Columbia Theological Seminary to Sponsor International Conference in India

Columbia Theological Seminary to Sponsor International Conference in India

December 4, 2016—The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) has announced that its 2019 international conference will be held at United Theological College, Bangalore, India, during July 22-26, 2019. Columbia Theological Seminary will be a primary sponsor of the event.

SBL holds its annual conference each November in the United States. Another conference takes place each summer outside the U.S., usually in Europe but of late in Latin America and East Asia. Hundreds of Biblical scholars from around the world will be in attendance at this conference in Bangalore.

“The idea for this conference emerged two years ago in conversation with colleagues in India. Columbia Seminary’s sponsorship of this historic meeting will be a great opportunity to foster new partnerships and nurture existing ones with institutions and scholars in Asia, especially India,” said Raj Nadella, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Columbia Seminary. “I am grateful for President Leanne Van Dyk’s commitment to global theological engagement.”

As part of the sponsorship, Columbia Seminary will subsidize conference registration expenses for about 300 scholars from the Global South. Columbia Seminary currently has faculty and students representing 16 countries outside the United States. The seminary has partnerships and exchange programs with several institutions from around the globe.

Last year, Nadella and colleague Brennan Breed, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, hosted a pre-conference event when SBL came to Atlanta along with the American Academy of Religion (AAR). “Bible, Empire, and Reception History” was a unique event with top scholars from around the world exploring the production and use of the Bible in various historical contexts of empire. It considered the use of postcolonial criticism in interpreting biblical texts and its implications in ancient and modern contexts including the Americas, East and South Asia, and Africa.

“It’s always exciting to grow something new out of our relationships with partners from other cultural contexts,” said Leanne Van Dyk, President and Professor of Theology. “The discussions generated at ‘Bible, Empire, and Reception History’ continue to resonate here and around the world. We believe SBL’s 2019 international conference in India will have an even greater impact.”

“These relationships are vital to making Columbia Seminary a stimulating educational environment,” stated Christine Roy Yoder, Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Faculty of color now constitute nearly 40% of our faculty, and we have similar diversity among our staff and students. We are also fortunate to welcome and learn from a number of visiting scholars from around the world each year.” The faculty of color at Columbia Theological Seminary include professors of African, Korean, Cuban, Indian, and Japanese descent.

Columbia Theological Seminary is “Cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit

The Society of Biblical Literature, founded in 1880, is the oldest and largest learned society devoted to the critical investigation of the Bible from a variety of academic disciplines. As an international organization, the Society offers its members opportunities for mutual support, intellectual growth and professional development by advancing academic study of biblical text and their context as well as of the traditions and context of biblical interpretation. For more information, please visit:

United Theological College is located in Bangalore, India. The college was inaugurated in July 1910 as “a Christian College where students may obtain a sound theological education.” It was established through the co-operation of the London Missionary Society, the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, The United Free Church of Scotland, the Arcot Mission of the Reformed Church in America and the Trustees of the Jaffna College Funds and the S.P.C.K. in Scotland. For more information, please visit:

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