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Friday, January 15, 2010
The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) has announced that Claremont Graduate University Professor Vincent L. Wimbush will serve as Society President for 2010. This one-year honorific position is recognition by SBL members of Wimbush’s contributions to scholarship in the field as well as to the Society. The position entails chairing the annual business meeting, participating on SBL Council, and giving the SBL Presidential Address at the annual meeting in November.
Wimbush has had a lifelong interest in studying the Bible as one representation of the world-wide cultural phenomenon of scriptures. Part anthropologist, part sociologist, part historian, literary and social critic, Wimbush views all scriptures not merely in terms of bounded books, but in terms of their varied representations and expressions and in terms of the impact of the work they are made to do in society and culture.
Wimbush is Professor of Religion at CGU, where he chairs the Critical Comparative Scriptures Program and is founding director of the Institute for Signifying Scriptures. Among his publications are: African Americans and the Bible: Sacred Texts and Social Textures (2000); The Bible and African Americans: a Brief History (1999); and Theorizing Scriptures: New Critical Orientations to a Cultural Phenomenon (2008).
"I am honored by this election," Wimbush said. "I understand it as recognition of the work we are doing here at CGU, which has important ramifications for the future of the field of scriptural studies in particular and for humanistic studies in general."
"This honor clearly reflects the enormous esteem and respect that biblical scholars have for Professor Wimbush,” said CGU President Joe Hough. “He has made immense contributions to the Society, as well as to the full spectrum of religious studies.”
Wimbush has recently had a lifetime dream realized with the approval for an upcoming program at CGU, Critical Comparative Scriptures. This Masters and PhD program is unparalleled in the United States, and aims to bring together a look into the most basic questions about societies, based on religious texts, and how they have shaped the world over time. By comparing them against one another, we can see how scriptures have shaped our lives politically and culturally. These reinterpretations could be groundbreaking, and the program will begin in Fall of 2010.
The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), founded in 1880 to further the academic study of the Bible and related literature, is the world's largest organization of biblical scholars with 8,700 members, including 2,400 outside North America. Non-sectarian in approach, the SBL includes professors and graduate students from both public universities and religious institutions of higher learning.
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