2021 Biblical Studies Conference Calls & Invited Sessions

Over the last several years I have gotten more involved in the major biblical studies societies, not only as a presenter of papers, but as an organizer of sessions. It’s a different kind of work, but I had found it really enjoyable to work with others to try to create and host good sessions. And believe it or not, the call for paper proposals is already open for the late 2021 conference season (at least in some cases), so that coordinating process is already underway.

Now as a disclaimer, obviously nobody knows what 2021 will hold in terms of COVID-19 restrictions and obstacles. To my mind it seems likely that the conferences will either be fully online just like 2020, or they will be at least partly online. I have a hard time envisioning the conferences taking place in-person only. But one can hope.

With that said, here are the various societies and sessions I’m involved with and the calls we have open to proposals:

Society for Biblical Literature

There are two program units I’m involved with here:

Cognitive Linguistics and Biblical Studies

This year I joined the steering committee of this program unit, which I’ve always enjoyed. This year we have three sessions:

  1. Open Session — Any proposals on cognitive linguistics and biblical studies in general are welcomed. Papers should use and explore at least one cognitive linguistic method to study a biblical text or corpus. Possible approaches include, for example, conceptual metaphor theory, prototype theory, frame semantics, construction grammar, or viewpoint analysis. Papers are required to go beyond methodological reflection by including exegetical and linguistic results. 
  2. Open Themed Session — We are seeking proposals on cognitive linguistics and Bible translation. This session focuses on how cognitive resources (for example: frames or constructions) can enhance the study of translation issues in a discrete biblical text. Successful proposals indicate which cognitive linguistic models and/or method(s) are used. They should reveal the author’s assessment of both the payoffs and the challenges of using the chosen methods for analyzing biblical material. Scholars and students new to the field of Cognitive Linguistics are encouraged to submit proposals for papers. 
  3. Invited Session — Discussing cognitive linguistic models that are under-utilized in biblical studies thus far. The invited panel aims to provide accessible, theoretical presentations of more advanced cognitive linguistic methodologies such as construction grammar, force dynamics, cognitive hermeneutics, and metaphor from the perspective of frame semantics.

Biblical Lexicography

I have been involved with the so-called BibLex group for a few years, and now have the privilege of acting as co-chair with Reinier de Blois. We also have three sessions:

  1. Open Session — Proposals related to Hebrew lexicography in general are welcomed.
  2. Open Session — Proposals related to Greek lexicography in general are welcomed.
  3. Invited Session — Review panel for the forthcoming Cambridge Greek Lexicon (anticipated March 2021).

I’m particularly excited about that invited session.

Institute for Biblical Research

Linguistics & the Biblical Text

The annual IBR conference tends to occur on the very first day of SBL and/or the very last day (or day after) ETS; it’s a bit of a moving target. But if you want to be involved, you have to be a member of SBL. I have posted in the past about the Linguistics & the Biblical Text research group that I co-chair with Elizabeth Robar. 

This year we have decided to organize an invited session, rather than host an open-call session. In the spirit of the research group in general, this year we are organizing a session presenting four views on linguistic theories for biblical research. Here’s the description:

The 2021 session of the Linguistics and the Biblical Text research group will address the history, relevance, and prospects of broad theoretical linguistic frameworks in the field. Four invited contributors will each represent a particular view, outlining its key theoretical commitments and important contributions to contemporary study of the biblical text. These four presentations will be followed by open panel discussion focused on identifying the comparative advantages of each theory and the most pressing areas of new research and pathways for mutual improvement and collaboration.

I’ll post more details when they are available in the months to come.

Evangelical Theological Society

Septuagint Studies

Finally, I have posted in the past about the Septuagint studies section that I co-chair with Chris Fresch at ETS. This year we will have two sessions.

  1. Open Session — Accepting any proposals related to Septuagint studies
  2. Invited Session — Details forthcoming soon

Hope to see you there, whether on screen or (d.v.) in person!

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