Orality and Literacy VII :
Oral-scribal Dimensions of Scripture, Piety and Practice in
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
All sessions are open to the Rice academic community, to the Houston community and to interested colleagues nationwide and internationally. Due to space limitations, registration is required for all Sessions beginning Sunday, April 13, 2008. Registration deadline is April 1, 2008. Register now at: https://cohesion.rice.edu/
The Rice University conference will be the seventh in a series of Orality-Literacy conferences that was inaugurated in 2001 in South Africa and over the years convened on three continents: Africa, Europe and North America. In the previous six conferences the focus was on the following topics: colonialism, the world of the spirits, memory, diversity, ritual and tradition – always from the perspective of oral-scribal dynamics.
The 2008 Rice University conference will be devoted to an examination of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with particular sensitivity extended to the aesthetic, compositional, and performative aspects of the three faiths in their historically appropriate media contexts. Beginning with the pre-modern period and reaching into our postmodern world, the philological, textual paradigm has served as the intellectual matrix for classical and biblical scholarship, for medieval studies and for the study of world religions. The intellectual accomplishments of this paradigm are incontestable, monumental even.
The Rice University conference is designed to provide the philological, textual study of the monotheistic faiths fresh insights and significant challenges. If the flourishing discipline of orality-literacy studies has shown anything conclusive it is that prior to the invention of print the verbal arts were an intricate interplay of orality and scribality, with manuscripts often serving as mere reference points for recitation and memorization. This is especially true in the case of these three world religions.
The conference will contribute to bringing scholars in Judaism and Christianity together with Islamicists in working toward a paradigm that calls for a new set of sensibilities and a critical reflection upon the role of the media technologies in the formation and transmission of these religions.
The conference will break with the conventional conference pattern of back-to-back lectures. Instead, we have devised conference procedures that will maximize interdisciplinary discussions. To further broaden the intellectual scope of the conference we have invited two prominent Africanists to serve as respondents to the conference sessions.
The conference will be videotaped by Eugene and Anna Botha, UNISA, Pretoria, South Africa.
The principal sponsor of the conference is the Boniuk Center for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance, Rice University. Co-sponsors are Rice University’s Humanities Research Center, the Office of the Dean of Humanities, the Department of History, the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology (formerly CITI), and the Department of Religious Studies.
Werner Kelber, Isla Carroll & Percy E. Turner Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Rice University (email@example.com)
Paula Sanders, Associate Professor of History (Islamicist) and Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Rice University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keynote Address: John Miles Foley, W. H. Byler Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Curator’s Professor of Classical Studies and English, Director of the Center for eResearch and Director of the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition, University of Missouri-Columbia
David Carr, Union Theological Seminary, New York
Talya Fishman, University of Pennsylvania
Catherine Hezser, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London
David Nelson, Texas Christian University & Brite Divinity School
Holly Hearon, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis
Richard Horsley, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Werner Kelber, Rice University
David Rhoads, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Angelika Neuwirth, Freie Universität, Berlin
Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, Indiana University
Gregor Schoeler, University of Basel
Priscilla Soucek, New York University
Ruth Finnegan, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
Jeff Opland, University of South Africa & University of London
Final Conference Respondent:
William A. Graham, Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies (Islamicist) and Professor of the History of Religion in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Dean of Harvard Divinity School, and author of Beyond the Written Word: oral aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion.
Orality & Literacy VII: Judaism, Christianity, Islam
Rice University, Houston, Texas: April 12 – 14, 2008
The Keynote Address will be delivered as a public lecture and does not require registration to attend.
All other Sessions will be in seminar format with discussion of pre-circulated papers. Due to space limitations, registration is required for attendance at these Sessions. Deadline for registration is April 1, 2008. Register now at: https://cohesion.rice.edu/Services/EventReg/?event=VT08
SATURDAY, APRIL 12:
|7:00 - 8:00 pm||Reception - Sewall Hall|
|8:00 - 8:45 pm||Keynote Address - Sewall Hall, Room 301
John Miles Foley, University of Missouri: “Ancient and Modern Democracies: Orality, Texts, and Electronic Media”
|8:45 - 9:15 pm||Discussion|
SUNDAY, APRIL 13: All Sessions in Founders Room, Lovett Hall, Entrance B
|8:30 - 9:00 am||Coffee and Tea|
|9:00 - 11:30 am||
Chair: Sara van den Berg, St. Louis University
Talya Fishman, University of Pennsylvania: “Disparate Motives for Guarding Oral Transmission – Within and Between Cultures”
Werner Kelber, Rice University: “A History of the Closure of the Biblical Texts”
Gregor Schoeler, University of Basel: “The Constitution of the Koran as a Codified Work: Paradigm for Codifying the Islamic Sciences”
|1:30 - 4:00 pm||
Chair: Eva Haverkamp, Rice University
David Nelson, Texas Christian University & Brite Divinity School: “Torah, Textuality, and the Hermeneutics of Exodus in Early Rabbinic Judaism”
Holly Hearon, Christian Theological Seminary: “The Emergence of Christian Tradition as Spoken and Written Word”
Angelika Neuwirth, Freie Universität Berlin: “Two Faces of the Qur’an: qur’an and mushaf : Contrasting the Communication Process with the Canonized Codex”
|4:00 - 4:30 pm||Coffee Break|
|4:30 - 5:00 pm||Response: Ruth Finnegan, The Open University|
MONDAY, APRIL 14: All Sessions in Founders Room, Lovett Hall, Entrance B
|8:30 - 9:00 am||Coffee and Tea|
|9:00 - 11:30 am||
Chair: Michael Maas, Rice University
Catherine Hezser, University of London: “Oral and Written Communication and Transmission in Ancient Judaism”
Richard Horsley, University of Massachusetts: “The Origin and Operation of Scripture at the Popular Level: the Gospels (of Mark and Matthew)”
Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, Indiana University: “Orality, Literacy, and the Semiotics of Rhetoric in Arab Poetry”
|1:00 - 3:30 pm||
Chair: David Cook, Rice University
David Carr, Union Theological Seminary: “Torah on the Heart: Literary Jewish Textuality within its Ancient Near Eastern Context”
David Rhoads, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago: “Contemporary Performance as a Means to Access the Orality of Early Christianity”
Priscilla Soucek, New York University: “The Interaction of Speech and Calligraphy in Manuscripts of the Qur’an”
|3:30 - 4:00 pm||Coffee Break|
|4:00 - 4:30 pm||Response: Jeff Opland, University of London & University of South Africa|
|4:30 - 5:00 pm||Summary Response: William Graham, Harvard University|
Each of the three active participants in a session will spend no more than 10 minutes giving remarks.
These three presentations will be followed by 30 to 45 minutes of exchange among the three active participants.
The session will be concluded with a general discussion among all participants of approximately one hour.
A limited block of rooms has been set aside at a discount rate of $85/nite at:
Residence Inn Medical Center
7710 Main Street (corner of Kirby and Main)
Houston, Texas 77030
Contact for reservation: Mary Fonseca (713-351-1399 or email@example.com)
Reference code: “Rice Friends of O&L”
Deadline for reservation: March 14, 2008
Shuttle service from Houston airports (Hobby and Intercontinental) to the hotel can be arranged directly with SuperShuttle.com (1 800 258 3826). The cost is approximately $25 per person.
Driving Directions to Rice University:
Parking at Rice University:
Visitor parking is available near the conference venues. Refer to the Rice map in the link below and click on Lovett Hall for details of parking location.