SBL Affiliation Clarified

The SBL Affiliation roundup has been updated. Mark Goodacre mentions a SBL affiliation-related note in the SBL Newsletter, and Jim West provides a short note of clarification in regards to the SBL Affiliation:

The Society of Biblical Literature’s recent decision to grant affiliate status to an informal grouping of SBL members who blog on biblical studies has generated several questions and issues that the SBL would like to clarify.

1. Who are “bibliobloggers” and are they an organization?

“Bibliobloggers” is a loose term used to describe the over 300 people who blog about the Bible; half of that number are SBL members. Up until this point, these bloggers have had no formal organizational structure, but have met informally and held discussions at the SBL annual meeting. The affiliate agreement was initiated by SBL executive director, Kent Richards and Jim West, a biblioblogs site administrator and SBL member.

2. Why did SBL make the affiliate agreement?

The SBL was in the process of having internal conversations about the potential of the internet and blogs in particular to communicate scholarship and organizational info among our members, and possibly beyond. It seemed wise to look to our members who were already using the technology and savvy about its uses; perhaps there were ways to learn from them and encourage internal discussion of issues related to blogs?

It came to our attention that a group of SBL members who blog were already convening at our annual meeting, but had to go off-site for group discussions. The SBL decided to offer affiliate status so that these SBL members could meet on-site at the Annual Meeting, free of charge, just as other affiliates, such as the Homiletics or Adventist societies do.

3. Is SBL endorsing the academic quality of all ‘biblioblogs’?

Just as with any affiliate status, the SBL neither affirms nor endorses the internal content of the affiliate. What the SBL does is to provide free meeting space and the opportunity to hold sessions. However, the hope is that this affiliation will increase member awareness of blogs as a means to engage others, thoughtfully and responsibly, on the topic of biblical studies.

4. Will bloggers now make use of their affiliate status to propose sessions or section units at the Annual Meeting? And if so, who will be responsible for reviewing their proposals?

Yes, as affiliate members, bloggers who are SBL members may propose sessions. Robert Cargill is the program unit chair, and the steering committee includes, April DeConick, Stephanie Fisher, Mark Goodacre, Christian Brady, Michael Barber, and Jim West. The steering committee will be responsible for reviewing all proposals.


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