The Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting welcomes any paper proposal that substantially addresses material culture and religious activity. The Society is also interested in papers that address the following:
1) “The Affect of Objects”: What is the pull of ancient objects? Are realia somehow “more real” than utterance or text? How do the lives of things shape the way we imagine ancient people, practices, and belief? We invite papers to engage specifically with Maia Kotrosits, The Lives of Objects: Material Culture, Experience, and the Real in the History of Early Christianity (2020).
2) “BIG and small”: donor inscriptions, devotional graffiti; statues, figurines; monumental temples, ad hoc altars—all in the same sanctuary. What significance, if any, might the juxtaposition between the big, the monumental, the “official” and the small, the miniscule, the “unauthorized” have had? And to whom? We seek papers the explore contrasts of size, materiality, temporality, among other possibilities, in ancient religious practices.
3) “Religious landscapes of city and hinterland”: ancient religion and landscape archaeology; mapping of objects and sites and their interrelationship in a religious landscape; the “historiation” of the landscape through stories and memories, also visible in ancient texts; the use of religious sites and structures to establish boundaries and borders, whether political, cultural, or social, and to facilitate their transgression.
4) Co-Sponsored with Early Jewish Christian Relations: Early Jewish Christian Relations and Epigraphy: New Data and New Methods. The last two decades have seen extraordinary advances in the corpus of Roman-period Jewish inscriptions available to scholars. Research on EJCR can now utilize the recently-published critical editions of Jewish. This session addresses the use of inscriptions in the field of EJCR. Papers that present new methods for analyzing inscriptions are particularly welcome.
Interested scholars who are not members of the Society may be eligible to have the membership requirement waived (all other expenses would still need to be met). Please contact the program unit co-chairs with any questions:
Lynn Huber, Elon University: [email protected]
Jacob Latham, University of Tennessee: [email protected]