What's the state of play in Biblical and ANE studies in America? Renown OT scholar Mark Smith comments on this at the ASOR Blog. In short, things could be better:
"In the meantime, I continue to worry a great deal about students getting jobs, and I worry about universities moving toward downgrading faculty positions, if not eliminating tenure altogether. Like Syro-Palestinian archaeology, my own favorite subspecialty, Ugaritic, seems to be fading in America. Apart from Ugaritic’s leading practitioner, Dennis Pardee of the University of Chicago, this language plays a significant role in few Bible and ANE programs. At what point in this diminishing context does a field like Bible and ANE lose the critical density for continuing its intellectual growth? Changes are coming — in some places they’ve already arrived. What will happen? Sometimes I feel as if we — faculty and students alike — are in quicksand, but most of us, especially those of who have positions, don’t realize it. Pushing against the downward trends, some programs are becoming more entrepreneurial, and others are successful in building ties to contiguous fields. We all have to do more — and better."
More here: http://asorblog.org/?p=7267