The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature will take place in San Diego, California, November 22-25.
We always welcome proposals for papers that address Biblical texts, themes, figures and/or readers using the concepts and interpretive tools of any field of psychology. We urge the use of the original Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic, when the argument of your paper rests on the meanings of specific words or phrases.
For 2014, we are particularly interested in papers on the following themes:
- How the Bible functions psychologically in religious encounters. In numerous ways, the very fact that one is reading or referencing the Bible, as scripture, creates psychological dynamics apart from the content itself. For example, conversion narratives, such as Augustine’s, in which reading the Bible is the catalyst for transformation; or the certitude in one’s reading of the Bible demonstrated by a variety of End-time prophets. How might specific kinds of encounters between reader and the Bible be understood psychologically?
- The psychology of ritual in the Bible. Ritual studies has long understood that individuals participating in ritual processes experience an altered psychology, which often leads to healing, mystical states, new social identity, and/or personality transformation, among other distinct effects. The Bible offers no shortage of illustrations of psychological change in the context of ritual. We invite papers that illuminate the role that ritual plays in the Bible through an understanding of the psychological processes at work.
- Psychological Dynamics of Purim. Jewish Purim celebrations, as performances rooted in the Book of Esther, have long been noted for their upending of Jewish religious norms – disruptive shouting and stomping at Haman’s name, the liberal use of alcohol, dressing in costume, even to the point now where men are permitted to dress as women and women as men. What psychological factors are at play in the liberation and “topsy-turvyness” encouraged by the biblical text and the people and groups who bring the biblical story to life?
Proposals are due by March 5, 2014. To make a proposal, go to the SBL website. SBL members can log in and submit their proposal through the online system. Non-members must contact the Program Unit chair directly.