On November 23, 2015, the Violence and Representations of Violence Among Jews and Christians Section (VRV) marked its ten-year anniversary as a formal unit of the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. (The section began as a “consultation” in the 2002 Annual Meeting of the SBL). A retrospective panel entitled, “Violence and Representations of Violence Section at 10: Retrospect and Prospect,” brought together scholars who have, in different ways, taken the lead in shaping the conversation that occurs in the sessions of this section each year. Some have served “behind the scenes” as chairs of the section and as members of the steering committee; others have read papers during the sessions and served as respondents and moderators. Kimberly Stratton and Ra'anan Boustan, co-chairs of VRV, deserve a word of thanks for organizing the panel.
Panelists were invited to reflect on some questions in their remarks.
- What is the history of your involvement with the VRV section? How has your involvement with the VRV section informed your scholarship?
- In the past decade, what have been the most important contributions of the VRV section?
- What large questions ought the VRV section address in the future?
I was delighted to serve as chair of this panel. It was a homecoming of sorts for me. From 2008 until 2011 I served as co-chair of VRV (with Laura Nasrallah). I count myself very lucky to have had the chance to work with Laura and a phenomenal steering committee. Questions and ideas that formed during my time as co-chair continue to shape my work today.
After the formal remarks, members in the audience were invited to follow up with comments and questions for the panel. Panelists and audience agreed that there was a need for more attention to the use of violence as a category of analysis—not only in historical studies of the ancient world but also in engagement with urgent questions in our own day. VRV is poised to offer sessions that explore these issues in the near future.