Bodies of Communication


‘Bodies of Communication’ is a research unit fostering conversations on the body as a location of religious expression. As the study of religion moves away from religious doctrines and institutions towards an increasing interest in the lived experience of religion, the human body takes up a more central place. In Biblical and related texts, issues in which the body is inevitable bound up, such as food and sexuality, birth and death, are never far away. While bodies are often policed in religious settings, they also offers a site for resistance and deviance, and a means of opposing traditional norms. Both the abstract and idealized body and the concrete body that exists and lives in time and space can be understood to express religious narratives and structures.

This session aims to increase understanding of the body as a significant site in the period of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, as well as in contemporary interpretations and resonances. It especially encourages engagement with issues that are relevant for contemporary culture and society.


Body, Biblical and Related Texts, Gender, Religious Expression, Ritual, Sexuality, Reception


Peter-Ben Smit
VU University Amsterdam, University of Bern, Utrecht University

Karin Neutel
University of Oslo


Member Area

Wuppertal 2020 Call for Paper

This unit is not accepting any new proposals for the 2021 conference

Call for Papers
For the 2020 Wuppertal meeting, the unit Bodies of Communication will have an open call welcoming any papers that approach Biblical and related material through a focus on ‘body’, broadly conceived. We particularly invite reflections on the contemporary relevance of Biblical literature and culture.

nvited Session
We will have a second, invited, session for authors contributing to the forthcoming Bloomsbury Handbook on Bodies in the New Testament (edited by Peter-Ben Smit and Karin Neutel). This volume will highlight the often invisible and frequently underexplored bodies that populate New Testament literature, by focusing on e.g., fertile, violent, gendered, submissive, possessed, fantastic, divine or apocalyptic bodies. The session will allow authors to present their initial ideas and approaches, and to invite responses from other contributors, as well as from other EABS scholars.