Call for Papers

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the North American Patristics Society will take place on May 24-26, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. The Paper Proposal Submission website is now open. It may be accessed by going to


DECEMBER 4, 2017. The deadline for submissions has been extended to Monday, December 4 (an email will be sent to this effect early next week).


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 early January.

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 2018 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, Kate Cooper ( by March 1, 2018. Up to five prizes will be given, and the winners will be announced at the 2018 NAPS Business Meeting.


Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities Committee invites members of NAPS to submit proposals to host one of two digital humanities workshops, to be held at the annual meeting, Thursday morning 9 a.m. to noon. These workshops are meant to present and teach techniques in any aspect (textual, spatial, material) of digital scholarship, research, and publishing. Anyone interested in offering such a workshop should send a two-page proposal to the chair of the DH committee, Joel Kalvesmaki,, by December 4.



List of the 2018 Open Call Sessions

  1. Pre-Dissertation Research Workshop

Sponsor: Robin Darling Young, The Catholic University of America

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.


  1. Nag Hammadi and Gnostic Studies

Sponsor: David W. Jorgensen, Colby College

It is now over 70 years since the discovery at Nag Hammadi of a cache of texts that revolutionized the study of the New Testament. Once thought to be a secret “Gnostic” library, many of these and similar texts are now widely seen as part of the diverse landscape of late antique Christianity. These texts cannot be understood in a vacuum; on the contrary, they are regularly studied in intimate conversation with the patristic writers who polemicized against some of the doctrines contained in them. However, despite the decades-long presence of a standing panel at SBL devoted to this topic, these texts only sporadically appear in NAPS papers, despite their equal, if not greater significance to patristic studies than to the study of the Bible or its reception. This session seeks papers that engage with so-called “Nag Hammadi and Gnostic” texts from the second to fifth centuries. Although the proposed topics for papers is not limited, we prefer those papers that highlight, either explicitly or implicitly, the significance of one or more of these texts for the study of patristics, and that will introduce these texts to a NAPS audience not already deeply familiar with them.


  1. Christian Manuscripts, Jewish Texts? Biblical Pseudepigrapha in Late Antiquity

Sponsor: Cavan W. Concannon, University of Southern California and Jill Hicks-Keeton, University of Oklahoma

Christians in Late Antiquity preserved, translated, and appropriated a host of texts that are today believed to have originated from Jewish writers in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Including such works as Jubilees, Joseph and Aseneth, and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, these texts—often dubbed “biblical pseudepigrapha”—were not ultimately included in the Christian biblical canon(s), but were read, translated, and copied frequently by early Christians. The standard scholarly approach to these materials has been to abstract them from their use by Christian authors and imagine their original creation as Jewish texts from an earlier period, treating (ultimately hypothetical) textual reconstructions as evidence for understanding Second Temple Judaism rather than dwelling more seriously on the manuscript tradition(s) as productive for characterizing Late Antique Christianities. How has the Christian use of these texts and the fact of their transmission through Christian communities and readers influenced the shape of these texts and the parameters within which we interpret them? Through what processes, transformations, and interpretive strategies did texts whose origins (may) lie within Jewish communities “become Christian”? What usefulness did Christian readers find in “non-canonical” texts from the Second Temple period?

This open call seeks papers that will address in some way the use of (non-canonical) Jewish texts from the Second Temple period by Christian authors in Late Antiquity, either by looking at how a text was transformed or reused by Christian readers and/or the methodological questions raised by texts of disputed origins. The question of what constitutes a “Jewish” or “Christian” text is open to serious discussion and submissions that engage this methodological project are most welcome.


  1. Organizing Knowledge in Late Antiquity

Sponsor: Philip Michael Forness, Goethe Universität and Jeremiah Coogan, University of Notre Dame

Late Antique Christian literature frequently exhibits archival tendencies. Letter collections have enjoyed a well-deserved surge of scholarly interest in this regard, and works as diverse as Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History and Egeria’s Itinerary attest archival impulses. Yet many other literary phenomena participated in the anthological production of knowledge in Late Antiquity—epitomes, collections of extracts, catenae, dossiers from synods, and sermon collections, to name a few.

A once-dominant narrative of post-classical decline dismissed these Late Antique habits of cataloguing and collecting as secondary attempts to preserve an ossified intellectual heritage, significant primarily as witnesses to earlier literary works. More recent scholarship has instead observed that this “aesthetic of accumulation”—as Scott Fitzgerald Johnson has called it—energized innovative literary production, with existing literary material juxtaposed and reconfigured to generate new networks of meaning. Paratexts also constrained the possibilities of reading and created connections between previously unrelated texts. Furthermore, these literary artifacts were always implicated within particular economic, ritual, and readerly matrices of production, collection, and use. Each of these facets invites further exploration.

We invite proposals for papers on archival or anthological strategies for collecting and organizing knowledge in Late Antiquity. Papers may be general or specific in scope, and may employ any theoretical or methodological approach appropriate to the subject matter. Insights from manuscript studies are particularly welcome.


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

Sponsor: Jared Secord, Washington State University and Kristi Upson-Saia, Occidental College

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 trans-disciplinary 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 and practices in later periods.


  1. Evagrius the Scholiast

Sponsors: Ian Gerdon, University of Notre Dame and Robin Darling Young, The Catholic University of America

Despite major advances throughout the 20th century in our understanding of Evagrius Ponticus, the great theologian of early Christian monasticism remains obscure in some ways and scholarly consensus remains elusive. Prominent among the difficulties facing scholars is that some of Evagrius’s major works are without translation or critical edition, creating barriers to his accessibility and thus challenges to the interpretation of his other works. For example, of the three major collections of scholia on Scripture (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Psalms), two are without English translation and one without a published edition of any kind. While major efforts are underway to produce better translations and studies of his letters and Gnostic Trilogy, Evagrius’s scholia and his role as scholiast are often still ignored.

Yet, as Luke Dysinger and Augustine Casiday have pointed out, the study of the Evagrian scholia offers the potential for great gains: first, by significantly expanding the range of Evagrian texts to draw on; second, by illuminating his more esoteric teachings; and third, by positioning him in a tradition of Scriptural commentary that broadens depictions of Evagrius as, primarily, an ascetic master or a speculative theologian.

In order to advance the study of the Evagrian scholia, this session on “Evagrius the Scholiast” will focus on the contribution his Scriptural scholia have to offer any presentation of his asceticism, cosmology, and theology. Papers on distinctive themes in the scholia collections, on their significance for the interpretation of Evagrius’s chapters and treatises, on Evagrius’s role as a Scriptural commentator in the late fourth century, or on the state of the recovery of his scholia are welcome. A response to these papers will be provided by Robin Darling Young.


  1. The Newly-Discovered Psalms Homilies of Origen: Sacred Geography in His Last Work

Sponsor: Joseph Wilson Trigg,

Origen’s Homilies on the Psalms, the final work of his career as presbyter in Caesarea, reflect a lifetime of study and interpretation. They are both the summation of his mature thought and the result of his lifelong focus on the Psalms, the only biblical book to which he devoted three exegetical genres: commentaries, scholia and homilies. The homilies are an outworking of earlier works, but they also express his deepening insight into subjects crucial to both the Septuagint and the New Testament: the cosmos as a revelation of the divine Logos; prayer; the form and function of the Hexapla; and the constant use of rhetoric and grammatical analysis.

This session focuses on Origen’s understanding of the sacred geography of the Christian community, a constant topic of investigation for a thinker for whom the arrival of the “first people” in the Land of Promise became with fuller interpretation the difficult transformation of Christians in their return to the Logos through the practices of their community and the guidance of their preacher.


  1. Early Christians and Incarceration

Sponsor: Matthew Larsen, Yale University and Sonja Anderson, Carleton College .

This session calls for paper proposals on the topic of early Christians and incarceration. Incarceration is here taken to mean the experience of having one’s body held in a place against one’s will for reasons associated with perceived criminality or some other offense: whether it be a public prison, private prison, military prison, debtor’s prison, etc. The session is interested in papers exploring the entanglement of incarceration with such issues as slavery, ethnicity, family, gender, economics, policing, and criminalization among early Christians. It is also interested in papers addressing the imagined carceral geography of Christian writers and communities within their late antique contexts.