• Christian Theology and the Bible is a section of the Society of Biblical Literature. Our task is to explore the intersection between the disciplines of Christian Theology and Biblical Studies. Does or can such an intersection exist? What then could be or would be theological exegesis? What is its relation to religious communities, the history of interpretation, historical theology, history of confession and doctrine, so-called Higher Criticism, etc.?
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SBL 2012 Call for Papers and Session News

Christian Theology and the Bible (SBL) will begin a multi-year project on the Senses of Scripture beginning with the Annual Meeting in Chicago in November 2012.  We would be grateful if you would encourage your colleagues and best students to submit proposals for our open session.  Please spread the word.

This first year of our project will focus on the literal sense of Scripture.  Our first invited session will be a quick descriptive examination of the literal sense of Scripture as understood in key moments in the history of Christian biblical interpretation.  We will include here the Antiochenes, the Middle Ages (Scotus, Aquinas), the Reformation (Calvin), Modernity (Historical Criticisms).   The second invited session will be creative, focusing on the theme of Sacrifice and Purity.  Texts treated will include but not be limited to Leviticus and Hebrews.  Our third session is open, and we invite creative proposals which combine theory with the practice of exegesis on texts from both the Old and the New Testaments. The section solicits papers for a section entitled “The Literal Sense of Biblical Texts Addressing Sacrifice and Purity: Theory and Practice.”  This topic, broadly conceived, allows for papers in Old and/or New Testament, and asks presenters to be explicit about in which ways the “literal” sense is construed.  Instructions for submission are on the SBL website, and submissions must be received by March 1, through the website only.  Abstracts are limited to 300 words, and the presentation itself must not exceed 20 minutes.  Please direct questions either to Claire Mathews (CMathews@loyola.edu) or Kathryn Greene-McCreight (Greene-McCreight@aya.yale.edu).

Ex Auditu vol. 25 now available

The 25th vol. of Ex Auditu: An International Journal of the Theological Interpretation of Scripture is now available. The theme for this volume is “Conversion.”

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction by Stephen J. Chester

  • Conversion Studies, Pastoral Counseling, and Cultural Studies: Engaging and Embracing a New Paradigm by Lewis R. Rambo

Response to Rambo by Phillis Isabella Sheppard

  • Observations on “Conversion” and the Old Testament by J. Andrew Dearman

Response to Dearman by Rajkumar Boaz Johnson

  • The Conversion of Simon Peter by Markus Bockmuehl

Response to Bockmuehl by Michael J. Gorman

  • Zacchaeus’s Conversion: To Be or Not To Be a Tax Collector: Luke 19:1–10 by Wyndy Corbin Reuschling

Response to Corbin Reuschling by Elizabeth Musselman Palmer

  • Towards Individual and Communal Renewal: Reflections on Luke’s Theology of Conversion by Frank D. Macchia

Response to Macchia by D. Christopher Spinks

  • Was Paul a Convert? by Scot McKnight

Response to McKnight by Eric James Gréaux Sr.

  • Romans 7 and Conversion in the Protestant Tradition by Stephen J. Chester

Response to Chester by Mary Veeneman

  • Ambrose, Paul, and the Conversion of the Jews by J. Warren Smith

Response to Smith by George Kalantzis

  • I Thank Christ Jesus our Lord: 1 Timothy 1:12–17 by Eric James Gréaux Sr.

If you are interested in purchasing this volume or any past volumes of the journal, contact Wipf & Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave., Ste. 3, Eugene, OR 97401, Telephone: (541) 344-1528 / Fax: (541) 344-1506, Orders@wipfandstock.com.

SBL 2010 – Saturday Session

11/20/2010
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD

Theme: Patristic Interpretation of Genesis 1-3

George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary, Presiding

Peter Martens, Saint Louis University
Origen’s Doctrine of Pre-Existence in its Exegetical and Heresiological Contexts (25 min)

People often talk about Origen’s doctrine of the pre-existence of souls or minds as “speculative,” implying that this is a whimsical and largely conjectural theme. This teaching is also invariably framed as yet another sad episode in the Hellenistic take-over of Christian doctrine, and thus, that it was deservedly anathematized. I will re-examine this doctrine. I will begin with an overview of the cardinal elements in Origen’s understanding of the pre-existent state, including his account of the fall of minds (drawing primarily from On First Principles). Without denying his sources in Hellenistic philosophy, I will pursue two lines of thought. (1) How did Origen seek to integrate Scripture, and in particular, the opening chapters of Genesis, into his curious account of beginnings? Origen was undeniably an exegete, and so too sensed (as many of his readers have also often sensed) that there was some disconnect between his account of beginnings and the account we find in Genesis. (2) To what extent did Origen’s doctrine of pre-existence serve as a calculated rebuttal of “Gnostic” theology? I will argue that there is a lot less idle speculation and a lot more pointed agenda in the contentious doctrine of preexistence than most scholars recognize. The key texts for my argument will be Origen’s first Homily on Genesis, books 1-2 of his Commentary on John and his Commentary on Genesis.

George Kalantzis, Wheaton College (Illinois)
“‘Did God Plant a Garden in the Manner of a Farmer?’ Divine / Human Relationship in Origen.” (25 min)

This paper examines Origen’s view of scriptural hermeneutics through his lens of the hexameron, as he presents it in De Principiis IV.

Kathryn Greene-McCreight, St John’s Episcopal Church, New Haven, CT
Augustine and the Role of Scripture in Christian Formation: Genesis 1-3 (25 min)

Augustine apparently never held a single-volume Bible in his hands. His Bible was a collection of many different books, or collections of books and letters. After all, Augustine’s conversion experience at hearing the children’s sing-song “Take and Read; Take and Read” led him to open his collection of Paul’s letters to the scale-tipping Romans 13:13. And Augustine’s now-famous request, upon his ordination to the priesthood, that Bishop Valerius allow him some time to read and study Scripture, is just as striking. Certainly it was Ambrose’s preaching that opened up particularly the Old Testament to Augustine. What does this tell us about the role of Scripture not only in Augustine’s conversion, but also in his understanding of the ongoing nurture of the soul before God? Why does Augustine focus on certain parts of Scripture more than others, returning as he does throughout his life in particular to Genesis 1-3? What is it about these first three chapters of the Bible which fascinate and vex him so, apart from trying to correct and win over his theological adversaries?

Thomas Holsinger-Friesen, Spring Arbor University
“Never Did Adam Escape the Hands of God”: Irenaeus’ Vision of Genesis 2:7 (25 min)

In Adversus Haereses, Irenaeus is renowned for formulating points of doctrine (e.g., “recapitulation” and the regula veritatis) that would be of great import in the development of early Christian thought. Yet his contribution to theological hermeneutics is no less significant. Given that Irenaeus and his “Gnostic” opponents shared a strong interest in origins, the Genesis creation texts served as a crucial battleground. In particular, Irenaeus found the Genesis 2:7 “breath of life” text to be conducive for exceptionally wide typological readings. In order to contradict a Valentinian anthropology appealing to 1 Corinthians 15:50, Irenaeus mines theological riches from Genesis 2.7. The images of God’s formation of the human body from dust and that of his inbreathing the breath of life enable Irenaeus (or so he claims) to interpret a broader range of texts: prophetic, apostolic, and gospel. In so doing, Irenaeus models an innovative hermeneutic of Scripture that is painstakingly christocentric, while showing remarkable flexibility and interpretative freedom. By means of focal texts like Genesis 2:7, he casts an expansive, unique vision of God and prepares the way for an anti-Platonist Christian anthropology. For Irenaeus, the purposeful work of the Father, through his two hands (Son and Spirit), will present the human creation as fully alive – in body no less than soul.

R. W. B. Moberly, Durham University, Respondent (25 min)
Discussion (25 min)

Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision

Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision: Critical Engagements with Agamben, Badiou, Zizek, and Others,
edited by Douglas Harink. Theopolitical Visions 7.

ISBN 13: 978-1-60608-662-9 / 350 pp. / $39 / paper

Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers

The apostle Paul was a man of many journeys. We are usually familiar with the geographical ones he made in his own time. This volume traces others—Paul’s journeys in our time, as he is co-opted or invited to travel (sometimes as abused slave, sometimes as trusted guide) with modern and recent Continental philosophers and political theorists. Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Benjamin; Taubes, Badiou, Zizek, and Agamben—Paul journeys here among the philosophers. In these essays you are invited to travel with them into the regions of philosophy, hermeneutics, political theory, and theology. You will certainly hear the philosophers speak. But Paul will not remain silent. Above the sounds of the journey his voice comes through, loud and clear.

“Is it good news that Zizek, Badiou and Agamben have refound Paul? I am not yet sure, since this may signal a new route into the Word or a new route out. Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision offers urgent instruction on how to keep this a route in. And that is very good news indeed. A powerful, brilliant, and urgent book!”
—PETER OCHS, University of Virginia.

“To the surprise of many, the apostle Paul has brought new energy to continental philosophy. But to date, the ‘Pauline turn’ in contemporary theory has been rather isolated from scholars in biblical studies—where Paul is undergoing a different kind of reconsideration. Finally, this volume changes all of that, bringing together philosophers, biblical scholars, and theologians to assess and engage the ‘postmodern Paul,’ intimating a Pauline revolution that not even Zizek could have dreamed.”
—JAMES K. A. SMITH, Calvin College

“This collection of essays forms a front that takes on recent philosophical interpretations of Paul by the likes of Heidegger, Benjamin, Taubes, Badiou, Zizek, and Agamben with the best voices in contemporary theology and biblical studies. What you get is nothing less than a new composition of the very core structures that make up theology, critical theory, and biblical studies—indeed the humanities as such! In this way, these arguments enact a very Paulinean Event that stands toe-to-toe with philosophy’s greats figures in order to identity the truth of God’s act in History—The Scandal of the Incarnation!”
—CRESTON DAVIS, Rollins College

“In this wonderful collection of essays, an adept team of scholars, expertly marshaled and framed by Douglas Harink, engages with the intriguing conversation currently unfolding between the apostle Paul and certain modern European theorists. The result is a dialogue rich with insights flowing in both directions—from modern theory to new (or recovered) angles of illumination on Paul, and from the apostle’s charged texts back to the presuppositions and conceits of modern theory. That the view of Paul often pressed is ‘apocalyptic,’ in the sense of drawing on the seminal work of J. Louis (Lou) Martyn, makes the analysis still richer. The result is a book that both educates and delights.”
—DOUGLAS A. CAMPBELL, Duke Divinity School

“There is a rich education to be had within these covers. On the one hand, the essayists offer crucial insights into what all the fuss is about regarding the philosophical rediscovery of the apostle Paul, and readers come to appreciate his varied fate in the hands of Taubes, Badiou, Agamben, and Zizek. On the other hand, these secular despoilers of Paul are themselves despoiled here, and Christian theology has set before it a wealth of provocations to better faithfulness and understanding. Taken together, these essays illumine the contours of the apocalyptic gospel of God at the heart of Paul’s own witness and make plain its import for contemporary political thought. Philosophers and theologians alike are well reminded—indeed well warned—of the dynamite they take into their hands when, in quest of a better human politics, they turn to Paul.”
—PHILIP G. ZIEGLER, University of Aberdeen

Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic at SBL 2010

From the Theology and Apocalyptic blog:

In addition to the two additional meetings at the AAR this year, the “Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic” group will be hosting its first Society of Biblical Literature session at this year’s annual meeting of the SBL.  The session will be a critical book review panel of Joseph Mangina’s forthcoming commentary on Revelation (from the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible).  Panelists will include Kathryn Greene-McCreight (St. John’s Episcopal Church, New Haven, CT), Richard B. Hays (Duke University), and Nathan Kerr (Trevecca Nazarene University).  Ryan Hansen (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary) will chair the session and Joseph Mangina (Wycliffe College) will be present to respond to the panelists.

Following the panel, there will be a brief business meeting to discuss proposing a new SBL program unit under the theme, “Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic,” in which biblical scholars and theologians might explore how apocalyptic has shaped Christian theology in the NT and throughout history, and how it might shape contemporary Christian theology.

Details about the time and location of the session will be made public when available.

SBL 2010: Teaser

More details forthcoming. For now there are three sessions planned for the Christian Theology and the Bible group:

1. Patristic readings of Genesis 1-3

2. A book review panel on Kavin Rowe’s World Upside Down

3. Theological/exegetical readings of Acts

SBL Survey

The SBL has received an NEH planning grant to develop a website, “The World of the Bible: exploring people, places, and passages.” The site is intended for general audiences and will share scholarly views and encourage critical engagement with the Bible, including its ancient contexts and interpretive legacy.

We encourage you to share this survey with people who are not bible scholars—your students, perhaps, or friends and family. The goal is to gain a diverse representation of our intended audience and to assess their current level of familiarity with and interest in the Bible.

Survey Link:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NH3V5ZZSBL Survey

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