Young Scholars from Northern European Universities Gathered in Helsinki for OTSEM

The annual meeting of the OTSEM network was hosted by the University of Helsinki last weekend (8.-10.9.2017). The meeting was held at Park Hotel Käpylä and it was co-sponsored by the Finnish Academy’s Centre of Excellence “Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions”  and the Finnish Institute in the Middle East. Around 60 young scholars from 13 different institutions and 7 different countries took part in the successful scholarly discussions.

The participants travelled to Helsinki from Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Göttingen, Hamburg, London, Lund, Oslo, Oxford, Tartu, Uppsala, and Åbo for the fifteenth OTSEM meeting.

OTSEM (Old Testament Studies: Epistemologies and Methods) is a research network of Northern European universities. The network is especially designed for promoting the development of young PhD and postdoc scholars. The format of the academic sessions encourages critical discussion and dialogue. The papers were circulated and read beforehand so that the time together could be used for discussion.

The academic sessions were built around lively and critical discussion.

The papers at OTSEM this year were of high quality and impact for our field. They ranged from an innovative application of traditional historical-critical methods to experimenting with newer methods and approaches. Many papers focused on the Old Testament, but also non-canonical and other Near Eastern sources were strongly present. Indeed, the range of methods and subjects seems to be diversifying every year.

Helsinki provided a great milieu for OTSEM. While the days were mostly spent in conference rooms, we also had the opportunity of enjoying an excellent concert by the Tapiola Chamber Choir at the Käpylä church. Our local host Professor Martti Nissinen also treated us with a traditional student sittning at the Savoanian Student Nation.

We are looking forward to the next OTSEM meeting in Oslo 2018!

Tapiola Chamber Choir concert at the Käpylä Church.

The featured image is taken by Aravind Jeyakumer Moniraj.