Many theologians of various types, including biblical scholars, will be converging upon Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting from 14-16 November, and then the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion annual meetings in Chicago, Illinois, from 17-20 November.
This confluence of conferences is an important time for scholars, who will deliver their papers to what they hope will be a positive and receptive audience, and who will probably sit through a lot of papers in the further hope that they will hear a few that spark some genuine discussion and interest.
McMaster Divinity College will have a large presence at both of these conferences this year. This is only appropriate for one of the leading evangelical seminaries in North America. We are one of the sponsors at ETS, which means that we will have some advertising representation in public places (so I am told), as well as hosting a booth in the exhibition hall. We are also sponsoring our annual dinner, when we meet with faculty members of other institutions who may wish to recommend their students to our programs along with prospective students themselves. We are doing similar things at SBL/AAR, including having an advertisement on the inside back cover of the program and an annual dinner. Those who are interested in knowing more about McMaster Divinity College and its programs should contact us to find out about next year’s dinners in Baltimore (sorry, we are full up for this year’s).
I am looking forward to several sessions at ETS this year, including one where a Festschrift will be presented to a scholar who is very deserving of the honour but who—at least to this point, hopefully—does not know that he is being feted in this way. I will also be presenting three papers at this conference—I am not sure why, but it seemed like the right and sane thing to do several months ago.
The Institute for Biblical Research squeezes its meetings in between ETS and SBL, so I will be driving furiously (but at or below the speed limit, of course) from Milwaukee to Chicago on Friday so I will be in time to respond to a paper in the evening session.
These kinds of conferences are important for scholars, as well as for administrators who are concerned to represent their institutions well in the eyes of others. Scholars have the opportunity to see friends and colleagues they would not otherwise normally see, they usually get invited to a number of receptions sponsored by various publishers where, even if they cannot convince someone to publish their manuscript, they can enjoy hospitality at someone else’s expense, and they of course can visit the exhibition hall to see not only McMaster Divinity College’s booth and find out the latest information about our programs but also get reduced prices on books from a number of publishers. The reduced prices on the books almost make the turmoil worth it all.