AAR Annual Meeting
November 21-24, 2015
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This program unit focused on Late Antiquity in the East aims to provide a home for the study of religious traditions that are rooted in Mesopotamia, Persia, and western Asia, particularly those parts that were outside the Roman cultural reach such as Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Mandaeism. While the group will focus on late antiquity, many of these traditions, and particularly their extant texts come to us from much later periods, and this scholarly issue will be part of our discussions. In addition, many of the traditions that were born in this time and place also spread to other parts of the world, and the study of them in those forms and contexts also has a place within this program unit, as does investigation of their response to the rise of Islam in the region. In addition, this group’s focus is not exclusively on those traditions that developed uniquely in this region, but also those which, when transplanted there, had significant evolutions in that milieu that differ from their counterparts in other times and places (e.g. Christianity, Judaism). We likewise encourage research which focuses on the interaction between the various communities and traditions of this place and time.
For the AAR meeting in Atlanta, Nov 2015, we would like to propose two panels:
1) In this panel we will review Shai Secunda's new book, The Iranian Talmud: Reading the Bavli in its Sasanian Context (U Penn, 2014). The panelists will be pre-chosen and invited to participate by the steering committee. Shai Secunda will serve as respondent.
2) Our second session will be an open call for papers in our general topic: We will consider all papers that study religious traditions that are rooted in Mesopotamia, Persia, and western Asia, particularly those parts that were outside the Roman cultural reach such as Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Mandaeism in late antiquity.
3) We are cosponsoring a session with the SBL Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity group. This session focuses on the concepts of "Christianization" and "Islamification" in Late Antiquity. We are particularly interested in proposals that wed focused examination of specific case studies with broader critical reflection on the terminology, categories, and questions at play within these fields of study.
4) We are also cosponsoring a session with IQSA in their new Late Antiquity session on pre-Islamic Arabia.