Biblical Archaeology Review 14:2, March/April 1988

1987 Annual Meeting in Boston: A Wild, Wonderful Academic Circus

By Hershel Shanks

There is nothing quite like it—the joint once-a-year sessions of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), known to all as the Annual Meeting.

For four days—in Boston from December 5 through 8, 1987—it was total immersion. More than 5,000 scholars, teachers, job-seekers and interested laypeople—the largest number ever to register for the Annual Meeting—stuffed into eight hotels to jostle, to gossip, to gape at slides of the new finds, to doze as speaker after speaker droned on in dozens of simultaneous sessions, to riffle through new books in the acres of exhibits—and ultimately to absorb and to learn.

It was a wild, wonderful ten-ring academic circus.

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