As I do some last minute packing for the annual Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Denver this year (November 16-20, 2018), I wanted to give a final shout out to the plenary session of the Intertextuality in the New Testament Section which I co-chair with Alice Yafeh-Deigh at Pacific Azusa University.
    If you’re like me, when I plan for SBL, I first get all my requisite business meetings, lunches/dinners with colleagues, and publisher’s appointments all in my calendar first. Then on the plane, I thumb through the annual program and plan out what sessions I attend. If so, I hope you’ll consider as you travel to Denver attending and participating in the session on Greco-Roman allusions in the New Testament. We have a stellar roster of leading New Testament scholars who work with the Greco-Roman material and texts which illuminate the interpretation of the New Testament. Their papers titles and abstracts are listed below. 
    Much ink has been spilt on the Old Testament echoes and the intertextuality between ancient Jewish discourse and the New Testament. Little has been done in analyzing systematically how the New Testament authors allude to Greco-Roman texts and artefacts and what exegetical methods they use to deploy such material. This session is an attempt to offer some initial explorations. Hope to see you there! MJL


Intertextuality in the New Testament
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Agate (Third Level) – Hyatt Regency
Ancient Exegetical Methods in Greco-Roman Discourse and the New Testament
Each paper will be 25-30 min long. Peter Oakes will be responding after each paper for 10 min. There is a general discussion at the end of the session
Max Lee, North Park Theological Seminary, Presiding
Bruce Longenecker, Baylor University
Intertextuality in Pompeian Plaster: Can Vesuvian Artifacts Inform Our Expectations about Intertextual Expertise among Sub-elite Jesus-Followers? (30 min)
Abstract: Audiences of New Testament texts are often enticed into intertextual tropes embedded within those texts. One of the difficulties regarding the effectiveness of intertextual tropes pertains to the expertise required by the audience in order to recognize and appreciate them. Was expertise of that kind restricted to the educated elite (as evidenced, for instance, by Seneca), or were intertextual tropes appreciated by a broader segment of Greco-Roman society? This paper (1) addresses that issue by canvassing a selection of the archaeological data from the first-century town of Pompeii and (2) suggests the relevance of that data for the study of New Testament texts.
Judith M. Gundry, Yale Divinity School
Roman Household Religion and the Interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:14 (30 min)
Paul’s discussion in 1 Corinthians 7 is widely assumed to address a Roman concern with mastery over the passions, or a Stoic ideal of freedom from distraction through celibacy. It is thus curious that virtually all scholars suppose that in 1 Cor. 7:14 Paul is addressing a “Jewish concern” with purity: “For the unbelieving husband γασται by his wife and the unbelieving wife γασται by her husband. For otherwise your children are κθαρτα, but as it is, they are για”… A more plausible reconstruction, as this paper will argue, is that Paul is addressing a Roman expectation of religious uniformity in the household, where religion played an important role (e.g., Plutarch, Tibullus, Hierocles). Apart from such unity, divorce may have seemed inevitable to the former Gentiles in Corinth. But, according to Paul, the unbelieving spouse who is willing to “live together” “is consecrated” to God – for the (also unbelieving) children are “consecrated” to God – similarly to the Christ-believer, who is a “consecrated one” (γιος). Hence, Paul forbids divorcing the unbeliever.

Paul Trebilco, University of Otago
Echoes in Ephesus: “From the beginning” in the Johannine Letters and in Ephesian Foundation Myths (30 min)
In 1 and 2 John, the phrase ‘from the beginning’ is used a total of ten times – a surprising number, given their short length. In each case, the stress is on ‘antiquity’ or on ‘foundations’. This emphasis resonates with the foundation stories of the cult of Artemis and other stories in the city of Ephesus; the sense of ‘looking back’ to antiquity was a vital part of what it was to be an Ephesian. In this context, it was entirely understandable for John as an author to speak of ‘what was from the beginning’, which for him referred to the one true ‘foundation story’, the one they had heard ‘from the beginning’, concerning the person, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Peter Oakes, University of Manchester, Respondent