Apart for a Season, AAR and SBL Re-merge Conference

The premier scholarly groups' decision, announced this week, will alleviate logistical headaches for many attendees and publishers.

What seemed like a divorce turned out to be only a brief separation.

The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR), premier academic societies in the respective fields of critical biblical studies and religion, sent a letter to members this week announcing their joint conference — an annual pre-Thanksgiving event that in 2007 drew over 10,000 scholars — would resume in 2011 in San Francisco. They began holding separate conferences in separate cities in 2008.

This week April DeConick, a Rice University scholar in early Jewish/Christian thought, posted the letter, which includes agreed-upon guidelines for forthcoming conferences:

These meetings willOccur in the same city — though the venue will change from year to year;Occur at the same time — the weekend before the US Thanksgiving holiday;Feature a single, jointly managed Publishers/Software/Book Exhibit;Feature a single, jointly managed Employment Center;Feature distinct and separate AAR and SBL programs ...
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