Call for Papers

The deadline for submitting proposals to the Call for Papers has been extended to Friday, November 18.


The 2017 Annual Meeting of the North American Patristics Society will take place on May 25-27, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. The Paper Proposal Submission website is now open. It may be accessed by going to


Call for Papers

Individual abstracts of approximately 300 words (including submissions to be considered for one of the Open Call Sessions listed below) or proposals for Prearranged Sessions may now be submitted via 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 14, 2017.

Please note the following guidance for abstracts. They should: 1) offer a clear indication of the thesis to be argued; 2) indicate which primary sources will be discussed; 3) indicate the relevant methodological, historiographical, and/or philosophical context; and 4) deal with sources (including archaeology and material culture) that fall within the parameters of Late Ancient and Patristic studies.

Please note the following restrictions. 1) Only NAPS members in good standing may read papers. 2) NAPS graduate student members are asked to submit individual abstract or Prearranged Session proposals only if they have completed comprehensive exams or are otherwise designated as ABD. NAPS graduate student members who are pre-ABD are invited to submit proposals through the Open Call session titled, “Pre-Dissertation Research Workshop.” 3) Members are requested to submit no more than one abstract. 4) Due to the extreme complexity of scheduling such a large event, it is not possible to accommodate special scheduling requests. This means that if you are proposing a paper, you need to be available to speak at whatever time the paper is scheduled (i.e. on any of the three days).


NAPS Outstanding Student Paper Prizes

Graduate student members of NAPS whose papers are accepted for the 2017 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 the Chair of the NAPS Board’s Awards and Prizes Committee, Susanna Elm () by March 1, 2017. Up to five prizes will be given, and the winners will be announced at the 2017 NAPS Business Meeting.


Summary of Important Dates

October 14, 2016 – Paper Proposals Submission website opens. Submit your paper proposal by going to

November 15, 2016 – Paper Proposals Submission website closes

December 14, 2016 – Notification of acceptance

February 1, 2017 – Program published on the NAPS website

March 1, 2017 – Deadline to apply for Outstanding Student Paper Prizes

May 25-27, 2017 – Annual Meeting in Chicago


Questions? Please direct them to:

D. Jeffrey Bingham
Dean of the School of Theology
Professor of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Vice-President, NAPS


List of the 2017 Open Call Sessions

Pre-Dissertation Research Workshop

Sponsor: D. Jeffrey Bingham, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

This session is intended to offer an opportunity for graduate students who have not yet embarked upon dissertation research to offer short presentations (up to 10 minutes) and receive feedback from their peers and senior colleagues. Invited are papers that test a hypothesis against the evidence of one or more primary sources. If you would like to be considered as a presenter, please include in your proposal text a clear statement of the hypothesis you plan to test, the name(s) of the primary source(s) you will consider, what questions you will ask, what scholarly tools and techniques you will bring to bear in pursuit of an answer, and what original contribution you hope to offer as a result. Finally, please include an annotated bibliography of 4-8 items that have most influenced your thinking on the chosen topic.


The Gospel of John in the Early Church

Sponsor: Bryan A. Stewart, McMurry University

This open call session is specifically geared toward exploring the interpretation of the Gospel of John in the patristic period. The range of possible material is vast, and papers in this session could employ any number of approaches. Some might examine a particular thinker’s interpretation of a given Johannine passage. Others might offer the history of interpretation of a Johannine pericope over time or within a particular region (Alexandria, Antioch, N. Africa, etc). Still others might explore the various interpretive methods used by church fathers on the Gospel of John (typology, allegory, literal, numerological, etc). Although broad in its scope, the aim of this session would be to highlight the various ways the Gospel of John has been read and interpreted throughout early Christian history.


Emotion in Ancient Christianity

Sponsor: Daniel G Opperwall, Trinity College, University of Toronto

Emotions in the lives of people and communities, both present and historical, have been studied with increasing rigour in the 21st Century through the work of scholars like William Reddy, Thomas Dixon, Barbara Rosenwein and others. While they recognize that the concept of “emotion” as such is decidedly modern (and, indeed, largely anglophone), scholars like these have demonstrated the value of studying its history, and have shed much light on how emotionality has shaped and been shaped by communities, politics, and literary texts over the centuries. Yet, quality treatments of emotion by scholars of ancient and late antique Christianity are still rare (though not wholly lacking), and a great deal remains to be said about issues such as how ancient Christians understood emotions, how they challenged and/or embraced previous expectations about them, what variances in attitudes existed within Christianity, or how emotionality affected the development of the ancient Church.

This open call seeks papers that will address in some way the topic of emotion or emotions in ancient Christianity. Papers may be general or specific in scope, may be historical, sociological, literary, theological, or archaeological in approach, and are welcome to focus on any time or place within the purview of ancient Christianity. The question of what constitutes “emotion” among ancient Christians is itself open to serious discussion; submissions that variously define (or even seek to reject) the category of emotion as a tool for studying ancient Christianity are most welcome.


Specters of Aristotle: Christian Intellectual Identity Formation and the Transformation of the Aristotelian Legacy

Sponsor: Luis Josué Salés, Fordham University

The bulk of scholarship on late antique Christianity has largely focused on numerous aspects of Christian engagement with Platonic thought. It has become common, as a result, to suppose that Aristotelianism was not a significant constitutive dialectical force in the creation of a Christian intellectual apparatus. This supposition is often tacit, although some scholars have expressly claimed that Aristotle was either unknown to Christians or that they did not “regard him as an inspirer” (e.g. Jean-François Denis, Gustave Bardy, Henri Crouzel, Panayiotis Tzamalikos, Marius Portaru, etc.).

Recent scholarship in the history of philosophy, however, has problematized this fairly straightforward understanding of the division between Platonic and Aristotelian thought, particularly during the late antique period (e.g., Richard Chiaradonna, Han Baltussen, Andrea Falcon, George Karamanolis, etc.). Rather, the commonly assumed gulf between Platonism and Aristotelianism was actively bridged by the majority of late Platonists (Porphyry, Iamblichos, Hierokles, Damaskios, Simplikios, etc.) who demonstrated not only exhaustive knowledge of Aristotle’s work, but also undertook large-scale efforts to find “the fundamental agreement between Plato and Aristotle’s nous on most matters”, as Simplikios states in the introduction to his Commentary on Aristotle’s Categories. Indeed, it can be argued that this supposed gulf between Plato and Aristotle was primarily a polemical invention of Eusebios of Kaisareia for the promotion of the Christian religion.

Thus, this session invites papers that will reevaluate scholarship on Patristic figures with an ear for Aristotelian echoes in the dialectical formation of a Christian intellectual identity. This can take the form of close textual analysis of Patristic texts and their comparison with Aristotle’s works or commentaries on his works by the Peripatetic and Platonic commentators, of a critical assessment and review of modern scholarship and its historiographical assumptions, etc. Papers that consider non-Greek source material (Syriac, Arabic, Coptic, Ge’ez, etc.) and its relationship to the Stagirite are also warmly welcome, especially those that decenter the standard Western narrative of the history of philosophy and the reception of Aristotelian thought.


Patristic Reception in Post-Reformation Europe

Sponsor: Paul Robert Gilliam III, Chowan University

There is a dearth of scholarship devoted to the use of patristic materials in Post-Reformation Europe among scholars of early Christianity. There are scholars working in this area. For example Scott Mandelbrote, Jean-Louis Quantin, and Irene Backus have all made contributions. Mandelbrote is an early modern historian at Cambridge University who works on the religious beliefs of Isaac Newton among other areas of inquiry. Quantin is an historian of scholarship. He has produced the highly acclaimed The Church of England and Christian Antiquity: The Construction of a Confessional Identity in the 17th Century (2009). And Backus is a reformation scholar who has edited the two volume, The Reception of the Church Fathers in the West: From the Carolingians to the Maurists (2001). Thus, there is a need for patristic scholars to turn their eyes to post-reformation Europe along with others making contributions to this area of research.

These are not uncharted waters in our field. Maurice Wiles opened the door with his Archetypal Heresy: Arianism Through the Centuries (1996). In this book, Wiles devotes a chapter to British Arianism in which he discusses Isaac Newton’s, William Whiston’s, and Samuel Clarke’s understanding of early church writings. Since then, however, very little work has been carried out among patristic scholars. Paul R. Gilliam III recently published an article, “William Whiston: No Longer an Arian” in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History (2015). In this piece, Gilliam argues that Whiston (1667-1752) has been misidentified as an Arian for over 300 years via an examination of Whiston’s understanding of patristic materials. Gilliam is now at work on a book tentatively entitled William Whiston and the Apostolic Constitutions: Completing the Reformation. This work will tell the fascinating story of Whiston’s defense of the Apostolic Constitutions as “the most sacred book of the New Testament.”

The purpose of this session, then, is to issue the invitation for additional scholars of early Christianity to enter into the discussion concerning the use that post-reformation personalities made of early Christian sources.


Paul Among the Apologists

Sponsors: Ben Haupt, Concordia Seminary & David Wilhite, Baylor University

There has been much recent work on Paul’s writings, what they meant, and how they were received by early Christians. New perspectives on Paul have provoked fruitful dialogue, harsh debate, and an ever-growing literature. Highly nuanced exegetical approaches to the reception of Paul have explored “who got Paul right,” while broadly conceived theological treatments of key Pauline teachings have explored what might have been at stake. Scholars are now questioning long-held consensuses on how Paul was received (or not) by second century Christians, particularly by the apologists. Several recent studies have addressed what has come to be known as the “Pauline Captivity” thesis, that Paul was held captive by Marcion, the Valentinians, and others because of their supposed agreement with him, while other writers like the apologists avoided the “apostle of the heretics.”

This open call session invites papers which explore the receptions of Paul in apologetic literature. Attention might be given to innovative theoretical approaches to identifying scriptural references in apologetic writings. Likewise of interest would be papers which treat the genre of apologetic literature and its use or non-use of Pauline material. Also welcomed are close readings of references to Pauline writings in apologetic literature which seek to contextualize the reference in the larger polemical context. Alternatively, the apologists’ views on the authority, canonicity, or authenticity of Pauline writings would be of equal interest. The apologists’ reception or non-reception of key Pauline teachings like justification would provoke fruitful conversation. Finally, attention to regional receptions of Paul in apologetic literature will also be considered.


Sex and Scripture: Marriage, Divorce, and Celibacy in Early Christianity

Sponsor: Stephen A. Cooper, Franklin and Marshall College

How did early Christians understand and implement scriptural regulations concerning sex life? The commendation of marriage in the creation account of Genesis and the allowance for divorce in Deuteronomy 24 was considerably complicated for Christians by Jesus’ rejection of the latter (Mark 10:4 and parallels) along with Paul’s positions on marriage, divorce, and his own preference for celibacy (1 Cor 7). This panel will focus on how early Christian interpretations of scripture justified, regulated, and/or repudiated modes of sex life licensed by the Bible. While the focus of the panel will be on exegetical discussion of marriage, divorce, and celibacy, contributions are welcomed that analyze the role of exegetical discussion of proscribed forms of sexual activity—same sex relations and use of prostitutes and slaves—in promoting the modes of managing sexuality considered biblically legitimate.


Religion, Medicine, Disability, Health and Healing in Late Antiquity

Sponsor: Heidi Marx, University of Manitoba

ReMeDHe (Working Group for Religion, Medicine, Disability, and Health in Late Antiquity) explores the intersections of medical, philosophical, and religious practices and ways of knowing in late antiquity. Scholars focused on these intersections are invited to submit a proposal to present a paper in an open session. We especially welcome submissions utilizing multi- and transdisciplinary approaches that combine and/or critique insights from the Social History of Medicine and Healthcare, Disability Studies, Religious Studies, and Late Ancient Studies. Topics might include, but are not necessarily limited to, the development and function of medical discourses and practices in early Christian and Jewish literatures and communities, the effects of such discourses on the formation and transformation of late ancient culture and society, and the reception and appropriation of ancient medico-religious concepts in later periods.