Adrian College’s junior and religion major Timothy Peoples is a McNair Scholar and has been accepted to present at an annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Francisco this November.
According to the Society of Biblical Literature’s (SBL) website, the Society is the oldest and largest international scholarly membership organization in the field of biblical studies. Founded in 1880, the Society has grown to over 8,500 international members including teachers, students, religious leaders and individuals from all walks of life who share a mutual interest in the critical investigation of the Bible.
Peoples said during these meeting certain scholars will present their biblical research or papers to other scholars.
This year, the annual meeting is titled “Teaching Biblical Literature in an Undergraduate Liberal Arts Context.” Peoples will be presenting in front of roughly 5,000 attendees.
“I want to stress that Tim has earned this opportunity for himself through hard work and determination,” said his faculty advisor in the department of philosophy and religion, Scott Elliot. “My role has consisted largely of encouraging Tim, directing his reading, helping him to think through various questions and issues related to the project and advising him on his communications with other academic professional in the field of Biblical Studies.”
His project recently required him to email nearly 200 professors of Bible in the U.S.
“One of the professors he contacted happens to be the chair of a program unit at the annual meeting. She told Tim that she found his project very interesting, and suggested that he propose a paper for the annual meeting,” said Elliot. “ABD graduate students are lucky to earn a slot on the program at this conference; undergraduate presentations are unheard of.”
Peoples and Elliot meet often to discuss his paper and presentation.
“I always look forward to our conversations because they are engaging and intellectually stimulating,” Elliot said. “I am tremendously excited about his research, because it taps into a rather hot debate in our field, and the ramifications of his work are far-reaching.”
Peoples said the study seeks to determine the dominant rationale for introductory Bible courses, and the prevailing perspective from which they are being taught.
“Through the research, I collected 88 various syllabi from professors of religion throughout the United States,” Peoples said. “Each syllabus is placed into one of three categories: 1. Historical Critical Paradigm. 2. Postmodern Critical Paradigm. 3. Post-Secular Religious Paradigm. By Identifying the dominant rationale and perspective for introductory Biblical courses in the United States will contribute to conversations in the academic field concerning what the Bible is, how it is best understood and why.”
Peoples said that he may one day become a professor.
“I have a huge desire and love for both the devotional and academic side of religion,” said Peoples.
Peoples said the program is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through the involvement in research and other scholarly activities. The goal is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented communities.
“To say that I am proud of Tim and of this accomplishment in particular would be a profound understatement,” said Elliot. “I cannot describe how pleased I am with his achievement. It is truly remarkable. He has done an outstanding job.”
“I am very excited about this honor,” Peoples said. “I never thought that I would get the chance to attend an annual Society of Biblical Literature conference during my undergraduate years and here I am getting the chance to present my research. I am astounded.”