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Scriptural Reasoning Unit

Call for Proposals

In recent years, the critical turn toward animals has challenged scholars of religion to revisit the role and significance of animals in their respective traditions, as well as the distinctions these traditions have long made between human life and that of all other animals. This year, we invite submissions of short papers (8-10 minutes) that engage the theme of animals in the scriptural traditions of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. Topics might include:

• the relationship between animals and human beings or God
• animals behaving like humans or humans behaving like animals
• animals in law
• animals in prophecy
• animals and food
• ethical obligations toward animals

Papers should be narrowly focused on a short passage from the Tanakh, New Testament, or Qur’an, but the approach or method is open - participants might explore classical commentaries, modern interpretations, etc. The goal is to examine one way that the tradition has engaged this particular theme and sketch its implications as a jumping off point for a larger discussion between traditions. To that end, this session will be conducted in an experimental format that combines paper presentations with a subsequent text study session.

Statement of Purpose

Scriptural Reasoning (SR) is a practice of inter-religious text study in which participants from the three ‘Abrahamic’ religions (and increasingly, from other traditions as well) study short selections of their scriptures together in an open-ended but structured manner. When scholars read scripture across inter-religious difference, the effect is to put traditional wisdom and academic formation into play simultaneously. Over the years, this practice has proved effective at making familiar texts strange and offering a window into the deep patterns of reasoning and implicit logics of these different traditions.

The Scriptural Reasoning Unit facilitates a unique mode of academic engagement within the setting of the AAR, rooted in this distinctive practice. It cultivates an approach to the academic study of scriptural traditions centered on the ways in which scriptures generate communities of religious practice: practices of study, of interpretation, of reflection, of ritual, and of social life. Its scholars seek to develop methods for analyzing aspects of this process and to offer philosophical or theological interventions in the ongoing life of the traditions.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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

Review Process Comments