Tobias Nicklas chairs EELC of the Society for New Testament Studies
Successful Initiative to bring back Eastern European Perspectives into Biblical Studies - Focus on Early Career Scholars
30 August 2023
From July 24–25, under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Tobias Nicklas (University of Regensburg), with co-chairs Prof. em. Dr. Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena) and Prof. Dr. Christos Karakolis (National and Kapodistrian University, Athens), international scholars from Eastern Europe met at the pre-conference of the Eastern European Liaison Committee (EELC) at the 77th General Meeting of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas/The Society for New Testament Studies (SNTS) in Vienna (July 25–28). Many scholars at different career stages with affiliations to the Centre for Advanced Studies “Beyond Canon_” successfully presented their papers, giving an insight into their current research projects.
Successful Initiative to bring back Eastern European Perspectives into Biblical Studies: Between “East and West”
12 scholars from 8 different Eastern European countries – Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Romania, Russia, North Macedonia, Ukraine, and Armenia – introduced the audience to their current topics of research, covering a wide range of subject matters of Old Testament, New Testament or early Jewish and ancient Christian writings as, for instance, the Armenian Infancy Gospel, Metaphors of Conversion in Pauline Writings, Jewish Prophets, Patriarchs, and Sybils in Post-Byzantine Romanian Iconography, aspects in the Church Slavonic Acts of Paul and Thecla connected to the Understanding of Mediaeval Kyivan Asceticism or the Cyrillic Early Printed Liturgical Tetraevangelia in the Eastern Church-Slavonic tradition.
Established in 1995, the EELC of the SNTS is bringing together New Testament scholars from Orthodox (east), Catholic, and Protestant (west) traditions, with a main focus on the support of Early Career Scholars. Prof. Dr. Tobias Nicklas, president of the EELC since September 2022, tells more about the history: “The EELC was founded about 30 years ago by Swiss professor and New Testament scholar Ulrich Luz from the university of Bern, who recognised the huge importance to bring Eastern European, especially Orthodox, perspectives back into biblical studies. This happened against the background of the dramatically changing political landscape in Europe at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. For thirty years, biblical libraries have been supported and regular conferences have been organised to bring Western and Eastern perspectives on important biblical studies issues into conversation with each other.”
Promotion of Early Career Scholars by “Beyond Canon_” and SNTS 2025 in Regensburg: 30th anniversary of EELC
Initiated by Prof. Tobias Nicklas from Regensburg, and given a strong impetus by the pandemic, the EELC’s work has received a new strategy by establishing Digital Meetings for Emerging Scholars, organised by “Beyond Canon_”, creating an important platform for scholars not having frequent access to international business travels but thus still given the opportunity for important scientific and scholarly exchange. Commenced in 2021, there have been digital and non-digital meetings in June and December 2021, 2022; May 2023 (a three-day in-person meeting between Early Career Scholars from Universität Regensburg, Charles University Prague, and Trinity Western University Vancouver).
Next meetings are in the planning: “For the coming years, it is extremely important to me to build networks for especially promising young scholars, and to support young women in particular. The next big conference will take place in North Macedonia, but until then many smaller activities are planned, such as a meeting for PhD students from the Western Balkans in Sarajevo and activities to support Ukrainian theologians,” Prof. Nicklas states.
One of the major developments of the EELC has been the arrangement of East-West Symposia of New Testament Scholars; the ninth Symposium was held in September 2022 in Varna, Bulgaria. The next event will be planned as a cooperation between “Beyond Canon_” and the University of Skopje, North Macedonia, taking place in Ohrid/the Lake Ohrid region in 2026.
Before that, in 2025, the year the EELC will celebrate its 30-year anniversary, the Centre for Advanced Studies “Beyond Canon_” will organise the SNTS General Meeting at Universität Regensburg, expecting up to 400 guests from all over the world.
For media enquiries please contact
Prof. Dr. Tobias Nicklas
Chair for Hermeneutics and Exegesis of the New Testament
UR - Universität Regensburg
Charlotte von Schelling
Centre for Advanced Studies "Beyond Canon_" (FOR 2770)
UR - Universität Regensburg