Be Not Afraid: SBL and the Specter of Imposter Syndrome

In a few days I am leavin’ on a jet plane for San Diego for the annual Society of Biblical Literature meeting. It is, of course, an exciting time of catching up with friends, new and old, and eating good food, and learning lots of new things—and buying books or drooling over books I cannot afford.

But many people, including myself, feel imposter syndrome (IS) when we attend this massive event. Do I really belong? Am I important enough to be here? What if someone finds out how unimpressive I really am? It is an unfortunate reality that imposter syndrome is common, especially amongst students and early career attendees, and even sometimes for us “old” folks.

Be not afraid.

Fear and intimidation stops us from enjoying things, all too often. But how to overcome the specter of Imposter Syndrome?

1. Bring a friend, meet a friend. SBL can be very lonely, if for no other reason than the massive crowds. I set up meet-ups with old friends to make the experience more personal.

2. Go to sessions designed for new people to meet. SBL does a pretty good job having student-oriented sessions that connect new people. Imposters unite!

3. JOTE, not FOMO. Fear of Missing Out keeps us in a mode of looking around at what other people are doing, how many friends they have, and how cool they are. But I have tried to practice JOTE – Joy of The Events. There are so many interesting and good events, but we get distracted by what other people are doing. Just enjoy what is there.

4. Talk to normal humans, it’s fun. When scholars go to SBL, they cease to be normal people. They are these weird aliens with nametags and something to prove. And it can be intimidating or just annoying. So, talk to normal humans when you feel IS, like the conference volunteers and workers. It’s fun.

5. Stay focused – why am I here? Nobody says to themselves, I am here at SBL to be popular and cool! We are there to enjoy the conference, meet new colleagues, connect with old friends, learn something new—and buy books. You might need to write down a short statement about why you paid for this conference, so you don’t get lost in FOMO or IS.

6. Say hi to me. It’s a big conference, but if you see me, say hi. I will try and say, “I’m glad you are here!” I am glad—enjoy the conference!

 

Cars, Coffee, Theology: Gupta and Pennington Hit the Road

I greatly enjoyed hanging out with my friend Jonathan T. Pennington in Louisville this past summer. We had great Thai food, good coffee, and enriching conversation.

Check out this episode of his fun Youtube show, Cars, Coffee, Theology!  (Click on image for my episode)

https://www.carscoffeetheology.com/

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The Super Amazing Tremendous Incredible SBL Book Giveaway Contest

This giveaway contest only pertains to people going to SBL/AAR San Diego 2109

If you attend my SBL Pauline Theology Book Review Session on Paul and the Language of Faith (Monday, Nov 25, 9am-11:30am), you can enter to win a “super amazing tremendous incredible” book package. One person will win the package, selected at random. The package includes 4 items:

Paul and the Language of Faith (Eerdmans), signed if you like! [Eerdmans and I want you to buy this book at SBL, so if you buy it, and then win, I will Venmo you $20, unless you want an extra copy of the book]

Reading Philippians: A Theological Introduction (Cascade), a new book by me coming out by Christmas 2019

Worship that Makes Sense to Paul (deGruyter), my published dissertation

Guaranteed free copy of Dictionary of Paul and His Letters 2nd edition when it releases (~2022; I will send you one of my editor gratis copies)

HOW TO ENTER

#1: Attend my review session for at least 90 minutes (honor system, but Santa knows)

#2: Post a picture of the panel on Twitter with the hashtag #PaulandtheLanguageofFaith, and tag me too, best caption of the picture will get a double entry

OR

Post a picture of the panel on Facebook and tag me, best caption will get a double entry

OR

Post a picture of the panel on Instagram and tag me, best caption will get a double entry

OR, if you are not on social media

Take a picture of the panel and send it to my george fox email (click here: https://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/faculty/bio/nijay-gupta.html)

RULES

The full package is only able to be given to people who have mailboxes in the contiguous USA

If you are in the UK, Europe, or Canada, I could send you Paul and the Language of Faith only

You will only get one entry no matter how many social media platforms you use (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). Please share on as many platforms as you like, though!

Please don’t just “pop in,” but stay for at least 90 minutes, I have every good hope it will be a great discussion!PLF

 

SBL Session on My Book: Paul and the Language of Faith

I am excited to report that my soon-coming book with Eerdmans called Paul and the Language of Faith is having a review session at SBL 2019. The session will be Monday, November 25, 2019, 9am-11:30am. The program group is called “Pauline Theology” (chaired by Douglas Harink and Alexandra Brown).

I will be blogging next week on who these wonderful dialogue partners are and their important scholarship, so stay tuned. I am really looking forward to the conversation—if you are attending SBL, please join us!

SBL Book Review Session_ Nijay K. Gupta.png

 

Endorsements for The State of New Testament Studies

Excited to report that The State of New Testament Studies (Baker) is officially out now! Here are the endorsements:

Endorsements

“The vast number of studies on the New Testament can lead to despair, but these essays come to the rescue. They provide an entry point for the major topics, summarize the breadth of the contributions (both the helpful and the unusual), and provide the bibliographic resources by which one may proceed.”

Klyne Snodgrass, professor emeritus of New Testament, North Park Theological Seminary

“As the fleet of specialized disciplines within New Testament studies sails forward into waters unknown, we need to know where we’ve come from, where we’re heading, and what kind of boat we’re in. Thankfully, McKnight and Gupta have marshaled an impressive and diverse array of scholars who can give us an updated report from the crow’s nest.”

Nicholas Perrin, president, Trinity International University

“Rich in resources and thorough in content, The State of New Testament Studies offers a vital resource for the new millennium. From sage established scholars and rising stars of the next generation, readers learn the recent history of the field. These new vistas in methodology create fresh insights into and applications of the text. I will certainly put this into the hands of my students and keep it easily accessible for myself.”

Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

“What a remarkable achievement and welcome contribution! When I was finishing my PhD and applying for jobs, I devoured Osborne and McKnight’s The Face of New Testament Studies to make sure I would have a general, up-to-date understanding of the parts of the New Testament that my own narrow research had inevitably missed. With that book as the original inspiration, McKnight and Gupta have gathered a thoughtful range of scholars to provide a needed, current ‘state of the art’ discussion of the New Testament. This will be a valuable resource for years to come.”

Jonathan T. Pennington, associate professor of New Testament and director of research doctoral studies, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Sketching a generalized picture of the journey of New Testament scholarship to date is initially a daunting and precarious task. Yet these essays, by drawing on a breadth and depth of scholarship, by asking the right questions, and by curating new ones, have accomplished it superbly! This collection not only reminds Bible students of the need to rehearse, rethink, and re-evaluate the landscape of scholarly discourse in the field but also offers excellent critical resources to do so. Readers at all levels who value the importance of situating New Testament research on the historical bedrock of scholarly insight will find this compendium deeply satisfying.”

Andrew Boakye, lecturer in religions and theology, University of Manchester

The State of New Testament Studies: Michael Gorman on Pauline Theology

SNTSThe last little interview in our The State of New Testament Studies teaser is with Dr. Michael J. Gorman. Gorman is America’s leading expert on Pauline theology, and he wrote a spectacular essay for the book.

NKG: Why are you interested in Pauline theology?

MJG: Since I first came to faith, I have resonated deeply with Paul’s life, spirituality, and theology. It is impossible to over-estimate the significance of Paul and of Pauline theology for the field of biblical studies, and for the life of the Christian church. Indeed, Pauline theology is such a significant part of Christian theology that it deserves the most sustained and careful exploration possible.

NKG: How has the discipline of Pauline theology changed over the last twenty years or so?

MJG: The field of Pauline theology is a fascinating one, with a constant stream of intriguing developments and even new perspectives. I do think there is now a greater sense of “both-and” rather than “either-or” among some voices in the conversation. It is exciting and fun both to be part of these developments and to try to write up an account of them. But, frankly, the process is a bit like herding cats: as soon as you have a few participants somewhat “under control,” they shift position, other participants move in unexpected directions, and new participants appear. It’s all good! It is especially exciting to see the emergence of highly significant contributions from the Majority World.

NKG: Can you recommend one or two important books in the current study of Pauline theology?

MJG: One or two out of scores??!! I might give pride of place to Tom Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God for its breadth and depth, and to John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift for its innovation and potential to alter the field dramatically. But I would also keep a close eye on Paul, a New Covenant Jew: Rethinking Pauline Theology by Brant Pitre, Michael Barber, and John Kincaid. I think they “get” Paul with extraordinary insight. 

NKG: And let’s not forget your own new book Participating in Christ (Baker, 2019)! Aside from this excellent new book (which I happily endorsed it), what else is keeping you busy these days?

MJG: I am currently working on the third edition of Elements of Biblical Exegesis (due out in a year), a short commentary on Romans, some articles for the second edition of The Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, and a book on non-Pauline theologies and spiritualities in the NT.