Het Oudtestamentisch Werkgezelschap (The Society for the Study of the Old Testament) was founded on June 1st 1939 at Leiden by P.A.H. de Boer, professor at Leiden University (1938-1978) and Th.C. Vriezen, professor at the University of Groningen (1941-1956) and later at Utrecht University (1956-1969). The Society met for the first time on January 4th 1940 at the house of De Boer. B.D. Eerdmans, G.J. Thierry, C. van Arendonk, J. de Groot, A. de Buck, J. Simons, S.J., M. David, B. Alfrink and M.A. Beek were also present.
The society’s history is recorded at its 25th, 40th, 50th and 75th anniversary by the presidents of that moment, P.A.H. de Boer, A.S. van der Woude and K. Spronk, in Oudtestamentische Studiën 14, 21, 25 en 69.
At the moment the OTW has ca. 80 active members. The board consists of a president and a secretary, who are appointed for a period of three years.
The OTW has three major goals:
- promotion of the study of the Old Testament
- promotion of scholarly publications on the Old Testament
- promotion of the contact of the Dutch and Belgian Old Testament scholars with colleagues from abroad
Researchers in the field of Old Testament studies can be nominated for membership by two members, if they have a doctoral degree, or are close to defending their PhD-thesis, they expect to remain active in scholarly research into the Old Testament, the Languages and Cultures of the Ancient Near East, and Early Judaism, and if they are willing to contribute on a regular bases to the Society by presenting a research paper.
PhD students in the abovementioned fields may be invited to attend the meetings. As soon as there are real prospects for a doctoral degree, candidates can be nominated to become a member.
There are three annual meetings in January/February, May/June, and September/October. On one of these meetings also PhD candidates at Dutch or Belgian Universities are invited.
During a meeting a short business part is followed by four lectures: two major papers of 30 minutes each (followed by 15 minutes of discussion) and two short lectures in the afternoon of 20 minutes each (followed by 10 minutes of discussion).
Every three years, a Joint Meeting of the OTW and the Society of Old Testament Studies is held alternately in the Netherlands and in Great Britain. From 1999 on, also Joint Meetings are held with the Die Ou-Testamentiese Werkgemeenskap van Suid-Afrika.
Old Testament Studies
Under the administration of the OTW, Brill publishes the series Oudtestamentische Studiën. Old Testament Studies published on behalf of the Societies for Old Testament Studies in the Netherlands and Belgium, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Ireland. The present Editor-in-Chief is Hans Ausloos, Louvain-la-Neuve. Other members of the Editorial Board are M. Popović, Groningen; H.F. Van Rooy, Potchefstroom; H.G.M. Williamson, Oxford.