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Meeting Program Units

2019 Annual Meeting

San Diego, CA

Meeting Begins11/23/2019
Meeting Ends11/26/2019

Call for Papers Opens: 12/19/2018
Call for Papers Closes: 3/6/2019

Requirements for Participation

Contextual Biblical Interpretation


Program Unit Type: Section
Accepting Papers? Yes

Call For Papers: We welcome papers that examine biblical texts or methodology while making explicit a reader’s contemporary context. (1) A book review of Esa Autero’s Reading the Bible Across Contexts (Brill, 2016). (2) An open joint session exploring “unexamined contexts” - those contexts taken for granted even when readers try to make explicit their contexts. A focus on our own contexts, not those of other cultures. What are those contexts, e.g., academic settings, masculinity, the dominant race, material aspects of the Bible (divisions of chapters, translations, etc.), ableism, cisgenderism, “liberal” assumptions? Why is there resistance to contextualizing these contexts? Pitfalls in doing contextuality? How might our (lack of) response to hidden contexts expand or limit scholarship? A joint session with Ideological Criticism and AAR’s Sacred Texts, Theory, and Theological Construction. (3) An open joint session on the use of the Bible in an era of “Populist” Politicians, to explore how populist politicians use the Bible (Trump, Duterte, Zuma, Bolsonaro, etc.). Populism is increasingly identified globally as a specific form of political/contextual action and often involves the Bible. We will investigate how the Bible is invoked by populist politicians and their followers, and the hermeneutics involved, exploring the intersections between populism, contextuality and biblical interpretation. Topics might include the notion of populist hermeneutics, general populist interpretations, or specific issues (immigration, authoritarianism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, etc.). Papers could include discussions of fake news, the question of objectivity, multiple truths, and one true interpretation. Do we critique objectivity when facts are disregarded? What is the role of biblical scholars in public/political contexts? Joint session with Bible and Popular Culture. (4) We join other program units on "Talk Back to the President.” See Islands, Islanders, and Scriptures.

Program Unit Chairs

James P. Grimshaw

Propose a Paper for this Program Unit

If you are a SBL member, you must login before you can propose a paper for this or any other session. Please login by entering your SBL member number on the left in the Login box.

For all other persons wanting to propose a paper, you must communicate directly with the chair of the program unit to which you want to propose. Chairs have the responsibility to make waiver requests, and their email addresses are available above. SBL provides membership and meeting registration waivers only for scholars who are outside the disciplines covered by the SBL program, specifically most aspects of archaeological, biblical, religious, and theological studies.

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