CFP: Magico-medical knowledge and practices among Jews and others in (Late) Antiquity, HELSINKI July-August 2018 (EABS/Int. SBL)

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CALL FOR PAPERS: The Ways of the Amorites – magico-medical knowledge and
practices among Jews and others in (Late) Antiquity


For the 2018 meeting of EABS and SBL in Helsinki, Finland
(July 30 - August 3), we invite proposals for papers or for pe-organized panel-sessions
(3 papers, possibly with respondent), preferably with a comparative
perspective, on the theme:

“The ways of the amorites? – magico-medical
knowledge and practices among Jews and others in (Late) Antiquity”.

Our thematic panel will deal with ideas and practices that blur earlier
dichotomies between magic or 'folk medicine' and ‘rationale’, or
‘scientific’ medicine in Jewish, Early Christian, and related ancient
traditions. The program unit welcomes presentations studying healing
approaches that range from the so-called 'Dreckapotheke' (‘dirt
pharmacy’), use of healing charms, amulets etc., to bodily interaction
with patients or the production of specific devices ( incantation bowls,
amulets etc.). Practices like divination, dream interpretation, dream
healing and incubation are to be included. Papers may address the
representation in particular texts, objects and contexts. Not only the
discursive framing (genres, canonical corpora) but also materiality and
utilization of language are of interest. Furthermore, studies will explore
agency (transmitters/experts), institutions or institutionalization as
well as aspects of self-assertion, expertise and competition within the
ancient "medical marketplace". What was the attitude of so-called
intellectual or religious elites (rabbis, philosophers,medical authors, Christian
clergy) to and their involvement in these approaches to healing? Finally,
but related to the previous questions, the contributions could interrogate
the gendered and socially stratified hierarchies of authority and expertise regarding
magico-medical knowledge and practice.

In addition, for a joint session with the SBL Healthcare and Disability in
Antiquity unit, we seek proposals on conceptions of the body from the ANE
through the Talmudic period. Comparisons across Israelite, Judaic, early
Christian, Graeco-Roman and Irano-Persian/Zoroastrian religio-medical
traditions are particularly welcome. Contributions on other related topics within the scope of the program unit (Medicine in Bible and Talmud) are invited as well.

Proposals (and questions) should be sent to the program unit chairs
(, and MUST also be
submitted via the SBL website where additional information is available: