Like many, many others, I am off as well to SBL. I am excited this year for a number of reasons – giving a paper, seeing old friends, eating delicious New Orleans cuisine, scoping out books to eventually review (me? PAY? Never!). Also, I have a job interview, though I will leave the details for another time. At the same time, I do get tired of the conference scene – at my stage (looking for a full-time tenure track job) there is still the pressure to schmooze and seek out others purely for what they can do for me. Ugh! May it never be! Also, there are the lonely meals – but this year I planned ahead and nearly every meal has been set up with a friend or a person I want to get to know, or a group meal.
One sad part about this year is that a lot of publisher receptions have been cut due to financial constraints. Also, since I am no longer a student, I don’t benefit from getting graduate funding for the conference – I am on my own! But, it is nice to be in America and fly domestic for a change!
My schedule does not leave much time for actually going to papers – you will learn that many people tire of papers (as I do) and spend more time with friends, colleagues, and in intentional conversations with experts. There are a few book-review sessions that I am excited about (please do go to Doug Campbell’s Paul session).
Because I had to take a late flight today, I will only make the very end of the Institute for Biblical Research meeting tonight – just in time to receive my free book from Zondervan. A couple of years ago they shelled out for Starbucks coffee for the reception….Fingers crossed.
NB: For those on a tight, tight budget, I did find a Subway sandwich place close by. OK, OK, yes it is almost a crime to eat at Subway in a paradise of delicious food, but my plan is to eat mega cheap for breakfast and either lunch or dinner, and then splurge a little for the other meal.
Finally, since I did work at Hendrickson Publishers a few years back, I can recommend, from person experience, their excellent selection of books. Check out, in particular, The Faith of Jesus Christ (eds. Bird and Sprinkle) and also Mike Bird’s Crossing Over Land and Sea. Also, make sure to take a peek at their language resources – especially the UBS Greek reader which I think every NT student and scholar should have!
My prayer for myself this year is that I refrain from being defensive during the Q & A for my paper, that I try to meet and encourage timid new grad students, and that I am wise in my meal-spending.
For all those of you not going, save up for 2011 – San Francisco!