Theology In The News

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 13, 2006 — 1 Comment

The Washington Times reports on the annual double-conference of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). It looks like the hard work of Pagan and Nature Religion scholars have paid off because their work gets a mention!

“Workshops range from the academic to the arcane, such as one Saturday morning session, presided over by Florida State University professor John Corrigan, on “The Washington D.C. Mall: Living Civil Religion or Museum Artifact?” Other workshops explore subjects such as “Non-Traditional Histories of Black Islam,” “Catholicism and Sex,” pagan studies, Coptic monasticism and sexual desire in the theologies of Saints Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa.”

The theme of this year’s Contemporary Pagan Studies Consultation (an official program unit within the American Academy of Religion) is “Pagan Communities: Innovations, Internal Negotiations, and Growth” and includes a presentation by James Lewis (editor of “Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft”) on the growth of modern Paganism. The day before the AAR-SBL conference begins you can attend (if you happen to be in Washington DC) the Conference on Contemporary Pagan Studies where the theme this year will be “Paganism in Public Spaces: Social, Legal and Political Interactions” and includes talks by Judy Harrow and Mandy Furney.

That only includes the specifically Pagan-focused programs, no doubt there are all sorts of presentations of interest to an inquiring Pagan mind. Also according to Chas Clifton*, this is the last year that the AAR and SBL will be holding a joint conference.

“…it’s too bad that the mushrooming size of the joint annual meeting means that the two bodies will no longer meet together after 2007. Although the SBL has a biblical focus, some very interesting work on late Classical Paganism does slip in.”

No doubt the study of religion will be poorer for their splitting. Next year the AAR conference will head to San Francisco and Chicago the year after that. While I’m fiscally unable to attend this year, I’m hoping to get to the next one. Anyone who wants to witness the rapid growth of Pagan religious scholarship should try to attend.

* Speaking of Chas Clifton, Rowman and Littlefield who published his book “Her Hidden Children” and the Pagan Studies series will have a booth there. So stop by and support their efforts if you can.

Jason Pitzl-Waters