Monday, November 21, 2005

SBL Monday afternoon

In some respects today was the most enjoyable day; I didn't feel as rough as I did yesterday, I didn't have anything to do in public, I was able to find time to buy some more books, I got to spend a decent amount of time with people whose company I really enjoy, and I went to some sessions. I went in to the first paper of the Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics section where my former PhD student Catherine Smith was presenting first and she did a great job -- there's real pride for the supervisor who sees his former students performing so well in public! Her paper was on her reconfiguring of the Synoptic data in the light of systemic functional linguistics, with focus on the parable of the Sower.

We went next to the Historical Jesus section, where we caught the fag end of an interesting discussion about Jesus' illegitimacy. There was then a paper by about Jesus and repudiaction of family ties, very well presented with a clear handout, but the method was not to my taste -- all Q / Thomas and multiple attestation. I don't have the programme with me but I think her name was Susan Griffith, but that might be wrong. I asked a question at the end about the combination between multiple attestation and the criterion of embarrassment -- I can't help thinking that one cancels out the other. If everyone, Q, an independent Thomas, Mark, Matthew, Luke all have this same material, who is embarrassed about it? The multiple attestation is itself an argument against embarrassment.

She was followed by someone whose name I don't recall (sorry!) on the Parable of the Pounds / Talents and the Archelaus background. Last up was was a brilliant presentation by Ted Weeden on Bailey's theory of informal controlled oral tradition, in which he demonstrated clearly to my satisfaction that the evidenciary basis for Bailey's thesis is flawed. A very useful, multi-page handout too. Michael Bird was there too, but I am less convinced than he that Jimmy Dunn's response at the end was adequate. I think Ted Weeden has dealt a fatal blow to Bailey's theory, at least on the evidence that Bailey himself provides.

More anon.

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