SOTS Winter Meeting Registration Deadline

Via the Hospitality Secretary-

The final booking deadline for the Winter Meeting is rapidly approaching on this Friday 7 December, so please act NOW if you plan to attend and haven’t already booked.  Perhaps members could also be encouraged to inform their doctoral students about SOTS meetings, as there are low-income packages available.  Delegates are welcome to book via email to sotshospitality@gmail.com, and booking forms can be found, along with other information about the upcoming Meeting, via a hyperlink on the SOTS website http://www.sots.ac.uk/conferencedetails .

Sad News: Sister Edmée Kingsmill has Died

From our SOTS secretary-

I have just received news from Debbie Rooke informing me that Sister Edmée Kingsmill died yesterday in Oxford aged 88 years.   Sister Edmée belonged to an Anglican Religious Order, the Society of the Love of God, and lived ‘enclosed’ in a Convent in Oxford.  She joined SOTS in 1998 when she was working on her D.Phil. on the Song of Songs and gave a paper to the Society in 2006, based on her allegorical reading of the text.

For a few years she attended our meetings, having been given special permission by her Order and some members may remember her delight at being able to talk over meals; and recall her enjoying a pint in the bar (kindly purchased for her).  She will doubtless have been well cared for in her latter days.  May she rest in peace.

All good wishes,

Janet

The Revd Dr J E Tollington

May she truly rest in peace eternal.

A Series of Old Testament Study Guides You May Not Have Heard Of, But Should

Bloomsbury is publishing a series of what they describe as ‘study guides’ for the Old Testament, but don’t make the mistake of thinking these are mere ‘Cliff Notes’.  Quite the contrary.  I reviewed a couple of these volumes in the most recent number of the Book List and they are exceptionally helpful.

Bloomsbury-T&T Clark’s Study Guides to the Old Testament present the latest in biblical scholarship in an engaging format for students and those approaching biblical texts for the first time. Each book covers the historical issues surrounding the text before moving on to consider interpretative issues and the range of approaches available to readers of the text. The books include further reading lists and pointers for students looking to further their knowledge. Each book is written by a member of the Society for Old Testament Study (SOTS), a prestigious academic society which celebrates its centenary in 2017.

The link above is to the list by date of publication.  Take a look.

Today in the History of the Society for Old Testament Study

Mat Collins wrote on the SOTS facebook page on 29 June, 2016-

sotsFor those interested in that sort of thing, it was 100 years ago today (29th June 1916) that the first proper planning meeting for SOTS was held. Nine scholars met in the rooms of R.H. Kennett at Queen’s College, Cambridge, and resolved to move ahead with the proposed “British Society for Old Testament Studies” and to hold an inaugural meeting in London (at King’s College) at the start of January 1917.

According to the minutes, those in attendance were: Rev. Prof. W. Emery Barnes, Rev. Principal W.H. Bennett, Rev. Principal W.E. Blomfield, Stanley A. Cook Esqr., Dr. G. Buchanan Gray, Rev. Canon R.H. Kennett, Prof. A.S. Peake, Rev. T.H. Robinson, and Rev. Principal John Skinner.

Happy 102nd Anniversary, SOTS.  Fantastic beginnings for the best learned society in the world.

Remembering Philip Davies

I don’t recall when Philip and I first met, but it must have been in the early 90’s when Tom Thompson and Niels Peter Lemche along with Philip and Keith Whitelam were busily developing the new historical methodology known as ‘minimalism’ and alternatively as ‘ The Copenhagen School’ (if you asked Tom or Niels Peter) and ‘The Sheffield School’ if you talked to Keith or Philip.

When we met in the flesh, at a meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, after having been ‘list buddies’ on the Biblical Studies Discussion List (back then on a site called e-groups which was bought by someone else who was then bought by Yahoo), I remember thinking how very Monty-Pythonesque Philip was.  To tell the truth, he always and still reminds me of John Cleese: tall, funny, and profoundly intelligent.

We, I think, hit it off immediately.  We had both grown up Baptist (yes, Philip grew up Baptist) and we both had a deep love of things historical and biblical.  So we had a lot to talk about.

Over the years we stayed in touch, met up at SBL, corresponded with weekly regularity, and I learned so much from him and his books that I can describe him to this day as one of my chief influences.  It was a pleasure to proof some of his work and I can’t fully describe the pride and honor I experienced every time I got an email from him asking if I might look over his latest essay or monograph for infelicities of expression or lack of clarity of thought.  He sometimes typed fairly badly (!)(there were typos…) but he never failed to deliver the intellectual goods.

Philip was the one who encouraged me to join the Society for Old Testament Study, a society of scholars primarily in the United Kingdom whose focus is – surprise, surprise, the Old Testament.  He was one of the two required co-sponsors and it was he who invited me as his guest to the first meeting of the Society I ever attended (you have to be invited to a meeting if you are not a member of the Society), at the University of Chester.  That first meeting was the very meeting where I was voted unanimously into membership (and since non-members are not allowed in the Business meeting, it was Peter Williams who advised me of my acceptance, curiously, whilst we were both making use of the facilities…).

Many of my happiest memories in life have a Philip connection.  Discussing the so called ‘Deuteronomistic History’ in Cambridge or chatting about The Chronicler in San Diego at a little cafe are thoughts that now fill me with both joy and sadness.  Never to have the chance to chat with him again is nothing short of a dark cloud over my mind.

Philip was a friend to me; a genuine friend.  Ben Sira described Philip (without knowing it) when he wrote

A loyal friend is a powerful defence: whoever finds one has indeed found a treasure.  A loyal friend is something beyond price, there is no measuring his worth.  A loyal friend is the elixir of life, and those who fear the Lord will find one.  Whoever fears the Lord makes true friends, for as a person is, so is his friend too. (Sir. 6:14-17)

Philip the Elixir.  May you rest in peace eternal, friend.

Below is a gallery of photos I took at the Chester meeting of SOTS; my first, and the meeting whereat I was voted into membership, 10 years ago, in 2008.

The SOTS Summer Meeting Booking Forms Have Been Sent

If you’re a member of the Society for Old Testament Study, you’ve received by now an email containing the Summer meeting booking form and other material.  Unfortunately I won’t be at the Summer festivities, but if you can go, you should go.  And if you aren’t a member, you should apply.  A more cordial friendly group you will never meet and better papers you will never hear.

Thomas Römer at the University of Sheffield

From SOTS-

I am pleased to announce that the University of Sheffield will be hosting two lectures by Prof. Thomas Römer, the chair in the Hebrew Bible and Its Contexts at the Collège de France, in January 2018. These lectures abroad—part of the mission of the Collège de France to deliver its teaching not only in Paris, but in other major academic centres outside France—are free and open to all. Prof. Römer, who is well known to the Society, will be sharing some of his latest research in two lectures. The programme is:

  • Tuesday, 30 January 16:30 to 18:00 — The Ark of the Covenant and the Archaeology of Kiriath Jearim
  • Wednesday, 31 January 14:00 to 15:30 — The Future of Biblical Studies: A Discussion with Graduate Students
  • 16:30 to 18:00 — The Political Function of the Abraham Narrative

As you can see, the programme for Wednesday, 31 January, includes not only a lecture, but also the unique opportunity for graduate students in Hebrew Bible and related fields to participate in a discussion with Prof. Römer about the future of our field. We hope that this full afternoon programme will encourage students and scholars from around the country to make the journey to Sheffield.

All these events will take place in the iconic Arts Tower at the centre of the University of Sheffield. If you have any queries about the lectures, travel, or related matters, please contact Casey Strine at c.a.strine@sheffield.ac.uk

Keeping Up With the Doings in Nottingham

If you, like me, and Jonathan, and James, and others, weren’t able to make it to Nottingham for SOTS 2018 Winter Meeting, you can keep up with what’s going on via twitter by following #SOTS2018, or by watching the SOTS facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/groups/24086983875/

Some great sounding papers have already been given.