Wednesday, November 26, 2014

SBL 2014 highlights

What a tremendous time I had this year at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature! 

Above all, I had the honor of reading a paper co-written with John Kincaid. N.T. Wright, Pamela Eisenbaum, and Ward Blanton responded to it. It was incredibly gratifying to have these scholars carefully read our arguments and engage with us in conversation. I think it is safe to say that all three gave positive assessments to the paper's thesis, asking helpful clarifying questions.

After we were done, David Burnett presented a fascinating paper in the same section. Brant Pitre had an interesting exchange with N.T. Wright about it during the question and answer period that was fun to witness. I'd like to thank our student Luke Heintschel for the pictures as well as all those who came out to support us (including my wife!). 

Reading the paper - and having a lot of fun doing it! 
N.T. Wright (St. Andrews University) and Chan Sok Park (Harvard University) reading along as I present the paper.
N.T. Wright giving his response. 
Left to right: John Kincaid, me, David Burnett, Hans Svebakken (Loyola University of Chicago), Matthew E. Gordley (Regent University School of Divinity), Ward Blanton (University of Kent at Canterbury) Pamela Eisenbaum (Iliff School of Theology), Chan Sok Park, N. T. Wright (University of St. Andrews)
Of course, the very best part of every SBL is reconnecting with friends from around the country. With SBL in San Diego, I had the added benefit of hosting some friends at our house. It was really great to have friends get to know my children.

My son Matthew had a great time lightsaber dueling with Scott Hahn and Brant Pitre.

"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine"--Scott Hahn
"Wow, you're like a real Jedi"--Brant Pitre, surprised at how seriously Matthew was swinging at him
I can never get too much time in with Scott Hahn.

It was also great to get some face time in with some of my favorite bloggers.

Here are three-fourths of The Sacred Page with Michael Bird and Joel Willitts from Euangelion
Left to right: John Kincaid, me, Joel Willitts, Michael Bird, Brant Pitre 

By the way, I saw Michael Bird again on Sunday looking absolutely fabulous in this stylish jacket his wife picked out for him.

We also enjoyed spending time with Chris Tilling, who photo bombed us in this picture taken by Jim West. Jim is pictured presenting below.

Chris Tilling photobombing in the background
Jim West presenting a paper
Other major highlights involved catching up with friends Leroy Huizenga, Craig Keener, Andrew Swafford, Brian Pedrazza, Fr. Carl, Jeff Morrow, Andre Villeneuve, Jim Papandrea, Rob Corzine, and Tim Gray.

I also had a nice time chatting with Michael Thompson as well as a short but sweet run-in with Brian Leport.

In addition, it was great to hear John Bergsma deliver a fine paper in the Ezekiel study unit.

John Bergsma on H, P, Z - he really knows the alphabet well

Although I don't have pictures, the first session of the Matthew section went very well.

The second section involved a book review of Nathan Eubank's new book, featuring John Meier, Donald Senior, and A.J. Levine. The session was very well attended and it went very well. Anders Runesson, who moderated the panel, ended the session by noting that Eubank has accomplished the highest goal any scholar could hope to attain--he has published a study that cannot be ignored.

John Meier presenting his review of Eubank's book. Left to right at the panel: Anders Runesson, Nathan Eubank, Donald Senior, A.J. Levine
Nathan Eubank responding to his reviewers
Seats were hard to find! 

By the way, the Dominican pictured in the photo above is Fr. Gregory Tatum, a priest who teaches at the École Biblique in Jerusalem. Fr. Tatum wrote his doctoral dissertation under E.P. Sanders at Duke University. Although I have had the pleasure of talking with Fr. Tatum in the past, I was blessed to have some extended conversation with him this year. He is a sheer delight.

There were also numerous other fascinating sessions. The most well attended was probably the section devoted to Paul and Apocalypticism.

Session 1 (from left to right): N. T. Wright, Loren Stuckenbruck, James Maston, Philip Ziegler, and Martinus de Boer
Session 2 (left to right): Douglas Campbell, Edith Humphrey, Michael Gorman, Ben Blackwell, John Barclay, Beverly Gaventa
Another major highlight, of course, was the book exhibit. Below is a picture of the people waiting for the doors to open. It was like Black Friday for scholars. 

In fact, there were some very important books that came out this year! 

I have to say, I'm quite pleased with my haul. Among other things, I finally picked up my own copy of Leroy Huizenga's important monograph, The New Isaac--a book I have only used as a library copy--at a great price. I also picked up a book on Jesus Research that looks to be an important read. I've read the first 120 pages tonight and it was quite stimulating.  

Till next year in Atlanta! 


Vince C said...

Nerds. I'm jealous.

Unknown said...

Where can we view or download videos of the paper presentations?

Unknown said...

Dr. Barber I would love to see video or hear audio of these presentations; particularly the exchanges between yourself and N.T. Wright would be awesome to hear about.