On My Way Home!

I’m sitting in the San Diego Airport heading home from a very good time at the AAR/SBL, even if a lot of it was taken up by writing my damn papers. Both went OK so I’m pleased. I did take in a GREAT session on Mythmaking at Christian Tourist Attractions. Lots of food for thought for my creationist research project.  It was great to spend some time with Francis Landy, and I had a very good Indian meal with Anne Moore. Rebecca Raphael had a nice chat with Claudia Camp about a book. I also appreciated the meeting with Steve Wiggins who works for Oxford UP and blogs at Sects and Violence in the Ancient World. And speaking of bloggers, James McGrath was in fine form with a great paper in the Metacritizing Biblical Scholarship, and the blogging session and panel in which I was involved (James presided) was also really good, and I finally met a few more bloggers in person. Had a nice chat with Michael Kok and Willi Braun. Christopher Rollston talked about some of the behind the scenes academic freedom atrocities perpetrated by his former employer, Emmanuelle Christian college. He was told to resign or be fired for writing a Huffington Post article about how the disenfranchisement of women is an embarrassing biblical principle not enough Christians are wiling to admit. He said he NEVER had to sign a faith statement. The faculty handbook reproduced word for word the entire AAUP statement on academic freedom. Prof. Rollston had tenure.  The president and a colleague get pissed that he wrote something in a secular press, not even identifying his connection to the college, a donor threatens to pull out money and he is no longer welcome.

I didn’t end up spending too much money in the book exhibits. I got four or five volumes this time, most of which deal with modern atheism and fundamentalism.  I did see one volume of great interest:


This is the brand new, second edition of World Religions: A Guide to the Essentials, (Baker) by my colleagues, Hillary Rodrigues and Tom Robinson, with some chapters contributed by the rest of us in the department. I did the chapter on ancient religions. Buy this book. For a textbook, it is not very expensive. It’s nice to see it in print!

I’ll post some more later. Gotta run!

Can’t Miss Session: Mythmaking at Christian Tourist Attractions

Can’t miss this one! Directly relevant to my new research project!
North American Association for the Study of Religion
Theme: Strategies of Mythmaking at Christian Tourist Attractions
Saturday – 9:30 AM-11:50 AM
Hilton Bayfront-202B
wiki commons photo

wiki commons photo

This panel theorizes four present-day Christian tourist attractions as sites of ongoing social and mythic formation: The Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY, Bible Walk in Mansfield, OH, and the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL. Working from Bruce Lincoln’s observation that “myth is ideology in narrative form,” the papers examine various strategies by which Christian tourist attractions enable visitors to interact directly within mythic configurations. This direct interaction functions as a type of pilgrimage, whereby visitors locate themselves within a mythic trajectory that begins with the creation of the world and points toward an eternity with (or, perhaps, without) Christ.

Erin Roberts, University of South Carolina
Mythic Formation at the Holy Land Experience
Jennifer Eyl, Tufts University
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego…and Jesus?: Anachronism as a Constituent Feature of Mythmaking
Steven Watkins, Northern Kentucky University
Myth, Anachronism, and Fiction: The Creation Museum’s Production of Scientific and Biblical Misplacements
James Bielo, Miami University
How to Build an Ark: Intertextuality and Authority Among Creationist Artists
Sean Durbin, Macquarie University
“It is what it is”: Rhetoric of Legitimation and Authentic Identity Construction on a Christian Zionist Tour of Israel

San Diego, here I come!

Off to San Diego for the AARSBL conference. Do I have my presentations done? Of course not. But I’m missing class today and on Tuesday, so do I care? Yes, yes I do. I think I’ll just make some powerpoint presentations with cat pictures, and that should work. I am dreading the question time though. I always get “What the hell was that all about?” or “Is it over yet”?lolcatOohGeez

If anyone wants me I will be at the Omni Hotel…

My sessions are both on Monday:


1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: 410 A (Level 4 (Sapphire)) – Hilton Bayfront (HB)

Theme: Academic Freedom and Biblical Studies

Rebecca Raphael, Texas State University–San Marcos, Presiding
Jim Linville, University of Lethbridge
In Search of the Biblical Flintstones? Some Thoughts on Creationism, Academic Freedom, and Scholarly Obligation(30 min)
Hector Avalos, Iowa State University
Academic Freedom and Creationism in Public Universities (30 min)
James F. McGrath, Butler University
Can University Walls Keep Out the Internet? (30 min)
Christopher Rollston, George Washington University
Freedom of Religion and Academic Freedom: Symphony and Cacophony in Confessional Higher Education (30 min)
Discussion (30 min)



4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Room 1 B (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
The session will conclude with a panel of scholars who blog (including Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne, among others), talking about key moments in the intersection of academic blogging and Biblical studies from recent months. One of the great things about blogging is that it allows discussion of Biblical studies and other academic news over the course of the year. This panel thus makes room for discussion of topics that could not be foreseen when the program was finalized in April. Expect mention of specific topics and panelists on the scholarly blogs prior to November!

James F. McGrath, Butler University, Presiding
Kimberly Majeski, Anderson University (IN)
Biblioblogging: A Bridge for Church and Academy (30 min)
James Linville, University of Lethbridge
May Contain Nuts and B.S. (Biblical Studies): The Politics of Academic Legitimacy Online and the Need to Properly Theorize the Category “@%!#*! Loonie” (30 min)
Other (90 min)