I just returned (early) from the PNW SBL regional meeting held at Gonzaga in Spokane, WA. I only went for one day, but I had a delightful time catching up with old friends, making new ones, and meeting a few bloggers.
PAPERS: I went to only two sessions, but heard some very interesting papers, including a portion of the winning paper by Matthew Rindge (Gonzaga) for the SBL Paul Achteimer award. I disagreed with him, but it was a very interesting argument. His paper was entitled: “Reconfiguring the Akedah and Lamenting God: Mark’s Theological Narrative of Divine Abandonment”. Michael Heiser (LOGOS) talked about John 10:35’s use of Ps 82 (I said “You are gods”). I fascinating study by an OT scholar.
PEOPLE: This being my first time attending the SBL of the PNW, I was pleased to get to know several fine folks, especially from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. I chatted for a while with two bloggers: Brian LePort and JohnDave Medina of NEAREMMAUS fame – I will need to check out their posts more often now that I can put faces with names. John gave a very insightful paper on John in Bi-Optic perspective (with Mark). I had lunch with Kent Yinger and Paul Anderson – I was truly in the presence of greatness – great scholars who are also pastoral men, models of what it means to be a seminary professor.
MY PAPERS: I gave two papers. One was on how John uses the OT in general, and the possible use of Isaiah 26 in John 20. The feedback from that session was encouraging, and also challenging. Perhaps the highlight of my time was the review panel discussion of Paul Anderson’s new Riddles of the Fourth Gospel (Fortress). Panelists included Rob Kugler, Jeffrey Staley and myself. Jack Levison (my colleague at SPU) was the chair and he was witty and lively. The whole session (about 2 hours) was so much fun – and I don’t say that very often about academic conference sessions! I will offer a review of Anderson’s fine book sometime this summer, but let me just say I found it to be such a mature discussion of the puzzles of the Fourth Gospel and Anderson has a cogent way of working this out.
GONZAGA: Quick fact, Gonzaga U is named after the Italian Jesuit and Saint (late 16th century) who died at the age of 23 – he is the patron saint of youth.