Sunday, February 14, 2010

Syriac Literature and Interpretations of Sacred Texts

Dear Colleagues,

Kindly allow me to bring to your attention the “call for papers” for the meetings of the program unit in Syriac studies at the November 20-23, 2010, meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta, Georgia. We had a very successful inaugural meeting in November in New Orleans. Now we invite you again very warmly to propose a paper and/or plan on coming to the sessions that are being organized within that program unit for November of this year. The members of the steering committee join me in expressing our hope that this still new program unit in Syriac studies will offer not only the opportunity for a lively exchange of ideas and new insights among those who are already working in the field of Syriac studies but that it will also aid in attracting new voices and integrating the contributions of Syriac studies into a broader segment of the academy.

SBL 2010 Annual Meeting

Atlanta, Georgia

Meeting Begins: 11/20/2010
Meeting Ends: 11/23/2010

Call For Papers Opens: 12/15/2009
Call For Papers Closes: 3/1/2010

Program Unit:
Syriac Literature and Interpretations of Sacred Texts

Program Unit Type: Consultation
Accepting Papers? Yes

Call For Papers: This unit offers a forum for studying the Syriac interpretation of Biblical and extra-biblical literatures and the connections between Syriac biblical interpretation and historiography, hagiography, and para-scriptural traditions in Oriental Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. We invite submissions in all areas of research in the Syriac Bible, its versions, transmissions, exegesis, and relevance for understanding religion and its history in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. For 2010 we invite papers on the works of significant ancient Syriac authors (e.g., Jacob of Serugh); women and Syriac literature; the representation of apostolic and missionary figures in Syriac literature (e.g., Paul, Peter, Thomas); Biblical interpretation in the Syriac realm; and Syriac apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. We are again interested in papers on intersections between Syriac and early Islamic literature (Quran and commentary literature). We also welcome papers on Syriac literature and its role in the development of late antique religion and history. For a joint session ("Syriac Reception of Biblical Poetry") with the Biblical Hebrew Poetry section we invite papers on aspects of Biblical Hebrew poetic texts in the Syriac Bible and literature. The goal is to provide insights into Biblical Hebrew poetry and its reception history in the Syriac realm in a collaborative atmosphere of reciprocal benefit for the fields of Syriac studies and poetry in the Hebrew Bible. Papers may deal, e.g., with the Syriac versions, comparison of Syriac and Biblical accents and chanting of the text as they relate to interpreting its meaning, interpretations, commentaries, theological use of poetic passages, and comparative poetics between Biblical Hebrew, Syriac and/or early piyyutim. (Presenters submit their papers by September 2, 2010, so that organized responses can be prepared.) Together with the Christian Apocrypha unit we are planning a joint session on Christian apocrypha in Syriac and invite papers for that. We plan to publish suitable papers following peer review.

For further information and to submit a paper proposal (deadline March 1, 2010), please go to

I will be very happy to address questions you may have.

Respectfully submitted,

Cornelia Horn


Program Unit Chair

Members of Steering Committee (in alphabetical order)

Joseph Amar

Sidney H. Griffith

Robert R. Phenix Jr.

Ute Possekel

PS: As you see fit, please share this announcement with other colleagues who might be interested in participating in this unit. Thank you!


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