Call For Papers

Call For Papers


Public Scripture: Reading out of Context

Graduate Student Colloquium in Scripture, Interpretation and Practice

March 30-31st, 2014

University of Virginia

Plenary Speaker:

Laurie Zoloth, Northwestern University

The 2014 Graduate Colloquium in Scripture, Interpretation, and Practice welcomes submissions of original research from graduate students on the topic “Public Scripture.”

For many religions, particularly the three so-called ‘Abrahamic’ traditions, the reading and interpretation of Scriptural texts are core communal practices.  But Scriptural texts do not always remain within the bounds of particular communities.  Rather, religious communities have frequently appealed to their Scriptures in the context of public debates and interfaith encounters — with a wide range of surprising, fruitful, or even violent consequences.

With this conference, we seek to gather an interdisciplinary and interfaith group of graduate students to examine concrete examples of the public use of Scripture—what happens when religious people take scripture outside their religious communities? We hope participants will address this topic from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives — historical, legal, theological, hermeneutic, ethical, and more.

Possible paper topics include:

Scripture on billboards
Scripture in early Jewish and Christian apologetics
Scripture in the establishment of governments or constitutions
Scripture in political campaigns or political rhetoric
Scripture in medieval interfaith theological disputes
Scripture in the civil rights movement
Scripture as overheard in the call to prayer
Scripture as read by philosophers
Scripture, sexuality, and sexual ethics
Scriptural allusions in literature
Scripture and biomedical or environmental ethics

Proposals in the form of a 250-word abstract should be emailed to by January 20th, 2014. Acceptance notifications will be sent out by February 3rd, 2014. Final papers, not to exceed 2000 words, must be submitted by March 3rd, 2014.

This colloquium is sponsored by The Virginia Center for the Study of Religion, The Institute for Humanities and Global Cultures, The University of Virginia Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences, The Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life, The Society for Scriptural Reasoning,The University of Virginia Office of Diversity & Equality and The Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia.


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