Report on Eastern Great Lakes SBL Meeting – Day 1

Not a whole lot to report on this meeting, but I did enjoy seeing some friends – Matt Montonini and Mike Halcolb.  Loren Stuckenbruck and John Byron gave plenary addresses – I could only make it for John’s, but it was an excellent reflection on the social, political, and economic aspects of what it meant to be childless for a woman in antiquity.

As for the papers in the NT group, it was a pretty good group.  A few things stuck out to me.  There is a lot of interest in intertextuality and especially about how NT authors interact with OT texts.  How should we take this discussion forward?  I think we need to continue to remind ourselves of two elements: (1) authors like Paul would have been so immersed in Scripture it was constantly oozing out of their minds and pens, and (2) there were no “agreed upon”  methods of using and applying texts at that time.  I think we presume that the NT authors thought like we do now.  What did it really mean to them to be faithful to Scripture?  What did it mean to “use” or “explain” Scripture?  How did they understand Scriptural text as artifact and as living voice?  What common hermeneutic tendencies do NT writers show?  Where do they differ in how they “use” and interact with texts?

There was some discussion about social status, dyadism, honor/shame, etc…  It is common now to refer to NT writers as driven by group identity and being anti-introspective.  I have argued, though, in an forthcoming CBQ article, that Paul cannot be placed so neatly into those categories.  Granted that the culture and mindset of his time was different than now, his work still shows evidence of some introspection!  Thus, my article is entitled, “Paul beyond the individualism/communalism divide” (or something close to that)!  I do agree with those who argue that much of a person’s energy was spent on sustaining or gaining honor.

I had some good time with folks informally.   I had some nice chats with former Durham prof Loren Stuckenbruck who is now at Princeton and made a guest appearance to lecture.  I met Vernon Robbins – a very nice man.

As for books, Kregel was the only one with a “manned” stall, though Hendrickson, IVP, SBL, and Baker all had books there for viewing.  Nothing is really jumping out at me at the moment.  I think I will wait until the Wheaton conference and do shopping then.

OK- well, gearing up for day 2 and giving my own paper…