Report from the regional SBL meeting

I went to the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies meeting today to attend the annual Southwest region meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. I could only attend for the day, so I didn't see as many papers as I would normally, but the ones I saw were pretty interesting:

  1. Gilberto Ruiz, Loyola University, "What Is Pilate So Afraid of in John 19:8?" A narrative investigation of the trial before Pilate in John's Gospel which asserted that Pilate was a strong, not weak, character.
  2. Lindsey Trozzo, Baylor University, "Christology and Ethics in the Fourth Gospel." An argument that the ethics for believers in John's Gospel flow out of the central, encomiastic elements of John's Christology.
  3. Christina Bryant, Brite Divinity School, "Casting Stones: A Critical Reading of John 7:53–8:11 through the Lens of Gender and Violence." A strongly feminist, ideological reading of this text which sought to show how the text is complicit in violence towards women both in the narrative and in its rereading. (I had strong disagreements with this paper, primarily because I don't agree with the stance critical feminist ideology holds toward the biblical text.)
  4. Jillian Nelson, Brite Divinity School, "Power, Honor, and Shame: Implicating Herod's Guests in the Beheading of John the Baptist." A convincing argument based on the honor/shame dynamic which showed that Herod's guests served as the key element in the dynamic which resulted in John's beheading.
  5. Ross Ponder, University of Texas Austin, "So-called Jews, So what? Reconstructing Satanic Synagogues amidst the Fiscus Judaicus." An investigation into the character of the "synagogues of Satan" in the book of Revelation informed by research info the tax imposed on Jews in the Roman Empire after A.D. 70, taxes which supported the rebuilding of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in Rome.
  6. Brian J. Wright, Ridley College Melbourne, "Revising Ancient Literacy in New Testament Research." A convincing argument which critiqued current arguments for ancient literacy on the basis of generally unconsidered evidence. (Brian is a DTS grad and did a very good job in this paper. I hope to see more of his work in the future.)

In addition to the papers, I met some reps from Baker Academic, one of whom graciously gave me a copy of Galatians in Christian Theology: Justification, the Gospel, and Ethics in Paul's Letter, which I'm considering as a text for my course this fall on Galatians and the New Perspective.

All in all, a good day. If you've never been to a regional conference for either SBL or ETS, you should go. It's a more comfortable, less intimidating environment that the national meetings. The ETS soutwest region meeting is next month at NOBTS. See you there!