Friday, February 25, 2011

Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity

Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity (RWLA) will be sponsoring three sessions at the SBL in San Francisco in Nov 2011
This is the Call for Papers:
Religious World of Late Antiquity

Program Unit Type: Group
Accepting Papers? Until 3/1/2011
Call For Papers:

1)Beyond the Sensible: Religious Objects, Perception and Power

Some of the objects with the greatest religious meaning or function in the religions of Late Antiquity were not perceptible by the five human senses, either because they were deliberately kept hidden, because they no longer existed, or because they were literally insensible - incapable of being apprehended through the body. What is the relationship between the importance of an object in ancient religiosity and its ability to be perceived? Were hidden objects regarded as more or less powerful than perceivable objects? Did formerly sensible objects, like relics, lose or gain power or authority once they were hidden?

2)The Materiality of Texts / The Word as Object

At some point in the development of sacred texts, readers became aware of them as material entities. How did this awareness affect their adornment, both inside with ornate calligraphy and illuminations, and outside with ornamented covers? How did this development influence ritual practices? What happens to our understanding or even interpretation of text when it depends as much, if not more on the materiality of the text than on the words themselves? How does thinking about the materiality of ancient texts (and attendant technologies) provide insight into the development of ritual practices and other embodied ideas of the sacred? Co-sponsored with Art and Religions of Antiquity and Social History of Formative Christianity and Judaism. Submit proposals for this session to only one of the three co-sponsoring units.

3) Material remains of violence

We invite proposals for a shared panel on the material remains of violence. Papers addressing the destruction and/or reuse of cult sites and the memorializing of violent acts through relics, objects, altars and tombs and spaces are especially welcome. Submit proposals to the Violence and Representation of Violence unit

Program Unit Chairs

Jason BeDuhn (
Naomi Koltun-Fromm (


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