Sunday. 7am. University of Birmingham breakfast reception. It was a great pleasure to meet lots of my old colleagues including some I hadn't seen for over two years. The Birmingham reception is a relatively new feature of the SBL and valued greatly by people like me who have flown from there but still have links and, of course, happy memories. But like several events I attended this year, it is going to be the last in this form. This is the last of the combined AAR (American Academy of Religion) - SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) annual meetings, at least for the time being, and in future there won't be the same opportunities to meet colleagues from across the Religion / Biblical Studies divide.
9am. The University of Birmingham breakfast was pretty light, and I got too busy chatting to pick anything up, so it was nice to get a proper breakfast in the Marriott, my hotel, with the Synoptic Gospels Steering Committee. We had an excellent meeting and have some great plans for next year. When these plans are a little more concrete, and after we have approached some people, I will, of course, blog what we are hoping to do. This was my last meeting as co-chair. I have been co-chair of the section for four years, and I think it is important to keep personnel rotating. I will, however, be remaining on the steering committee for the time being.
11.30am. The bibliobloggers lunch meeting began outside the book exhibit and it soon became clear that we were a very large number. It was also clear that in the two years since we had the big discussion about biblioblogging in Philadelphia, there had been precious little change in the demographic. Everyone present at the lunch was a white male, and mostly of a certain age. We walked in a large group to a restaurant, the name of which I forget, and they were able to find us a huge table, and seemed to do a great job of dealing with this odd party. I don't think I was as sociable as I would have liked to have been because I began to worry that my voice was giving way with all the shouting across the table, and I was due to speak in the Computer Assisted Research Section at one. As it happened, I had to leave the lunch before my food had arrived in order to get to the session. It was good to get to a lot of the meeting, though, and to put some faces to some names.