• 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).


SBL 2010 – Saturday Session

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)

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

Jesus, Paul and the People of God

Wheaton College has announced the 19th Annual Wheaton Theology Conference.

Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N. T. Wright

April 16-17, 2010

This year’s conference engages the thought of one of the most prolific Christian thinkers of our generation, N.T. Wright, a premiere New Testament scholar and Bishop of Durham. The conference is designed to explore the meaning and implications of Wright’s work, featuring a dialogue between various scholars and Dr. Wright. A series of speakers will probe key features of Wright’s thinking about Jesus and Paul, with responses from Wright and panel discussion.

Other speakers include:

Jeremy Begbie

Markus Bockmuehl

Richard Hays

Edith Humphrey

Sylvia Keesmat

Nicholas Perrin

Marianne Meye Thompson

Kevin Vanhoozer

Brian Walsh

Resurrection of the Dead: Bible Traditions in Dialogue

An International Conference
Université Catholique de Louvain
Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

April 7–9, 2010

Scholarly debate over the significance of Biblical traditions concerning resurrection from the dead has been lively. The current conference allows for a continuation of research and discussion on the topic. Presentations will include both invited guests (main papers) and paper proposals in response to the « Call for Papers ». Presentations will be made in English or in French.

Main Papers:

Claire Clivaz (Lausanne/Genève)
Adela Yarbro Collins (Yale University)
John J. Collins (Yale University)
José Costa
(Paris III –  Sorbonne)
Gerd Lüdemann
Odette Mainville
Daniel Marguerat
Tobias Nicklas
(University of Regensburg)                     
Heikki Räisänen
Tom Shepherd
(Andrews University, MI)
Geert Van Oyen
(UCL, Louvain-la-Neuve)
André Wénin
(UCL, Louvain-la-Neuve)

Call for Papers:

The conveners of the international conference, « Resurrection from the Dead : Biblical Traditions in Dialogue » invite paper proposals for 25 minute presentations at the conference to be held at the Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), April 7-9, 2010. Papers may approach the topic of the conference utilizing any scholarly methodology or combination of methodologies. Depending on the proposals received, they will possibly be grouped in six sections :
The resurrection in :
1. the Synoptic Gospels and Acts; 2. the Johannine literature; 3. Pauline and deutero-Pauline literature and in the Catholic Epistles; 4. apocalyptic literature (Jewish and Christian); 5. the literature of Qumran; 6. non-canonical literature of early Christianity; 7. Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic

Send French proposals to Geert Van Oyen at geert.vanoyen@uclouvain.be and English proposals to Tom Shepherd at trs@andrews.edu. Proposals must be received by October 31, 2009. The conveners will send verification of reception of proposals and acceptance or rejection of the proposals by November 30, 2009.

Conference Fees:
Attendance at the conference:
us$ 100.00 / € 70
Students  us$ 50.00 / € 35

Accomodation  at Hotel Mercure
Single € 85 / night
Double  € 98  / night

2009 SBL Program for Theological Hermeneutics of Christian Scripture

Session One: Romans as Christian Theology
A. Katharine Grieb, Virginia Theological Seminary, Presiding

  • Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Princeton Theological Seminary: “Reading for the Subject: Conflict and Lordship in Romans 14”
  • Richard B. Hays, Duke University: “Spirit, Church, Eschatology: The Third Article of the Creed as Hermeneutical Lens for Reading Romans”
  • Michael J. Gorman, Saint Mary’s Seminary and University: “Romans: The First Christian Treatise on Theosis”

Session Two: The “Rule of Faith”: Relic, Refuge, or Resource?
Joy J. Moore, Duke University, Presiding

  • Tomas Bokedal, Aberdeen University: “The Rule of Faith: Tracing its Origins”
  • Kathryn Greene-McCreight, St John’s Episcopal Church, New Haven, CT: “A Chord of Three Strands Is Not Easily Broken: Three Functions of the Rule of Faith”
  • Nathan MacDonald, University of St. Andrews: “Irenaeus’ Rule of Truth and Scripture”
  • Ephraim Radner, Wycliffe College: “Applying the Rule of Faith: Herbert Thorndike and the Scriptural Church”