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SBL/AAR 2022: Remodeling the Motel of the Mysteries (CFP)

SBL/AAR 2022: Remodeling the Motel of the Mysteries (CFP)

SAMR is happy to announce this call for papers!

innovations in the study of secret cults

A rich range of new approaches has reinvigorated the study of Greek and Roman mystery cults. New technologies for reconstructing the affective, embodied, interactive experience of these rituals open previously inaccessible frameworks for a phenomenology of the mysteries. Fresh lenses on the Christian fathers read them less as the voice of Christianity triumphant than as interlocutors in the complex processes of social, personal, and gender identities the rites enabled. Digital humanities approaches enable consideration of soundscapes and social networks; comparative studies draw on ethnographic models of secrecy; contextual approaches explore intersections with magic.  More detailed historical-philological studies on specific cult sites and activities have shown the different ways in which Greeks and Romans made use of such rites. This panel invites papers focused on innovations in theory and method in relation to Greek and Roman mystery cults, framing an emerging analytical horizon for rites sealed by secrecy. 

Abstracts (500–600 words) for papers of fifteen to twenty minutes should be submitted by email attachment as .doc or .docx files to socamr@gmail.com.  All abstracts will undergo blind review; abstracts should contain a title and a word count, but should not have any information regarding the identity of the submitter. The deadline for submission of abstracts is April 6, 2022.

Please direct all queries to SAMR at socamr@gmail.com.


Belayche, N., F. Massa, and P. Hoffman (ed.s) (2021). Les mystères au IIe siècle de notre ère: un tournant. Brepols.

Faraone. C.A. (2013). “The amuletic design of the Mithraic bull-wounding scene”. JRS 103: 96–116.

Panagiotidou, O. (2018). “Secrecy in the Mithras Cult: Concealment, Cognition and Social Cohesion.” Acta Ant. Hung. 58: 667-679.

Petridou, G. (2018)   “Resounding mysteries: sound and silence in the Eleusinian soundscape.” Body and Religion 2.1: 68-87 doi: https://doi.org/10.1558/bar.36485

Romero Mayorga, C. (2021). “Music in mystery cults: towards a comprehensive catalogue.” Telestes: an international journal of archaeomusicology and archaeology of sound 1: 87-101

Schlapbach, K. (2021).  “Making Sense: Dance in Ancient Greek Mystery Cults and in Acts of John,” in L. Gianvittorio-Ungar and K. Schlapbach (ed.s), Choreonarratives: Dancing Stories in Greek and Roman Antiquity and Beyond. Leiden: Brill, 82-107

Wescoat, B.D. et al. (2020) “Interstitial Space in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace,” in A. Haug, A. Müller (ed.s),  Hellenistic Architecture and Human Action: A  Case of Reciprocal Influence.  Leiden: Sidestone Press, 41-62.

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This call for papers has expired.