Of course, if you've been reading this blog you know that last weekend I went to the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta. This year I was invited to present a paper (see the post below). The conference was great and there were a number of highlights.
First and foremost, there was the time spent sitting around and talking theology with some of my favorite scholars--and closest friends!--from around the country. The dynamic was fantastic as always. Getting all these guys together in the same room for a chat is a rare treat--thankfully, we were able to make that happen. These guys are so productive.
My dear friend Scott Hahn, who put out a book earlier this year on the priesthood, is busy working on an important essay on Pauline theology (among other things), which will appear in a collection edited by Michael F. Bird.
John Bergsma is working away on a new Intro to the Old Testament.
Curtis Mitch and Ted Sri just co-authored a commentary on Matthew, which is just about to hit stores.
Tim Gray, whose book on the Temple in Mark was just published by Baker Academic, is making some major headway on a commentary on Luke.
Rodrigo Morales' new book on the Spirit and restoration eschatology in Paul has just been published by Mohr Siebeck.
Fr. Pablo Gadenz has a new book on Romans 9-11, which was also published by Mohr Siebeck earlier this year.
Peter Williamson just finished up a commentary on Ephesians, which was published earlier this year.
John Bergsma and I shared a room together and we had a great time staying up late chewing the fat. (And man, that guy has some interesting pajamas. . . Suffice it to say, I've never known a man who liked Superman so much!)
There's great camaraderie among all of the guys mentioned above. Sitting around and theologizing with them is a blast. There were a few late nights where several of us were up late in the hotel lobby talking shop!
Of course, there were so many other people I enjoyed seeing. . . I hesitate to mention them all here for fear that I'll forget someone.
I enjoyed getting some time in with Michael Bird, who always makes me smile. He delivered a fine response to N.T. Wright's lecture at the Institute of Biblical Research meeting. Of course, Michael is increasingly recognized as one of the most important up-and-coming scholars--I feel like a celebrity just because he knows my name!
I said a brief hello to Joel Willitts but didn't get enough time with him. Oh, well. . . there's always next year.
I was particularly thrilled to finally meet Matthew Levering. I am a tremendous fan of his work, as readers of this blog know. It was great to get to know him. What a great guy!
It was also nice to run into James Hoffmeier, who has written several books on archaeology. Israel in Egypt (Oxford University Press, 1999) and Ancient Israel in Sinai (Oxford University Press, 2005) are two especially important works, in my opinion. What a great guy!
I also had a great time talking with Nathan Eubank, who is finishing up a Ph.D. at Duke. Nathan is doing very impressive work. His recent article in the Journal of Biblical Literature turned heads. We had met before but it was great to connect with him again. He also presented a fantastic paper, which I only got to read after the fact.
In addition, I ran into Jim West who was attending ASOR. I am so glad he came up and said hello. It was great to see him as always. I read the guy every day--it's a treat to have a face-to-face conversation with him.
Speaking of talking with bloggers. . . The biblioblogger section at which I presented my paper was a special highlight. It was great to interact with so many of the bloggers I regularly read: Bob Cargill, James McGrath, Jim Davila, Chris Brady, Mark Goodacre, Joel Watts, Bill Heroman, John Hobbins (and I'm sorry if I'm forgetting anyone!). I had to rush out because I was concerned about missing my flight, but it was great to be a part of the inaugural blogger section. What an honor!
I also ran into some of my former professors from Azusa Pacific University. These men made a tremendous impact on me at a formative period of my life: Keith Reeves (Biblical Studies and my Greek professor), Steven Wilkens (Theology and Philosophy), and Bill Yarchin (Biblical Studies). These men are rare gems; they are truly great teachers who invest themselves in students. What a blessing they have been in my life! I was pleased to pick up Steven Wilkens latest book, Hidden Worldviews: Eight Cultural Stories That Shape Our Lives (IVP Academic, 2009).
That of course brings us to one of the main reasons anyone goes to SBL. . . the book exhibit.
Others have already posted about some of their purchases (see Chris Tilling's post [how did I miss him at SBL?!]; see also Rick Brennan, Stephen Bedard). In an upcoming post I will talk about some of my purchases as well as my thoughts on N.T. Wright's lecture at the Institute of Biblical Research. As I said, Michael Bird responded. Hang tight. . . there's more to come!