It's enjoyable to read other bibliobloggers' reflections on the SBL. Jim Davila's postings include some nice pictures, including one of the seventh annual get-together of the e-listers on the Saturday morning of the conference, including Jim himself, me and Stephen Carlson, who is now blogging the conference on Hyptoposeis (Back from SBL and SBL 2004). I have asked for a digital camera for Christmas so that I can join the ranks of those who illustrate their blogs with photographs -- this blog is far too text rich.
Jim's first picture is of the Tower of the Americas where I had a very enjoyable meal with good friends on the Monday night, the first time I have ever eaten elk. The restaurant is right at the top and revolves while you eat so that you get a fantastic panoramic view of San Antonio, until it eventually got so foggy that we could not see a thing.
Torrey Seland has also blogged on the SBL at Philo of Alexandria Blog. I was sorry not to get a chance to meet Torrey since he was there. Torrey usefully comments on his experiences of listening to papers at the SBL and complains that too often it is a question of a scholar "speed-reading" a paper. That's a term I have not heard before, but it is bang on. Since I have great trouble concentrating myself on most of these papers, I can't imagine what it is like for a non-English speaker.
I ran into AKMA in the book exhibit one day, just before he was to give his response to Stanley Hauerwas, which he has now reproduced on his blog. I had thought that AKMA was not blogging the conference because Bloglines hasn't picked up anything from his blog since November 14, but I just went over to his blog and see that he is still blogging away, including pictures and everything from the SBL. It looks like something has changed on the blog -- there don't seem to be any permalinks or comments and perhaps that is connected to Bloglines' trouble in picking up the RSS feed. I did make the mistake of mentioning to AKMA how I was enjoying the Texas meat, the steaks, the ribs and the like, and recalled half-way through that he was a vegetarian. There's a particular kind of guilt when an ex-vegetarian like me finds himself happily chatting away like that.
On Deinde, Paul Nikkel also has some illustrated comments on the SBL. He has a picture of the Rivercenter, where I stayed, like many others, and Steers and Beers, where I joined friends for two particularly enjoyable and absolutely enormous meals. I was sorry also not to meet Paul Nikkel.
And speaking of bibliobloggers I missed, it seems that Eric Sowell was also at the SBL, and he has some reflections from the perspective of the NET Bible stand in the Book Exhibit. Eric notes that there's another new biblioblog on the scene, A random collection of biblical and other musings by Hall Harris, Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and Project Director and Managing Editor for The NET Bible. The blog's name is too long for my blogroll, so I've added it there just as Hall Harris's blog. He also has some reflections on the meeting.
And while we are talking blogs, they came up in two other contexts during the meeting. On the Monday morning, we had the SBL Forum Advisory Board meeting, chaired by Leonard Greenspoon. One of the things on the agenda was an issue of the Forum to deal with the blogs. I am planning to write something for that issue, and others are being / will be approached. And on the Tuesday morning, at the Programme Unit Chairs Meeting, I put the question to Matthew Collins about the SBL Seminar Papers, which have been discussed here and elsewhere. He offered a thorough and cogent answer, explaining that the print edition of the papers was uneconomical and so the transfer had been made to on-line seminar papers, adding that the original intention in any case, in 1971, was to circulate papers to be read before the conference in those pre-internet days. He added that the Seminar Papers would remain permanently on-line and that the addresses would remain the same. With respect to the clause about which there was so much discussion, he mentioned the discussion in the blogs and added that the rider was simply taken over from the most recent edition of the print version of the Seminar Papers.