Guidelines for Proposing a New Seminar Group

The following information is also available to download in two formats: .docx and .pdf.



The seminars are at the heart of the British New Testament Society’s work. They provide a forum for presentation and discussion of research by established scholars and research students. Over the years the number and themes of the seminars have varied. Some are relatively small (10–12), others can be much larger (40–50). It is crucial that there is a core group who attend and contribute to the seminar’s work, to ensure its continuing viability.

Seminars normally have three 1.5 hour sessions during the conference each year, two on Friday morning and one on Saturday morning. Seminar chairs are free to organise these creatively, as best serves the theme of their seminar, including book reviews, presentation of papers, debates, etc. The opportunity for research students to present papers has been part of the BNTS ethos since the Society’s foundation, and so normally at least one of each seminar’s sessions should be open to proposals from research students.

Seminars are encouraged to hold joint sessions with other seminars where there is a connection between the two—seminar chairs normally discuss this with each other, often while together at the conference.

Seminar chairs normally serve a five-year term of office (to encourage rotation of chairs to involve more of our members), and are expected normally to be present at the conference during their term of office. The Society’s Secretary monitors this term of office, and alerts serving chairs (and the committee) when their present five-year term is coming up. In exceptional circumstances, a seminar chair may ask for a short extension to their term of office by writing to the committee (through the Secretary), giving an explanation for the request (e.g. to facilitate ‘staggering’ the terms of office of the two co-chairs).

Each year, the Secretary writes to ask seminar chairs for a ‘call for papers’ for their seminar for the following year’s conference. This call for papers is sent to the Society’s email list and put on the Society’s website (normally early in the calendar year) with a deadline for proposals. Seminar chairs must ensure that the Secretary receives the full information about the seminars (presenter, institution, title, abstract) by a deadline set each year. This deadline is to ensure that, when registration for the conference opens, all the information about the seminars is available on the Society’s website, to enable members to choose their seminars in full knowledge of the programme. In the intial request for a ‘call for papers’, the Secretary will give the deadlines for each stage of the process for that year.


New seminars are initiated through a three-part process:

  1. the potential seminar chairs produce a proposal (for contents, see below) which they send to the Secretary (, who ensures that it is considered by the committee, normally at the committee meeting during the conference each year;
  2. the committee considers the proposal in the light of the present spread of seminar areas and themes and the potential support for the new seminar, and may approve it, decline it, or seek further information from the proposers. If approved, the new seminar will normally be announced during the conference business meeting;
  3. once approved, the chairs of the new seminar provide a one-paragraph explanation of the seminar’s area/theme for the Society’s website, and their email addresses to go on the website alongside the seminar details.

The proposal

Please include in your proposal:

  • the seminar title, which should be succinct and clearly indicate the focus of the proposed seminar;
  • the names of the proposed chair(s)—normally seminars have two co-chairs from different institutions or situations (e.g. one could be an independent scholar);
  • a brief (up to 750 words) description of the proposed seminar’s primary contents/themes, and the rationale for introducing it;
  • clarification of any overlap with the work of current seminars (please check on the BNTS website for the explanations of each current seminar’s work);
  • the names of people who have indicated they would support the seminar;
  • a sketch of what the seminar might cover in its first two years.


If you have questions about this, or would like comments on a draft seminar proposal, please contact the Secretary (

Durham Conference 2020: update

Dear colleagues,

Your committee has been carefully monitoring the situation concerning the pandemic in relation to our scheduled British NT Society conference in Durham in September 2020. After careful thought and consultation with the local organising committee in Durham, we have agreed, with considerable regret, that it is wisest to cancel the in-person conference in Durham this year.

However, the local organising committee in Durham with the BNTS committee are investigating what might be possible in an online format, and we will make further announcements as soon as we are able. So please watch this space.

If you have questions or comments, please email the Secretary, Steve Walton.

Update on 2020 conference in Durham

After discussion among the committee, the British New Testament Society announces that we are postponing the opening of bookings for this year’s conference until 1 May 2020 (it was due to be early in April). We have not taken a decision to cancel the conference, and seminar chairs are continuing to make preparations on the basis that the conference will go ahead.

We are monitoring the situation with the coronavirus pandemic and will make further announcements when we have more news, as the situation develops.

If you have questions or thoughts about this, please email the Secretary, Steve Walton.

Further BNTS Funding Opportunity

We have completed the first round of grants from the Society’s reserves to projects which advance “education through study of and research into the New Testament and related writings” in the UK (from our Constitution), and have made four awards—details here.

We now invite further bids for small grants in support of these aims. Grants may be awarded for a range of purposes. Examples might include travel and conference costs for a BNTS seminar presenter from abroad; public engagement events highlighting the work of New Testament scholarship; support for the ongoing research of independent scholars; any activity undertaken for the benefit of the Society. These examples are not prescriptive, however, and do not imply any particular preferences. The Committee looks to members to come up with creative ideas for the appropriate use of our financial resources.

Continue reading “Further BNTS Funding Opportunity”

BNTS Grants: First Round

We have completed the first round of grants from the Society’s reserves to projects which advance “education through study of and research into the New Testament and related writings” in the UK (from our Constitution), and have made four awards.

The successful bids received in the first round were each for £500, as follows:

Continue reading “BNTS Grants: First Round”

BNTS Code of Conduct

The BNTS Code of Conduct was updated by the BNTS committee in May 2020, and is available below or by download here.

British New Testament Society Code of Conduct

The British New Testament Society (BNTS) is committed to making our conferences accessible and productive for everyone, regardless of factors The British New Testament Society (BNTS) is committed to making our conferences accessible and productive for everyone, regardless of factors such as religious affiliation or lack of it, age, disability, race, gender, sexual orientation, or relationship/parental status (including pregnancy and maternity). The BNTS will not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

  • It is an expectation that all BNTS members will act appropriately for a professional audience which includes people of many different backgrounds. The ethos of the Society is to conduct all conversation, debate, and critical discussion in a respectful manner.
  • Harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary comments or jokes are not appropriate, whether in personal interactions or online activity. Harassment includes prolonged and hostile public criticism, inappropriate physical contact, sexual attention or innuendo, deliberate intimidation, stalking, and unwanted photography or recording of an individual. It also includes offensive comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion.

Participants asked to desist from any inappropriate behaviour are expected to comply immediately. An attendee who persists in violating these principles may be asked to leave the event at the sole discretion of the BNTS committee and without a refund.

The BNTS committee reserves the right to exclude people from attending future conferences who persist in inappropriate behaviour.
Any participant who wishes to report a potential violation of this policy or to seek support is asked to speak, in confidence, to Michelle Fletcher or to any member of the BNTS committee.

Adopted by BNTS committee, May 2020

BNTS 2020 Call for Papers

Proposals for papers are invited for the British New Testament Society meeting 2020 to be held in Durham from Thursday 3 to Saturday 5 September. Paper proposals must include the presenter’s name and institutional affiliation (where appropriate), a title, and an abstract of not more than 300 words, and should be sent directly to the relevant seminar chairs by Monday 9 March 2020. Proposals for the Simultaneous Short Paper session should be sent to the Secretary, Steve Walton (, by Monday 27 April 2020. Specific seminar contact details and calls for papers are below.

If you prefer to download this Call for Papers in another format, please select one of the following: .pdf and .docx.

Continue reading “BNTS 2020 Call for Papers”

JIBS First Issue Published

The first issue of the Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies has been published:

Meredith J C Warren, “Editorial Preface,” 1-5.

Caroline Blyth, “Bringing the Apostle Down to Earth: Emily Dickinson Wrestles with Paul,” 6-25.

Chris Greenough, “‘Queer Eye’ in Theology and Biblical Studies: ‘Do you have to be queer to do this?‘” 26-41.

Matthew R. Anderson, “‘Aware-Settler’ Biblical Studies: Breaking Claims of Textual Ownership,” 42-68.

A. K. M. Adam, “Sensuous Hermeneutics,” 69-94.

Anna Cwikla, “There’s Nothing about Mary: The Insignificance of Mary in the Gospel of Thomas 114,” 95-112.

Katie Edwards, “Rape Myths and Gospels Truths: The Bible and Rape Culture,” PAGES. **COMING SOON**

JIBS is a peer-reviewed, open access journal dedicated to publishing cutting edge articles that embody interdisciplinary, social justice-oriented, feminist, queer, and innovative biblical scholarship. The journal welcomes submissions that challenge canonical and/or disciplinary norms and boundaries or that query the field of biblical studies’ relationship to the broader investigation of human religion, culture, and literature. JIBS will publish two issues a year in summer and in winter. ISSN 2633-0695.