Fort Lauderdale airport, Sunday, 9.56am.: I've spent a couple of days on my first Biblical Archaeology Society study weekend. The location was the Hampton Inn in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was a pleasant place to stay, though not close to the sea, and a little bit out on its own with only a handful of eating places in walking distance. But the service was excellent, and pretty friendly. The hotel had a pool, but sadly it was not quite warm enough to use it; and when it was warm enough, it was very windy. I did manage to get down to the sea at the end of the study weekend, though, when one of the participants kindly drove us down to the sea front for a walk and dinner at a German pub where I enjoyed a Wurstplatter (but does all American Sauerkraut taste so strongly of vinegar?).
The study side of the weekend was very enjoyable. Anne Killebrew was talking about various archaeological topics, always with interesting pictures, great anecdotes and a sense of what makes archaeology so fascinating. I learnt a great deal from her four lectures and they appeared to be very popular with the audience, who asked many interesting questions.
My own contribution was a series that I entitled "Monarch or Messiah? The King of Jewish Expectation and the Christ of the New Testament". I dealt with the Old Testament evidence in the first lecture, looking at the development of hope for the restoration of the Davidic monarchy in the post-exilic period. In the second I looked at other Second Temple Jewish literature, focusing specially on Psalms of Solomon, but looking also at the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Similitudes of Enoch and 4 Ezra. For Saturday's lectures, I took Paul in the morning and the Gospels in the afternoon, looking at the way in which the New Testament texts develop the concepts of King and Messiah found in the Second Temple Jewish texts. I had interested, intelligent and engaging responses throughout, and found it an enjoyable forum to share ideas in.
At the halfway point, on the Friday evening, there is a dinner followed by a Q&A session for the two lecturers, and again there were many intelligent and interesting questions. Steve Feldman organized and chaired the whole affair and did a fine job. This was a rewarding experience. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to develop a line of thought across four lectures in a tight time frame, something that one rarely gets the opportunity to do.