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Call for Papers – “The Nature of Soul and Death” IRS Workshop

Since 2018, the Inter-Religious Symposia (IRS) platform has been successful in bringing together representatives from the three Abrahamic faiths, to appreciate each other’s perspectives on various theological issues.
The Annual IRS Academic Workshop seeks to advance these discussions further into the academic arena, delving into the theological topics that are of shared concern.

About the Workshop

The Inaugural Annual IRS Academic Workshop in the Eschatology Series, hosted by Al-Mahdi Institute (AMI), provides a forum for sharing perspectives related to the nature of the human soul, its transitioning at the point of death and the nature of death itself. Being the first workshop in the series, its theme is based on the start of the eschatological journey. The soul and death, at the end of this temporal realm, are both topics of extensive discussion within all three Abrahamic traditions, stemming from their respective scriptures and sacred texts.

In line with the ethos of the IRS platform, the workshop will bring together scholars from various persuasions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, enabling each to understand, appreciate, compare and even critically assess the standpoints of others, in an open and safe academic environment.

This workshop, therefore, seeks to explore theological standpoints on the nature and makeup of the human soul and its creation, answer questions about its im/mortality, and examine notions about the soul’s characteristics. Part of this examination also assesses the relationship of the soul to the physical body and interrogates theological positions about the traits of the soul; whether they are incidental or essential, temporal or perpetual.

Examining the notion of death is inextricable from discussions on the soul’s relationship with the physical human body. As such, this convention also intends to examine the various ideas surrounding the process and phenomenon of death.

Topics like the soul and death, when studied from religious perspectives, cannot be dealt with comprehensively unless religions are seen as lived realities and experiences, in addition to codified tenets. Therefore, alongside the aforementioned theological engagements, this workshop also invites sociological research into how death is seen and commemorated in Abrahamic religious communities. This would involve analysis of the religious rites and rituals surrounding death and how they correspond with theological appreciations.

Call for papers

The workshop invites paper proposals directly engaging with questions related to the nature of the soul and death from Abrahamic viewpoints. Paper proposals in the following areas are particularly welcome:

  • Critical analysis of textual foundations, used to derive theological understandings of the human soul’s creation, characteristics and makeup – from any of the Abrahamic traditions.
  • (Re)assessments of theological standpoints on the soul and the nature of death.
  • Comparative studies between two or more of the Abrahamic faiths, examining the theological positions on the soul and death.
  • Sociological and ethnographic research analysing the death ceremonies and their connections to theological tenets.

The inclusive model of the workshop is pleased to host presenters from academic as well as non-academic practitioner backgrounds. As has become an effective format in the workshops at Al-Mahdi Institute, theological debate will be positioned alongside contributions from broader historical and anthropological approaches – thereby enriching a multidisciplinary understanding of outlooks dealing with The Soul and Death.

Application Requirements

All accepted applicants will have their accommodation and board arranged by AMI, in addition to the travel logistics also being borne for presenters from UK and the EU.

In submitting an application to present at the workshop, applicants also commit to submitting a 6,000-10,000 word article, four months after the workshop, as listed below:

Proposals for a single presenter should include the following: 
  • Tentative title and Abstract (400-word limit).
    • The deadline for abstract submission is Monday, 12th December 2022
    •  Successful applicants will be notified by Monday, 19th December 2022
  • Applicant’s brief bio and CV (maximum two pages highlighting the applicant’s publications and recent professional positions) 
  • Applicant’s contact information.
  • Proposals and queries should be sent by e-mail to: Muhammed Reza Tajri: [email protected]

Full Article Paper (Post-Workshop)

  • Final papers are to be submitted by Monday, 3rd July 2023, in line with the house style of AMI Press. 
  • Authors should review the editor’s comments and recommendations and then resubmit articles. The outcome of the editor’s review will be communicated to the authors by Monday, 14th August 2023.
  • Presenters whose articles are successfully completed for publication will be granted an honorarium.