Betz elected president of religion societyHans Dieter Betz, the Shailer Matthews Professor in the Divinity School, was elected president of the Society of Biblical Literature on Nov. 24 at the society's annual meeting in New Orleans.
"Dieter is a wonderful human being and a superb scholar," said Kent Richards, executive director of the society. "He is also a very good teacher and is highly respected by his peers, as this honor shows."
The Society of Biblical Literature is one of the oldest religion societies in the United States. The society, which focuses on research that concerns the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterannean world, has a membership of more than 7,000.
"It is the only religion society I know where every scholar is welcome -- Protestants, Catholics, Jews," Betz said, "and I am delighted to have been a member since 1964."
As president, Betz will deliver the presidential address at the 1997 annual meeting, which will be held next November in San Francisco. Betz will also chair the executive committee of the society.
This is the second honor for Betz this year. In October, the Divinity School held an international symposium in celebration of his teaching and scholarship.
Betz is currently working on the fourth edition of the German encyclopedia of religion, Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. An international expert in New Testament studies, his recent works include the books The Sermon on the Mount, including the Sermon on the Plain (1995) and Paulinische Studien: Gesammelte Aufsaetze III (1994).
Betz received his B.A. in 1951 from the Gymnasium Leopoldinum in Detmold, Germany, and his Ph.D. from the University of Mainz in 1966. He was a professor at the School of Theology and the Claremont Graduate School, in Claremont, Calif., before joining the Chicago faculty in 1978.