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About SBL

Mission, Visions, and Values
The following Mission Statement and Strategic Vision Statements were adopted by the SBL Council May 16, 2004, and revised October 23, 2011.

Mission Statement:
Foster Biblical Scholarship

Strategic Vision Statement:
Founded in 1880, the Society of Biblical Literature is the oldest and largest learned society devoted to the critical investigation of the Bible from a variety of academic disciplines.* As an international organization, the Society offers its members opportunities for mutual support, intellectual growth, and professional development through the following:

  • Advancing academic study of biblical texts and their contexts as well as of the traditions and contexts of biblical interpretation
  • Collaborating with educational institutions and other appropriate organizations to support biblical scholarship and teaching
  • Developing resources for diverse audiences, including students, religious communities, and the general public
  • Facilitating broad and open discussion from a variety of critical perspectives
  • Organizing congresses for scholarly exchange
  • Publishing biblical scholarship
  • Promoting cooperation across global boundaries


Core Values


 Openness to Change




 Respect for Diversity

 Critical Inquiry

Scholarly Integrity



*SBL has been a member of the American Council of Learned Societies since 1929.

SBL History

The eight founders of The Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis first met to discuss their new society in Philip Schaff's study in New York City in January of 1880. In June the group had their first Annual Meeting with eighteen people in attendance. The new society drew up a constitution and by-laws and discussed several papers. Membership dues were set at three dollars. By the end of the year, membership had grown to forty-five and publication of the meeting proceedings were in the planning stages. The Journal was launched the following year.

For more information on the history of the Society see:

Searching the Scriptures: A History of the Society of Biblical Literature, 1880-1980 Ernest W. Saunders

Also available on-line >>       

SBL works with many different organizations and institutions.These affiliations enrich and broadened the spectrum of resources that the society can offer members. SBL values the relationship with these organizations whether they are ongoing, due to a confluence of mission, or if they are a temporary joint focus on one project.

Peer Organizations

American Academy of Religion (AAR)
American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) 
American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR)
Association of American University Presses  (AAUP) 
Catholic Biblical Association of America (CBA) 
Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW)
Council of Independent Colleges (CIC)
International Organization for Masoretic Studies (IOMS)
International Organization for Septuagint & Cognate Studies (IOSCS)
International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA)
National Association of Professors of Hebrew 
National Humanities Alliance (NHA)
Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at the American Bible Society
Pontifical Biblical Institute (PIB) 
The Fund for Theological Education (FTE)
Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

Project Partnerships

Codex Sinaiticus Digitalization Initiative
Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards   
International Organization for Standardization       
Open Scriptural Information Standard Project
Text Encoding Initiative
Online Cultural Heritage Research Environment

Society Facts and Figures

Society Governance

The Presidential Address
The Presidential Address, presented at every Annual Meeting, is transcribed and published in the first Journal of Biblical Literature (JBL) issue of the following year.

Past Presidential Address transcripts

Past Presidents of SBL (pdf)

We have video of two presidential addresses and two audio files. You will need the latest version of Flash for optimal viewing of videos.

2013 Presidential Address (audio)
Carol Myers, Duke University
Introduction given by Fernando F. Segovia
Vice President, Society of Biblical Literature
Was Ancient Israel a Patriarchal Society? (58 min.)

2011 Presidential Address (video)
Carol Newsom, Emory University
Models of the Moral Self: Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism (62 min)
John Dominic Crossan, DePaulUniversity, Presiding


2010 Presidential Address (video)
Vincent L. Wimbush, Claremont Graduate University
Interpreters—Enslaving/Enslaved/Runagate (45 min)
Carol Newsom, Emory University, Presiding

2008 Presidential Address (audio)
Jonathan Z. Smith, University of Chicago
Religion and the Bible (45 min)
David J. A. Clines, University of Sheffield, Presiding

The Luce Center on the Campus of Emory University


The Financial Report

The Society financial statement is published yearly and is included in the Society Report. It is made available to members at the Annual Meeting and electronically.


Fiscal 2014-2015
Financial Statement  
Fiscal 2013-2014  
Audit Report
Fiscal 2012-2013  
Fiscal 2011-2012  
Audit Report 990 Report
Fiscal 2010-2011  
Fiscal 2009 - 2010 Audit Report
Fiscal 2008 - 2009
Fiscal 2007- 2008   

The Society Report

The Society Report is published yearly and gives an overview of the organization. It is made available to members at the Annual Meeting and electronically.

Society Report 2015
Society Report 2008
Society Report 2014
Society Report 2007
Society Report 2013
Society Report 2006 
Society Report 2012
Society Report 2005
Society Report 2011
Society Report 2004
Society Report 2010
Society Report 2003
Society Report 2009
Society Report 2002

Annual Business Meeting

ABM 2012

Program Affiliates

SBL meets with many different organizations and institutions.By affiliating with the SBL Annual, International, or Regional Meetings these groups agree to participate in an open academic discussion guided by a common standard of scholarly discourse that engages their subject through critical inquiry and investigation. For more information on program affiliates click here

Academy of Homiletics
African Association for the Study of Religions 
Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars
Ethnic Chinese Biblical Colloquium
GOCN Forum on Missional Hermeneutics
Institute for Biblical Research
International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies
International Qur’anic Studies Association
Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion
Karl Barth Society of North America
Korean Biblical Colloquium
National Association of Professors of Hebrew
Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at the American Bible Society
North American Association for the Study of Religion
Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions
Society for Comparative Research on Iconographic and Performative Texts
Society for Pentecostal Studies
Søren Kierkegaard Society
Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion


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