I’m still trying to catch my breath after 2 weeks of the virtual annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature 2020. Whew! It was as good a conference could be through Zoom, heard some great papers, learned much, and the 4 sessions which the Intertextuality in the New Testament Section ran featured some fantastic presenters, both veterans in the field and some amazing rising scholars.
This SBL 2020 also marks the end of my 6-year tenure as co-chair and 12-year tenure as a committee member of the Intertextuality in the New Testament Section. I actually completed the maximum number of years an SBL member can stay on the committee or act as chair. There was so much I learned during my time as a committee member and co-chair. I was able to work with some fantastic scholars who thought differently than I did, were experts in their field of study, and were those with whom I was able to engage in some rich conversations. I got to see the inner workings of an SBL section, plan sessions, and make a difference in the programming.
During my time, our section expanded its number of sessions with the specific goal to give doctoral students, new and rising scholars an opportunity to present. We reached out and planned joint plenary sessions with a number of other sections including Hebrews, Intertextuality and the Hebrew Bible, Johannine Literature and more. We also became the sponsor of the Composite Citations research group who holds their annual session under the Intertextuality in the NT banner. I saw our Section grow from two sessions per year to now five (we held back with the virtual annual meeting only this year with four). I’m currently editing two volumes of essays based on the “best hits” of papers presented in past years and some newly invited contributors. The best part, I made some good friends.
If you never had a chance to serve on a committee, I recommend that you do. You stay on top of your field, hear some cutting-edge research ideas, meet some fantastic scholars, and make even better friends. And Lord knows, we could all use some more friends in the sometimes dehumanizing world of the academy.
While I’m sad to step down, the exhausted part of me is also relieved. And I’m excited for the fresh faces and creative vision new committee members will bring as they step into the space I vacate. And besides, though stepping down from Intertextuality in the New Testament at SBL, I also have stepped into another co-chair position for the Asian American Biblical Interpretation research group at the Institute for Biblical Research. So it’s not a retirement of any sort but a new chapter. Hurray!