Biblical Studies


A question for you scholars and scholars-to-be: should I or should I not become a member of the SBL? If so, what are the advantages? If not, why? Thanks in advance for your input.

Αυτω η δοξα,




10 thoughts on “SBL”

  1. Its helpful, if for nothing else, to qualify to review for Review of Biblical Literature, which you can find here: You basically locate a book to review and volunteer (which involves basically making a case for why they should let you do it and not one of the other 20 people who have volunteered for that book).

    I have reviewed three books for RBL and I hope to do more in the future. But I have volunteered for maybe 150 books in the past five years, so there isn’t a very high acceptance rate for most people!

  2. Jason: I’m shocked! I thought my blog would be the first place you looked for reviews! 😉

    I haven’t joined SBL yet because I’ve not been in a position to be able to attend any of the conferences. If/when I have the means to go to one I’ll probably join, if for nothing else than to meet some of my blogging buddies in person. But I hear you get like a 40% discount on SBL books or something like that, and of having access to JBL is pretty cool.

  3. Nick: Perhaps I should have qualified that comment–if Nick doesn’t have it reviewed, then I look to RBL! 😉

    I think it would be a great for networking with scholars if you could attend the meetings. And, yes, that 40% discount is very enticing!

  4. Jason, I was once told ETS is good for pastors and SBL is better for scholars (also SBL is not especially evangelical friendly) bit I am not sure as to the accuracy of that assessement (this was from a OT PhD student at Wheaton, whom I went to college with).

    But if for anything, it is to get the journals so you can at least have a fighting chance to keep up on some of the scholarly things going on and for the book reviews in them (to keep abreast of the latest works). Most pastors have no chances of going to the conferences but once every few years but it is good to be able to get the journals, which come as part of the membership fee).

    It’s always good as a pastor to have journal or two you can have access too (especially for those not close to seminary libraries).

    The networking and relationships part only really matter if you are able to afford the expenses involved in going to an SBL conference.

    I share the same sentiments as you SBL or ETS and why?

    Hope this helps some.

  5. Brian: Your assessment may be true (at least somewhat). Naturally, the ETS is thoroughgoing in its evangelicalism, which is fine with me–I consider myself evangelical. I think that the SBL is more wide open. I mean, there are plenty of nonbelievers who are members. And, yes, discounts are often worth a membership fee!

    I have access (thankfully!) to numerous journals via Firstsearch, so I only subscribe to JETS. I am planning to add a couple of subscriptions in the near future, the JBL likely one of them, and either CBQ or JSNT the other.

    At any rate, it may be good to join just to be associated with a scholarly organization.

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