Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More of my SBL Meeting

It's Tuesday evening and I am home again, and I can now offer a bit more narrative and chat about the rest of how the SBL Annual Meeting panned out for me. In my previous post, I had reached Sunday lunchtime, and my second visit to a Thai restaurant, for the Cross, Resurrection and Diversity consultation's steering committee meeting. I did not know a lot about the group before being invited to join in but I find myself pleased to be involved. There was a lot of good feedback on both of Saturday's inaugural meetings, and it was encouraging to see the rooms absolutely packed. The organizers clearly did not expect these sessions to be so popular, and next year the chairs are going to ask for somewhere much bigger. And the plans for next year are already coming together very well. I look forward to enthusing about these plans here once they are firmed up.

Back to Sunday afternoon, I went along to the Q section at which there were four papers, the first by Duke PhD student Ken Olson who talked about the evidence for an Aramaic Vorlage behind a couple of key Q verses, arguing that they made sense in Greek and that there is no need to postulate mistranslation from the Aramaic to make sense of the texts. It was a great paper, well presented, and convincing, even if I did nod a little in all the papers given the previously mentioned candle-at-both-ends issue. Joseph Weaks from Brite Divinity School gave a paper on his doctoral research, which imagines that there was no Mark, and attempts to reconstruct Mark on the basis of Matthew and Luke. I am familiar with the research because I am on Joe's dissertation committee and I greatly enjoyed the presentation. There were some nice powerpoint slides at the end where he showed just how much we would lose from scholarship on Mark if we attempted to reconstruct it on the basis of Matthew and Luke. And next up was Jeff Peterson of Austin Graduate School who presented a nice piece on Q 1.31 and Q 22.64 as evidence for a Q Birth and Passion Narrative -- also excellent. It was the only one of the Q sections I was able to get to this year, but it was a shame to see it so poorly attended, only about eight or nine of us in the audience.

I had more Thai food in the evening, now for the third meal on the trot, and loving it. At 9, it was the Duke Reception, which was very well attended. The big event was Ed Sanders being given his Festschrift, introduced by Fabian Udoh. It was difficult for him to get heard in the big room, and Ed too chose to cut his remarks short because it was so difficult to be heard. But he did explain that his students had been crafty. Knowing him to have insisted that he would not like a Festschrift, they organized a conference in his honour and then published the proceedings in this volume.

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So my narrative is up to Sunday night now. I'll add Monday later on, and then some general reflections on the highlights of the conference.

8 comments:

Joe Weaks said...

Hey! I'll have you know there were 16 people in the audience for that Q session. (You darn well better believe I counted.) :)

steph said...

What were the key Q passages Ken discussed please Mark? And did he mention the passages that Maurice Casey has demonstrated originate from Aramaic sources, and did he interact with Maurice at all? Is it possible to have a copy of his paper please?

steph said...

Joe Weaks: How do you deal with Aramaisms present in Mark but not in Matthew or Luke in your dissertation? Do you interact with Casey? And are these papers on line?

steph said...

Ken: Maurice Casey would like a copy too please.

steph said...

Mark: Do you perhaps have Ken's email address so I can ask for his paper for both of us? Thank you.

steph said...

Thank you very much Ken!!

steph said...

Ken's paper was completely unconvincing (sorry Ken). His opening does not discriminate between the opinions of scholars who can read the language Jesus spoke, and those who cannot. The whole paper completely fails to interact with Caey's work, and does not mention any of the points of method in which he sought to advance what can be done about possible Aramaic sources in the light of the increased amount of Aramaic now available, and advances in Translation Studies and other fields. His main points do not explain what Luke did at all. Luke’s positive view of almsgiving simply does not explain why anyone faced with Matthew’s perfectly coherent and sensible Greek should replace it with 'ta enonta dote eleemosunen' (apologies for transliteration). Nor does his view of the Jewish leaders explain why he should replace Matthew’s perfectly coherent 23.31 either, especially in light of the fact that in many places Luke is verbally identical with Matthew. Olsen simply has not given reason why he should have done differently here, whereas Casey did.

steph said...

It's quite depressing really. While there is much contempt for the Aramaic material in Synoptic studies, this is not combined with a recognition of what the main arguments are, let alone a refutation of them.