“Overwhelming” is the only word to describe the 1994 Annual Meeting,a where 7,500 scholars attended more than 700 presentations. Imagine jumping into a huge wave high above your head, extending for miles along the shore on either side. Imagine trying to embrace it, and you will understand the feeling of someone trying to encompass the Annual Meeting as it has now evolved. That’s not a complaint. It’s just a statement of fact. To pretend that what I write is in any sense a comprehensive review of the meeting would only be to deceive myself—and the reader.
This is my eleventh report on the Annual Meeting. In most of these reports I discussed specific lectures I attended, as I ran from one session to the next to catch as many as possible.
It’s getting harder to do that. The hotels are getting bigger and my legs are getting slower. The archaeological sessions organized by ASOR are now in a different hotel, blocks away; and in Chicago it’s too cold to run between hotels without a coat.
But another more important reason why it’s more difficult to flit from session to session is that many of them are integrated sessions, lasting several hours, with related papers, scholarly responses and discussions that expand a single topic still further. This is a welcome development, but it reduces the number of sessions one person can attend.