Reportback from SBL/AAR 2022

Published 26 November 2022

CLBSJ was well represented at this year’s meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion (SBL/AAR). We helped convene two special events to honor the memory and legacy of Norman Gottwald and participated in other sessions where papers were presented by CLBSJ Board Members.

On Sunday, November 20, Hugh Page and Matthew Coomber joined Gale Yee, Steed Davidson and Mark Sneed in a panel on “Social Class as an Analytic and Hermeneutical Category Thirty Years Later: Critical Reflections on the Work of Norman K. Gottwald.” This panel was organized by Ludwig Noya, and jointly sponsored by the Poverty in the Biblical World Section and the Social Sciences and the Interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures Section. It drew together a variety of thoughts about the effects that Dr. Gottwald’s presidential address given at SBL thirty years ago has had on the role of class analysis in Biblical studies. The event was well attended and led to a generative discussion. Topics addressed included: the class identity of the scribes as compared to today’s academics; the evolution of thinking about the relationship between class, race, gender and other sectors; the risks that critical, class-aware scholarship entails and how we can support each other in navigating it; and the barriers to sincere and effective engagement between scholars and activists and what small and creative initiatives like CLBSJ can do to alter this. Read Paper Presented by Matthew Coomber

A smaller group gathered after the panel to remember Norm on a more personal level. Sharings were offered by Bob Eckblad, Joerg Rieger, LeAnn Snow Flesher, Ludwig Noya, Neil Elliott, Noelle Damico and Richard Horsley. The evening closed with a beautiful remembrance video compiled by Ched Myers of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, which can be viewed below.

These conversations will be continued at an event on March 11, 2023, sponsored by CLBSJ and the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice. Click here for event details

In addition:

  • Dong Hyeon Jeong presented a paper called “A Report on the State of Biblical Scholarship in the Philippines: An Unexpected Virtual Rhizomatic Emergence of Social Media as the ‘Publishing House’ of the Mass” as part of the Asian and Asian-American Hermeneutics Seminar, and presided over the Ethics and Biblical Interpretation Section, which was focused on “Pandemic, Ethics, and the Bible.”
  • Tom Boomershine presented a paper called “Audience Response and the Fallacy of the Anti-Jewish Reading of Mark’s Pilate Trial” as part of the Mark Passion Narrative Seminar.
  • Matthew Coomber presented a paper called “Attitudes toward Wealth in Hebrew Prophecy” in a panel curated by the Poverty in the Biblical World Section.
  • Amy Dalton was honored to step in to preside over the Feminist Hermeneutics of the Bible Section panel, which featured impressive work by an independent scholar and a recent MDiv graduate.
  • CLBSJ was also blessed to connect with and learn from many good folks who have served as speakers at events we’ve held, including Angela Parker, Chris Hoklotubbe, Eric Thomas, Ericka Dunbar, Karri Whipple, Luis Menéndez-Antuña, Mitzi Smith and Traci West.

We’re grateful for the collaborative space created by SBL/AAR, and especially for the change-makers who have been pushing it forward!

Remembrance video for Norman Gottwald, compiled by Ched Myers of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries:

If you have trouble playing the above video, you can access it directly using this link: