Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One of my favorite things to do.

Today was our local libraries semi-annual book sale. Library book sales have been one of my favorite pastimes since a friend and I would traipse all over SoCal looking for bargains. Over the years I have filled a few shelves (anyone who has seen my library can attest to this) with fifty cent books (not books about the hip hop artist). One of my all time best buys would have to be the compact edition of the 22 volume OED. That is 22 volumes compacted into two hefty volumes, at 5pt font, now you need a magnifying glass to read it and all, but I got it for a dollar.

Today my treasures included, but were not limited to, The Chicago Manual of Style (13th ed.), Walter Wink's The Powers That Be, a book about Wilco (a great band), Jim Wallis' God's Politics, Stephen Jay Gould's Rocks of Ages, and Abbot and Smiths Greek Lexicon (which I promptly put up for sale).

The only bummer is that another guy found Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God, and seemed to be buying it only because of Fortress' nice cover, if only they could have put a dull brown cover on that book, I am confident that it would now be residing on my bookshelves.


All ill feelings to the chap who snagged the Wright book were quickly erased when I went back to the book sale and found 13 Anchor Bible Commentaries for 36 cents each, most of them were in the Hebrew Bible, but you can not beat 36 cents. Also picked up a gem called God and the Philosophers.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Again SBL


The receptions for me are always the highlight of SBL, and not just because of the free wine, although that does play a big part. This year, while mingling through the receptions, I met some old friends from Sheffield that I have not seen for ages, and it is always good to catch up on the departmental gossip, and to find out just what everyone is up to now (of course I forgot to bring my camera). The highlight by far was bumping into Mark Nanos, and chatting with him about my project. It is always affirming when an established scholar shows interest in your project. To be honest the Ph.D. is perhaps the most humiliating process I have been through, a time of constant doubting, and wondering if any one will buy the smoke I am blowing. So it is nice to get some positive feed back from someone who isn't known for affirming for the sake of being nice (just ask Preston).

The conversations outside of the seminars are always rich at SBL, perhaps because I have the luxury of having friends who are better thinkers than I, and who subsequently like to lash out against my feeble mind (shame shame!). This year was no exception, and they left me with much to mull over. I am counting on these conversations getting me through the next couple of months, so thank you!

Saturday, November 26, 2005



After a long three days in Valley Forge under the oppressive force which is 'Scanticon', we piled into a friends van and made the trek to Downtown Philly. Moving from ETS to SBL/AAR is helped by the annual IBR meeting, which conveniently lies between the two, both theological and sequentially. IBR was really really long, and I am sure the paper read by Gordon Wenham was good, but could have and should have been cut by thirty minutes. I arrived at IBR about twenty minutes late, hoping to avoid a long lecture, twenty minutes proved too early, and I had to endure a long lecture nonetheless. I do like IBR because they always give a free book out after the lecture, kind of like a prize for endurance.

Then it was off to eat, sleep, and prepare for the first full day of SBL. I woke up early on day two, and walked Philly. It was cold but I enjoy watching cities wake up, and being Saturday Philly woke up a little late. I took my new camera and scouted for some good pictures. I hope some day to get up enough nerve to ask people if it is ok to snap some shots of them, until then it is just buildings and scenery.

I only remember going to one session, it was the Wright/Crossan/Ehrman/Martin symposium on the authority of Scriptures. A few comments: Wright is a smart man, but when is he going to wise up to post-modernity, and the postmodern project? His comment to Martin about authorial intention seemed a wee bit shallow for Wright. The least he could do is read A.K.M. Adam's little intro to postmodern theology. Besides that it was a good session, and all of the respondents did well. Of course I resonated with Martin the most, but little surprise there, huh. Needless to say I will look up Ehrman's book, if only to learn about his journey from Moody to Yale and beyond, sounds most interesting.

Here are some more Pics from Philly;

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


The blogging has been slow, and unlike those who found time to blog, whilst still at ETS/SBL, I couldn't bare looking at a computer screen for long periods of time. Sleeping only three to five hours a night is not something I am particularly good at, add to the mix the fact that I gave a paper and had interviews, the stress levels were in a constant state of flux. So now that I have had time to reflect upon my experience here goes. I will start with ETS:


The Evangelical Theological Society is a crazy conglomerate of people who in some way profess to be evangelical. Evangelical as a term, is a great example of a word that shows the problems of signification, since it signifies very different things to very different communities. This is reflected by the wide spectrums of papers given, and also the comments to those papers. That being said I only went to four papers, in which only one was completely egregious and the reader deserved to be shot on the spot for making so many category mistakes (yes we postmoderns do care about the internal logic of a paper).

The highlight was obviously hanging out with friends, laughing, and just being all around misfits. I also got to meet Richard Hays, and chat with him a little, so that was cool. I met one of Richard's students, who had a really brilliant idea, setting up a young scholars study group at ETS, but alas, somebody would have to organize all that, but at least you could solicit papers instead of having them grouped in some incoherent conglomerate.

The ETS site was appalling, the building seemed to be at its heyday in the late 80's, which is beginning to get old, there were no restaurants close by, and unless one had transportation, you had to wait for shuttles to get back and forth from your hotel. Many of the rooms had no podiums, and there was an oppressive spirit that hovered over a place called the 'Scanticon'.

My paper seemed to go well enough, though there were very few comments, which was disappointing since that is why you give papers. But it was all good, and ETS is simply a great way to meet up with old friends, and meet new ones.

And I bought no books there, can you belive it!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Romans 1.18-2.1 and Imperial Polemics

Here is the paper I will be presenting at this years ETS in Valley Forge, please feel free to comment on it as you please.

Don't be turned away by the link, it is a free hosting service, click on the button below the title, then when ready, click on the globe with an arrow. Sorry for the hassle someday i will get my website back up, so I can host these things a bit better.

Link to Paper


On Exile

But I am the exile.

Seal me with your eyes.

Take me wherever you are--

Take me whatever you are

Restore to me the colour of face

And the warmth of body

The light of heart and eye,

The salt of bread and rhythm,

The taste of earth...the Motherland.

Shield me with your eyes.

Take me as a relic from the mansion of sorrow.

Take me as a verse from my tragedy;

Take me as a toy, a brick from the house

So that our children will remember to return.


One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Friday, November 11, 2005

New Biblical Studies Website.

Sheffield has just updated their Biblical Studies website, it took a while but it is top notch, now we just need to get the Profs to put their papers online. Perhaps Paul at Deinde can convince them that open source is the wave of the future! Check it out.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Congrats Raf!

Rafael over at Verily Verily is now a papa, I want to welcome Janelle into the world, and offer Raf and Andrea my congrats!

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Nature of Texts

Texts are protean things; they are tied to circumstances and to politics large and small, and these require attention and criticism. No one can take stock of everything, of course, just as no theory can explain or account for the connections among texts and societies.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What books do you plan on buying at SBL/AAR?

I thought it might be fun to compare shopping lists of biblioblogers.

Here are mine in no particular order:

1. Leander Keck, Romans

2. N.T. Wright, The Last Word

3. N.T. Wright, Paul: Fresh Perspectives

4. Cosgrove, Weiss, and Yeo; Cross-Cultural Paul

5. Mark Reasoner, Romans in Full Circle

6. Kevin Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine

7. James Smith, Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?

8. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Saving Christianity from Empire

9. Sandra Polaski, Feminist Introduction to Paul

10. Camilo Jose Vergara, How the Other Half Worships

I will limit it to ten for now, and I know that some of these will not make publication by SBL, but that will allow me to add to the list.

So what will you buy?