Monday, March 09, 2009

Does the British New Testament Society have members?

Nijay K. Gupta asks, "Does the British New Testament Society have members?" I must admit to being a bit out of the loop these days, having missed the last three conferences because of my move to the US, but it is an interesting question. I think the tendency in the past has been to prefer the terminology of British New Testament Conference and to regard the "society" aspect as informally constituted. There are no membership fees, no list of members, and votes go to all those who attend a given conference.

Having said that, I recall Jimmy Dunn's speech at the pseudo-25th anniversary, BNTC 2004 (my report), in which he noted that the society provided a fine example of the "routinization of charisma", beginning informally and dynamically, and increasingly becoming like a formal society, with its own president, secretary, treasurer, committee and website (even if the website is currently on hiatus). Perhaps the next step in that process is for people to think of themselves as members.

Additional note: while I was secretary, the society also had its own logo, which my wife Viola designed (see above). It has since been dropped on the website, though it's perhaps worth nothing that we decided to make the logo refer to the "conference" rather than the "society".

Update (11.23): Lloyd Pietersen's comments are worth bringing up to the main post:
Two comments. First, you'll be pleased to know that the logo still remains on our letterhead. So any letters I send out contains your original logo. Second, BNTS is formally consituted as a Society and is a registered Scottish charity. It still does not have a formal membership but the committee does refer to the following criteria for admission to the annual conference:

(1) Teach New Testament (or a cognate discipline) at a recognized HEI
(2) Hold a doctorate in the area of New Testament
(3) Currently engaged in a programme of study that leads to a doctoral degree in New Testament
(4) Have previously been in attendence at the Society's annual conference
(5) By special permission of the committee for a time limited period

4 comments:

Lloyd Pietersen said...

Hi Mark

Two comments. First, you'll be pleased to know that the logo still remains on our letterhead. So any letters I send out contains your original logo. Second, BNTS is formally consituted as a Society and is a registered Scottish charity. It still does not have a formal membership but the committee does refer to the following criteria for admission to the annual conference:

(1) Teach New Testament (or a cognate discipline) at a recognized HEI
(2) Hold a doctorate in the area of New Testament
(3) Currently engaged in a programme of study that leads to a doctoral degree in New Testament
(4) Have previously been in attendence at the Society's annual conference
(5) By special permission of the committee for a time limited period

I hope this helps!

Best wishes

Lloyd

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, Lloyd. Had the feeling that you might have something useful and accurate to contribute! The BNTS is lucky to have you :) I've moved your comments up to the main post.

Mark Goodacre said...

PS: delighted you are still using Viola's logo on the stationery.

Nijay K. Gupta said...

Mark - thanks.

It is worth noting that when I did a Google search for "member of the British New Testament Society" I received several hits for UK NT staff pages (and other professional documents) where some prominent scholars list themselves as 'members' of the BNTS (check for yourself!). That is where I got the idea to add it to my CV.