The call for papers for the SBL 2014 Annual Meeting in San Diego is now open. The “Mind, Society and Religion in the Biblical World” section invites paper proposals for three sessions:
(1) “Past minds: Using cognitive science in the historical study of religion.” This session will look into the opportunities and difficulties involved in using cognitive science to deal with historical (textual and archeological) data. What are the prospects and challenges of using cognitive science for understanding ancient cultures and societies? Is there a way to integrate interpretation and explanation in the historical study of religion? Is it possible to use contemporary brain studies to understand ancient minds? We look forward to paper proposals that critically examine the theoretical challenges by providing relevant examples. The session is co-sponsored with the Cognitive Science of Religion section of AAR.
(2) Mind, Society and Religion in the Biblical World and the Religious Experience in Antiquity program units are planning a joint session that will engage Patrick McNamara’s Neuroscience of Religious Experience (Cambridge, 2009). McNamara’s book examines the neurocognitive basis of emotion, ritual, self-construction, and religious language and concepts as they relate to religious experience. This is not a review session per se, but rather a session that either applies some aspect of McNamara’s work to particular ancient texts and movements, or critiques its relevance to ancient religion. We invite papers that will engage aspects of McNamara’s work as they relate to the experience of religion in antiquity. Papers will also be peer reviewed for possible publication in a special issue of Religion, Brain, and Behavior.
(3) For the third session we accept proposals that address any research focus stated in the description of the program unit.
Paper proposals must be made via the SBL online system.