I had a good and interesting first day at the Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting here in Baltimore. This society comprises professors and other scholars of biblical literature mainly from the U.S., but with some attendees from overseas as well. It meets along with the American Academy of Religion, which is the professional society for all professors of religion who are not teachers of biblical studies (so experts in Christianity outside the NT, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, anthropologists of religion, historians of religion, and so on and on). All together it is a very large group. I don’t have the exact numbers, but I think maybe there are 10,000 or 11,000 people here for the meeting. That’s a lot of experts on religion in one place!
One of the most important aspects of the conference for me is the book display. Dozens of publishers of books in every field and aspect of religion are here – from major well known pubishers such as Oxford University Press and Princeton University Press to religious publishing houses such as Eerdmans and Zondervan to small nich publishers to … you name it). These publishers all set up an enormous ballroom with their exhibits, which are mainly copies and posters of the various books they’ve published. The publishers obviously can’t bring every book they publish on the topic, and so typically bring only what has come out over the past year. There are many, many thousands of books here.
Attendees can browse the book display, look through whatever books they’re interested in, buy books at a discount, make notes on what books to buy later, and so on.
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