The 2013 Annual Meeting of the North American Patristics Society will take place on May 23-25, 2013 at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. Below, you may find a list of important announcements relevant to the program.
The paper proposal submission website is now closed. In the coming weeks, members whose papers were accepted onto the program will be notified by the NAPS VP.
NAPS Outstanding Student Paper Prizes
Graduate student members of NAPS whose papers are accepted for the 2013 Annual Meeting are invited to apply for a $250 “NAPS Outstanding Student Paper Prize” by submitting an annotated, conference-length version of their paper (about 2,500 words) to NAPS Past President Dennis Trout (email@example.com) by April 1, 2013. Up to five prizes will be given, and the winners will be announced both in the NAPS program and at the 2013 general business meeting.
Summary of Important Dates for 2013 Annual Meeting
September 21, 2012 – Deadline for the topics of the Open Call Sessions
October 1, 2012 – Call for Papers opens.
November 16, 2012 – Call for Papers closes
December 14, 2012 – Notification of acceptance
February 15, 2013 – Program will be published on the NAPS website. It may be found by clicking here.
April 1, 2013 – Deadline to apply for Outstanding Student Paper Prize
May 23-25, 2013 – Annual Meeting in Chicago
Questions should be directed to:
Robin M. Jensen
OPEN CALL SESSIONS FOR 2013
Title: Second Century Christianities
Chair: Clayton Jefford, St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology
Abstract: In an effort to insure that the annual meeting of the NAPS provides explicit opportunity for researchers who work closely with the earliest years of post-apostolic Christian history to present papers that feature their explorations, this Open Call Session is designed around the theme of diverse perspectives among Christians during the second century. Most scholars recognize that assorted theological perspectives, symbol developments, institutional formations, and socio-cultural constructions characterized the nature of what was considered to be “Christian” during these years. The session thus encourages contributions that represent investigations into the diversity of these and related elements. Papers of solid design and argument are welcomed on any topic that reflects the evolution of Christian history during the second century with a preference for those that feature the “unique” aspects of the evolution of ecclesiastical development.
Title: John Chrysostom on Virtue Formation
Chair: Chris de Wet, University of South Africa, and Blake Leyerle, University of Notre Dame
Abstract: Predominately a moralist, John Chrysostom returned repeatedly to the topic of formation in virtue. We see this propensity not only in his many homilies, but also in his treatise explicitly devoted to the education of children (De inanigloria). This open call invites papers discussing any aspect of this formation. We welcome analyses of Chrysostom’s specific techniques of formation (such as cognitive restructuring, social conditioning, and the use of rewards and punishments), and are especially interested in how this advice intersects with broader social patterns (such as elite gender formation, or public displays of domination), and with general philosophical currents (such as the therapy of emotions, or theories of the soul and the body).
Title: Family and the Rhetoric of Kin
Chair: Ellen Muehlberger, University of Michigan; Taylor G. Petrey, Kalamazoo College
Abstract: This session seeks to reflect on the issue of how ancient Christians think about family and kinship in historical, sociological, theological, mythological, and gendered terms. How do they depict, critique, and rethink domestic family life as well as new forms of kinship in ascetic communities, ecclesiastical settings, and public life? The newly discovered papyrus fragment in which Jesus mentions his “wife” (pending further research into its authenticity) raises anew the question of how Jesus’s own kinship and kinship practices functioned to authorize family or celibacy for early Christians. We invite papers to reflect on representations of the family of Jesus, the use of household codes, discussions about spouses, children, siblings, slaves, and other members of the household. In addition, how might we consider the forms of kinship that develop in Christian ecclesiastical, educational, and ascetic communities? Were these models of kinship in opposition to contemporary cultural models? What sort of symbolic value do kinship relations hold for theological and mythological speculation? How do shifts and breaks in the rhetoric and practice of kinship fit in the broader historical milieu of early Christianity?
Title: Conceiving the Human: Early Christian Anthropology
Chair: Ellen Muehlberger, University of Michigan; Taylor G. Petrey, Kalamazoo College
Abstract: Just as early Christians theorized the divine, they also theorized the human. We seek papers for this session that address any aspect of early Christian thinking about the human being. Some possible themes include: Christian narratives about the origins of humanity; Christian knowledge of the physical and psychological composition of the human being; or Christian engagement in systems of differentiation among human beings, such as gender and genealogy. We ask that papers offer specific arguments about particular contexts, locations, or thinkers, but that they also keep an eye on how such situated knowledge might interact with wider cultural trends in antiquity. How did ideas about human beings inflect early Christian theology and cultural practice? Were such ideas conversant or conflicting with other cultural systems of defining humanity?
Title: John Chrysostom and the “Other”
Chair: Jonathan Stanfill (Fordham University)
Abstract: This session proposes to investigate the ways in which the “Other” functions in the life and writings of John Chrysostom. More specifically, it seeks to analyze the discursive construction of the “Other” in his exegesis, pastoral care, and identity as bishop. Such a thematic approach enables a number of wide-ranging topics within Chrysostom scholarship to find a cohesive umbrella in which to discuss the bishop and the phenomenon of alterity. In light of this, the “Other” for John Chrysostom can be construed in, at least, three ways. First, there is the ethnic “Other”, which can either focus on his treatment of the generic ‘barbarian’ identity or his dealings with specific non-Greek ethnicities, such as Syrians or Goths. Second, the religious “Other” encompasses his pastoral interaction as well as textual treatment of Jewish, pagan, and even heretical groups. Finally, there is the interesting way in which Chrysostom himself became an object of the “Other” during the struggle over his identity and legacy by his supporters and detractors. This session will provide an opportunity for both senior and junior scholars to collaboratively build up the field of John Chrysostom studies. In addition to my own paper, Wendy Mayer (Australian Catholic University) and Courtney Wilson VanVeller (Boston University) have already signaled their interest in contributing to this session.
Title: Speaking in tongues: the use of dramatis personae in the writings of the fathers
Chair: Scot Douglass, University of Colorado, Boulder, and Morwenna Ludlow, University of Exeter
Abstract: One of the most common and (at times) complex rhetorical techniques employed by the fathers is the appearance of historical figures in their texts—as characters, witnesses, authorities, exempla, types, dialogue partners, etc. As a continuation of last year’s session, ‘Plato and the Poetics of Patristic Production’, which examined the literary, artistic and poetic legacy of Plato in the church fathers, we invite papers which deal specifically with the literary use of characters or dramatis personae in the production of theological meaning in the writings of the church fathers. Our primary concern is to illuminate the way in which Christians transformed the classical (and other) literary traditions to develop new techniques of writing—being perhaps especially attentive to the effects of the interplay of a certain figure’s presence and absence in a text as well as the productive possibilities in the interplay of time. An example from the classical tradition of the latter would be Plato writing the Symposium in the 380s about a conversation between historical figures in 400-405 about a dinner party in 416: why did he do this and what did it allow him to do in the production of philosophical meaning? Beyond mere ornamentation, what are the rhetorical possibilities created by the effects of employing dramatis personae and how do they relate to theological meaning? This session invites studies of (1) works explicitly constructed as a dialogue in which historical or quasi-historical characters are depicted in conversation (e.g. Augustine’s dialogues, Methodius’ Symposium, Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Soul and the Resurrection; the Syriac dialogue poetry tradition); (2) exegesis in which the commentator/preacher repeats, expands and re-words the speech of Biblical characters (e.g. exegesis of the Song of Songs or the Psalms; John Chrysostom’s sermons on Dives and Lazarus); (3) works in which historical or quasi-historical characters are included as vivid exemplars (or anti-exemplars) or as types of future persons, groups or events (especially if the exemplar/type is developed into a narrative).
Title: Material Culture of Early Christianity in Africa
Chair: David L. Eastman
Abstract: The field of Patristics has a long tradition of studying the history and theology of North Africa through the textual traditions. The writings of Tertullian, Augustine, and others have shaped the field as much as they shaped the development of early Christianity itself. Attention to the region’s materialculture, however, has lagged behind. The goal of this session is to bring the archaeological evidence more to the center of the conversation. Preference will be given to papers that discuss material culture within its historical context and then analyze this material in conversation with issues such as (not but not limited to) liturgical practices, popular piety, the cult of the saints, ecclesiastical politics, relations with secular authorities, or literary traditions. Papers that constitute primarily textual, doctrinal, or liturgical studies with only occasional references to material culture are less likely to be selected.
Title: Christian Art in its Imperial Context
Chair: Lee Jefferson
Abstract: There are influential scholarly arguments pertaining to early Christian art that suggest there was a vast transition in fourth and fifth-century images following the conversion of Constantine. Broadly speaking, the image of a peaceful, benevolent shepherd transforms into a powerful, enthroned Jesus, mirroring the dominance and authority of the emperor. The supremacy of church and state are thus conveniently married in potent images following Constantine. This position assumes that ante-pacem Christian images were uniformly humble while post-Constantinian images exuded the grandeur of power and glory. This well entrenched position has been challenged in recent years, opening up the discussion to a variety of viewpoints, many of which call for nuancing the argument past a simple dichotomy of pre- and post-imperial types. This panel intends to gather papers that examine the visual record of pre-and post-Constantinian images and debate whether a clean distinction existed. Papers discussing early Christian iconography and its imperial context are encouraged, and papers focusing on art and imagery of Late Antiquity and beyond are welcomed.