The Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS) owes its origin in many ways to the Congress of Asian Theologians (CATS). Since the very first CATS gathering in Seoul, Korea in 1997, scholars interested in Asian biblical hermeneutics have been discussing and envisioning the formation of a professional academic society to promote biblical interpretation and research in Asia and/or through Asian lenses.
A planning committee was formed during the International Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Singapore in the summer of 2005. The task of the planning committee was to organize an inaugural conference for SABS at the end of CATS in Hong Kong in August of 2006.
Almost a decade beyond the initial conversations in Seoul, and thanks to the persistence and ingenuity of many persons, SABS finally became a reality. Its inaugural conference was held at the Chinese University in Hong Kong on August 22-26, 2006. In attendance were thirty-five biblical scholars, including not only those who work and live in various parts of Asia, but also Asian scholars who are in diaspora in different corners of the world. In addition to the presentation of eleven academic papers, an inaugural address, Future Imperfect: Asia, The Bible and Biblical Interpretation, was delivered by Professor R. S. Sugirtharajah of the University of Birmingham (UK). SABS has since met every two years and has focused on a theme pertinent to the Asian context. At its 2008 meeting (14-16 July) in Seoul, Korea, the theme was Mapping and Engaging the Bible in Asian Cultures; in 2010 in Hong Kong (14-16 June) it reflected on the theme Ecology, Economy and Asian Biblical Interpretation; in 2012 meeting in Sabah, Malaysia (13-15 June), the theme was Migration, Diaspora: Asia and the Bible; and most recently in 2014 the theme of the SABS meeting in Chiang Mail was Violence in the Human and Earth Community - Asian Biblical Response."
In 2016, SABS will meet in Seoul, Korea adjacent to and in collaboration with the Society of Biblical Literature (2-7th July). We encourage your attendance at this meeting and we welcome paper proposals on any book of the Bible as well as on any topic that deals with the Bible in Asia. However, one of the main objectives of this society is to foster biblical scholarship and research in Asia that takes seriously the Asian context—its cultures, religions, and methodologies. It is therefore strongly desirable that papers presented at this meeting are attempts to understand the Bible from varied Asian perspectives. For this year, we are especially hoping for papers that deal with the theme: "Moving Margins: Biblical Studies in 21st century Asia."
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SABS 2016 from 2-7th July 2016 in Seoul, Korea.
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Monica J. Melanchthon,
Pilgrim Theological College, University of Divinity , 29 College Crescent Parkville, VIC 3052.