Monday, November 27, 2006

Back from ETS-IBR-SBL 2006 (Part III)

Finally on SBL, some good papers were on offer including one by Francois Bovon in response to R. Cameron and M.P. Miller (eds.) Redescribing Christian Origins, which was great. Bovon pointed out that the heirs of Mack have a habit of taking what was peripheral (Thomas-Q) and moving it to the centre, while take the centre (Paul-Luke) and pushing them to the periphery of early Christianity. Bovon also intimated that the volume was a little too self-congratulatory. Wayne Brindle gave an interesting paper that was a response to I. Howard Marshall' proposal of "Allonymity" in the Pastorals. Much as I favour Pauline authorship (but it is not quite clear cut either!) I think Brindle was unable to show that authority is dependent on authenticity. When I asked about Hebrews (i.e. the Church accepted Hebrews because they thought it was Pauline, despite the fact that it's clearly not Pauline) he responded by saying that anonymous authorship makes Pauline authorship possible. In the John, Jesus and History group the standout was Ben Witherington's paper that argued that the Fourth Gospel was written by Lazarus. Ben made a good point that Lazarus is called in John 11 "the one whom you loved" allowing some identification of Lazarus with the Beloved Disciple. Sadly, after that, most of the evidence became circumstantial and oblique. I for one was not convinced that Lazarus was from a family of Lepers and in the retinue of the High Priests of Jerusalem. The thing with Ben is that he speaks with such gusto and conviction that you can't help but be sympathetic, even if you think he's out of left field. But Paul Anderson's response was very gracious and he did not launch a tirade of criticism at Ben. Stan Porter also gave a good overview of discourse analysis.

Paper's I wished I been at include the session on Simon Gathercole's new book, the session on Larry Hurtado's new book, the session on Acts in the Second Century, the session on Mark and resurrection, and Danny Zacharias' paper. Sadly, sight seeing, forgetfulness, tiriedness, and tromping the book stall for too many hours got in the way.

Once more the receptions were great fun, esp. meeting up with another of the old Ph.D cands. from Uni of Queensland that I went through with, Katie Scott and her fiance Frederick, whom it was great to see again after a few years. The Sheffield and Duke receptions were great (and may I add, I was invited to both my participatings). They Scottish Universities reception was, as per most years, the best and this was the first time that HTC was among the crowd. I also find myself amidst the Hendrickson reception. Sadly, I didn't make the Yale reception. Let's just say a certain co-blogger refused to hold hands!

My papers on the Historical Jesus and Matt 8:11-12/Luke 13:28-99 and Sectarian Gospels for Sectarian Christians went well and no-one made me cry or shot me down in flames. In fact, the second paper was largely a response to Thomas Kazen who actually attended the session and offered some points of clarification of his own view.

Let me finish off my ETS-SBL musings with the two best quotes from the conference:

Lars Kierspel: "Unless you come to Jesus through the prologue you are a thief of meaning and a killer of context".

Katherine Grieb who pointed out that in the hotel in Memphis where Martin Luther King Jr. as martyred has a quote from Genesis which reads: "Here comes the dreamer. Come now, let us kill him...and we shall see what will become of his dreams(Genesis 37:19-20)."

Book purchases included:

James G. Crossley, What did Christiantiy Happen?
J.K. Elliott, New Testament Apocrypha
Arland Hultgren, The Rise of Normative Christianity
E.E. Ellis, The Making of the New Testament Documents
J. Ross Wagner, Heralds of the Good News: Paul and Isaiah in Concert
Brian Vickers, Jesus' Blood and Righteousness
Paul Achtemeier, Paul and the Jerusalem Church
Peter Lampe, From Paul to Valentinius: The History of Christianity in Rome in the First Two Centuries

That concludes my SBL-ETS reflections. It was good fun!


Cliff said...

Mike, what do you think of Brian Vickers new book? I jsut purchased it this past weekend and I am enjoying it greatly. I also have his unedited dissertation as well, which after browsing through it, I think I will read it as well. Welcome home. This may be somewhat early, but are you planing on going to SBL next year in California? I am really looking forward to attending, and thought we could meet.

Michael F. Bird said...

Vickers' book is pretty good. I was impressed with the sobriety of his exegesis and he doesn't make the texts say more than they do say. Yes, at this stage I am planning on going to San Diego, however, I am not particularly keen on the idea of a long flight after on just recovering from the last one.

Nick Nowalk said...

Mike, I would love to get your thoughts on how Vickers handles Romans 5 when you get the chance. I was mightily impressed by this chapter in his may be the best treatment of the Adam/Christ parallel I have ever read.