We are into our third day of our trip to Washington state now. I spent Monday afternoon at the Logos Bible Software offices in Bellingham and was treated to the full tour from Mike Heiser, and met some old friends and some new ones, including fellow bibliobloggers Rick Brannan and Daniel Foster. The Logos offices are in an old law firm building and so are quite grandiose, but I got the impression of a happy and industrious centre with a surprisingly large staff, working away on a variety of projects with some energetic collaboration. Several of the key players treated me to a full, illustrated exposition of various projects currently underway, and the time went very quickly. To be honest, I was bowled over by what the software does, and so from that point of view it was a complete success on their part. I was quite persuaded of how valuable it would be for me to own! I won't try to list all the different things that appealed to me, but perhaps more of that anon.
The family joined us for an evening meal at a very nice restaurant by the water, and then we dashed off to the centre where I was to give my lecture, at about 7pm. I had a good audience, 80 or 90 I'd guess. I spoke for 45 minutes on the topic, "Did Jews in Jesus' Day Expect the Messiah?" and I felt that it was a receptive and enthusiastic group, and they asked questions for over half an hour. Many of the questions were highly informed and quite intelligent, e.g. there were some students down from Trinity Western. This was the first time that I had talked outside of the Duke classroom on the topic of messianism in the second temple period, and I found it pretty stimulating; it is always more enjoyable to talk about work in progress than to be looking back on previous work. The act of articulating my argument and laying out some of the evidence helped me to see where I needed to do more exploration; and several of the questions helped me to hone the issues too. All in all, it was a profitable evening at the end of a most enjoyable day. I was well looked after by Logos, and I felt honoured to have been invited.
The next morning, Tuesday, we set off for Seattle where we are spending a couple of days before returning to North Carolina. We went on the underground tour, which takes you to the original street level of the city, c. 150 years ago, before a major fire. We found a great English-style pub called the Elephant and Castle, which is where the picture above was taken. (I was going to put in a picture of my talk, but it came out a little blurred, and the one above is much nicer). I enjoyed my pint and bangers and mash very much -- it was a pretty good effort at being British. I also liked the poster above -- take a look at the quotation if you want to see something uplifting.
Since the work-related element of the trip is now complete, I will return now to everyday blogging, but probably not until we are back in North Carolina again soon.
Update (11.37): there is a little more over on The Americanization of Emily.