Monday, September 12, 2016

On the new SBL ancient artifacts policy

OTTC BLOG: SBL Policy on Scholarly Presentation and Publication of Ancient Artifacts (Drew Longacre).
The Society of Biblical Literature sent out an email yesterday to its members announcing a new SBL Policy on Scholarly Presentation and Publication of Ancient Artifacts. Essentially, the SBL Council has voted to endorse and enforce the The American Schools of Oriental Research Policy on Professional Conduct. SBL will no longer allow the initial publication or announcement--in any of its venues--of textual artifacts of unknown or illicit provenance, unless they can be documented to have been discovered and removed from the countries of their origin prior to 24 April 1972, when the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property came into effect. To some, this may be a welcome change; to others, an annoyance, to say the least. For me, it is bittersweet. I appreciate the need for greater involvement in this important ethical conversation and agree with much in the statement, but I remain skeptical of some aspects and continue to worry about oversimplifying complex issues and prematurely absolutizing short-sighted policies.

Some relevant past PaleoJudaica posts etc. are collected here.