Search SBL
Gene M. Tucker (1935-2018)
SBL President 1996

Jonathan Z. Smith (1938-2017)
SBL President 2008

Lawrence E. Stager (1943-2017)

Ernest J. Revell (1934-2017)

Otto Kaiser (1924-2017)

Contact Us


Council News Archive

Council News and Update: October 2017 Meeting 

The SBL Council convenes its fall meeting on October 21-22, 2017, in Atlanta, GA. In addition to attending to regular business, such as reviewing reports from SBL departments and the Executive Director, the Council will continue working on a statement on academic boycotts, which it anticipates having ready by the end of the year. The Council will also continue ongoing strategic discussion about the opportunities and challenges the field of biblical studies faces, as well as its work with SBL staff on long-term development and fundraising goals. Finally, the Council will host a conversation with Anselm Hagedorn, Chair of the SBL Annual Meeting Program Committee, about the committee's ongoing work and how the Council can best support the committee’s considerable efforts.

Council News and Update: Spring 2017 Meeting

The SBL Council held its spring meeting on April 22-23, 2017, in Atlanta, GA. The meeting opened with an orientation for new Council members, Monica Melanchthon, Chris Rollston, and Vice President Brian Blount. In addition to attending to regular business, such as reviewing the budget for the new fiscal year, the SBL Council concluded its work on a new statement on academic freedom, which the Society will soon be announcing. Following the completion of this statement, Council laid the groundwork for developing a related statement on academic boycotts, which the Council hopes to have ready by the end of this year. The Council addressed changing travel guidelines for attending SBL meetings, approved additional Annual and International Meeting travel grants, and reviewed development goals for the Society. The Council had a stimulating conversation with Rodney Sadler, Chair of the SBL Committee on Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession (CUREMP) about the committee's future goals and how the Council can support CUREMP in its ongoing work. In addition, Council devoted substantial time to long term trends in the field and discussing matters such as strategies for the future of biblical studies and the shifting job market.

Spring 2017 Meeting Agenda

The SBL Council will hold its spring meeting on April 22-23, 2017, with a new Council member orientation on April 21. In addition to attending to regular business, the Council anticipates the completion of an SBL Academic Freedom Policy, which we hope to announce in the weeks following the meeting. The Council will also attend to items of new business that reflect the changing landscape of SBL itself. For example, we will be determining how to further support an international membership that is engaging in critical biblical scholarship in expanding and increasingly varied contexts. We will also be reviewing the pressures on academic publishing that is impacting all disciplines and discussing the joint AAR-SBL jobs report, which tracks the decline in academic job listings in our fields. The meeting will also include a conversation with Rodney Sadler, Chair of the SBL Committee on Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession. We will post a Council News update soon after our spring meeting.

Post-November 2016 Council Meeting

The SBL Council met during the morning of November 19, 2016 at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Antonio, Texas. Highlights of the meeting included the Council's review of the 2016 Research and Publications Committee report, and finalization of Procedures for Requesting Governance and Policy Changes and Procedures for Making Public Statements. The new procedures were distributed at the SBL Annual Business Meeting on Sunday, November 20, and announced online to all SBL members on Monday, November 28. The Council also continued its work on an Academic Freedom Policy, which we expect to complete at our next meeting in April and announce soon thereafter. At this year's annual meeting, the SBL Council also hosted its first "Conversation with Council" session. Thanks to all of you who attended the session and shared thoughts and questions with the Council. We look forward to convening another session at the 2017 annual meeting in Boston.

Starting in 2017, the SBL Council will focus on several pressing areas of new business. First, we will be reflecting intentionally on the growing international nature of the Society and thinking through how we can be of good support to a membership that is engaging in critical biblical scholarship in expanding and increasingly varied contexts. Second, we will be giving consideration to the crisis in publication that is impacting all disciplines, and third, we will address the implications of the significant decline in academic job listings that our field has seen over the past five years. The context in which SBL serves its members and mission is changing profoundly. The Council is committed to working proactively and creatively to determine ways that SBL can help foster biblical scholarship as we support our members and prepare for the future.

Post-October 2016 Council Meeting Update

The SBL Council held its fall meeting on October 29-30, 2016 in Atlanta, GA. The Council covered our usual fall agenda, which included such business as reviewing the Society’s annual audit and all of its department reports. Building on the work of a special task force, the full Council also began drafting a policy statement to articulate SBL’s commitment to academic freedom. In addition, the SBL Council reviewed the conversation that SBL initiated with InterVarsity Press following InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s reaffirmation of theological positions that can impact employees, which raised concerns for SBL regarding InterVarsity Press’ commitment to critical discourse.  The exchange between SBL and IVP led to the release of a joint statement which addresses the concern that SBL brought to IVP’s attention. At AAR’s suggestion, the Council agreed to form a joint AAR-SBL task force to review the expectations and responsibilities of exhibitors at the annual meeting. In this October meeting, the SBL Council also met with the chair of the Student Advisory Board to learn more about the board’s current successes and needs.

In our November meeting in San Antonio, the Council will continue to work on the statement on academic freedom. We will also convene our first Conversation with Council session at the SBL Annual Meeting, from 4:00-5:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 20th in the Convention Center, Room 304C. Council members are eager to learn the diverse hopes, issues, and challenges that are on members’ minds as we all look to the future of biblical studies and to serving the Society’s mission of fostering biblical scholarship.  If you are able to do so, please join us for an open and informal conversation in San Antonio.

Council Update: Fall 2016 Meeting Agenda  

 The SBL Council will be holding its fall meeting on October 29-30, 2016 in Atlanta, GA. In addition to covering our usual fall agenda, which includes such business as reviewing the society's annual audit and its financial and department reports, the Council will also be working on new or ongoing initiatives. These include drafting a policy statement that affirms SBL’s commitment to academic freedom, discussing the possibility of convening special sessions at future annual and international meetings, and continuing our series of meetings with the SBL Committees to learn of each committee's current needs and how the Council can be of continuing or better support. Be sure to check back here in November for a brief post-meeting update!
Council News and Update: Spring 2016

Welcome to Council News! In this new corner of the SBL homepage, SBL Council will be sharing highlights from our spring and fall meetings that may be of particular interest to members.It is our hope that SBL members, which now number more than 8000, will find these news briefs informative and helpful for keeping up with the work that the Council does on behalf of the Society and its members. The spring 2016 Council meeting, held last month, covered several areas about which members may especially want to be informed.

Conversation with Council 
In keeping with the spirit of Council News, the SBL Council invites all members attending the 2016 Annual Meeting in San Antonio to join us for a Conversation with Council, an informal gathering time for sharing and discussing matters with Council members that pertain to biblical studies, the Society, or related topics. Be sure to watch for the day, time, and location of this session, which will be published in the Annual Meeting program and announced in the Newsletter. If there is sufficient attendance and interest, Conversation with Council will become an annual feature of the Annual Meeting.

Member Resolutions and Petitions 
The Council is working on drafting procedures by which members bring requests for resolutions or policy changes to the Society. In this regard, two member petitions that were submitted earlier in the year led the Council to recognize the need for the creation of an SBL Statement on Academic Freedom that is consistent with the Society’s mission, values and policies as an international learned society. As the Council shared in a late April letter to the petitioners, the Council formed a subcommittee, who will be consulting with SBL members at large, to fulfill this task. Following the establishment of the statement, the Council will respond more specifically to matters raised by the petitions, including a clearer iteration of the Society’s expectations of potential host institutions.

Unprovenanced Artifacts 
The Council also reviewed a recommendation from the Task Force on Unprovenanced Artifacts and requested some modifications. The Council expects that the task force’s work will likely be finalized by the end of the calendar year.

Reports and Budget 
The Council reviews committee and department reports at every meeting. As is typical for the spring Council meeting, a preliminary budget for 2016-2017 was reviewed, approved, and sent on to the Finance Committee for their review and approval. After Finance Committee reviews the budget, it comes back to Council for final approval. The Council also reviewed and accepted the report of the Nominating Committee, which is extensive because SBL is volunteer-dependent. Since SBL’s International Meeting is also driven by members who act as liaisons at institutions wishing to host the IM, the Council reviewed and discussed several potential opportunities for future meetings.

Social Media 
Social Media policies and practices were also discussed, and beginning in June SBL will make greater use of three twitter accounts: @SBLSite, @SBLPress, and @BibleOdyssey. SBLPress will also launch a blog for the SBL Handbook of Style. Stay tuned!


© 2018, Society of Biblical Literature. All Rights Reserved.