Wednesday, January 12, 2005

More SBL Forum

Next up is Timothy Lim of the University of Edinburgh, The SBL-Alone Annual Meeting: Challenges and Opportunities. As far as Lim is concerned, and I guess most of us will sympathise with this view, there is more by way of "challenge" than opportunity. One point he hits on is the question of receptions:
Take the Scottish Universities Reception as an example. This popular reception, sponsored this year by the four ancient Universities in Scotland, including my own in Edinburgh, warmly welcomed alumni, friends, and prospective students for drinks and nibbles. It drew many besides, not only those associated with Britain. The SBL/AAR split will mean either double the costs or alternate receptions. It could also mean double the administrative organization for a colleague.
The same is true on a smaller scale for us in Birmingham. We had the first of our Birmingham receptions at the 2004 meeting and it was attended by both AAR and SBL folk in roughly even proportions. I will be sorry to see such events getting compromised. Lim also comments:
Colleagues who are members of the AAR inform me that there have been petitions opposing such a split. Whether a future reconciliation will take place remains uncertain.
I can't resist saying that if Lim read the biblioblogs, he'd know that there was an AAR petition about this -- read it here (and in Paleojudaica and Deinde) first! (See AAR Petition and AAR stands firm on stand-alone meetings and Text of AAR Letter on-line and the links there).

Lim also writes:
Nonetheless, this time of change could be seen as an opportunity for the Society to reinvent itself. Is it too far-fetched to think that the SBL could fully embrace the three abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam within its walls? The common origin and source of all three faiths is of course the Hebrew Bible.
I applaud the spirit here but doubt that it is really viable to see the society embracing Islam without renaming itself.

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