Saturday, September 06, 2003

British New Testament Conference Day 2

Friday is the longest day of the British New Testament Conference and it was even longer for me and the local organisers. I've managed to find ten minutes spare to blog and that won't be enough to chat about yesterday's events, so I'll resume later. The really happy news of the day for us on the local side was the arrival of Continuum's lost twelve boxes of books. It seemed that, after all, they had never even been delivered anywhere, let alone to Mason Hall where the conference was being held. Big relief when the van rolled up. Nice plus for me: the first box that was opened had The Case Against Q sitting at the top! Interesting side note about the Continuum display: this now incorported Trinity Press International publications as well as Sheffield Academic Press and T & T Clarke. So the back-catalogue alone is enormous. As you may have heard, there is to be one Biblical Studies related imprint from Continuum in the future called T & T Clarke International, so Trinity & Sheffield dissolve into that.

That aside, it was also a pleasure for me to attend Helen Bond's presentation in the Synoptic's seminar first thing in the morning, indeed to be asked to chair it. She spoke with admirable clarity on "The Disappearance of Caiaphas" in Mark (sorry don't have time to look up the exact title), a chapter from a forthcoming full-book length treatment of the figure of Caiaphas in history and tradition, a kind of sequel to her fine book on Pontius Pilate. In this paper she was reflecting on why Caiaphas is not actually named in Mark's Gospel (in contrast to Matthew, Luke and John). Her thesis was that this was not accidental nor was it because Mark didn't know his name nor was it because of the date of composition of the Passion Narrative or its source but it was Mark's intentional literary strategy to draw attention to "the High Priest" as opponent, as leader, so lining him up with other such anonymous Jewish leaders in the Gospel. That summary, of course, doesn't do justice to the thesis as presented, but it was good stuff.

The second session of the Synoptics Seminar was Rob Bewley, who presented his work on dialogue in Mark's Gospel, a narrative-critical study with a lucid and useful introduction to the discipline of narrative-criticism before he gave us what he called "free samples" of his analysis of the Markan dialogues.

My time's up for now. Later I'll tell you about the Birmingham textual critics' presentation in the evening, and some more I hope from other parts of the conference. Right now it's the prayers, this morning led by my colleague here in Birmingham Philip Seddon. Apparently 50 attended prayers yesterday morning, so it's clearly a popular part of the conference.

No comments: