Well, I proposed 3 papers for SBL and all three have been accepted! Now, I have to choose my favorite two! Well, here is the 3rd, FYI
Sustaining the Sacred Canopy: John 17 from a Socio-Cognitive Perspective
In this paper I intend to apply the sociological work of Peter L Berger to the matter of prayer in the New Testament. Berger argues that ‘reality’ is socially constructed and that people, by nature, seek out order. Religion, Berger contends, is an important social phenomenon insofar as it seeks to form a ‘sacred canopy’ that grounds social identity.
Berger’s (along with Thomas Luckman’s) work has influenced sociological criticism of the NT, but such theories have rarely been applied to the subject of prayer. John’s recounting of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 offers a useful case study for applying such a soci-cognitive approach not least because of the language of knowledge, truth, unity, and cooperation present.