Ancient Esotericism at the SBL

There will be a bevy of papers relevant to the study of esotericism and antiquity at the joint meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion in Atlanta, Georgia, November 20-24, 2015. Here’s a list of some sessions which may be of interest to followers of this website:

P20-205
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The Qur’an and Late Antiquity (IQSA)
11/20/2015
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: Towards a “Long Late Antiquity”: Continuities from the pre-Islamic to the Islamic Era
Co-sponsored by the AAR Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity group.
Michael Pregill, Boston University, Presiding
Emran El-Badawi, University of Houston
Law and Tradition in the Long Seventh Century (570-705) – Between Qur’an and Church Canon (20 min)
Walter D. Ward, University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Pre-Islamic Image of the Word ‘Saracen’ and its Implications for Early Christian and Islamic Interactions (20 min)
Cecilia Palombo, Princeton University
“Why Do the Rabbis and Religious Authorities Not Forbid them from Uttering Sinful Words?”: Qur’anic and Late Antique Attitudes towards Religious Scholars (20 min)
Mushegh Asatryan, University of Calgary
Is Ghulat Religion Islamic Gnosticism? (1) The Shi’ite “Extremists” of Early Islamic Iraq (20 min)
Dylan Burns, Freie Universität Berlin
Is Ghulat Religion Islamic Gnosticism? (2) Syro-Mesopotamian Gnostic Traditions (20 min)

S21-112
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Bible, Myth, and Myth Theory
11/21/2015
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Austin Busch, SUNY Brockport, Presiding
Spencer L. Allen, University of Pennsylvania
Ishtar-of-Arbela’s Mythological, Mystical, and Prophetic Independence from Ishtar-of-Nineveh (30 min)
Abigail Rine, George Fox University
Anagnorisis in the David Narrative (30 min)
M. David Litwa, University of Virginia
“I am God”: The Primal Human as Primeval Self-deifier (30 min)
Daniel N. Gullotta, Independent Scholar
Reexamining Joseph Campbell and The Origins of the Christian Myth (30 min)
Ilaria L.E. Ramelli, Angelicum + Oxford University + Erfurt University + Catholic University
Origen, the Myths of Scripture, and the Myths of Plato (30 min)

S21-115
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Cognitive Linguistics in Biblical Interpretation; Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity
Joint Session With: Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity, Cognitive Linguistics in Biblical Interpretation
11/21/2015
9:00 AM to 11:45 AM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: The Cognitive Difference
Athanasios Despotis, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Presiding
April D. DeConick, Rice University
Up, Down, In, Out and Back Again: Sensory Motor Schema and the Ascent of the Soul (25 min)
Roger Beck, University of Toronto
The Mithraeum as a Mechanism for Getting Down from Heaven and Back Up Again (25 min)
Colleen Shantz, Toronto School of Theology
“I Do Not Understand My Actions”: Some Cognitive Bases for Natural Dualisms (25 min)
Vernon K. Robbins, Emory University
The Visible and Invisible in Early Christian Literature: Imagistic Story-Lines that Run Cognitive Progressions (25 min)
Robert von Thaden, Jr., Mercyhurst College
Families, Children, and Askesis: Framing Christ-Believing Bodies. (25 min)
Grant Adamson, Rice University
Christology and Cognitive Science (25 min)
Discussion (15 min)

S21-235
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Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
11/21/2015
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: Coptic Gnostic Magic, Coptic Gnostic Texts
Geoffrey Smith, University of Texas at Austin, Presiding
Review and Discussion of Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power (Brepols, 2013).
David Frankfurter, Boston University, Panelist (20 min)
Lance Jenott, Universitetet i Oslo, Panelist (20 min)
Malcolm Choat, Macquarie University, Respondent (20 min)
Discussion (15 min)
Eric Crégheur, Université Laval
The Biblical Citations of the “Untitled Text” of the Bruce Codex (20 min)
Kristine Toft Rosland, Universitetet i Oslo
The Savior interprets Moses – The use of Old and New Testament in the Apocryphon of John (20 min)
Michael Kaler, University of Toronto
Resolving Paradoxes in Nag Hammadi Codex I (20 min)
Discussion (15 min)

S21-336
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Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity; Religious Experience in Antiquity
Joint Session With: Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity, Religious Experience in Antiquity
11/21/2015
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: Revisiting Shamanism
Celia Deutsch, Barnard College, Presiding
April D. DeConick, Rice University
Shamanism and Gnostic Ritual (25 min)
James R. Davila, University of St. Andrews
Hekhalot Mysticism and Jewish Shamanism: Where Do We Stand Now? (25 min)
Jeffrey Pettis, Fordham University
Shamans in the Desert: Mark 1.12-13 Jesus and the Spirit World (25 min)
Pieter F Craffert, University of South Africa
Shamanism As A Cross-Cultural Interpretive Tool: Jesus, Paul And Early Christianity (25 min)
Dan Merkur, Respondent (20 min)
Michael Winkelman, Arizona State University, Respondent (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

S22-136
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Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity; Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
Joint Session With: Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity, Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
11/22/2015
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: Hermeticism
Lance Jenott, Universitetet i Oslo, Presiding
Jared C. Calaway, Illinois College
To See the Invisible One: Moses and Hermes in the Greek and Demotic Magical Papyri (20 min)
Dylan M. Burns, Freie Universität Berlin
Alchemical Metaphor in the Paraphrase of Shem (NHC VII,1) (20 min)
Marla Segol, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Mystical Medicine: The Esoteric Genealogies of Hebrew Medical Texts (20 min)
Discussion (15 min)
M. David Litwa, University of Virginia
Self-knowledge in Monoimos and the Hermetic Corpus (20 min)
Christian H. Bull, University of Oslo
Poimandres, Kmeph, and the Laughing God: A Hermetic Scheme of Creation (20 min)
Christian Wildberg, Princeton University
The Stars of Hermes (20 min)
Discussion (15 min)

S22-230
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Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
11/22/2015
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: Eros and Ascent
John Turner, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Presiding
Kevin Corrigan, Emory University
Love, friendship and the ascent through the beautiful to the Good: Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus (30 min)
Harold Attridge, Yale University
Seeing the Invisible, Knowing the Unknowable: Philo’s Assent To God (30 min)
Zeke Mazur, Université Laval
The Orphic Eros–Phanes, Platonizing Sethian Ascent Tractates, and the Mysterious Figure of Amelius Gentilianus (30 min)
Mark Edwards, University of Oxford
Solomon’s Kiss from Origen to the Later Middle Ages (30 min)
Discussion (30 min)

S23-114
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Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish, and Christian Studies; Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Joint Session With: Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish, and Christian Studies, Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
11/23/2015
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: Papyrology and Digital Humanities
Caroline T. Schroeder, University of the Pacific, Presiding
Stephen J. Davis, Yale University
Manuscripts, Monks, and Mufattishin: Digital Access and Concerns of Cultural Heritage in the Yale Monastic Archaeology Project (30 min)
Roger T. Macfarlane, Brigham Young University
Damaged Papyri Rendered Accessible Through MultiSpectral Imaging: An Update and Prospectus (30 min)
Rodney Ast, University of Heidelberg
A Digital Corpus of Literary Papyri (30 min)
Claire Clivaz, Université de Lausanne
Does Any Fragment Count? Considering the Digital Culture from a Papyrological Point of View (30 min)
Laurie E. Pearce, University of California-Berkeley
Digital Tools Supporting Prosopographical Research in Texts and Manuscripts (30 min)

S23-233
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Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity
11/23/2015
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: General Open Session
Catherine Playoust, Catholic Theological College, Presiding
Kevin Sullivan, Illinois Wesleyan University
Angelic Bodies and the Body of Christ (25 min)
William Babcock, Duke University
LOUD SNAP… BLACKNESS DUMPED ON THETAN’: Scientology and the Western Esoteric Tradition as a Comparative Model for Enochic Literature (25 min)
Paul M. Pasquesi, Marquette University
Visual and Verbal Expressions of Transformation: Olmec Were-Jaguars and Angelification in Ascension of Isaiah Compared (25 min)
Eduard Iricinschi, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
“It is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly” (Eph 12:5): The Function of Secrecy in Epiphanius’ Depiction of the Nicolaitans and the Gnostics (25 min)
Rebecca Lesses, Ithaca College
Esterah and Lilith: Mythical Women and Ascent (25 min)
Pieter G.R. de Villiers, University of the Free State
A mystical perspective on the Christophany in Revelation 1. (25 min)

S24-119
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Early Exegesis of Genesis 1
11/24/2015
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: Genesis 1 in Christian Theology of the 2nd century
James VanderKam, University of Notre Dame
Genesis 1 in the Book of Jubilees (30 min)
Christoph Markschies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – Humboldt University of Berlin
Genesis 1 and the Beginnings of Gnosticism (30 min)
Anders-Christian Jacobsen, Aarhus Universitet
The interpretation of Genesis 1 in Theophilus and other early apologetic texts (30 min)

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