The Society of Biblical Literature
is the oldest and largest international scholarly membership organization in the field of biblical studies. Founded in 1880, the Society has grown to over 8,500 international members including teachers, students, religious leaders and individuals from all walks of life who share a mutual interest in the critical investigation of the Bible.
Return to SBL Committees page
The Status of Women in the
Profession Committee supports and, when necessary, advocates for the female
members of the SBL by: tracking the academic and professional situations of
women in Biblical Studies and related fields; creating forums for women members
to discuss academic and professional issues and conditions; and providing
mentoring and networking opportunities. It seeks to open the Society to greater
participation by women and to call attention to the various ways in which the
Society speaks to and about women.
Status of Women in the
Profession Committee Members
|Seung Ai Yang
Mignon Jacobs - Chair
Jannette Ok - Student Representative
Beth Tracy - Staff Liaison
CSWP has an active Facebook page that facilitates discussion.
CSWP advocates for:
- the development of programs and policies that support the full inclusion of women in the activities of SBL
- information-gathering regarding women's experiences
within the academy at all career stages
- women biblical scholars in contexts beyond the Society
- developing policies and monitoring complaints of sexual harassment and ethical misconduct
Programming at the Annual Meeting
Each year at the SBL Annual Meeting, CSWP honors women who have been excellent mentors to women in the field. These mentors have provided invaluable guidance, advice, and encouragement. They serve as role models and assist other women in navigating career choices, building professional networks, and developing strategies for work-life balance. CSWP honors mentors in order to recognize their contributions and to encourage mentoring relationships.
If you would like to nominate a mentor, please send your nomination with a descriptive letter of endorsement to Mignon R. Jacobs . Nominations must be received by June 1st. Nominations received after the deadline will be considered for the following year.
SBL Travel Grants
members assist with the evaluation of applications for the SBL Travel Grant,
which is available to women and men who have never attended an SBL Annual
Click here for information on travel grants and other SBL grants.
The CSWP sponsors an annual student coffee where women students gather for an hour of sharing stories and strategies for success.
The Women's Breakfast offers women scholars an opportunity to network, meet friends, and hear enlightening and engaging presentations. The mentoring awards are announced at the breakfast.
CSWP maintains a moderated list serve for SBL women members. This list serve is devoted to the discussion of a variety of topics related to the status of women engaged in biblical scholarship. The list includes senior and junior faculty, administrators, and graduate students. To subscribe, send a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the listserve archive, see: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sbl-cswp/
Members of CSWP:
- Seung-Ai Yang (Ph.D. University of Chicago Divinity School) is an Associate Professor of New Testament at Chicago Theological Seminary. She is co-editor with Rita Nokashima Brock, Jung Ha Kim and Kwok PuiLan: Off the Menu: Asian and Asian North American Women's Religion and Theology(Westminster John Knox, 2007).
- April DeConick is Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University. She has written extensively on early Christianity, mysticism and Gnosticism. Her most recent books are Holy Misogyny: Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts in the Early Church Still Matter (Continuum 2011) and The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says (Continuum 2007, revised and expanded 2009). She serves on the editorial board for the Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies monograph series (Leiden: Brill). In the past, she has served as Chair of the Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism Section, and the Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity Section of the Society of Biblical Literature. She currently chairs the Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism Section. She writes a professional blog called The Forbidden Gospels.
- Mignon R. Jacobs is the Associate Provost for Accreditation and Educational Effectiveness, Accreditation Liaison Officer and Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. Jacobs’ publications include the books Gender, Power, and Persuasion, Conceptual (2007); Coherence of the Book of Micah (2001), and the various chapters: "Ezekiel 16 Perspective of YHWH's Relationship with Jerusalem: A Story of Fraught Expectations," in Daughter Zion: Her Portrait, Her Response. Edited by Mark J. Boda, et al. (Society of Biblical Literature Ancient Israel and Its Literature (2012); with Raymond Person Co-editor of Israelite Prophecy and the Deuteronomistic History (SBL, 2013). Her article include: "Favor and Disfavor in Jeremiah 29:1-23: Two Dimensions of the Characterization of God and the Politics of Hope" in Probing the Frontiers of Biblical Studies (2009); "Sin, Silence, and Suffering in the Conceptual Landscape of Psalm 32" in Text and Community (2007); "Toward an Old Testament Theology of Concern for the Underprivileged" in Reading the Hebrew Bible for a New Millennium: Form, Concept and Theological Perspective (2000). Among the articles she has authored are: "Conceptual Dynamics of Good and Evil in the Joseph Story" (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament); "Love, Honor, and Violence" (Semeia); "Parameters of Justice: Ideological Challenges Regarding Persons and Practices in Lev 25:25-55" (Ex Auditu); "YHWH’s Call for Israel’s ‘Return’: Command, Invitation or Threat" (Horizons in Biblical Theology) and "Mothering a Leader: Bathsheba's Relational and Functional Identities" (Semeia).
- Diane Lipsett (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her teaching and research interests in New Testament and Christian Origins include: conversion, gender, asceticism, and desire; the ancient novel in relation to early Christian narratives; ancient parables; and reception history of the Gospels.
Heidi Marx-Wolf is an Assistant Professor in the Religion Department at the University of Manitoba. Her teaching and research focuses on Early Christianity and the religions of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean. She has published articles in the Journal for Early Christian Studies and, Studia Patristica. She also has a number of papers in edited collections. She is currently finishing a monograph on the spiritual taxonomies of late Roman philosophers, "Gnostics," and ritual experts. Finally, she currently holds a three year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant for work on her next project focusing on the intersections between medicine, philosophy, and religion in late antiquity.
- Julia M. O’Brien is Paul H. and Grace L. Stern Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her academic specialties include the Minor Prophets and feminist and gender studies. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies (forthcoming 2014) and is completing a feminist commentary on Micah for the Wisdom Commentary Series (Liturgical Press). Publications include Challenging Prophetic Metaphor (Westminster John Knox, 2008); Nahum through Malachi (Abingdon Old Testament Commentary series, 2004); Nahum (Sheffield Academic Press, 2002; 2nd ed. 2009); and Priest and Levite in Malachi (Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series, 1990). With Chris Franke, she co-edited Aesthetics of Violence in the Prophets (T & T Clark, 2010).
- Janette Ok is a PhD candidate in New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, writing her dissertation on 1 Peter and the construction of ethnic identity. Janette serves on the steering committee for the Minoritized Criticism and Biblical Interpretation Unit of the Society of Biblical Literature (2009-present). Her presentations include the following: “Who You are No Longer: Constructing Ethnic Identity in 1 Peter.” SBL Annual Conference Paper, Baltimore, MD, November 2013; “Active Perseverance in Romans 5:1-5: Paul’s Challenge and Encouragement to the Korean American Church.” SBL Annual Conference Paper, San Diego, CA, November 2006; Review of The Peoples' Bible (Fortress, 2008) and The Peoples' Companion to the Bible (Fortress, 2010). SBL Annual Conference Book Review Panelist, Atlanta, GA, November 2010.
- Susanne Scholz (Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary, New York) is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas. She is the author and (co-)editor of the following books: God Loves Diversity & Justice: Progressive Scholars Speak about Faith, Politics, & the World (editor, 2013), Sacred Witness: Rape in the Hebrew Bible (2010), Introducing the Women’s Hebrew Bible (2007), Biblical Studies Alternatively: An Introductory Reader (editor, 2003), Rape Plots: A Feminist Cultural Study of Genesis 34 (2000), and Zwischenräume: Deutsche feministische Theologinnen im Ausland (co-editor, 2000).
- Shively T. J. Smith is a doctoral candidate in New Testament at
Emory University. She is currently completing a dissertation called,
“Live as Strangers in Your Own Land:” Biblical Conversations with 1 Peter about
Double Conscious Diaspora Lifestyles.” Her work has been supported by
organizations such as The Louisville Institute, the Ford Foundation, the Fund
for Theological Education, and the Mellon Mays Foundation. Her research
interests include: the General Letters and Luke-Acts in the New Testament, Call
Narratives, and biblical discourses on diaspora. She has been a contributor for
the Feasting on the Gospels and has
worked with church-based educational programs such as the United Methodist
Course of Study Program at the Candler School of Theology (Emory, University) as well as taught several courses in