SBL – Re-describing Early Christianity: San Diego, November 21-25, 2014, San Diego, CA



The Redescribing Early Christianity Seminar contributes to the study of early Christian history by problematizing current consensus views, unexamined assumptions, and categories; recontextualizing and redescribing the key data through comparative analysis; and accounting for the configurations of texts under view in terms of social theory. Redescribing Early Christianity  is sponsoring or co-sponsoring  four sessions at the San Diego AAR, with a workshop on the role of comparison in research on religion and panels on Greco-Roman Religion, Evolutionary and Cognitive Approaches to Early Christianity and  Social and Practice Theory in the Redescription of Early Christianity.

Program Unit Chairs

William Arnal       [email protected]

Erin Roberts             [email protected]

Friday, November 21, 2014
Location disclosed to those registered. To register place “SORAAAD – 2014 – Registration” in the subject line of an email addressed to [email protected]


Greco-Roman Religion


4:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Room: D (Level 3 (Aqua)) – Hilton Bayfront (HB)

Theme: Redescribing Greco-Roman Antiquity: Somatizing Practices

James Hanges, Miami University, Presiding (5 min)

Chris de Wet, University of South Africa

Breaking Bodies and Building Theologies: The Discourse of the Suffering Slave in Early Christianity (25 min)

Pieter J.J. Botha, University of South Africa

“On Their Way to Nowhere?” Exploring Body, Identity, and Place in the Jesus Movement (25 min)

Michael Pope, Brigham Young University

Blood, Sweat, and Smears: Bodies Portentous, Bodies Politic (25 min)

Gerhard van den Heever, University of South Africa

“Somaticising Practices”: Relocating Epiphany in the Making of Early Christianity (25 min)

Discussion (30 min)


Redescribing Early Christianity


9:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Room: Indigo Ballroom D (Level 2 (Indigo)) – Hilton Bayfront (HB)

Theme: Evolutionary and Cognitive Approaches to Early Christianity

Erin Roberts, University of South Carolina, Presiding

Risto Uro, University of Helsinki

Explicit and Implicit Religious Knowledge in the Study of Early Christianity (10 min)

Discussion (15 min)

Istvan Czachesz, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Cognitive Science and Network Theory in the Study of Early Christian Origins(10 min)

Discussion (15 min)

Anders Klostergaard Petersen, University of Aarhus

The Early Christ-Movement from a Cultural Evolutionary Perspective (10 min)

Discussion (15 min)

Petri Luomanen, University of Helsinki

Towards an Evolutionary Account of the Formation of Christian Identity (10 min)

Discussion (15 min)

Break (10 min)

Discussion (40 min)


Redescribing Early Christianity


1:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Room: 300 B (Level 3 (Aqua)) – Hilton Bayfront (HB)

Theme: Social and Practice Theory in the Redescription of Early Christianity

William E. Arnal, University of Regina, Presiding

Willi Braun, University of Alberta

Toward a Theory of the Social: An Assessment of the Work of Theodore Schatzki (10 min)

Discussion (15 min)

Maia Kotrosits, Denison University

Diaspora Theory and the End of “Early Christianity” and “Early Christian Identity” (10 min)

Discussion (15 min) 

Heidi Wendt, Wright State University Main Campus

Not Twelve, But Five: Theorizing Christian Practice in the Second Century (10 min)

Discussion (15 min)

Gerhard van den Heever, University of South Africa

New Arrivistes in the Context of Older Traditions: New Religious Movements and the Weaving of Christ Cult Groups into a New Religion (10 min)

Discussion (15 min)

Break (10 min)

Discussion (40 min)

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