What is SOTS?
The Society for Old Testament Study (SOTS), founded in 1917, is an academic learned society devoted to the study of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and its cognate areas, such as Hebrew and other Semitic languages; the literature, religion, history, archaeology and sociology of ancient Israel; and the use of contemporary hermeneutics.
Every year, the society hosts one summer meeting in-person in the British Isles, as well as one online winter event. Every third year, it meets together with the Dutch and Flemish Old Testament Society (OTW).
SOTS also facilitates a range of publications, including a monograph series, a collection of short guides to the Old Testament, and an annual book list, containing short reviews of recent publications.
Why ‘Old Testament’?
The ‘Old Testament’ is, strictly speaking, the first part of the Christian Bible, which also includes the New Testament. Jewish scholars tend to refer to it simply as the ‘Bible’, or the ‘Tanakh’. In scholarly circles it is often referred to as the ‘Hebrew Bible’. The use of the term ‘Old Testament’ is not intended to limit the lively debate about the significance (or not) about what these texts are called and what they mean to scholars and others today. Papers given at the Society reflect a wide variety of stances and approaches. The Society contains not only Christian scholars, but also Jewish scholars, and those who study the Hebrew Bible on a par with other ancient texts.
The SOTS Archive
The records of the Society are deposited in the Archives Department of the University of Wales at Bangor. In addition to printed materials published under the auspices of the Society, which are normally readily available elsewhere, the archive contains the complete run of its unpublished records up to January 2000 – minute books and related documents. Needless to say, these provide much interesting information on the origins, history, and ethos of the Society itself, but also many illuminating sidelights on the development of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible studies in Britain and Ireland over the past century. Anyone wishing to consult this material is welcome to do so: please contact in the first instance the Society’s archivist, Dr Eryl Davies (Email).