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CALL 01.03.2021:[PANEL 14] Homo Necans Revisited (2022 AIA/SCS) - San Francisco (CA, USA)





ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Megan Daniels (The University of British Columbia).



The Program Committee from the Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions invites abstracts of 300 words maximum for 15-20-minute papers on the topic of time, evolution, and diachrony in the study of ancient religions for a proposed joint AIA/SCS panel to be held in January 2022 at the AIA/SCS Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

In the Introduction to his monograph, Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth, Walter Burkert boldly states that “just as biology acquired an historical dimension with the concept of evolution, so sociology, like psychology before it, should accept the notion that human society is shaped by the past and can be understood only by examining its development over long periods of time (1972: xix-xx).” Despite Burkert’s general influence on scholars of ancient religions, his exhortation to account for the evolutionary and diachronic dimensions of religious phenomena has gone largely unheeded. Synchronic perspectives continue to dominate scholarship on ancient religions, and it remains a challenge to combine synchronic and diachronic approaches. The aim of this panel will be to take up Burkert’s challenge to reconsider how longue durée perspectives on religion help us understand specific ritual behaviours in particular times and places. What do we lose and gain with long-term approaches? How can evolutionary models be properly employed in long-term analyses to explain religious thought and behaviour? How can we track continuity and change in developing religious systems?

As this panel will be proposed as a joint AIA/SCS panel, we welcome papers that deal with temporality and the potentials of the long-term in relation to the textual traditions and material cultures of ancient religions, as well as papers that integrate these sources.

We hope to include these papers in a larger edited collection of essays to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Walter Burkert’s seminal book, Homo Necans. Anticipated submission date of all papers following the conference is July 30th, 2022.

Suggested sub-topics for the session may include (but are not limited to):

  • Mystery cults and sacrifice

  • Anthropological approaches to religion

  • Madness and the reversal of the social order in religion

  • Funerary cults

  • Guilt, punishment, expiation Scapegoat rituals Mythmaking Cosmologies

Other sessions to be included in this volume include an SBL 2020 session on animal sacrifice and a future SBL 2021 session on religious violence. Submission deadline: March 1st, 2021

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