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SBL – some information to help you live throught it

November 15, 2008

The annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature is big. One might even say “Bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some. Much bigger than that in fact, really amazingly immense, a totally stunning size, real ‘wow, that’s big’ time.” And the literature surrounding the society meeting is big as well. So as many of us gear up for the conference, here is some useful information.

First off, Charles Halton at Awilum has some valuable information on how to pack for the conference. Historically, many of us would bring one bag with an extra bag tucked inside — going home with an extra piece of luggage filled with books. However, with new airline surcharges for extra baggage, you might consider ordering the books and having them shipped (check your airline’s policies!).

Another consideration when purchasing books is sales tax. Books in MA are taxed, but religious texts (i.e. Scriptures) are not. So, it might be better to pickup that new NLT Study Bible that John Hobbins has been railing against raving about at the conference than having it shipped.

Charles Halton has also posted an SBL Survival Guide complete with a map and a pdf on how to schmooz. One issue that is not addressed is that the biggest problem in Boston is parking. For example. Three hours at the MFA will run you over $20 in parking. So either leave the car at home or grab a spot and let it sit.

There are many of us biblioblogger-types giving papers this year. Douglas Mangum has compiled an ongoing list of bloggers giving papers this year.  Obviously, you might not be able to hit all of these papers; but it is always nice to be there for friends (real or virtual). has posted his present itinerary over at mu-pàd-da. I might do the same, if only so that I know what my itinerary is when I get to the conferrence.

If you are giving a paper, much bandwidth has been used to provide you with tips on how to present papers. I would recommend the two posts by Kevin Wilson at Blue Cord, the post by Chris Heard at Higgaion, one by Duane Smith at Abnormal Interests and another by Charles Halton.

As a side note: last year, the word for the conference seemed to be “liminal.” It is my sincere hope that this year’s conference will provide us with less liminality.

Finally, if anyone from Philly needs a ride to or from the conference, drop me a line or leave a comment below. I’ve got a small car; but I can probably fit one or two more on the pilgramage. My wife are happy to reduce our carbon footprints in any way we can.

(Title and some description of the SBL conference based off the classic information on the universe by Douglas Adams)

  1. dfrese permalink
    November 18, 2008 3:54 am

    Hey Jim

    I check in on your blog occassionally, and I see that I’ll be presenting a paper along with you in the NWS/Ugaritic section. Look forward to meeting you.

  2. November 18, 2008 12:17 pm


    Looking forward to meeting you as well!


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