2020 Annual Report of the the Assistant Secretary for International initiatives

Covid 19 has paused much of our activity. We had been planning for a joint pre-conference between the Eastern European Liaison Committee and the Latin America Caribbean Liaison Committee and preparations were well under way. We had also arranged for sponsorships and for the first time offered all in the ASII regions to offer research posters. Our future plans now depend on decisions to be made about our future general meetings. We had contemplated a pre-conference in Melbourne in 2021 run by the Asia Pacific Liaison Committee, but that, too, will now not take place. Allocation of sponsorship opportunities will depend on location as will pre-conference arrangements. Some activities have been unaffected by the pandemic. This includes nominations for membership in 2020, which include only one from the ASII regions.

We have reviewed the continuing arrangement with Stellenbosch University which makes its Electronic Library facility available for a small fee. In recent years only six people have registered and only two have been active and indicated a desire to continue and both are in a position to cover the fee, themselves. This in part reflects the increased availability of on-line access to resources and probably also increased cooperation among scholars where better resourced scholars come to aid of those who are not. Applications for access to the Stellenbosch collection should be sent initially to the Assistant Secretary for International Initiatives, not sent to the University directly.

Regional Liaison Committees

The SNTS website: http://snts.international/ includes material relating to the work of all four Liaison Committees. Activities within the ASII regional areas has also been curtailed and changed, in the sense that here as elsewhere there been growth in use of Zoom and other on-line platform communications for conferences and consultation.

African Liaison Committee

There have been meetings in East Africa, face to face, on 14 September, 2019, in Nairobi, and on-line on 29 May, 2020, under the under the logo Connecting Faith-Based Communities.

Asia Pacific Liaison Committee

The papers of the APLC regional conference in Taipei 2018 were published in October, 2019: Matthew, Paul and Others: Asian Perspectives on New Testament Themes. Edited by William Loader, Boris Repschinski and Eric Wong. Innsbruck: Innsbruck University Press, open access on-line: https://www.uibk.ac.at/iup/buecher/9783903187665.html

 Hiroshima Regional Conference, October 2020. Plans were well underway and invitations sent, but unfortunately this had to be cancelled. Further plans await greater clarification of the state of Covid 19 in the region.

Eastern Europe Liaison Committee

1. Conferences

The regular business meeting of EELC was held at the beginning of the SNTS General meeting in Marburg, 29-30 July, 2019 (11 members present, 3 new members elected, 5 members re-elected).

A conference on the Gospel according to Mark was held in Moscow, 23-27 Sept, 2019, hosted by the Aspirantura/Doktorantura of the Russian Orthodox Church (about 15 speakers from the “West” plus an opening lecture by the Metropolitan Hilarion).

A regional conference planned for Debrecen in May 2020 has to be delayed for 2021.

The EELC pre-conference prepared for Rome in context of this year’s SNTS General Meeting had to be cancelled.

The chair, Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr attended biblical conferences in Bratislava (Slovakia, 10-13 Sept, 2019) and Ohrid (North-Macedonia, 10-14 Oct, 2019) and visited the Biblical Institute and Library in St. Petersburg (Russia, 27-30 Oct, 2019).

2. Libraries

The Biblical Libraries in St. Petersburg, Sofia and Belgrade received large amounts of scholarly books stemming from several donations and collections. Particularly to be mentioned is a huge donation from the Katholisches Bibelwerk, Stuttgart, which dissolved their own library and donated hundreds of books and journals to our Eastern European partners. Most books were given to Bibliotheca Biblica Sofia, but many doublets were received by the library of the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Skopje (North-Macedonia). Transport to the destinations was organized by the Dean of the Orthodox Faculty of Sofia, Prof. Ivaylo Naydenov, in person, and by staff members of the Orthodox Faculty of Skopje.

Another large transport of books (about 40 banana boxes) from Jena to St. Petersburg was organized with the help of our Polish colleague, Jerzy Ostapczuk, via Warsaw. Other book deliveries from Jena went to Sofia and Belgrade.

3. Publications

The Conference volume of the Seventh International East-West Symposium of Biblical scholars in Moscow 2016 will appear soon at Mohr Siebeck (Tübingen) in the WUNT series.

The conference volume of the papers given at the Conference on Matthew in Moscow 2018 is in preparation and will appear early next year at Mohr Siebeck in the WUNT series.

The conference volume of the Eighth International East-West Symposium of Biblical scholars in the Caraiman monastery (Romania) 2019 is in preparation for Mohr Siebeck.

A conference volume of papers from the biblical conference in Belgrade, June 2018, on the book of Jonah and its reception has been published in Serbian (Belgrade 2020) and English languages (Bologna, ASE 37/1, 2020).

A conference volume of the Biblical conference on the reception of the Old Testament in the New is in print for the Bibliotheca Biblica Series Sofia (editor: Ivaylo Naydenov).

4. Plans

EELC regional conference on Luke-Acts in Moscow, September 2020 (delayed till 2021)

SNTS pre-conference in Rome, 27-28 July, 2020, partly organized jointly by EELC and LALC (cancelled)

Regional conferences in Debrecen (Hungary, May 2021) and Banja Luka (Bosnia, October 2021)

5. Obituaries

During the last twelve months the EELC has been saddened by the loss of two of its leading members. On 13 October, 2019 the founder and leader for many years, Ulrich Luz, passed away after a long illness. Most recently, on 26 June, 2020, James (Jimmy) D. G. Dunn, another leading figure of the EELC for years, and dear friend, died also after long illness. The EELC laments the losses and expresses sympathy to the families of Uli and Jimmy. The EELC remembers them with affection and appreciation.

Latin American Caribbean Liaison Committee

As noted above, the Covid 19 pandemic required the Rome SNTS Meeting to be cancelled, including the planned pre-conference with the EELC on the theme Hermeneutics and the Kingdom of God. There had also been discussions about holding a meeting in Latin America after the one in Rome. The colleagues in Brazil had offered an invitation, that is no longer realistic, not least because of the high rate of infection there. Future plans including for possible pre-conferences will depend on where the SNTS Annual Meetings are located in 2021 and beyond.