The AAR/SBL Divorce and the Future of NABPR
Danny Mynatt (Anderson College)
As I am sure you are well aware, AAR has decided not to hold its annual meeting in conjunction with SBL, beginning with the 2008 meeting. Some of us have come to refer to this as the AAR/SBL divorce, and as in any divorce, there are casualties. It appears that one casualty will be the annual meeting of NABPR. Since some of our members are associated with AAR and others with SBL, the NABPR annual meeting will be forced to take on a new form.
At the Southeast regional meeting, several folks expressed hope that AAR and SBL would reconcile their differences and put aside the impending divorce. There was even talk of a petition campaign to influence a reunion. But based on the latest news, it seems like the divorce is inevitable.
So what impact will this separation have on NABPR? How can we continue to have a unified annual meeting with AAR and SBL meeting in different cities? I have had serious discussions about these questions in many meetings and hallway conversations over the last months. The general consensus is that the options available to NABPR fall into four categories. Below, I will list the four options with the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal.
Option #1: NABPR’s Annual Meeting Occurs During the Summer
In essence, the Region-at-Large already does this when they meet with the College Theology Society.
Advantages: More time is available to dedicate to 1)academic discussion and 2) fellowship.
Disadvantages: 1)Since many NABPR members will attend AAR or SBL anyway, this option will necessitate another trip. Attendance will drop considerably from what we experience now. 2)Another trip means additional member expense.
Option #2: NABPR Meets with the Regions
In this scenario, the annual meeting of NABPR would move each year on a pre-determined rotation and occur in March with one of the regional meetings (which ordinarily occur in conjunction with the regional AAR/SBL meetings). Hypothetically, the 2008 meeting would occur with the Southwest region, the 2009 meeting with the Southeast, the 2010 meeting with the Midwest, etc.
Advantages: 1)Once every few years, everyone will have an annual meeting close to them. 2)Attendance should be satisfactory if the “host region” enthusiastically supports this proposal.
Disadvantages: 1)Planning for and implementing the annual meeting will become more difficult by virtue of the rotation system. 2)Members traveling “out of region” to the annual meeting would have to abandon their own regional meetings. 3)If members do not already attend their regional meetings, this option will necessitate an additional trip and expense.
Option #3: NABPR Meets in Alternating Years with AAR and SBL
In this scenario, hypothetically, the 2008 NABPR annual meeting would occur with AAR, the 2009 meeting with SBL, etc.
Advantages: 1)Attendance would probably be good since the annual meeting is still yoked with one of our professional societies. 2)Since there is no additional meeting, there is no additional member travel expense.
Disadvantages: 1)This scenario forces a divorce upon NABPR because the members associated with AAR and those associated with SBL will never meet together. In essence, NABPR will not have a unified meeting. 2)For most members, the annual meeting becomes “bi-annual,” unless you meet with both AAR and SBL.
Option #4: NABPR Meets Annually with Both AAR and SBL
Although NABPR would not divide organizationally, members would meet separately each year with each professional society.
Advantages: Same as in Option #3.
Disadvantages: 1)#1 from Option #3 still holds. 2)Aside from membership expenses associated with CSSR, the annual meeting is the largest annual expense for NABPR. Option #4 would double that expense on the guild. If we adopt this option, we will also have to generate some more income to cover the new expenses.
Have I explored all the options? I hope not because none of the four options above is truly satisfactory. I have already heard enthusiasts for all four, which indicates to me that we are nowhere close to a consensus on this matter. Give it some thought. And if you want to share your thoughts, send them to Jimmy Byrd at . We will post comments in future newsletters.
We have four meetings to arrive at a consensus about the future of the annual meeting of NABPR. We would be wise to have our course charted within three meetings and not wait to the last minute. Suggestions are welcome and encouraged!
National Executive Secretary-Treasurer
The Impending AAR/SBL Split’s Impact on NABPR Publications
By Scott Nash (Mercer University),
Senior Editor, PRS Publications
During the last two years we have witnessed an amazing improvement in the timely publication of the NABPR’s journal, Perspectives in Religious Studies, under the superb leadership of editor Mikeal Parsons of Baylor. A journal that was almost two years behind schedule is now holding back the reins of the publishing work-horse team to avoid getting ahead of schedule. This turn-around in journal production and a revamping of the book publication program all bode well for the future of our association’s publications. The coming divorce between the AAR and SBL should have minimal effect on the routine tasks of producing journals and books.
Where the split will affect our work pertains primarily to our annual meetings. The PRS Editorial Board has held its annual meeting on the Fridays before the annual NABPR meeting. The Festschrift Committee has also utilized the annual meeting for its work, and we anticipate that the committee now in charge of book publication will also meet in conjunction with an annual NABPR meeting. Because the PRS Editorial Board deliberately consists of NABPR members representing various disciplines, geographical areas, types of schools, and other interests, finding an annual meeting time that is suitable for such a diverse group will be difficult. The annual NABPR meeting has also been the venue for presenting Festschriften honoring our senior scholars and has been the occasion for the election of PRS Editorial Board members. We have not had a presence in the AAR/SBL exhibit halls for some time, but we have used the annual NABPR meeting to draw attention to books we have recently published.
In short, while the AAR/SBL split will not affect the publication of our journal and books, it will complicate our conducting of business. If the split results in lower attendance at annual NABPR meetings, then it will also adversely affect our Festschriften presentations and promotion of new works. The negative impact that choosing to meet annually with either the AAR or SBL or some other group will have on the NABPR in general will also be true for the PRS Editorial Board and its committees.
Ideally, we would find a new time for the annual NABPR meeting that maximizes the attendance of members from all disciplines and locations. No ideal solution exists, however, it seems to me. Rotating our annual national meetings among our regional NABPR meetings held in the Spring is one possibility, but that will likely force members to choose between the annual NABPR meeting held in a different region and the AAR/SBL Spring meetings in their own regions. Holding the annual NABPR meeting in conjunction with another large meeting, such as the CTS in the summer, means that members will have to choose how to use their limited travel funds (and time) in trying to take in the annual AAR and/or SBL, their own regional AAR/SBL/NABPR, and a third/fourth meeting. On the positive side, meeting either with a Spring regional NABPR or with CTS (or similar group) would give us opportunities for expanded programs and promotion of our publications. The costs would also probably be less. Both of these positive possibilities are probably lessened if we choose to meet in conjunction with either the national AAR or SBL. Whichever way we go, I think we can expect fewer members attending the annual NABPR meetings. That reality, however, is one we must accept whichever solution we adopt.
My preference, at the moment, is that we give the CTS summer meeting a chance. The NABPR Region-at-large group has been doing this for a few years, and the reports are encouraging. Working in conjunction with CTS, we might even recruit other associations who are also coping with the AAR/SBL split. The CSSR could play a role here since it already serves as an umbrella-body of sorts for several associations like ours. Meeting in conjunction with the annual CSSR board meeting in Valparaiso during May exams, however, doesn’t seem realistic.
I think we should begin serious conversations with CTS and other groups. More importantly, though, we need to discuss this matter thoroughly within our own NABPR membership. Someone in our association may have much better suggestions than I do at the moment.
NABPR Publications Revamped
By Scott Nash (Mercer University),
Senior Editor, PRS Publications
The Editorial Board of Perspectives in Religious Studies has approved a significant change in the way it will publish books. Four years ago the Board accepted the recommendation of retiring series editor David Scholer that the Bibliography Series be discontinued. Now, with the retirement of series editors Molly Marshall (Dissertations) and Steve Sheeley (Special Studies), the Board has decided to replace these two series with one new series, the Perspectives in Religious Studies Monograph Series (PRSMS). The Board has also approved a contractual relationship with Baylor University Press for the publication of the PRSMS. The finer details of the agreement are still under construction, but the basic arrangement is for BUP to publish 1-2 PRSMS books per year. BUP will handle all production, marketing, and ordering without charging the NABPR a subvention. The NABPR will receive a royalty on all sales.
Overseeing the acquisition and editing of manuscripts will be a newly elected PRSMS Editorial Committee. The elected members of the committee are: Stephen Chapman, OT, Duke,
chair; Valerie Bridgeman-Davis, OT, womanist studies, Memphis Theological Seminary; Jaime Clarke-Soles, NT, SMU; Beth Newman, Theology, BTSR; Charlie Scalise, Theology, Fuller
Seminary; and Doug Weaver, Church History, Baylor University. Also serving on the committee as ex officio members will be Carey Newman, Director of BUP; Mikeal Parsons, Editor of PRS; and Scott Nash, Senior Editor of PRS publications. The PRSMS Editorial Committee will report to the PRS Editorial Board, as does the Festschrift Committee currently chaired by Fisher
Under the new arrangement, the PRS Editorial Board retains the right to pursue other publishing ventures with other publishers.
Have you paid your 2004 dues?
If you will recall, at last year’s annual meeting I announced that membership dues were down approximately 25% over the previous year. For the first two quarters of the 2003-04 year, dues are down approximately 6% from this time in the 2002-03 year.
NABPR survives largely on member dues. If you need to check your dues status, please contact Pam Gleason at .
Report from NABPR, Region at Large annual meeting
Washington, DC, 3-6 June 2004
Catholic University of America
By Philip E. Thompson (North American Baptist Seminary)
The NABPR Region at Large held its annual meeting once again in conjunction with the College Theology Society’s annual convention 3-6 June at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. This meeting marked the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the CTS, and provided the convention theme, “Jubilee: New Horizons in Theology.”
Several NABPR sections used the theme of “new horizons” as well. While there were no joint sections this year, CTS member Terrence Tilley participated in an NABPR section and Philip Thompson of the NABPR participated in a CTS consultation on faith narratives. We enjoyed strong attendance with many institutions represented. We continue, however, to hope for yet larger Baptist presence in future meetings. In addition to numerous members who hold faculty status, we were delighted to have two Baptist graduate students who are pursuing degrees at Catholic universities read fine papers.
In NABPR sections on June 4, Steve Harmon (Campbell University Divinity School), John Jones IV (Marquette University), and Terrence Tilley (University of Dayton) presented in a section entitled “Freedom, Authority, and Tradition: New Horizons in Ecclesiological Reflection.” John Jones moderated a discussion by Curtis Freeman (Duke University Divinity School) and Beth Newman (Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond) on the Baptist Manifesto, exploring issues of freedom, authority, and practices. A section on the Christian community saw papers by Jonathan Malone (graduate student, University of Dayton) and Doug Thompson (McAfee School of Theology). A section devoted to new horizons in reflection on church-state issues included papers by Greg Sapp (Mercer University) and Brent Walker of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs. In the evening, Philip Thompson (North American Baptist Seminary) and Sandra Yocum Mize (University of Dayton) led a joint prayer service in one of the university chapels.
Saturday the 5th began with the business meeting, which included a presidential address by Mark Medley (Campbellsville University School of Theology) “The Use of Theosis in Contemporary Baptist Theology.” The following were elected officers for the region for the next year: Greg Sapp (President); Beth Newman (Vice-President); and Philip Thompson (Secretary-Treasurer). The membership of the region voted to meet once again in conjunction with the CTS convention when they gather next June 2-5 at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL.
Saturday afternoon brought a section and a panel discussion on the theology and ethics of J. Deotis Roberts. Both were moderated by Mikael Broadway (Shaw University Divinity School). Participants included William C. Turner (Duke University Divinity School), Mike Broadway, Curtis Freeman, and Cheryl J. Sanders (Howard University School of Divinity). We were happy to have Professor Roberts in attendance for the afternoon’s events.On the final morning of the convention, Richard Crane (Messiah College) and Curtis Freeman presented papers in a section devoted to Baptist Heritage and Theology.
The NABPR, Region at Large is grateful for a good and growing relationship with the College Theology Society. At the banquet on Saturday evening, CTS president Loretta Devoy, O.P., spoke of the relationship with the NABPR as one of the new horizons that CTS should celebrate and pursue. When the group photograph was taken for the CTS 50-year history, the Baptists were invited to stand with and among them.
We hope to see many of our NABPR sisters and brothers in Mobile.
“Women in Baptist History”: A Call for Papers
The Baptist History and Heritage Society invites submissions for papers for its 2005 annual meeting to be held June 2-4 at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. The theme for this meeting will be “The History of Women in Baptist Life.”
The Society is seeking innovative and engaging paper presentations on the history of women within the Baptist denomination. Suggested areas of research include (1) analysis of trends with regard to women in Baptist life, including within churches, denominational organizations, and educational institutions; (2) the contributions and work of Baptist laywomen; (3) the history of Baptist women of color in the United States; (4) analysis of the historical roles and work of Baptist women outside the United States; (5) the contributions of prominent Baptist women leaders; (6) the history of organizations created by and for Baptist women, (7) the involvement of Baptist women in missions and chaplaincy; and (8) the history of the ordination of Baptist women. In addition to these topics, proposals that relate to the general topic of “Women in Baptist History” will be considered.
- Proposals should state, as fully as possible, the purpose of the paper. Include a preliminary outline and a brief list of sources that will be used.
Proposals should not be more than 800 words in length.
Proposals should include a title for the paper, followed by your name, institutional affiliation seminary, university, association, or church), address, telephone number, and e-mail address.
Proposals must include brief biographical information about the author as well as a photograph that will be used in publicizing the annual meeting. Photographs may be sent electronically if they are of high quality resolution. All photographs sent via surface mail will be returned following the annual meeting.
Proposals may be submitted via e-mail, fax, or surface mail. Proposals sent via e-mail should include in the subject heading: “Proposal for Annual Meeting.” The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2004. Proposals must arrive on or before the deadline in order to be considered. Decisions about proposals will be made by November 15, and notification to participants will be forthcoming shortly after that date.Send all proposals to:
Dr. Pam Durso
Baptist History and Heritage Society
P. O. Box 728
Brentwood, TN 37024-0728
fax (615) 371-7939
FYI — Member News
Mikeal C. Parsons (Baylor University) published, with Martin Culy, Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Baylor University Press, 2003). 558 pp; with Heidi J. Hornik. Illuminating Luke: The Infancy Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting (Trinity Press International, 2003); and edited, with Heidi J. Hornik, Interpreting Christian Art (Mercer University Press, 2004). Mikeal was also selected as 2003-2004 Outstanding Tenured Professor for Research in the College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor University.
Back Issues of Perspectives in Religious Studies
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