He used the swimming pool at the hotel and was thrown out of town.
Good Morning Blogosphere! Your day can only improve from here on in.
Posted on November 27, 2010 at 7:03 am by Dr. Jim
Posted on November 23, 2010 at 1:06 pm by Dr. Jim
Not much damage done. I’m currently sitting in the Toronto airport waiting for a plane to Calgary so I thought I would type something up.
My paper went ok, except that there was a missed communication somewhere and the draft was never forwarded on to the respondents. Alas. Still, it was not as controversial a session as I thought it might have been. No one got burned at the stake or even lynched.
Barry Bandstra was very kind and gracious, even though Hector Avalos and I took issue with some parts of his otherwise excellent intro to the Hebrew Bible. He admitted that we had some valid critiques and I got a much better appreciation of what goes into writing an introduction. When both the critic and critiqued come away more educated, it is a successful session, I think!
I will post my paper here once I get a chance to edit it.
I though Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza really missed the point of the exercise, though, especially in regard to Zeba Crook’s paper which critiqued various introduction to the New Testament and how they handled miracle stories. S.F. wanted to assert that there were different ways other than the “naturalistic” by which to understand miracle stories and said that a Jew reclaiming the German language in the post-holocaust era would be a miracle. I wrote a note to my self, “What has this to do with floating axes?”
The highlight of the conference for me, though, was the Bible blogging and online publication session on Monday. All the papers were great and delivered with a lot of style:
James Davila, University of St. Andrews-Scotland
What Just Happened: The rise of “biblioblogging” in the first decade of the twenty-first century (his whole paper is posted on his blog).
Christian Brady, Pennsylvania State University University Park
Online Biblical Studies: Past, Present, Promise, and Peril (25 min)
Michael Barber, John Paul the Great Catholic University
Weblogs and the Academy: The Benefits and Challenges of Biblioblogging (25 min)
James McGrath, Butler University
The Blogging Revolution: New Technologies and their Impact on How we do Scholarship (25 min)
Robert R. Cargill, University of California-Los Angeles
Instruction, Research, and the Future of Online Educational Technologies (25 min)
The BIG NEWS is truly earthshattering! Dr Jim’s blog was mention at the outset of James’McGrath’s paper. Indeed, he even showed a couple of my lolcats! Horray! This is not the same thing as having my book cited fabourably, it’s way better. Here are the winning kitties:
So, go visit James’ blog, Exploring Our Matrix!
And here is one for him (pianist and Genesis fan that he is)!
Well, boarding soon, so I must go
Posted on November 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm by Dr. Jim
That’s right, some of the stuff I’ve been working on is now available.
First of all, I have two short articles in the new Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity, edited by Daniel Patte. One is on the Deuteronomistic History and the other on the Book of Kings.
For those heading to Atlanta, SBL will be having a session on the Dictionary.
Variety of Historical and Cultural Contexts for Biblical Studies:
The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM 11/21/2010
International South HYATT
More importantly, I have two proper essays in a new collection.
Ehud Ben Zvi and Christoph Levin (eds.)
The Concept of Exile in Ancient Israel and its Historical Contexts
(BZAW, 404; Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 2010).
The collection is the proceedings of two meetings, one at the University of Alberta in Edmonton AB in 2008 and the other at Ludwig-Maximillans-Universität in Munich (2009) which were held as part of a larger research collaboration across different departments of the two institutions. These meetings were held as workshops dedicated to the problem of the exile in prophetic literature.
Here is the TOC, lifted shamelessly from De Gruyters site. (Hey, this part of the ebook is a freebee)
Christoph Levin, Introduction.
Jan Christian Gertz, Military Threat and the Concept of Exile in the Book of Amos.
Martti Nissinen, The Exiled Gods of Babylon in Neo Assyrian Prophecy.
Kirsi Valkama, What Do Archaeological Remains Reveal of the Settlements in Judah during the Mid Sixth Century BCE?
Christoph Levin, The Empty Land in Kings.
Juha Pakkala, The Exile and the Exiles in the Ezra Tradition.
Hermann Josef Stipp, The Concept of the Empty Land in Jeremiah 37:43.
Ehud Ben Zvi, Total Exile, ␣Empty Land and the General Intellectual Discourse in Yehud.
Ehud Ben Zvi, The Voice and Role of a Counterfactual Memory in the Construction of Exile and Return: Considering Jeremiah 40: 7–12.
Jakob Wöhrle, The Un Empty Land. The Concept of Exile and Land in P.
Reinhard␣Müller, A Prophetic View of the Exile in the Holiness Code.
Reinhard Müller, Images of Exile in the Book of Judges.
Francis Landy, Exile in the Book of Isaiah.
Francis Landy, Reading, Writing, and Exile.
John Kessler, Images of Exile: Representations of the “Exile” and “Empty Land” in the Sixth to Fourth Century BCE Yehudite Literature.
Here’s a pair of extracts from my two contributions, and the kittie that announced the impending volume some months ago on this blog:
Myth of the Exilic Return: Myth Theory and the Exile as an Eternal Reality in the Prophets.
This paper deals with M. Eliade, J. Z. Smith and Wendy Doniger along with a discussion of the Exile as a mythic trope in the Hebrew Bible alongside creation/expulsion and the “Combat Myth” and the closing of Amos.
In returning to my roots in this essay, I will explore some aspects of the prophetic corpus’s constructions of the exile and restoration as mythical conceptions that seek to return one to primordial origins. These origins are not a paradise, however, but contested territory in which divergent myths clamour for attention and serve as a locus for thought (p.296).
What we have then, is really two competing mythologies in Amos, and, I would suggest, in many other biblical passages as well. One is of an eternal expulsion and death; the other is of the capacity to bring order and life once again to the cosmos. The two myths coexist within the ancient Judean symbolic universe. There is never a perfect resolution of their incipiently problematic tensions, just as we have with the multiple creation myths. Nor should we expect there to be (pp. 305-306).
At the early stages of preparing this paper for presentation in Munich I was reminded of a story told by my friend and colleague, Tom Robinson, about a class he was teaching on early Christianity. He was distributing a map of the areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea when one inquisitive student asked “What’s the map’s scale?” Tom answered, “One to one, full scale. Be careful when you open it.”Perhaps I should have taken that advice to heart myself since in this paper I will be opening up Second Isaiah, which, of course, has its own full-scale interpretative problems, and most scholarly work charting Isaiah has labelled huge expanses of territory: “Here there be dragons”. The maps I will be talking in this paper have little to do with cartography or geography, and so I should apologize that I will not attempt to reconstruct the original Baedecker’s guide to ancient Mesopotamia. Nor can I offer advice on the best hostel on the road from Babylon to Jerusalem. My title was inspired by the seminal address of Jonathan Z. Smith that became the eponymous chapter of his book of 1978, Map is Not Territory.
What biblical scholars call the “Exile” is itself part of a “map” constructed by interpreters to find their way through the mass of biblical materials and the data about the ancient world in which these documents were produced. It is this difficult terrain that comprises the “territory” of biblical scholarship. For its part, the Bible contains many passages relating to the real, imagined or threatened deportation and displacement of Israelites and Judeans from the land claimed to be given them by a deity. Each of these passages is itself the result of a “mapping” process that relates religious and ethical concerns to political and military fortunes and the belief in a divinely sanctioned homeland (pp. 275-76).
And don’t forget the comparison between Second Isaiah and “Cargo Cults”. That threw the audience for a loop.
Posted on November 17, 2010 at 9:59 am by Dr. Jim
A roving reporter caught a sneaky, behind the scenes look at the dress rehearsal for Roland Boer’s family oriented (at least, family originating) Society of Biblical Literature paper,
Too Many Dicks at the Writing Desk, or, How to Organise a Prophetic Sausage-Fest
Prophetic Texts and Their Ancient Contexts
Saturday, Nov. 20
4:00 PM at the Inman room in the Hyatt Regency
Yes, Roland has hired a chorus of back up s(w)ingers.
And for S.B.L.’s attempt to reward Boer for his pro-family scholarship, see the numerous posts on his blog.
Posted on November 14, 2010 at 9:48 am by Dr. Jim
Posted on November 10, 2010 at 8:01 am by Dr. Jim
That’s right. I’m a hypocrite. Actually, just an atheist teaching religious studies and the Bible, and I will make a full confession
Confessions of an Atheist in Religious Studies
Tuesday Dec. 14 7:30pm – 9:30pm
U of C campus; Cassio A/B Room in Mac Hall
The field of Religious Studies is constantly battling with questions of “insider” versus “outsider” knowledge of religious traditions, ideas, and societies. Many people—even on the “outside”– assume that Religious Studies scholars necessarily belong to the traditions they teach and research. Many others, however, assume that academic examination of the Bible or Judeo-Christian religious traditions are intended to challenge or even subvert the teachings and integrity of those faiths. As an atheist researcher and teacher of the Hebrew Bible (who also dabbles in introductions to Judaism and mythology) there are many roadblocks and pitfalls, especially if one is also an active advocate for secularization and humanism in the public sphere. In presenting these potential land mines Jim will also point to the riches in teaching in these fields.
Mac Hall is designated with an “MH” on this map:http://www.ucalgary.ca/map/ You can reach Mac Hall turning left on to Collegiate Blvd. off of 32nd Avenue NW. The closest parking will be in Lots L13, L12, or L11.
Admission to this event is $10 General Public, $5 for Students, and FREE for Friends of the Centre and University of Calgary Freethinkers Club Members
And please note, the entrance fee goes to offset the bills of the Centre for Inquiry in hosting the event and their other good work. I’m doing my bit for free. Well, there is always the glory. Don’t forget the glory.
Posted on November 9, 2010 at 9:40 am by Dr. Jim
Yeah, I’m going.
I’m doing a paper in the Ideological Criticism section on Saturday Nov. 20 (session S20-319). The theme is “Secular Biblical criticism and Introductions to the Bible”. Johanna Stiebert (Leeds), presiding.
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Room: Fairlie – Hyatt Regency
My paper is called “Why is this mythology different from all other mythologies?” I have a really crappy and no longer entirely applicable abstract in the program book, but here is a better foreshadowing of what my paper is all about.
“Myth” is a notoriously difficult to define, but its application to any of the materials in the Old Testament is complicated by modern theological conceptions of the uniqueness of the Israelite world-view. Fortunately, this state of affairs has been changing in key areas but it has yet to fully impact the way the Hebrew Bible is presented in textbooks intended (at least in part) for the secular classroom. despite there being a number of other wise excellent texts, few are really strongly based on the conceptions and methods taught in secular Religious Studies, and none I have seen really addressed the thorny problem of “myth” in anything approaching a comprehensive fashion. Some books, while claiming a secular religious studies approach, actually undermine it.
The blurred dividing line between secular biblical research and confessional biblical interpretation is maintained in these books, the publishing industry, and in most academic societies devoted to biblical studies, such as the Society of Biblical Literature. This, in turn, helps preserve a barrier between secular biblical criticism and the wider field of Religious Studies. A fully secular critical introduction that is designed as a component in a comprehensive study of world and/or ancient religions remains lacking.
Posted on October 11, 2010 at 9:05 am by Dr. Jim