SBL 2016 – Contextual Biblical Interpretation

This is the official on-line digital archive for the research papers being presented in the ‘Contextual Biblical Interpretation’ unit at the 2016 SBL Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Over the past few years, the Contextual Biblical Interpretation unit has chosen to run its sessions in a slightly different format to that of other SBL units, and this year will be no different. Rather than asking participants to present full papers during the sessions, participants will instead be required to submit their papers in advance of the sessions for them to then be uploaded onto this blog. This will then enable those that are both participating in and attending the sessions to read the papers in advance and to prepare points for discussion. Presenters will then summarise or highlight key parts of their paper in 15 minute slots, with a further 15 minutes per presenter being devoted to discussion in a round-table format. The purpose of this format is to ensure that as much time as possible is devoted to discussion.

All the papers that are being presented in this unit can be accessed via the drop-down menu under the heading ‘SBL 2016 – Contextual Biblical Interpretation’ on the left hand-side of this blog. Once you click on the arrow of the drop-down menu you will see that you then simply need to select the name of the presenter whose paper you wish to read. Each presenter is listed via their name and you will be able to download their paper in pdf or word format.

As you probably know, this unit has been highly successful in having the papers presented in its sessions published in several volumes of the Texts@Contexts series. We will continue to publish these volumes with T&T Clark and it is hoped that the papers presented in this year’s sessions will contribute to future volumes.

The description of this research unit is as follows:

“The goal of this consultation is to explore the interest in developing a SBL seminar or section on *Contextual Biblical Interpretation,* its different strategies (including “inculturation,” inter(con)textualization, and reading with “ordinary” readers) and its methodological justifications, and the extent to which all interpretations are contextual.”

The 2016 call for papers is as follows:

“We welcome papers that examine biblical texts or discuss methodology while making explicit the role that a reader’s contemporary context plays/played in the interpretation (whether the contemporary context of one’s own interpretation or the interpreter’s particular contexts). We plan to have four very different sessions, two of which are joint. Papers presented will be considered for publication in an ongoing series Texts@Contexts. First, a session on contextual biblical methodologies (either methods shaped by a given context or theory-framed methods). Second, a text-centered session on Samuel, Kings, Chronicles and the Megilloth (Five Scrolls) as well as Paul’s undisputed and disputed letters. Third, a joint session about what difference minoritized feminist and womanist voices make in reading Revelation. See the “Bible and Cultural Studies” call for papers for a fuller description. Fourth, a joint session with the AAR’s “Ricoeur Group.” Here’s the full description – Ricoeur and Context: Put Ricoeur into dialogue with contextual interpretation and theology. How might resources from Ricoeur’s work (e.g. hermeneutics, narrative, tradition, translation, memory, embodiment) assist, complicate, or prohibit the methods, themes, or contents of contemporary contextual biblical interpretation and/or contextual theologies? Conversely, how might Ricoeur’s ideas be supported, complemented, or corrected by contextual approaches?”

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