Watch for more details soon…
Monday at #SBL2019 began with a most interesting session on Negotiating the Roman Imperial world. A paper on Imperial Rome as a borderland helped me better to understand places of connection and separation in an urban context. In Rome that was 14 administrative regions, 265 neighborhoods, 170 bathhouses, the Tiber River, not to mention public spaces and places of worship. The river sorted, but it was also a place of collaboration. A second paper demonstrated the messiness of migration by looking at burial inscriptions and teasing ideas out of biblical texts. As the next paper began, I got a message from Delta.
That was the interruption . . . a winter storm was expected to engulf the Twin Cities Tuesday evening, and I was scheduled to get back on the red eye, arriving after midnight. So, I skipped the rest of the section to reschedule my flight home. I was fortunate to get a seat on a flight first thing on Tuesday, which would get me home early afternoon before the storm.
The final session on Tuesday addressed Archaeology and the Bible. I learned that the four-space house, often found in Israelite areas of occupation, was well-designed to accommodate the keeping of ritual purity, as one did not have to pass through one space to get to another. Uncleanliness could easily be isolated. I also picked up the suggestion that the martyrion of Philip at Hieropolis may have been the antecedent for the octagonal churches found in the holy land (cp. also the Dome of the Rock).
And I did beat the storm home… #WeAreCSP
On a beautiful day in San Diego at #SBL2019 I had wonderful opportunities to connect with friends (Elna Solvang, Michael Patella, and Deanna Thompson). Yes, I did skip some sessions. I also looked into options for a travel seminar in the footsteps of Paul for students at Concordia. I attended an academic session on Corinthians and a fascinating session exploring the various roles of space in Biblical interpretation.
I found the concepts of first space (physical), second space (theoretical) and third space (representational) to be potentially helpful tools in pursuing meaning of a text. Four speakers worked with the Hodayot psalms from Qumran (1QHa), 1 Enoch, the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida in Mark, and Paul’s shipwreck voyage to Rome in Acts. I must ponder these concepts more. #WeAreCSP
Saturday afternoon I moved to the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (#SBL2019). I first attended a session on the Johannine Epistles. I found particularly helpful the analysis of the languages similarities between the fourth gospel and the epistles by Hugo Mendez. He argues that the density of the parallels in the epistles point to an effort of the author to identify with the fourth gospel, rather than the similarities being the product of a Johannine school. I have never been convinced of the “school” hypothesis. The work here give another way to look at the data, although I am also not comfortable of immediately assuming a pseudepigraphic agenda.
I was also able to meet with reps from Zondervan to set up Concordia’s participation in a pilot of their new enhanced digital textbook project.
The presidential lecture rounded off the day. #WeAreCSP