla Adang
Meira Polliack
Description: Shortly after the expansion of Muslim rule in the 7th and 8th centuries CE, Christians, Jews, and Samaritans living in the Muslim world began to translate their sacred texts– the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Samaritan Pentateuch– into Arabic. Many of these translations, from languages such as Hebrew, Greek, Syriac and Coptic, have come down to us in a vast corpus of manuscripts and fragments hailing from monasteries, synagogues and libraries, especially in the Middle East. Compared to other translation traditions of the Bible throughout its history, the Arabic versions in manuscript and later on in print are the most numerous and reveal an unusually large variety in stylistic and didactic approaches, vocabulary, scripts and ideologies. Although originally intended for internal consumption by the different denominations that produced them, the translations were also quoted and adapted by Muslim writers, who were familiar with many biblical episodes and characters through the Qur’an. The study of Arabic translations of the Bible has only recently started to come into its own, but much remains to be done. We invite papers on the various aspects of the production and reception of the Arabic Bible outlined above.

Call for papers: At the 2018 meeting in Helsinki the research group Bible in Arabic will focus on two broad topics: 1. Commentary Literature; 2. Translation and Interpretation. The sessions will be held jointly with The Biblia Arabica Consultation (SBL) and members of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA). We plan to have two invited panels and additional open sessions. The titles of the invited panels are: (1) The Arabic Commentary Literature: Between Jewish and Christian Approaches to the Bible and (2) Biblical materials in Qur’anic commentaries (Tafsir) / Islamic elements in Jewish and Christian commentaries in Arabic. For the open sessions on Translation and Interpretation we invite contributions on Approaches to Translation and Interpretation. Papers dealing with any aspect of Arabic Bible translation will be considered. While the emphasis has hitherto been on the Middle Ages, we also encourage discussion of printed pre-modern and modern translations.

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The Bible in the Iberian World: Fundaments of a Religious Melting Pot (EABS)

Ana T. Valdez
Ricardo Muñoz Solla
Description: That the Iberian Peninsula represents a key hub between Christianity, Judaism and Islam is widely known. However, theologians and historians have been studying these phenomena as isolated events and not as part of a much larger Iberian world characteristic, one that should be understood regarding the broader Western thought. This session's goal, though experimental, is to provide a space for discussion for those of us who work with biblical themes in the context of the Iberian world. This world includes not only the peninsular area but also its colonial spaces, e.g., American, African and Asian places where Portuguese and Spaniards played an influential role starting in the Early Modern period. Moreover, the subjects to discuss are not limited nor to a particular time frame nor a specific chronological period for this first phase. Our initial objectives are to underline the importance of the Iberian world as a space of communication, or not, between the different religions of the Bible, of biblical interpretation, and how the Iberian world was prone to be influenced by the Bible.

Call for papers: "This unit would like to invite proposals for papers for the joint 2018 EABS/iSBL meeting in Helsinki discussing 1) the impact of Reformation within the Iberian empires, and 2) the role of Iberian medieval and renaissance exegetes. We are particularly interested in papers that approach these topics through the underlining of disputatio, diaspora, and building of Iberian and extra-Iberian intellectual networks that were responsible for introducing new biblical interpretation within the space of the Iberian empires. The group is interested in pursuing further research that explores heterodox representations and/or discourses by opposition to traditional exegesis, namely mystic, historiographic, and literary discourses, among others. We also welcome paper proposals for an open session on the broader topic analyzed by this unit. "

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The Bible in the Twenty-First Century: Politization of Bibles and Biblization of Politics (EABS)

Athalya Brenner-Idan
Jeremy Punt
Description: Biblical Interpretation today is characterized by a variety of different concerns and approaches. The focus of this program unit is on the use and misuse of biblical texts in past and present politics, in the broadest sense; and conversely, on the use and misuse of politics in biblical interpretation and transmission. The scope may include analysis of the biblical and related texts and contexts, questions of method and theory, and especially attention to interpretations- interpreters and their contexts. Papers are welcome from such perspectives as psychology and psychoanalysis, philosophy, postcolonial studies, gender studies, social studies, economic studies, racial-ethnic studies, and queer studies.

Call for papers: This year we shall emphasize cooperation with other units since this is a joint meeting with the SBL. We are planning 1-2 sessions each with the following units. (1) 1-2 joint session(s) with the SBL Contextual Biblical Interpretation is being planned and proposals invited, on the topic of "Government, Ethics and Resistance: Case Studies in the HB and the NT". (2) 1-2 sessions with the EABS research project Beyond Empire, on the topic “After Empire: The Role of the Bible in Young Nations (1917-2017) Emerging from Major 19th and 20th Century Empires”; the goal of the session will be to explore the reception and influence of the Bible in nations, such as (but not only) Finland and various Balkan states, which established their independence after breaking away from a large empire. All sessions will be a combination of solicited and proposed papers. We welcome papers that examine the biblical text from within a reader’s explicitly articulated context, personal as well as communal, while firmly anchored in clear methodology.

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The Biblical World and Cultural Evolution (EABS)

Nina Nikki
Ronit Nikolsky
Description: Human culture is a non-natural system which is transmitted from generation to generation; it changes as a result of interactions with changing conditions, and produces diversified societies that are adapted to their natural and non-natural conditions. Studying cultural evolution mean accepting that cultures are transformed by natural and social forces, and the studying these forces explains the data we encounter, be it artefacts, texts, or human actions. Cultural evolution as an academic field has gained acceptance and visibility in the humanities throughout the world in recent years. It takes an evolutionary perspective at the development of culture. Applying this approach to the domain of the Bible, its world and its reception means that scholars seek evolutionary explanations for the religious reality in the Near East in the ancient period, Late Antiquity and beyond.

Call for papers: This EABS unit proposes to be a wide scope platform with two major aims, the first is to initiate sessions where scholars who are developing projects using cultural evolutionary approaches can present their ideas and “test” them on interested colleagues. The second is to cooperate with existing projects, and thus support them by increasing their visibility. We suggest two sessions for the 2018 meeting. The session is an open CFP and is dedicated to mapping various topics and themes in the field of cultural evolution. The title of this session is: “The Biblical World and Cultural Evolution -- Topics and Methodologies”. Submissions are welcome, both by individuals seeking a cultural-evolutionary context for their paper, as well as other units that want to expand their audience. The second session will be a joint one with the project “The Spread of Early Christianity in Cultural Evolutionary Perspective””.

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The Biblical World and Its Reception (EABS)

Christopher Meredith
Matthew A. Collins
Description: This seminar aims to provide a forum in which participants can engage in the theoretical issues pertaining to the reception of the ‘biblical world’ throughout the last 2,500 years and/or present specific examples of how biblical and chronologically-related texts have been appropriated within later cultural, political, and artistic contexts. Insights drawn from a wide range of disciplines are encouraged and the reception history of any relevant text from the biblical period will be considered suitable material for presentation and discussion.

Call for papers: For the joint SBL/EABS meeting in Helsinki in 2018, ‘Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact’ (SBL) will be meeting together with ‘The Biblical World and Its Reception’ (EABS). The combined seminar will be holding three/four sessions. As 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we especially invite papers which take as their focus the use and reception of biblical monsters and/or creation narratives. Given the location of our meeting in Finland, the first country in Europe to give women the vote, we also welcome papers which engage with the Bible in relation to issues of gender and politics. There will in addition be a closed (invited) session on the Bible and blasphemy. A final session will be open and thus may include any topic that is relevant to the seminar’s general interests in the reception, influence, and impact of the Bible.

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The Core of Deuteronomy and Its World (EABS)

Diana Edelman
Kåre Berge
Philippe Guillaume
Description: This research group is attentive to the core of the Book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 12— 26/28). We want to explore the internal coherence of the legal prescriptions and to take a close look at the world that is imagined to be regulated by them. We also want to explore how this legal core relates to the notion of ‘Israel’ presented in the framework of the book. The unit will continue investigating the apparent tension between the utopian character of the society that is imagined in these ‘laws’ and their focus on down-to-earth politics and economics, which was the topic of our first meeting 2017. Relevant topics are: - Why was Deuteronomy created? - The nature of ‘Israel’ in the book, especially the relation between the society that appears in the core legislations and the ‘All Israel’ of the frame. - The cultic integration of both Judah and Samaria: the adoption of the cult of the ‘god of Israel’ within Judah and its possible connection with local religious practices and Iron-age cults of the two kingdoms. - Issues related to the book’s further application and authorization in the Yehud and Samarian communities: Why did Deuteronomy have audiences in both Samaria and Yehud/Judea who considered themselves to belong to Israel?

Call for papers: For 2018, there will be one session of invited papers and one open-call session. The topic for both will be: Why was the book of Deuteronomy created? Why was it desirable to give authority to (another) collection of legal stipulations in the book (in addition to the Exodus legislation)? We invite both literary and socio-historical perspectives on this question. All papers should relate to the core of Deuteronomy. In particular, we welcome papers that take note of the difference between the core and the frame of the book. One productive angle on the question of why Deuteronomy was created would be to determine what the different emphases are within the ""legal"" materials in Deuteronomy vs Exodus. This makes a lens to address why Deuteronomy is presented to supersede the earlier code, and we invite papers accordingly. To enhance the benefit of congenial exchange during the conference, drafts will be circulated in advance among all the presenters and to interested members of the audience (please request drafts from the chairs in the weeks preceding the conference).

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The Greek of Jews and Christians Through the Pax Romana (EABS)

Albert L. Lukaszewski
Paul Danove
Peter Spitaler
Description: The writings of Jews and Christians in the Second Temple and early Christian periods form the basis of all later discussions on Judaism and Christianity. The dynamics of language used by these authors is necessarily pertinent to understanding what they sought to convey. This research unit therefore focuses on the linguistic and exegetical study of Koine Greek up to the death of Marcus Aurelius.

Call for papers: Hellenistic Greek forms the basis of studies relative to both testaments as well as much of the ancient world. This section welcomes papers on any aspect of the Greek found in the Septuagint, New Testament, or other Hellenistic literature. Linguistic, grammatical and lexical studies are particularly encouraged. Also welcome are papers on verbal aspect for a joint session with The Greek of Jews and Christians through the Pax Romana Research Group of the European Association of Biblical Studies.

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The Language of Colour in the Bible: From Word to Image (EABS)

Lourdes García Ureña
María Rodríguez de Velasco
Description: The study of the language of colour has generated great attention since the 19th century in several fields, especially philology and art; exploring the great civilizations considered the bedrock of Europe: Greece and Rome. Surprisingly the Bible, the other pillar on which European culture is founded, has been left on the sidelines of this research, creating a primordial void. This research project aims to bridge this gap and provide a more complete picture of the language of colour in a book that has inspired both literary and artistic works: the Bible. An interdisciplinary study of the biblical text in its original languages can certainly shed new light on the interpretation of the image and vice versa. The objectives pursued in the field of philology are to determine the chromatic lexicon of the biblical text, the sensory perception it reflects and the symbolic dimension from which it emanates. In this sense, we believe that the Apocryphal literature and the early Christian literature can shed light on the meaning of colour in the biblical texts both with regard to sensorial perception and symbolism. Concerning the field of artistic representations which have been inspired by the Bible, the objective of the research is to study how the artist uses chromatic language to reflect the biblical scenes, as well as analysing how the biblical language is used and reinterpreted. The period chosen to be studied is that covering the 10th-12th centuries. During that period, many Illuminated Bibles were produced, containing both the passages of the Old and New Testaments.

Call for papers: "For the 2018 conference, we are planning a seminar consisting of two sessions: In Session 1, we welcome written proposals focused on two topics: a) the concept of colour in Antiquity. b) the meaning and function of colour terms in the Bible (Hebrew Scriptures, Septuagint, and New Testament), or in related texts, either because they were inspired by it or because they can be considered as a precedent in the use of the color terms. In Session 2, we especially welcome written proposals on the function of colour in biblical artistic representations (illuminated manuscripts; paintings; etc.) during the Medieval Ages including questions such as: which were the salient colours? what were their origins? what did they symbolize?"

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Ugarit and the Bible: Life and Death (EABS)

Clemens Steinberger
Reettakaisa Sofia Salo
Description: In the ancient city of Ugarit on the Syrian coast, clay tablets in a cuneiform alphabet script were found from 1929 onward. Written in the Northwest Semitic language, Ugaritic, these sources from the Late Bronze Age present numerous religious texts, including epics and myths, and contain striking parallels to texts in the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible. These parallels were noticed by several early scholars in the field of Ugaritic studies, including Dussaud, de Langhe, and Richardson. Between 1960 and 1990 the number of works dealing with the connections between Ugarit and the Bible increased markedly; the contributions of Dahood, Fisher / Rummel, Loretz, and Brooke / Curtis / Healey having gained the most influence. In time, however, Biblical scholars’ interest in the Ugaritic material has faded, although numerous aspects require further consideration. Our workshop revivifies comparative studies of Ugaritic and Biblical literature. We concentrate on the issue of life and death in religious texts from Ugarit and in the Hebrew Bible. Conceptualisations of life and death are omnipresent in both cultural spheres and are crucial elements in the religions of the ancient Levant. The passage from life to death is of special interest, being the subject of ancient religious discourse about the condition of liminality and the afterlife. Ugaritic and Biblical literature blend Ancient Near Eastern traditions with local innovations about life and death. A comparative approach is therefore of particular importance in evaluating the contexts and meanings of Old Testament passages on ancestor cult, necromancy, or the Refaim.

Call for papers: "Various cuneiform alphabetic texts found in the ancient city of Ugarit on the northern Syrian coast present striking parallels with Biblical literature. Regarding common mythologemes and motifs in Ugaritic and Hebrew texts, aspects and conceptions of life and death are of special interest. Related issues are crucial elements in the religions of the ancient Levant: Questions about the shortness of life, death, and the afterlife are reflected in various texts. The passage from life to death is of special interest, being the subject of ancient religious discourse about the condition of liminality and the afterlife. Connected problems, e.g. the meaning of ancestor cult, necromancy or the Refaim, still require further consideration. The aim of this session is to continue the approach of earlier scholarship and to examine traditions and movements, which link Ugaritic and Biblical texts regarding aspects of life and death. The workshop intends to analyse the contexts of the individual texts through an investigation of the differences and similarities between the Ugaritic and Biblical conceptions. As Ugaritic and Biblical literature were both integrated in the broad Ancient Near Eastern cultural sphere, Mesopotamian, Hurrian, Hittite and Egyptian sources should also be part of the discussion to examine cultural traditions and local specifics. We invite papers from junior and established scholars from Biblical studies, Semitic studies and Assyriology to cast a new light on the shared traditions between Ugaritic texts and Biblical literature. The proceedings of the workshop are planned to be published."

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Virtue In Biblical Literature (EABS)

Anna-Liisa Tolonen
Elisa Uusimäki
Description: What did virtue (i.e. human behaviour perceived as morally exemplary) mean for ancient Jews and Christians? How did they discuss it? This research unit analyses conceptions of virtue in ancient Judaism and early Christianity in the ancient Mediterranean context (ca. 500 BCE – 300 CE). Scholars have typically searched for the roots of western virtue ethics in Greek philosophy, considering Jewish and Christian sources to be, at best, of secondary importance. Admittedly, the Semitic languages lack a specific term designating virtue, but this does not mean that texts written in those languages could not be interested in, or familiar with, conceptions of virtue. Moreover, the Greek term ??et? is adopted early on in Jewish and Christian literature composed in Greek. Today, as the diversity and interrelatedness of Mediterranean cultures are recognized, ancient conceptions of virtue must be reassessed. The unit invites scholars to reflect critically on early Jewish and Christian ideas of virtue. The Greek culture is not given a primacy in defining what virtue is; rather, the aim is to acknowledge the variety of ancient discursive practices concerning morally valuable life.

Call for papers: What did virtue mean for Jews and Christians who lived in the ancient Mediterranean region? How did they discuss and practise virtue? What constituted their “moral vocabularies”? This research unit analyses conceptions of virtue (i.e. human activity regarded as morally valuable) in ancient Judaism and early Christianity (ca. 500 BCE – 300 CE). While scholars have typically searched for the roots of western virtue ethics in Greek philosophy, ancient Jewish and Christian sources cannot be ignored if the diversity of the Mediterranean virtue discourses is taken seriously. Thus we welcome any papers that explore questions related to virtue in Jewish and Christian antiquity. We encourage participants to examine questions that include, but are not limited to, the following: What does ‘virtue’ mean in the context of Semitic sources that do not employ any separate term denoting virtue (cf. Greek ??et?; Latin virtus)? How do Jewish and Christian authors make use of the concept of ??et?? What are the sources and cultural influences of their virtue discourses? How do Jewish and Christian sources transform the study of ancient virtue ethics?

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Vision and Envisionment in the Bible and its World (EABS)

Nils Neumann
Thomas Wagner
Description: "Communication about visionary experiences and visionary contents is a widespread phenomenon both, in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as well as in acient pagan cultures. The research group focuses on this phenomenon and seeks to explore rhetorical and narrative strategies that texts make use of in describing experiences and contents of prophetic vision. Among others the following texts and traditions may be of primary importance with regard to our research interest: - prophetic traditions in the Hebrew Bible, - apocalyptic traditions in ancient Judaism and the New Testament, - descriptions of otherworldly journeys, - accounts on visionary experiences in ancient pagan cultures. With respect to methodology our main interest lays on the linguistic characteristics of representations of vision on the one hand, and on the way that these representations are capable of affecting their intended ancient audiences. In this regard our group analyses - rhetorical and narratological features of visionary accounts, - the implied impact that envisionment unfolds upon its hearers resp. readers, - material and bodily aspects of communication about visionary experiences."

Call for papers: For the 2018 EABS meeting in Helsinki we invite you to submit an abstract that deals with any of the above aspects. For the start of our investigation we specifically encourage papers that methodologically explore ways of analyzing the ancient sources in order to understand vision and envisionment in the Bible and its world. The workshop shall be developed into a research group focussing on special aspects of visionary experience and their literary expressions.

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

Sebastian Fink
Stéphanie Anthonioz
Description: A thematic session devoted to the investigations of the history of negative theology (“What a god is not”?) in the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia.

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.

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Wisdom in Israel and in ANE Wisdom Literature (EABS)

Katharine J. Dell
Tova Forti
Description: This unit seeks to provide a forum for the exploration of current and emerging approaches to and methodologies in the study of Wisdom Literature. The primary focus is on Biblical wisdom – Proverbs, Job, Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes, and the Wisdom Psalms, as well as Qumran wisdom texts and Deutero-Canonical works such as Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon. The secondary focus is on wisdom literature from elsewhere in the Ancient Near East, insofar as these bear on our understanding of biblical wisdom texts. Our unit will hold two sessions each year, one of invited papers and the other of offered papers.

Call for papers: "A Joint Session ISBL and EABS Call for papers Wisdom, mind and body. This session will focus on any wisdom texts that relate to psychosomatic issues – e.g. state of mind, health, sensibility. This is a relatively new area of interest for wisdom literature. Examples can be drawn from across the biblical and apocryphal corpus and from the Ancient Near Eastern literature, such as Proverbs 15:1,3-4,17 and 27:5-6 or Job 7 and 30, or the Egyptian "Dialogue of a Man with His Ba (Soul) (The Lebensmüde)." An interesting aspect is body imagery – why such an emphasis on the senses and the body and how do body, mind and spirit link together in the thought of this corpus? Invited papers on Ethics and Character Ethics in Proverbs, Job and Other Wisdom Books. Following the work of Brown on character ethics, there has been much interest in this area. Concerns include how the wisdom worldview and didactic methods attempt to form character and why the particular selection of ethical issues in this literature?"

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Wisdom Literature in the Bible and in the Ancient Near East

Nili Samet
Nili Shupak
Description: The unit seeks to encourage an ongoing discourse on new ideas and methodologies in the study of Wisdom Literature. The primary focus is on Biblical wisdom - Proverbs, Job, Qoheleth, the Wisdom Psalms and other texts influenced by wisdom ideas, as well as Ben Sira and Wisdom of Solomon. The section is also concerned with the relationship between biblical wisdom literature and cognate texts of the ancient Near East.

Call for papers: There will be two sessions: SBL's independent session and SBL-EAB's joint session. 1) SBL Session: Paper proposals are welcome on Didactic Wisdom Literature in the Bible and in the Ancient Near East. 2)SBL-EABS’ Joint Session: Paper proposals are welcome on the Wisdom, mind and body. This session will focus on any wisdom texts that relate to psychosomatic issues – e.g. state of mind, health, sensibility. This is a relatively new area of interest for wisdom literature. Examples can be drawn from across the biblical and apocryphal corpus and from the Ancient Near Eastern literature, such as Proverbs 15:1,3-4,17 and 27:5-6 or Job 7 and 30, or the Egyptian "Dialogue of a Man with His Ba (Soul) (The Lebensmüde)." An interesting aspect is body imagery – why such an emphasis on the senses and the body and how do body, mind and spirit link together in the thought of this corpus?

Tags: Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) (Biblical Literature - Deuterocanonical Works), Wisdom (Ancient Near Eastern Literature - Genre), Wisdom and Philosophical Literature (Early Jewish Literature - Jewish Pseudepigrapha), Wisdom of Solomon (Biblical Literature - Deuterocanonical Works), Writings - Ecclesiastes (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Writings - Job (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Writings - Proverbs (Biblical Literature - Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint))

Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)

Ronald van der Bergh
Timothy B. Sailors
Description: This program unit is devoted to the text of “biblical” writings, as understood in the broad sense of the term: This includes the Jewish Bible, early Jewish literature, and the Old Testament (in Hebrew and Aramaic, Greek, and other ancient languages), as well as early Christian literature and the New Testament (in Greek, Latin, and other ancient languages). We offer a forum for the investigation of all types of material witnesses related to the text of this literature—tablets, manuscripts, ostraca, inscriptions—and for the consideration of the textual form of this literature reflected in its citation and use by ancient authors and in writings from antiquity through the Middle Ages. This consists not only of contributions that deal with the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin textual witnesses, but also those that engage evidence in Ugaritic, Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopic, Coptic, Armenian, and other linguistic traditions. A wide variety of additional issues related to textual criticism are also addressed, including epigraphy, manuscript studies, papyrology, codicology, paleography, scribal habits and the production of texts, the history of transmission (and its cultural, social, and religious settings), the practice of textual criticism from antiquity to modern times, restoration and conservation, the use of modern technology in studying this material, the production of critical editions, and discussions of particular passages.

Call for papers: Papers concentrating on any aspect of textual criticism are welcome, particularly those that deal directly with manuscripts, i.e., papers that work with material witnesses to the text — tablets, ostraca, inscriptions, papyri, majuscules, minuscules, lectionaries.

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Writings (including Psalms)

George Athas
Prof P. J. Botha
Description: The aim of the unit to promote all aspects of and approaches to the study of the texts commonly referred to as the Writings (Ketuvim) in the Hebrew Bible.

Call for papers: Papers are welcome on any part of the Writings, especially papers applying newer interpretive methodologies to specific passages. Papers addressing more general matters, such as the formation of the Psalter, the connection of wisdom and apocalyptic, migration and identity development in Chronicles/Ezra-Nehemiah, external influences in Qohelet, or the poetics of Classical Hebrew poetry are also acceptable.

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