SBLAAR in Atlanta for 2015

What happened to the time? The Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion annual meeting held in Atlanta this November 21-24, 2015 is only 2 weeks way… argh! I’m not ready. Someone slow down time and give me an extra month!
   Well, as I peruse through the catalogue of sessions, I have come up with my top picks and also the dilemma: when sessions overlap but individual papers do not compete, do I try to run over to the other session to catch a paper I want to hear or just plant my seat in one session and ride it out. This year, there are few tough choices, but not as much as there were last year, thank God! 
   Typically, I fly to SBL on Friday, and attend IBR’s plenary Friday evening (Nov. 20‘s) session: 


Institute for Biblical Research
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Room: Marquis A-B (Marquis Level) – Marriott

Tremper Longman, Westmont College, Welcome (10 min)
Milton Eng, William Paterson University, Scripture Reading and Prayer (5 min)
Mark Boda, McMaster Divinity College, Introduction

Annual Lecture
Craig Bartholomew, Redeemer University College
Old Testament Origins and the Question of God (40 min)

Sandra Richter, Wheaton College (Illinois), Respondent (10 min)
N. T. Wright, University of St. Andrews, Respondent (10 min)
Discussion (20 min)
Reception follows the Annual Lecture and is sponsored by Zondervan

       For Saturday Nov. 21, there are 2 sessions I’m interested in, and I’m in a dilemma on which one to attend: 


Pauline Epistles
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: International 8 (International Level) – Marriott

Barry Matlock, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Presiding

David Wheeler-Reed, Yale University
Paging Dr. Paul: Reading Paul’s use of Grief with Galen (25 min)

David A. Kaden, St. Olaf College
Rectifying Incongruity: Redescribing Paul and the Law with Roman Legal Fiction (25 min)

Stephen Chester, North Park Theological Seminary
Conflicting or Mutually Dependent Perspectives? Interpreting the Flesh, Sin, and the Human Plight in Paul (25 min)

Joshua Garroway, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion
Under Sin: Finding the Antecedent for Paul’s Charge in Rom 3:9b (25 min)

Jee Hei Park, Fordham University
Paul, the Cosmopolitan (25 min)

I very much want to hear the first three papers, especially since my dean and colleague Stephen Chester is sure to knock a grand-slam out of the park with his paper on Reformation readings of Paul that wed both forensic and participation categories of justification rather than seeing them as competitive. However, the next section has some excellent papers as well: 


Poverty in the Biblical World
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Hanover G (Exhibit Level) – Hyatt

Theme: Paul Impoverishment and Thriving
Sze-kar Wan, Southern Methodist University, Presiding

Ryan S. Schellenberg, Methodist Theological School in Ohio
Mutualism or Charity? Locating Paul’s Economic Program (20 min)

Sylvia C. Keesmaat, Trinity College – Toronto
Economic Justice and Food Security in Romans (20 min)

Judith Gundry, Yale Divinity School
Where’s the Beef? Paul, Poverty, and Love in 1 Corinthians 8 (20 min)

Diana Swancutt, Boston University
Paul’s Rhetoric of Adoption and Inheritance as Israel’s Promise to the Poor and Enslaved (20 min)

Eric Gilchrest, Judson College (Marion, AL), Respondent (15 min)

Dilemma, Dilemma, Dilemma! My mentor and dissertation supervisor Judy Gundry has a paper on idol food, and that topic is particularly salient to my work (so do the first two papers that precede her). Judy is miles ahead of me as an exegete and her paper presentations have the enviable quality of being packed with information and yet a clear articulation of a complex thesis. I’ll probably make my decision at the 11th hour.
    The rest of the afternoon and evening look fairly straightforward for what I’m interested in: 


Philo of Alexandria; Corpus Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti
Joint Session With: Philo of Alexandria, Corpus Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti
1:00 PM to 3:45 PM
Room: A701 (Atrium Level) – Marriott

Theme: Philo, Plutarch, and the New Testament

Rainer Hirsch-Luipold, Universität Bern – Université de Berne, Presiding

Julian Elschenbroich, Protestant University Wuppertal/Bethel
The Mechanics of Death: Philo’s and Plutarch’s View on the Death of the Human (25 min)

Break (10 min)

Zlatko Plese, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ritual, Idolatry, and the Rational Norm in Plutarch and Philo (25 min)

Gretchen Reydams-Schils, University of Notre Dame
Philo and Plutarch on Philautia (25 min)

David T. Runia, University of Melbourne
Response to Papers on Philo and Plutarch (15 min)
Discussion (15 min)

To me, the above is a no-brainer, hands-down, do not miss session. Except for Julian Elschenbroich and Zlatko Plese, I have read the works of all the presenters for their contribution to ancient moral philosophy. This session is the 2nd of a 3-year series by Corpus Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti in revisiting the intertextual and conceptual connections between Plutarch and the New Testament. Last year’s session on the religion and ethics of Plutarch was fantastic. I’m looking forward to hearing how Philo’s and Plutarch’s religious tenets meet in the world of Paul and early Christianity. 
    In the later afternoon, I have to juggle a business meeting with the Intertextuality and New Testament Interpretation Section from 4-4:30pm, but then I plan to race over to catch the last two papers, one by a former colleague who used to teach at North Park (Genevive Dibley). I’m keen to hear what Genevive has to say about the redemption of the Gentiles in Romans (9-11) in comparison with Jewish eschatologies and the vindication of the righteous. Her doctoral work was in my former almer mater U.C. Berkeley and one of her mentors was the expert on Judaism, Daniel Boyarin.


Paul Within Judaism
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: International 8 (International Level) – Marriott

Dieter Mitternacht, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong, Presiding (5 min)

Jeremy Punt, Universiteit van Stellenbosch – University of Stellenbosch
Paul the Jew, Power of Evil and Rome (25 min)

Thomas Dixon, Princeton Theological Seminary
God of Wrath and Mercy: Is Paul’s God the ‘Old Testament God’? (25 min)

John Kincaid, John Paul the Great Catholic University and Michael Patrick Barber, John Paul the Great Catholic University
Where the Juridical and Participatory Unite: Christ as a Hilasterion and the Cultic Dimension of Pauline Justification(25 min)

Genevive Dibley, Rockford University
Why Bother with Redeeming Gentiles? The Project of Justifying the Oppression of the Righteous in the Second Age(25 min)
Break (5 min)
Discussion (30 min)
Business Meeting (10 min)

   Whew! Good first two days. I’ll write on the rest of SBL in a follow-up post. If anyone who reads this blog happens to be at SBL Atlanta, I’ll be at the following two receptions. Catch me there and feel free to say “hello”! Would love to chat about all things Paul and the Greco-Roman world. 

M21-403 William B. Eerdmans Reception
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Room: Westin-Augusta 1-3 (7th floor)

M21-414 Baker Academic and Brazos Reception
8:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Room: Westin-Chastain1-2 (6th floor)