Saturday, November 5, 2011

CFP: The 2012 Annual Meeting of the North American Patristics Society, Chicago, May 24-26, 2012

The 2012 Annual Meeting of the North American Patristics Society will take place on May 24-26, 2012 at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza.  The following announcements are in respect to the meeting. The online system for paper proposal submissions is now open! All proposals must be submitted via this online system. Moreover, all proposals are due by November 11, 2011. You may access the paper proposal submission website by clicking here.

Open Call Sessions
Back by popular demand: Open Call Sessions are thematic sessions of three or four papers (or three papers and a response). The chair of each session is responsible for setting the topic and, together with the Vice-President and review committee, for vetting abstracts that will be submitted during the regular abstract submission period (October 1-November 11, 2011). In cases where abstract submissions are numerous, two sessions may be organized around a given theme.
Seven Open Call sessions were approved for the 2012 annual meeting. The list of these approved sessions is available at the end of this announcement. Please consider submitting your paper to one of these sessions.
Call for Papers
Individual abstracts of approximately 300 words, including submissions to be considered for one of the Open Call Sessions, and proposals for Prearranged Sessions may be submitted on the paper proposals website between October 1 and November 11, 2011.  Please note that individual abstracts earmarked for but not accepted into an Open Call Session will automatically be entered into the general pool.  Prearranged Sessions should be thematically consistent and will typically include three or four papers; an abstract for each paper should accompany the proposal submitted by the session’s organizer, except in cases of book panels, translation workshops, and the like.  Notification of acceptance of all papers and session proposals will be made by December 12, 2011.
Abstracts should: 1) present a clear thesis; 2) indicate knowledge of the sources; 3) show awareness of relevant methodological, historiographical, or philosophical issues; and 4) treat subject matter that falls within the parameters of Late Ancient and Patristic studies.
Only NAPS members in good standing may read papers.  Members are requested to submit no more than one abstract.
NAPS Outstanding Student Paper Prizes
Graduate student members of NAPS whose papers are accepted for the 2012 Annual Meeting are invited to apply for a $250 “NAPS Outstanding Student Paper Prize” by submitting an annotated, full-length version of their paper to NAPS President Dennis Trout ( by April 10, 2012.  Up to five prizes will be given, and the winners will be announced at the 2012 NAPS Business Meeting.
Summary of Important Dates
September 16, 2011 – Deadline for the topics of the Open Call Sessions
October 1, 2011 – Call for Papers open – please click here to submit your proposal
November 11, 2011 – Call for Papers closes
December 12, 2011 – Notification of acceptance
February 1, 2012 – Program published on the NAPS website
April 10, 2012 – Deadline to apply for Outstanding Student Paper Prizes
May 24-26, 2012 – Annual Meeting in Chicago

Please note that the deadline for the submission of topics for Open Call Sessions (September 16, 2011) and the deadline for the submission of Prearranged Sessions and individual abstracts (November 11, 2011) are earlier than in past years.  Members have requested an earlier notification of acceptance so that they can request funding from their home institutions in a timely manner.  Therefore, we have earlier submission deadlines. 

Questions should be directed to:
Kenneth B. Steinhauser
Vice-President, NAPS
Saint Louis University
Department of Theological Studies
3800 Lindell Blvd., Adorjan Hall 124
St Louis, MO 63108-3414


Title:  Narratives of Religious Conflict in Late Antiquity
Chair: Bronwen Neil
Abstract: Religious conflict characterised the birth and development of Christianity, from the apostolic age, through the patristic era up to and including the beginnings of Islam. The clash of cultures and ideologies between Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians only intensified through successive centuries. Although Christian conflict with non-Christian “pagans” and Jews persisted, by the fourth and fifth centuries Christianity was dominated by intra-religious conflict centring around traditional and doctrinal arguments. The idea of this panel is to explore the political, social and other non-religious motivators behind religious conflict, and how these were represented, disguised or discussed (if at all) in narratives of religious conflict. This has already been attempted for the fifth and sixth centuries by W.H.C. Frend in his contentious volume The Rise of the Monophysite Movement (1972). Frend presented so-called “monophysitism” not as the excuse for a separatist movement among Armenian, Syrian and Coptic peoples but as a unifying force for a number of communities with genuine religious affiliations that prevented their acceptance of the Chalcedonian settlement. Their religious differences led them to accept Muslim overlordship in the seventh century and thus facilitated the Arab conquest of a large part of the Byzantine empire. A similar approach could be taken to other Christological disputes of the period, including the rivalry between Nicene and anti-Nicene Christians in Antioch in the fourth and fifth centuries; the Donatist schism in North Africa in the fourth and fifth centuries; violent division between Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians in the eastern churches; Nestorianism and the Three Chapters controversy in the West; Justinian’s neo-Chalcedonianism; and the “imperial” heresies of monoenergism and monothelitism in the seventh century.
Title: Digital Patristics
Chair: Joel Kalvesmaki
Abstract:  The digital age holds great promise for the study of early Christianity. Scholars presenting in this session will explain how electronic tools have enabled them to understand late antiquity and to convey that understanding to colleagues, students, and the general public. Emphasis will be put on questions central to our discipline such as: How, if at all, have the digital humanities answered or changed the questions we ask? How can scholars of early Christianity better organize themselves to use the digital humanities more effectively? Presenters are encouraged to provide ample time for demonstrations and discussions. 
Title: Gender and Nag Hammadi
Chairs: Katherine Veach Urquhart and Nathan Bennett
Abstract: This session welcomes discussion of the role of gender in the language, authorship, context, audience, narratives, interpretation and reception of the texts of the Nag Hammadi library. The desired outcome of such a discussion is a fuller appreciation of gender in the school of thought represented by Nag Hammadi, as well as an awareness of the role of gender in interpretations both ancient and modern of these texts. 
Title: The Cults of Saints as Social Capital
Chair: David L. Eastman
Abstract:  This session will focus on the Christian cults of saints and their importance for understanding the political and social development of early Christianity. As recent scholarship in this field (e.g. Stephen J. Davis, The Cult of St. Thecla; Ramsay MacMullen, The Second Church; David L. Eastman, Paul the Martyr) has again brought to the surface, the evidence from these cults provides insight into the rich variety of practices and motivations that characterized early Christian experience. The cult sites were locations of meeting between people of different classes and, on a mystical level, between Christians and the saints themselves. Here some lines of distinction were obscured, while others were reinforced. This session is designed to explore the ways in which the creation and proliferation of saints’ cults and their accompanying sites functioned as social, ecclesiastical, or political capital. Papers could explore topics such as competing claims to saints, attempts to control cult sites and practices, cults and (or against) the ecclesiastical hierarchy, or cult practices as social freedom or oppression. Preference will be given to papers that engage these questions through the synthesis of multiple forms of evidence (e.g. literary, liturgical, archaeological, artistic, etc.).
Title: The Song of Songs in Late Antiquity: Exploring Contexts of Interpretation
Chair: Karl Shuve
Abstract: The early Christian reception and interpretation of the Song of Songshas generated a significant level of scholarly interest in recent years.  Much of the literature, however, has focused on the motivations underlying the Christian figural reading of this erotic poem and the impact that patristic exegesis of theSong has had on modern interpretations.  This “hermeneutical” approach, despite its many merits, tends in an ahistorical direction that flattens the significant differences between early Christian interpretations of the Song.  A rich diversity of interpretations has been highlighted in the pioneering articles of Elizabeth Clark (“Origen and the Later Latin Fathers”, 1986) and Patricia Cox Miller (“Pleasure of the Text”, 1986; “Blazing Body”, 1993) among several others, and it is the aim of this session to continue to explore the variety of uses of theSong throughout Late Antiquity and across the Roman Empire. Papers are most welcome on any topic pertaining to the subject of this session.  Presenters might explore: anindividual author’s interpretation of the Song; the interpretation of the Song in a particular geographical region (e.g., North Africa, Italy, Syria); the deployment of the language or imagery of the Song within a particular discursive tradition (e.g., ecclesiological polemic, exhortation to virginity) or literary genre (e.g., poetry); the use of the Song in the liturgy; the forging of intertextual links between the Songand other biblical texts (e.g., Psalm 45); or the interaction of different trajectories and traditions of interpretation (e.g., the later Latin use of Greek sources; Christian use of Rabbinic sources).

Title: Plato and the Poetics of Patristic Production: Plato’s Influence on the Theological Use of Literary Form
Chairs: Morwenna Ludlow and Scot Douglass
It has been stated that Plato is the only major philosopher who is also a supreme literary artist. Patristic scholarship has given much more attention to the influence of Plato’s metaphysical ideas on the church fathers than that of his poetics—either his ideas about poetics or his practice of it in so many of the most influential aspects of his output: The Symposium, allegory of the cave, winged nature of the soul, the fall in corporeality, etc.  This has been the case despite general recognition that the rhetorical milieus in which many church fathers were trained were influenced by Plato’s complex views on the value of rhetoric and its relation to dialectic (albeit views nuanced by Aristotle and later rhetorical theorists).  Classics scholars are engaged in a vigorous debate about the relationship between Plato’s philosophy and art (e.g., Christopher Rowe’sPlato and the Art of Philosophical Writing and Charles Kahn’s Plato and the Socratic Dialogue: The Philosophical Use of a Literary Form) as have been many contemporary philosophers (e.g., Derrida, Cixous, Agamben).  This session invites papers that bring the church fathers into that conversation, papers which, for example, examine the literary, artistic and poetic legacy of Plato in the church fathers and their contemporaries and the subsequent connections between what the fathers say, how they say it and how ‘how they say it’ is productive of and indispensible to their ideas.  In other words, we are looking for contributions that explore rhetoric and literary art (techne) in the Fathers beyond its reduction to ornamental flourish.

Title: The New Prophecy: Montanism in the Light of Recent Research
Chair: William Tabbernee 
Abstract: Recent research has brought about a renewed interest in “The New Prophecy,” the (originally) Phrygian Christian renewal movement later known as Montanism.  A number of earlier scholarly assumptions about The New Prophecy have been brought into question.  The aim of this session is to re-examine aspects of traditional scholarship about Montanism on the basis of recent research.  Any aspect of the history, nature, theology, or practices of Montanism may be the topic of papers submitted for this session.  Priority will be given to submissions which present original research and/or utilize recent research by other scholars in order to evaluate some dimension/s of traditional interpretation of the New Prophecy.