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Het Oudtestamentisch Werkgezelschap (The Osciety for the Study of the Old Testament) was founded on June 1st 1939 at Leiden by pdf Prof.dr. P.A.H. de Boer and Th.C. Vriezen (from 1941 on professor at Groningen, from 1956 at Utrecht University). The Society met for the first time on January 4th 1940 at the house of Prof. De Boer. Present were the following persons, invited by De Boer and Vriezen: B.D. Eerdmans, G.J. Thierry, C. van Arendonk, J. de Groot, A. de Buck, J. Simons, S.J., M. David, B. Alfrink en M.A. Beek. In the recent past the OTW counted about 90 members and 20 former members, most of them living and working in the Netherlands and in Belgium, a few also in Germany, France and England. The committee of the OTW consists of a president and a secretary, who are appointed for three years.


Members have received their doctor's degree in a subfield of the study of the Old Testament, the semitic languages and the literature, religion, history, archaeology and sociology of the ancient Near East. A member of the OTW is expected to be active on the broad field of the Old Testament and its context, and to be willing to contribute periodically to the meetings of the society with the delivery of a lecture.


One can become a member on the basis of a well explained recommendation of at least two OTW members. Former members are those who are relieved of the obligation to attend the meetings and/or to deliver papers. They remain, however, well-informed about the OTW by regular mailings.


The OTW has three major goals:

  • promotion of the study of the Old Testament
  • promotion of scientific publications on the Old Testament
  • promotion of the contact of the Dutch and Belgian scholars in the Old Testament with colleagues from abroad


There are three annual meetings. The Spring meeting generally will be held in January or February. In this meeting also the juniors of NOSTER (the Netherlands School for Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion) are invited. The Summer meetings are in May or June and the Autumn meetings in September or October.


The meetings always start with a business part, 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. In 1999 the first Joint Meeting with the Die Ou-Testamentiese Werkgemeenskap van Suid-Afrika was held, the second meeting was in the summer of 2007.


Under the administration of the OTW 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 is published. The present editor-in-chief is prof.dr. B.E.J.H. Becking. The other members of the editorial board are H.G.M. Williamson (Oxford), H.F. Van Rooy (Potchefstroom) and M. Vervenne (Leuven).



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(last modified: 11 March 2017)