Planning for Society of Biblical Literature Meeting

I can't believe it, but the Society of Biblical Literature Meeting is fast approaching, and hurray! it is a joint meeting with the American Academy of Religion again.  I am a member of both organizations, and so I am so pleased that the two societies are together again. 

There have been some big changes for those of us who are involved in the

Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism Section

.  We came up for renewal this year, and we sent out a survey to our members.  Based on the results of that survey, we decided to change the name of the section to

Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity

, and to broaden our mission statement: "This unit critically investigates religious currents of secrecy/secrets (esotericism) and/or their revelation through praxis (mysticism) in the formative period of Judaism and Christianity (ca. 500 BCE-500 CE)."

We have two great sessions scheduled for November, one of them a joint session with The Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Early Christianity group.  Please join us if you can.


Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity


9:00 AM to 11:30 AM


2011 - Convention CenterTheme:

Reconstructing Practice from Texts

The annual banquet dinner for this group will be held at a local restaurant on Saturday evening. Contact April DeConick ( for reservations and information.

Kelley Coblentz Bautch, University of St. Edwards, Presiding

Jeff Pettis, New Brunswick Theological Seminary

Raising the Serpent: Gods, Magicians, and the Mystical in John 3.14-15

(20 min)

April D. DeConick, Rice University

“The road for souls is through the planets”: The Mysteries of the Ophites Diagrammed

(20 min)

Cordula Bandt, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften

The Tract "On the Mystery of Letters" in Context of Late Antique Jewish, Gnostic and Christian Letter Mysticism

(20 min)

Break (5 min)

Grant Adamson, Rice University

Descent of the Soul and the Interpretation of Genesis 1-3 among Jews, Christians, and Later Platonists

(20 min)

Ellen Muehlberger, University of Michigan

Evagrian Death Meditation and Amphilochius’s Homily on Lazarus

(20 min)

Brent Landau, University of Oklahoma

Mystical Practice and Experience in the Syriac Revelation of the Magi

(20 min)

Discussion (25 min)


Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity

Joint Session With:

Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity, Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Early Christianity


1:00 PM to 3:30 PM


2018 - Convention CenterTheme:

Praxis and Experience in Ancient Jewish and Christian Mysticism

This session is dedicated to the memory of Alan F. Segal

April Deconick, Rice University, Presiding (5 min)

James R. Davila, University of St. Andrews

Ritual Praxis in Ancient Jewish and Christian Mysticism

(25 min)

Istvan Czachesz, University of Heidelberg

Experience in Ancient Jewish and Christian Mysticism: Insights from Cognitive Neuroscience

(25 min)

Break (10 min)

Frances Flannery, James Madison University

Mysticism as an Epistemological Sub-Category of Religious Experience: The Case of the Testament of Abraham

(25 min)

Rebecca Lesses, Ithaca College, Respondent (15 min)

Pieter Craffert, University of South Africa, Respondent (15 min)

Discussion (30 min)