SBL is pleased to announce a series of four workshops. The overarching theme of the series is Teaching the Bible in These Times.
With funding provided by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology, we are organizing four workshops under this theme to encourage SBL members to reflect and become intentional in tailoring their teaching of the Bible to address the needs of our current times.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we often hear that we are living in “unprecedented” times. “Unprecedented” or not, we are living in times of much uncertainty and anxiety. COVID-19 has brought about many changes, including how teaching and learning is conducted.
In addition to the uncertainty, anxiety, and a sense of fragility, our current times are characterized by (1) a heightened awareness of the no-longer-deniable reality of racism, racial tension, and political polarization; (2) questions of accessibility and technology because of not only individual and public health concerns but also ableism; (3) a dramatic and ironic increase in both biblical literacy and biblical idolatry; (4) doubts about the value of higher education and hence the sustainability of many schools.
Just as faculty must adjust their pedagogy because of COVID-19, we want to ask how biblical scholars should teach the Bible in light of these realities of our times.
Three of these workshops will begin with a long-day meeting on the Friday before the SBL Annual Meeting. After each pre-annual meeting workshop session, there will also be three online meetings to continue the conversation and see how participants are putting into practice and refining their thoughts on the topic in question.
We have learned from the pandemic and from economic realities that not everyone can attend our annual meetings. The fourth workshop will therefore be entirely online. This workshop will meet online for six to eight sessions; each session will run for 90-120 minutes.
In 2022, the theme of the workshop will be “Teaching the Bible with BLM and Other Social Protests and Movements.” The focus is to learn how biblical scholars can teach biblical studies in ways that are not only relevant to what is going on in society but also in the direction of justice. It will be led by Kimberly Russaw (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) and Eric Barreto (Princeton Theological Seminary).
In 2023, with the theme, “Teaching the Bible to Multiple Publics,” we will focus on the fact that not all teaching of the Bible is done in a seminary or college/university classroom. Attention will be paid to non-academic audiences (such as local faith communities) and other settings that are outside of a traditional educational context (such as writing blogs or op-ed pieces). This workshop will be led by Renita Weems (Cathedral of Hope) and Greg Carey (Lancaster Theological Seminary).
In 2023-2024, we will run an online workshop on “Teaching the Bible during and after COVID-19.” This workshop will focus on teaching the Bible not only with technology but also with disabilities studies and healthcare concerns (including how to work with students with accessibility challenges). Candace Buckner (Virginia Tech) and David Schones (Austin College) will lead this workshop.
“Teaching the Bible in an Age of Interdisciplinarity and Uncertainty” will be the theme for 2024. It will focus on how scholars not trained in biblical studies may need to teach the Bible while those who are trained in Bible might need to teach other subjects, particularly because of many schools’ shrinking budgets. It will be led by Jacqueline Hidalgo (Williams College) and Uriah Kim (Graduate Theological Union).
Each of these four workshops will include two facilitating leaders and 14 participants.
Details of and Application Process for the 2022 Workshop
SBL members—from ABD doctoral students to mid-career faculty—are invited to apply to be part of a collaborative effort of teachers and scholars to teach the content and discipline of biblical studies in the context of diverse movements towards social justice. Through small-groups and interactive plenary conversations, we will create an environment for deliberation and action around pedagogies in diverse classrooms. The group will meet once on the Friday before the SBL meeting in Denver and over three online sessions in 2023 (4-5:30 pm Eastern time on January 31, February 28, March 28). Participants will conclude this program having developed a network of support among fellow scholar-teachers, honed a clearer sense of their own pedagogical identity, and gathered pedagogical skills to help students lead and learn from movements toward justice.
Participants (limited to 14) will receive an honorarium of $500.00 for the in-person session in Denver and $100.00 for each of the online session. In addition, SBL will cover participants’ hotel accommodation on November 17 (Thursday) and provide two meals (breakfast and lunch) during the in-person session in Denver on November 18 (Friday). The grant does not cover airfare.
To apply to participate in this workshop, please use this link to fill out the application form.
Tat-siong Benny Liew, Chair of Council and workshop project director