November 23, 2010 by Jason Hood
One lowlight, particular from our vantage point at SAET, was this question, asked of a genius pastor-friend of mine: “Are you a pastor or a theologian?” False dichotomy much?
A lower light: not hearing nearly as many great imitations as 2009 from my friend Heath Thomas, who teaches OT at Southeastern Seminary. Heath is truly the Frank Calliendo of evangelicalism (or at least the SBC).
The lowest light: no bathroom fan in a room shared by four men who really know how to use their bowels. Safety legislation failed us at the Marriot, and I may have missed at least one appointment because I lost consciousness after cumulative impact of the inhalation of toxic fumes.1 Comment
November 22, 2010 by Jason Hood
Highlights included the following:
*hearing everyone on the panel in Sunday morning’s Historical Jesus session admit that presuppositions play a far larger role than things like evidence in our evaluation of veracity. It was as if Polanyi and Kuhn were in the room guiding discussion. At one point Amy-Jill Levine said, “We all have a tacit understanding of what we’re doing” in the historical Jesus enterprise.
Unrelated: I think it was A-J who said, “Every Jesus scholar should look in the mirror every morning and say three times, ‘Q is a hypothetical document.’”
*hearing Craig Keener, in a Historical Jesus seminar with 150 present, meekly cite masses of well-documented miracles globally—including the resurrection of his sister-in-law in the Congo after two hours of death—as evidence that our Western, anti-supernatural approach to questions of faith just doesn’t cut it. Thank God for Pentecostals.
*pondering Darrell Bock’s possible nicknames: “Shiner”? “Amber”? If he gained quite a bit of weight he could go with Darrell “Barrell o’” Bock. Luther would approve of all three.
*getting a ticket for a free drink (one is given to all SBL members) from a new friend who belongs to an unnamed anti-alcohol denomination for two dollars (one would think that principles would require the destruction of the ticket, but I’m still grateful for the gesture)
*hearing my supervisor Michael Bird respond to Tom Wright at IBR. I missed Tom due to the Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar, but Mike lived up to the moment with loads of wit—most of his jokes were classics to me but new to so many others.
* learning from an OT scholar that one can put SLM at the end of a text for “shalom” (get it?).
* getting some great recommendations on children’s literature from Ray Van Neste of Union University1 Comment
November 22, 2010 by Jason Hood
ETS and SBL were simply a blast this year. It’s truly a blast to see so many friends and meet a few new ones, even if the lack of sleep and over-stimulation sometimes blows my circuits and leaves me winded.
As has been pointed out by others, the papers (and even the book discounts) aren’t the main point—it’s connecting with others.
More than once while hanging out in a group someone would throw out a question that would become an hour-long conversation: “What’s the difference between preaching and teaching?” “What are the implications (or lack thereof) of redemptive history for women in ministry and marriage?” “What needs to be written right now?” And (asked of the principal of an Asian theological college) “What are the goals for your students?”
Many other great personal, pedagogical, and pastoral questions popped up as well, everything from dealing with a friend’s adultery to using the lament Psalms in liturgy to shortcuts for indexing a book to the significance of food for Jesus’ ministry and so much more. Not often you can engage all of those conversations and more in a span of three days.0 Comments
June 24, 2010 by Gerald Hiestand
Elsewhere I’ve argued that the social locations of the academy and the church represent two distinct (and often diverging) fields of theological discourse. In as much as most of our theologians and scholars are situated in the academy, orthodox theology has become, in many instances, detached from the church and her concerns. While there remains some overlap between the academy and the church (particularly when one includes the seminary as a sub-set of the academic world), overall, these two social locations represent diverging theological/scholarly agendas.
The point above regarding diverging social locations is aptly illustrated by a recent exchange between SBL and a disgruntled former member, Ronald S. Hendel. Hendel accuses SBL of becoming too cozy with faith perspectives. The response from SBL is revealing:
“Although SBL invites vigorous discussion of all relevant topics, proselytizing activity is neither welcome nor permitted in SBL-sponsored events and publications and is inconsistent with the SBL’s core values: accountability, inclusiveness, collaboration, leadership in biblical scholarship, collegiality, productivity, commitment, responsiveness to change, communication, scholarly integrity, efficiency, and tolerance. Consequently, any instances of proselytizing activity should be reported to SBL staff. Further, we are unaware of any RBL reviews that even “hint” that anyone is “going to hell.” If any SBL member can point us to such a review, we will immediately remove the review and disavow its sentiments.”
Clearly the rules of engagement governing SBL do not lend themselves to the sort of theological task historically prosecuted by the church’s most influential theologians. The church’s task is, explicitly, a proselytizing one. Indeed, a significant bulk of the church’s reflection is driven by, and born out of, the duty of proselyting.
I’m glad believing, orthodox scholars like Michael Bird and others are present and moving in the SBL environment. The Christian community needs a voice there; we have both things to learn and to teach. But given the stated aims of SBL, it should be clear that the agenda of SBL — reflective of the wider academic context – represents an entirely different sort of agenda than what must once again come to constitute the core of orthodox, theological reflection. We are in need of a rebirth of the ecclesial theologian — the kind of theologian whose primary vocation is pastoral, and whose intellectual center and theological agenda is constituted by the church.0 Comments