Who can be part of the BRANE Collective?
Any scholar, at any stage or position, of the Bible or ancient Near East and related literatures, broadly understood, who agrees to abide by and actively promote the principles of inclusivity, rigor, public service and open access, and advancement of scholarship and scholars can consider themselves a member of the Collective. There is no formal membership process.
Who runs this organization?
The Collective was started by a diverse group of scholars in the United States and Europe whose areas range from the Late Bronze Age to early Judaism, from Semitic linguistics to biblical interpretation, and from epigraphy to social theory. A list of the current coordinators and members is here. It is intended to be decentralized and collaborative. Anyone can take the lead on an initiative (see just below).
Who organizes BRANE Collective events?
You do! Anyone who abides by the principles is welcome to organize initiatives and events under the auspices of the BRANE Collective. The Collective’s coordinators are here to advise and provide resources if needed, but we do not have to be the organizers of the event. If you have an idea for an event, please check out our toolkit to get started.
What are the disciplinary and chronological boundaries of this Collective? Do historians of Christianity in Late Antiquity count? How about Sumerologists or Classicists?
The boundaries are broadly understood. Anyone whose research concerns ancient Near Eastern religions from the dawn of writing to late Antiquity and including the Bible, its afterlives, and related literatures and cultures is welcome in the Collective. This includes scholars of Late Antiquity and every Classicist whose work connects with cultures and texts from the eastern Mediterranean. It also includes scholars of later reception history.
How much does it cost to belong to the BRANE Collective? How much do events cost?
Nothing. For now, our events will be virtual. Once the Collective has the opportunity to hold in-person events, organizers will choose inclusive, welcoming spaces and work out cost-sharing so that no scholar will be prevented from participating because they can’t afford it.
Does this Collective exclude scholars who identify as religious?
No. We warmly welcome all scholars of any religion or no religion who wish to abide by our principles, including proactive inclusivity and philological and theoretical rigor. We feel that far from irrationally excluding different ideas, inclusion and rigor provide the best common ground for the widest range of people of different metaphysical beliefs and religious commitments to learn from each other. When working as part of BRANE, scholars should model a commitment to “scholarly discovery by philologically and theoretically rigorous means. We exist to discuss and share ideas that ask new questions and advance on old problems via clear, step-by-step arguments and use of publicly available and openly shared evidence. Contributions should aim to be comprehensible by and persuasive to their audience regardless of metaphysical presuppositions or religious commitments.”
Can graduate students participate?
Graduate students are central to our vision. Promoting new voices is at the core of our mission, and the Collective will encourage experienced and established scholars to provide mentorship and share their resources with those who are new to the field.
Can scholars who are not employed in academia participate?
Yes. All scholars who have advanced training, an active interest in research, and a commitment to our principles are welcome, regardless of employment status or institutional affiliation. The Collective will not identify or introduce event participants by affiliation.
Is this organization a rival to the Society of Biblical Literature?
No. The SBL is a vital resource which we hope to supplement. Most scholars who work within the Collective are, and will remain, active members of the SBL and/or other academic societies for the study of religion and the ancient world. The Collective aims to provide an alternative context for scholarly exchange and support that, unlike major academic societies, is free, unequivocally inclusive, and not beholden to any funding bodies.