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World Congress at LMU

The Old Testament in European Culture

Munich, 08/01/2013

The 21. World Congress on Old Testament Studies opens at LMU on 4. August. The Congress is held every 3 years under the auspices of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament (IOSOT), and the Munich meeting will be the largest yet.

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The IOSOT Congress, which lasts from 4.-9. August, returns to Germany after a lapse of 36 years. More than 600 Old Testament specialists are expected to attend. In the plenary sessions of the Congress, leading biblical scholars will review the current state of their respective fields. Other sections of the program comprise short presentations, panel discussions and workshops, and will include progress reports on the various scholarly editions of the Hebrew Bible now underway, as well as contributions to the ongoing debate on aniconic worship. On Thursday (8. August), Amihai Mazar, the doyen of Israeli archaeology, will give a public lecture on the latest archaeological finds and their significance for our understanding of the world of the Bible.

Several related associations will also hold meetings in conjunction with the IOSOT Congress. These include the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, which devotes itself to the study of the first Greek translation of the Bible, and the International Organization for Qumran Studies, which focuses on manuscripts that have come to light in modern times at sites in the Judean desert.

“In recent years, developments in the field have been marked by, among other trends, the increasing attention being paid to tracing the historical impact of the biblical texts,” says IOSOT President Christoph Levin, who holds the Chair in Old Testament Studies at LMU. “Several plenary lectures will exemplify this shift. Nowadays, the study of the Old Testament, both from the historical standpoint and in terms of its contemporary relevance, is seen primarily within the context of Cultural Studies.

To mark the occasion, the Bavarian State Galleries and the Bavarian State Library are mounting special exhibitions related to aspects of the Hebrew Bible. Under the title “The Old Testament: Subjects and Stories”, the Alte Pinakothek is showing a selection of works dedicated to biblical themes, while the Bavarian State Library has put 30 important manuscripts that throw light on “The Old Testament and its Environment”, on display in its Treasure Vault.

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