What’s Wrong With the Society of Biblical Literature?

Well, I’m not sure of everything that is wrong or right with the largest organization devoted to the academic study of the Bible. But if I were forced to judge by a single question in the Biblical Scholar Survey sponsored by the Psychology and Bible Studies Section of the SBL, I’d say something is missing. The question seeks to identify the philosophical framework with which the respondent identifies. Here are the choices.

  • Existential
  • Postmodern
  • Deconstruction
  • Post-structuralist
  • Other

See anything missing? The only thing that is missing from this list is the philosophical approach that actually dominates philosophical research in the US, the UK and much of the rest of the world – Analytical Philosophy. Analytical Philosophy gets no higher billing than “other.” There has recently been much discussion about secular biblical studies in general and the possibility of a Secular Biblical Criticism unit within the SBL. The absence of Analytical Philosophy from the options list in this question is just another indication of the crying need for such a unit.
Update: My observation is likely more indicative than substantive. Scholars who work within philosophical traditions other than Analytical Philosophy can and do follow methodological naturalism in their work.
Via Ketuvim

2 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With the Society of Biblical Literature?”

  1. I also note that at one question they had Theology/Religious Studies as if these were identical. I can’t remember the exact context, but I was rather miffed by this.

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