Thursday, August 10, 2006

EABS 2006 Report

Back from the European Association of Biblical Studies held at Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest, Hungary. There were some good papers including:

Tom Holmen
'To the Pure All Things are Pure': The New Testament Concept of Cleasing Puirty and its Roots in the Mission of Jesus

Very similar to Blomberg, Chilton, and Borg in terms of purity rather than impurity acting as a contagion for Jesus. Even James Crossley liked it, and thought that he presented a better expression of the position than Craig Blomberg's book.

Michael Bird
The Early Christians, the Historical Jesus and the Salvation of the Gentiles

This prosaic paper looked at the continuity and discontinuity between Jesus and the early church regarding the salvation of the Gentiles.

Riemer Roukema
Jesus, Gnosis, and the Church

This paper argued that the Gnostic Gospels (like Judas) give us no knowledge of the Historical Jesus, but the Synoptic Gospels do!

James Crossley
From Jesus Observing Food and Purity Laws to Some Christians Not Bothering: A Causally-Based Approach.

This paper was essentially a precis of Jim's forthcoming book on Christian origins. Jim is not trying to throw out the theological explanations of developments, but wants to bring sociological analysis into the picture as well. Abandoning the food laws (when Jesus didn't) was a much easier of way of holding together a variety of divergent groups.

On Tuesday we were at the Károli Gáspár Reformed University and there were several papers of note given there:

Daan van Wyk
The Death of Jesus: Discontinuity in Content and Material Continuity

A very Wright/McKnight approach to the Historical Jesus' view of his death. I remain unsure of his view that the Jesus Tradition had no reference to Jesus' death, while the Kerygmatic tradition did.

Marvin Meyer
Jesus and Judas in the Gospel of Judas

Marvin spoke with great gusto and enthusiasm on this subject and clearly Judas is something that interests him. Marvin gave an overview of Judas and its implications for understanding Sethian Gnosticism and Judas in the Jesus Tradition. There were laughs when I suggested that a "Coptologist" was someone who studied police forces!

Outi Lehitpuu
Biblical Body Language: The Spiritual and Bodily Resurrection

An interesting, albeit unconvincing paper, on resurrection in the early church where the Christians initially adopted the Hellenistic model of describing the post-mortem psyche (soul) in corporeal categories. I wish I had on hand a copy of Stan Porter's essay on how resurrection (not merely a non-bodily soul with bodily description) is featured in some Greek literature!

At the conference I also met Kevin A. Wilson of the blog Blue Cord and we had a drink together, lunch, and I helped him understand that the only way to cure the Anglican communion of its woes was to amputate it's gangrenous limbs (i.e. extreme liberal elements within the American Episcopal Church). Kevin also made me grateful that I'm a Baptist. Another good part was sharing some time with Stanley and Wender Porter and finding about what is going on at MacDiv. Otherwise, it was nice to meet a number of fellow "evangelical-esque" persons from around Europe.

Next year's EABS will be held in Vienna!

No comments: