Skip to nav Skip to content

November 24, 2021

By The Rev. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Ph.D., Dean of Trinity Lutheran Seminary

Where Scholars Gather

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” (Acts 2:1)

I’ve just returned from San Antonio, Texas, the site of this year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. It wasn’t Pentecost, but it was certainly a gathering together! Almost every scholar of religion is a member of AAR, SBL, or both. In a typical year, approximately 10,000 people attend, although this year’s number was smaller, given the hybrid nature of the meeting.

Trinity was well-represented. Professors Joy Schroeder, Rachel Wrenn, and I all attended this year. We also attended a pre-meeting gathering of Lutheran women scholars in theology and religious studies, the theme of which was “Pedagogy for the Future Church.”

Dr. Julie Faith Parker, who taught Old Testament at Trinity from 2015 – 2018, and I were staying at the same hotel and crossed paths at breakfast one morning. She is doing well at General Theological Seminary and is excited about her upcoming sabbatical.

I spotted another former Trinity professor, Dr. Hans Schwarz, across a meeting room but didn’t have the opportunity for conversation.

In addition to the scholarly presentations, one of the central features of the AAR/SBL annual meeting is the publishers’ exhibit. Most major publishers in the field of religion bring their wares to AAR/SBL each year – and the books are typically sold at a significant discount. I’ll spare you the list of my purchases, but I was pleased to see that the Spanish-language edition of New Testament Professor Emeritus Dr. Mark Allan Powell’s Introducción al Nuevo Testamento has sold well enough to be released in paperback. Dr. Powell tells me that most Spanish translations of textbooks are done by publishers in other countries, so Baker Academic’s decision to publish Powell’s textbook both in English and in Spanish is a real affirmation of the value of his scholarship and of his ability to communicate that scholarship so clearly.

Meanwhile, Dr. Joy Schroeder’s publisher, Westminster John Knox, is busily promoting her forthcoming book, Voices Long Silenced: Women Biblical Interpreters Through the Centuries, co-authored with Dr. Marion Taylor and scheduled for release in February 2022.

As we form leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world, one of the values we hope to instill in our students is lifelong learning. Through our participation at professional conferences like AAR/SBL, we model the same attitudes and behavior we expect of our students.

The Rev. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Ph.D.

Trinity Lutheran Seminary forms leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world.