CFP: The Ways of the Amorites – Magico-Medical Knowledge and Practices among Jews and Others in (Late) Antiquity

July 30-August 3, 2018, Helsinki, Finland

Call for papers

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:

Deadline: February 13, 2018

Posted: February 12, 2018