All About Merch

Scholarly Swag…

Steve A. Wiggins

Although I’d heard of it uncomprehendingly when I was in seminary, I first joined the Society of Biblical Literature in 1991, while a doctoral student. I religiously *ahem* attended the annual meetings until I lost my job and my ability to afford it. When I landed in publishing I started attending again, and over all these years I’ve started to notice a lot of swag creeping in. Publishers sell bauble headed theologians (aren’t they all?), playful knick-knacks, and even socks bearing the cover design of established commentary series. It’s as if we want to tell the world that studying the Bible is cool. (Why not purchase some nice warm socks?) So I wasn’t really surprised when the society itself, fondly known as SBL, started selling its own merch.

On most SBL electronic newsletters there’s a link to the vendor that produces shirts and mugs with jokes that only other biblical…

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