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Eastern Orthodox Studies Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

For 2024 we welcome proposals on the following topics:

Orthodox Christianity and Judaism

Since its formation over seventy years ago, the field of Jewish-Christian dialogue has been populated by a steady stream of Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, but rarely by Orthodox Christians. This session seeks to widen Jewish-Christian dialogue by considering how Orthodox exegetical traditions, liturgy, history, contemporary thought, and ongoing political experience, especially in the Middle East, can and should affect not only Orthodox Christianity’s own relationship to Jews and Judaism, but also its relationship to Jewish-Christian dialogue more broadly. We welcome submissions from a wide range of methodological and disciplinary approaches, including but not limited to theology, history, anthropology and ethnography, political science, and area studies.

This session will be co-sponsored by the SBL Biblical Exegesis from Eastern Orthodox Perspectives unit.


Patristic Tradition and Contemporary Christianity

“Patristics” is often closely identified with late antiquity, but among Orthodox Christians the tradition of the “holy fathers” also includes many figures from the medieval period up into the present. Several modern Orthodox theologians called for cultivating the “mind of the fathers” and developing a “neo-patristic synthesis”, while others observed limitations in such approaches. For this session, we invite papers and panel proposals that address the relevance of the category of patristics and particular patristic figures for contemporary Christian thought, practice, or communities. Such proposals might reflect on the significance of particular patristic thinkers for addressing present-day issues, reconsider the framing of the patristic tradition in theology, or evaluate the impact of patristic texts or the veneration of certain saints within specific groups or cultures. Critical or creative approaches to considering the patristic tradition, its potential relevance and limitations, and its significance for constructing religious boundaries and identities beyond Orthodoxy are also welcome.


Orthodox Christianity and Disability

We invite presentations on disability experiences and Orthodox Christianity. We are especially interested in examinations of how the religious backgrounds, commitments, or influences of persons with disabilities have been impacted by religious commitments, religious institutions, and local parish life. We also welcome proposals that critically examine the relationship between disability and Orthodox theology, thought, practice, and/or history. Papers are particularly welcomed that confront healing narratives, suffering discourse, and religious stigmas around disabilities with an emphasis on the intersection of disability (as an identity and minority) with gender, culture, and Orthodoxy.

This session will be co-sponsored by the Religion and Disability Studies Unit.


Contemporary Iconography

For this session, we invite papers and panel proposals on religious iconography. We are particularly interested in styles, theological interpretations, religious praxis, and the public use of iconography in the contexts of, or in comparison with, Orthodox and/or Eastern Christianity. We welcome consideration of contemporary iconographic developments, the political use of icons, icons in secular spaces, mysticism and icons, unofficial and subversive icons, the use of icons in prayer and theology, and invite participants to demonstrate iconographic techniques or bring physical examples. This session is interested in, and open to, a wide range of methodological and disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to ethics, theology and religious thought, art history, material culture, anthropology, and practicing iconographers/artists.

This session will be co-sponsored by Arts, Literature, and Religion Unit.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit focuses on the critical study of the theology, culture, history, and practices of the many different Eastern Christian churches, including but not limited to Orthodox, Oriental, and Eastern Rite Catholic (numbering some 260-300 million worldwide), including their mutual interaction and engagement with Western Christian and non-Christian groups. 


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members