The (online) 2020 Annual Meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion have come to an end. I wish I could have seen y’all in Boston but it’s 2020, so the pandemic has ruined everything. Hopefully, I’ll see everyone next year when it comes to San Antonio, where I live!
I only caught pieces of sessions the past couple days since the school year is winding down simultaneously and I’ve been busy with all that entails. If there’s anything good about this conference it’s that I have access to the recordings. I’m sure I’ll find more sessions to watch in the coming days. But online sessions can never replace the in-person meeting, so let’s hope this pandemic is toast by next November.
-SBL’s “Ecological Hermeneutics” -SBL’s “Christian Theology and the Bible / Matthew” focusing on “Women Interpreters of Matthew’s Women”
I signed into the first one during lunch break, so with what attention I could give it, I did enjoy Paavo Tucker’s “What Does It Profit? Qohelet and the Commodification of Nature”; Dominic S. Irudayaraj’s “Destruction-Restoration Dichotomy in Isaiah 34–35: An Ecological Reappraisal”; and Rebecca Copeland’s “Blessing the Fig Tree: Redeeming Nonconforming Bodies in Matthew 21:18–22:14” before I had to resume teaching.
I’m two papers into the Matthew session and it’s been great.
I guess Friday was day 5 of AAR/SBL but there was nothing for me to attend. Yesterday, I listened to the wonderful SBL Presidential Address by Adele Reinhartz: “The Hermeneutics of Chutzpah: A Disquisition on the Value/s of ‘Critical Investigation of the Bible'” (I highly recommend it) before catching part of the AAR Plenary Panel: “What Do We, as Scholars of Religion, Value?” Today, I’m listening to the session “Bible and Emotion / Prayer in Antiquity” on my lunch break and I hope to catch the session “Biblical Literature and the Hermeneutics of Trauma” later today.
On Thursday, I presented a paper titled “Muddy Paper in Plastic Bags: Practicing Textual Criticism” at the Society of Biblical Literature’s Annual Meeting 2020 (online this year). The recording is available for those who registered for the conference. (Hopefully, someday, for the sake of public scholarship, most of these recordings will be made available on YouTube!) To find it, just search by my name. Here are PDFs of the handout and slides I used:
In-between teaching my classes, I had the opportunity to hear a couple of great papers: Laura Robinson’s “The ‘Myth of Persecution’ and the Portrayal of ‘Totalitarian Rome’ in Popular Christian Media” and Rebekah Carere’s “Trump as King Cyrus: Biblical Hermeneutics in the Trump Era”. Both were brilliant. They were part of the “Bible and Popular Culture” unit. Shortly, I’ll attend “Reading, Theory, and the Bible” where several of the titles were eye-catching.
Today begins the nearly two week long, completely online, pandemic-version of AAR/SBL. I’m actively teaching this week and next, so I’ll be slipping in and out of parts of sessions. I may attend more sessions than if we were in-person though. There’s no going out to lunch or browsing endlessly through the book exhibit (though they do have a digital version of that too…not the same). I’ll be presenting on Thursday at 5 pm EST.
I can’t believe that just a year ago we were finishing Thanksgiving Break. I stayed in San Diego for a few days after the conference with my wife. Who knew what 2020 was going to bring us?!