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SBL E-Newsletter                March 13, 2014

Bible Odyssey News
Spring Book Sale
Bible in American Life Survey
The Pentateuch within Biblical Literature Conference
ICI Book Postings
SBL Congratulates Israel Finkelstein
Calendar of Events


Bible Odyssey Website

Hollywood has jumped on the Bible bandwagon this year, leading a Daily Beast writer to dub 2014 the unofficial “Year of the Bible.” (See Here at SBL, every year is the year of the Bible, but we do take note when show biz interprets (and markets) the Bible. This year gives us plenty to talk about, with movies about Jesus, Noah, Moses, and Pontius Pilate, to name a few.

Hollywood’s interest in topics biblical seems timed perfectly to coincide with the launch of SBL’s Bible Odyssey Website in April/May of 2014. Moviegoers can turn to Bible Odyssey to learn more about the people, places, and passages that such movies portray.

Whether the presentations by Hollywood will agree with biblical scholarship is another question. Our hope is that the general public will look to Bible Odyssey as a trusted source for information about the Bible, its context, and its significant cultural impact.

Bible Odyssey will launch with 300 commissioned articles authored by SBL members, representing the diversity of viewpoints in the guild and the best in biblical, archaeological, and ancient Near Eastern research. It also includes maps, timelines, interactive quizzes, and a substantial video archive.

Bible Odyssey has been made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Expect to hear more from us closer to launch.

SBL Spring Book Sale

Almost all new, recent, and backlisted SBL and BJS titles are available to SBL members at a 30 percent discount during the spring sale.
Download the order form, then mail, fax, or phone your order by May 31.
If you prefer to order at the SBL Store, make sure to use the promo code SPG2014 at checkout to receive your discount.

"The Bible in American Life” National Study

“The Bible in American Life,” a national study by The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, was released on 6 March 14. To read the study report, click here.

The Pentateuch within Biblical Literature: Formation and Interaction

Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Jerusalem May 25–29, 2014

But it was in vain that I looked for the light which was to be shed from this source [the Law, or the Pentateuch] on the historical and prophetical books. On the contrary, my enjoyment of the latter was marred by the Law; it did not bring them any nearer me, but intruded itself uneasily, like a ghost that makes a noise indeed, but is not visible and really effects nothing.
Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel (1870)

This major international conference explores the fundamental research problem defined so clearly by Wellhausen over a century ago. The primary focus will be the formation of the Pentateuch and its dynamic interaction with both the prophetic corpus and the historiographic literature of the Hebrew Bible. Particular attention will be paid to crucial methodological issues such as the problem of narrative continuity in the ancient world, linguistic dating of biblical texts, the significance of archaeology and historical geography, and the relevance of Second Temple literature for understanding the formation of the Pentateuch. The conference, which features several interactive workshop sessions, is structured to encourage significant time for discussion among participants. The conference organizers are Jan Christian Gertz (Heidelberg University), Bernard M. Levinson (University of Minnesota), Dalit Rom-Shiloni (Tel Aviv University), and Konrad Schmid (University of Zurich).
Conference poster

For further information on the conference, please visit:
For information on attending, please contact lida{dot}panov{at}

ICI Books Posted in December

Svebakken, Hans. Philo of Alexandria's Exposition on the Tenth Commandment. Studia Philonica Monographs, 6. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012.

Vander Stichele, Caroline; Hugh S. Pyper, eds. Text, Image, and Otherness in Children's Bibles. Semeia Studies, 56. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012.

Watson, Duane F. Miracle Discourse in the New Testament. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012.

Wilson, Walter T. The Sentences of Sextus. Wisdom Literature from the Ancient World, 1. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012.

See the complete online books list here.

SBL congratulates Israel Finkelstein

SBL congratulates Israel Finkelstein on the awarding of the “Prix Delalande-Guérineau” by the The Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres for his Le royaume biblique oublié (Odile Jacob, 2013). The online, open-access English translation of the volume, The Forgotten Kingdom (SBL, 2013), can be downloaded from the SBL website or purchased in print from the SBL store in paperback and hardcover editions. To learn more about the Ancient Near East Monographs series, click here.

Calendar of Events

Submit your events to Sharon Johnson

Click here for full calender

March 2014
3/14 Call for Papers Deadline: The Bible in American Life Conference
The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis welcomes individual paper proposals on the topic of the Bible in American Life. Focusing on how Americans past and present have used the Bible in their daily lives, the conference (6-9 August 2014 in Indianapolis) will be interdisciplinary in nature, with scholars from various perspectives offering analyses from historical, cultural, sociological, and theological approaches, among others.
Thanks to a generous grant from Lilly Endowment, the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture will cover travel, lodging, and food expenses related to the conference. Additionally, authors will receive a $1000 stipend for participation in the project.
The culmination of a three-year study, the conference will have as its touchstone The Bible in American Life Report, which will be released in February 2014. This report, the result of survey questions on both the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study III, offers sociological data about the role of the Bible in the daily lives of Americans. Conference papers need not interact with the report directly, but we encourage proposals that consider some of the report’s findings in their larger historical, cultural, sociological, or theological contexts.
The Bible in American Life Project seeks to provide the first large-scale investigation of the Bible in American life. It is driven by the recognition that though the Bible has been central to Christian practice throughout American history, many important questions remain unanswered in scholarship, including how people have read the Bible for themselves outside of worship, how denominational and parachurch organizations have influenced interpretation and application, and how clergy and congregations have influenced individual understandings of scripture. These questions are even more pressing today as denominations are losing much of their traditional authority, technology is changing people’s reading and cognitive habits, and subjective experience is continuing to eclipse textual authority as the mark of true religion.
We welcome proposals for papers (20-25 minutes) that focus on some aspect of Americans’ reading and use of scripture outside formal worship services. Papers that complement one another and expand on the historical and cultural understandings of the report will be published in a collected volume. Paper proposals must include a general overview of the argument and evidence to be presented in no more than three pages and a short CV (3 pages). Deadline for receiving proposals is March 14, 2014. Proposals should be sent electronically to; please use “Bible in America” as the subject heading.
 More information 
3/16-3/17 SBL Central States Regional Meeting
St. Louis Marriott St. Louis, MO
More Information.
3/19-3/22 Archaeology: Rewriting Early Christian History-Westar Institute Spring 2014 Meeting 
In the past thirty years archaeologists have helped to rewrite the history of the first Jesus movements and emerging Christianity in the Roman World. How does this affect working models of the development of Christianity? And what are the cultural repercussions today? Program Highlights:
• New Discoveries at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee – Jodi Magness
• Ossuaries and the Burials of James and Jesus – Jodi Magness
• Damned Nation – Kathryn Gin Lum
• What can Archaeology tell us about Christian Origins? – Milton Moreland
• Re-Imagining Christian Origins – L. Michael White
• Christianity Seminar
To see the full program, visit
Westar staff can be contacted with questions at 503-375-5323 or
3/27-3/28 SBL Eastern Great Lakes Regional Meeting
Clarion Lake Erie and Bel-Aire Conference Center Erie, PA
More Information.
3/29-3/31 SBL Pacific Coast Regional Meeting
Hope International University, Fullerton, CA
More Information.
3/29-3/30 SBL Rocky Mountains - Great Plains Regional Meeting
University of Denver Denver, CO
More Information.
3/30-4/1 Philo's Readers: Affinities, Reception, Transmission and Influence
Conference will be held at the Maurice R. Greenberg Conference Center at Yale University.
Our conference will center around the Jewish philosophical exegete, Philo. A member of the Jewish elite in early Roman Alexandria, Philo explored the meaning of Torah by uniting Second Temple interpretations and traditions with a Greek philosophical orientation. Philo's interpretations, interpretive strategies, and philosophical explanations provide us with a glimpse into ancient Judaism, particularly the world of Alexandria in the first century CE. This conference will situate Philo in his geographical, philosophical, and ideological context, looking for affinities and precursors in other ancient texts. But Philo does not just offer a glimpse into the past. He also provided a framework and a collection of hermeneutical tools that would prove invaluable to future readers. This conference will thus examine Philo's reception and influence, particularly among Jewish and Christian readers.
More information
April 2014
4/1 Call for Submissions: Practical Matters
Practical Matters is now seeking submissions on the theme of Worship, Ritual and Theory. Practical Matters is an online, multimedia, transdisciplinary journal designed to ask and provoke questions about religious practices and practical theology. Practical Matters is funded by a grant from the Lilly Foundation, Inc. and is supported by Candler School of Theology and the Emory University Graduate Division of Religion. The journal contains both peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed content.

Issue 7 of Practical Matters will be published in three installments—May, August and December of 2014. The submission deadlines will be April 1st for consideration in May, July 1st for consideration in August and November 1st for consideration in December.
 More information 
4/3- 4/5 Material Philology and the Dead Sea Scrolls: New Approaches for New Text Editions
The Dead Sea Scrolls hold a unique position in ancient Mediterranean literature because of the old age of the manuscripts. The bulk of the material has become available to the public both in print and electronically, and a massive interest is taken in reconsidering and developing the theoretical and methodological basis of Dead Sea Scrolls Studies. This conference is initiated because there is a need for up to date, usable text editions for specialists and non-specialists of tomorrow. It is organized by the Qumran Initiative, University of Copenhagen, in cooperation with the project “Biblical Texts Older than the Bible,” University of Agder. See the invitation and call for papers here.
4/4-4/5 SBL Upper Midwest Regional Meeting
Luther Seminary St. Paul, MN
More Information.
4/11- 4/12 The Prophetic Voice at Qumran and Contemporary Communities
The Leonardo Museum in downtown Salt Lake City has been chosen to host a major exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls entitled, “Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times,” November 22, 2013 — April 27, 2014.

In connection with the conclusion of the exhibit, the museum is hosting an academic conference, “The Prophetic Voice at Qumran and Contemporary Communities.”

The conference is co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Center and the Evans Professor of Religious Understanding at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. We plan to publish the conference proceedings.

For more information, email Dana M. Pike (please put DSS Conference in the subject line)
4/22-4/25 New Testament Society of South Africa Conference
The NTSSA conference will be held at the university of the Free State in Bloemfontein. Those interested in attending must indicate by registering by the 14 April 2014. The theme of the conference is "John and Philo".
For further information please contact Jeremy Punt (chair) or Michael Sokupa (secretary)
4/25 SBL New England/Eastern Canada Regional Meeting
Andover Newton Theological School Newton, MA
More Information.
See SBL News Archive
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