Description: A unit examining the influence of imperial political powers on the development of the Bible in its historical context as well as the Bible’s use and reception throughout subsequent history.
Call for papers: At the 2017 International SBL Meeting, the Bible and Empire group will address two themes, each poignant because of our present historical moment. First, in accordance with the fact that the conference will take place in Germany and given that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we will dedicate attention to the topic of the Reformation. Second, given the current refugee and displacement crises unfolding around the world, we devote a session to the theme of migration. One session will be entitled “Bible and Empires in the Reformation”. We invite proposals that explore the interface between the reception of the Bible and the various European empires during the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter Reformations. Another avenue that can be explored is the effect of the Reformation on the formation of subsequent Protestant Empires. Additionally, we will host a session entitled “Migration, the Bible, and Empire”. We welcome proposals either about the biblical text itself or with an emphasis on reception history. In the former sense, we invite papers which explore how the biblical texts discuss themes of migration in relation to major ancient empires. In the latter sense, we encourage proposals that examine how the Bible has played a role in post-biblical migratory events, either as a tool of empire or in response to empires. Potentially relevant migratory events can include both international migration and forced internal migration, as well as either recent crises (e.g. Syria, Colombia) or historical events (e.g. North American westward migration). Finally, papers are invited for an open session on empires and imperialism in the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, the New Testament, and in subsequent reception history. Analyses of from any number of critical and interpretive perspectives are welcome. Potential contributors may contact the session organizer with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com).