#CFP Belief in the Ancient World and in Biblical Texts: 2021 University of St Andrews Biblical Studies Symposium (July 7-9, 2021)

#CFP Belief in the Ancient World and in Biblical Texts: 2021 University of St Andrews Biblical Studies Symposium (July 7-9, 2021) May 13, 2021

2021 University of St Andrews Biblical Studies Symposium
July 7-9, 2021 – Online only

The St Mary’s School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews is hosting this interdisciplinary conference dealing with questions of belief in the ancient world and in the biblical texts. The conference will consist of both plenary sessions and breakout sessions in which both postgraduate students and professional scholars will have the chance to present and discuss their research. Plenary speakers include: Dr. Brent Strawn (Duke University), Dr. Erin Darby (University of Tennessee), Professor Thomas Harrison (University of St Andrews), Dr. Madhavi Nevader (University of St Andrews), Dr. Matthew Novenson (University of Edinburgh), and Dr. Theodore Lewis (Johns Hopkins University).

Call for Papers – Deadline May 17, 2021
Discussions of the ancient world usually assume the ancients believed the gods were intimately involved in everything from the realm of politics and climatological phenomena to cultic rituals and daily activities. Yet, recent scholarship challenges this reductive presentation of ancient beliefs. As such, we might ask: What does it mean to “believe” in the ancient world?

The 2021 University of St Andrews Biblical Studies Symposium is now accepting research abstracts of 500 words or less from professional scholars and postgraduate students. We encourage scholars from a number of disciplines to participate, as our symposium aims to foster an interdisciplinary discussion about ancient belief. Scholars in Archaeology, Assyriology, Biblical Studies, Classics, History, Philosophy, and others are welcome.

NOTE: All papers accepted for the conference last year are also accepted this year.
The following topics are a selection of possible focal points for research papers:

  • The etymology of “belief” in ancient textual traditions

  • The extent to which certain texts reflect the beliefs of the people they discuss

  • The use of belief as a boundary marker for social and religious groups

  • Non-belief and the issue of “atheism” in the ancient world

  • The relationship between belief and ritual

  • Individual versus group beliefs

  • The ability of material culture to inform our interpretations of belief

  • Differences or similarities between beliefs cross-culturally

  • Belief and “faith” in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament

  • Belief and the philosophy of religion

  • Belief as a literary motif

Please send abstracts in a word or Pdf format to bssymposium2020@st-andrews.ac.uk. We will respond as promptly as possible to let you know whether your proposal was accepted.

Presentation format

We ask that participants whose abstracts are accepted send a paper of 2,000–3,000 words to bssymposium2020@st-andrews.ac.uk by June 30 (one week before the symposium), for pre-distribution. The actual presentation should aim to last about 15 minutes and summarize the main arguments of the paper. Because of the nature of online presentations, we strongly encourage the use of visual aids, Powerpoint presentations, and the like. We invite all participants to read papers in advance to facilitate engagement.


A selection of the conference proceedings will be published following the event. If you would like your contribution to be considered for inclusion in a volume of essays, send a finished draft of fewer than 6,000 words (inclusive of notes) to bssymposium2020@st-andrews.ac.uk by November 30, 2021.

See the conference website for more details. HT Jim Davila.

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