Observation on the dominance of US and UK scholars in biblical scholarship

I think it is fair to say that biblical scholarship today is somewhat biased towards the views of English-speaking scholars. I think it is also true that the voice of scholars in low-income countries (who are mostly non-Western) is often not heard when it comes to biblical scholarship. I say this as an observation, not as a criticism. The reality is that English-speaking universities and seminaries are more well-to-do and have been engaged in biblical research for longer.

Interestingly, Göran Eidevall, a reviewer of Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets, says the following regarding this recently published dictionary (in a well-known series).

In the preface, the two editors declare that “scholars from all points of the scholarly spectrum, Jewish as well as Christian” (ix) have participated in the project. It is certainly true that several scholars with a Jewish background are among the contributors (but it is also true that DOTP never uses the terms Tanak or the Hebrew Bible alongside “the Old Testament”). However, in terms of gender, geography, or language, no balance has been achieved. Female scholars are underrepresented. The Anglo-American dominance is almost total. The majority within this vast array of experts come from (or hold academic positions in) North America. With the exception of the United Kingdom, European (including German) scholarship is poorly represented. Universities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are not represented at all. There may be practical reasons for this. Nevertheless, many “points of the scholarly spectrum” are not visible in the picture presented by this dictionary.

The review is available online here.

I tend to think that biblical scholars from non-Western cultures can enrich our understanding of Scripture. But more effort is needed to ensure that their voice is heard.

What do you think?

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