Much of the significance of SBL comes in private interaction between scholars outside of the official sessions. In fact, between the meetings we had with colleagues, it was especially hard this year to take in many of the sessions. One I did get to attend featured Eckart Otto, a very famous "elder statesmen" of Pentateuchal studies. Otto gave an impassioned appeal for greater attention to the Pentateuchal narrative when interpreting Pentateuchal law. He argued that the narrative has an intentional "hermeneutical function" that guides the reader into understanding the relative significance of the various codes of law present in the Pentateuch.
I resonated with Otto's basic message. After all, when Paul says that the "law was added because of transgression" (Galatians 3:19) or Jesus says that "Moses permitted ... for the hardness of your hearts," I think both are examples of allowing the Pentateuchal narrative to supply a hermeneutical (interpretive) function. To wit, both Jesus and Paul observe that some of the law of the Pentateuch was given in response to, or in consideration of, the failures of the people of Israel to live up to God's highest ideals for them. Therefore, not all of these laws are universally binding moral norms.
In any event, I believe it will be a good thing for Pentateuchal studies if more scholars heed Otto's call for greater attention to the narrative context of law.