Why Bible Odyssey?
The Bible is a revered text for many and holds an iconic status in American and even global culture. And yet, studies show that many people are unfamiliar with its key themes and stories—and who can blame them? The Bible is not one book but many: a compilation of poetry, law codes, novellas, proverbs, gospels, and letters that were pulled together over the centuries. Being literate about the Bible is a tall order—but an important one. Given the Bible’s immense impact, our civic conversations and cultural awareness and public conversation can only improve when we understand its texts and interpretations.
Many readers are also unfamiliar with critical approaches to biblical texts. There is a big difference between Bible study, which happens in a religious setting, and study of the Bible, which happens in an academic one. As a public outreach of the Society of Biblical Literature, Bible Odyssey’s mission is to inform the general public about the content of the Bible and the critical approaches to it. The scholars that contribute to Bible Odyssey are socially, geographically, and ethnically diverse, and the site is not affiliated with any religious or political organization. It does not advocate for any particular perspective or reading; rather, Bible Odyssey seeks to help the public appreciate the different viewpoints within the Bible and understand the diversity of biblical interpretations. The purpose of the website is to draw the person on the street, or the one in the pew, into the fascinating world of scholarly investigation into the Bible and the communities who value it.
About the Society of Biblical Literature
Founded in 1880, the Society of Biblical Literature is the oldest and largest learned society devoted to the critical investigation of the Bible. With over 8,000 members worldwide, it represents and convenes scholars whose work is the study of the Bible, its history, and its interpretations. Through its work, the Society of Biblical Literature supports scholarly research and fosters the public understanding of the Bible and its influence.
Bible Odyssey Editorial Board
Martien Halvorson-Taylor, University of Virginia
James Barker, Western Kentucky University
Daniel Fisher-Livne, Hebrew Union College
Meghan Henning, University of Dayton
Vanessa Lovelace, Lancaster Theological Seminary
Sara Malena, Saint Mary’s College of Maryland
Kelly Murphy, Central Michigan University
Gilberto A. Ruiz, Saint Anselm College
Scott C. Ryan, Claflin University
Rodney A. Werline, Barton College
Tyler R. Yoder, University School
SBL Staff Contacts
Jonathan Potter, Managing Editor
Nicole Tilford, Managing Editor