Sunday was Day 3 of AAR/SBL 2019. I began my day at the ‘Comparative Studies in Religion Unit’ where the question was being asked whether ‘comparative studies’ was still a good approach to teaching religion. Many continue to say yes. Some advocate for teaching ‘worldview’ which would focus more on various lived experiences found in varieties of religion: myth, ritual, community, etc. Others seem committed to the ‘Great Traditions’ (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and other -isms) for heuristic purposes. Mixed into this discussion were questions regarding whether the best focus would be cultivating empathy, or creating global citizens, and how these foci might alter the shape of a course.
The most interesting thing I learned during this first session was that games like ‘Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence (1945)’ and ‘Constantine and the Council of Nicaea: Defining Orthodoxy and Heresy in Christianity, 325 CE’ exist.
My second unit on Sunday was ‘Hinduism Unit and Teaching Unit’ where they discussed ‘Teaching Religion in Translation’. Being that I don’t know Sanskrit, Pali, or other relevant languages, I hoped to just hear the expert’s advice on choosing a good translation. Some preferred translations were given and the general feeling was that more translations are better than one. Not sure this benefits me much since I cover so much territory I can’t spend a lot of time on the Upanishads or Dhammapada, so I don’t see myself doing a lot of side-by-side translation comparisons. Maybe someday our school will lengthen and divide our current ‘World Religion’ offering and then that might be more feasible.
Yesterday I socialized, bought books, and attended one Biblical Studies session: The Synoptic Gospels/New Testament Textual Criticism group was discussing Matthew Larsen’s Gospels Before the Book. I’m about half-way through it, so it was good to hear some soft push-back on his thesis before I got to the end. It gives me some things to consider.
AAR/SBL 2019 comes to an end this morning. I won’t be attending any more sessions. It’s time for some vacation before school begins again next week.
2 Replies to “AAR/SBL 2019: Days 3 & 4”
Glad you had a good time there. I was there, but just Saturday. Sorry I missed you.
I did get to meet and have a great conversation with Joshua Smith over lunch, after his good presentation on the prospect that Luke was a Jew, contra prevailing tradition, as you know.
I also got to a valuable and important session on Non-violent Theism… so many great options at AAR/SBL, even though I’m not in “the academy” and not an enrolled (just an informal) student.
Sorry I missed you and that I missed Joshua’s paper. I remember talking about that topic with him years ago and it’s good to see he’s doing good work with it now.