This year we (the ‘we’ that is T&T Clark in all its corporate gloriousness) attended quite a lot of conferences in Biblical Studies.
The season kicked off with International SBL in St Andrews where, despite the gulls and surprising heat, it was great to catch up with people. I had a lovely lunch with our LHBOTS series editors (Andrew Mein and Claudia Camp), and enjoyed discussing a few potential and existing projects with Athalya Brenner, Katie Edwards (Sheffield), Todd Still and many more. It was a very busy conference, and sadly I missed a couple of people I’d really hoped to touch base with. But a great ISBL... my only gripe is that the table sizes were about half the size that SBL had told us they'd be, and the coffee wasn't in the same place as the book exhibit. Both these things are annoying, it's not cheap to attend these events.
SOTS was in Bangor this year, under the presidency of T&T Clark author Eryl Davies (The Immoral Bible, Biblical Criticism: A Guide for the Perplexed). My colleagues Caitlin and Matt attended, and whilst book sales were quite slow it was a good time to meet with our UK-based Old Testament/Hebrew Bible authors.
The IOSOT conference in Munich was nice, but extremely hot, and slightly unbearable accordingly. The ‘cultural’ programme was truly excellent, including a full Bavarian beerhall banquet provided by the Archbishop of Munich and Freising.
Needless to say, I enjoyed it tremendously. It was also good to catch up with Thomas Romer, to have our ICC board meeting, and to meet authors and potential authors from outside the UK.
Last week was the BNTC (British New Testament), back in St Andrew’s (indeed top St Andrew’s restaurant recommendations: Forgan’s and The Seafood Restaurant), and as it was a fairly quiet conference I was able to attend some papers. Chris Keith (author of ‘Jesus’ Literacy’ and co-editor of ‘Jesus, Criteria and the Demise of Authenticity’) gave a great ‘tour d’horizon’ of Social Memory theory, in which he debunked several myths, and outlined a strong case for why this area of theory is so fruitful in biblical studies at the moment – and why it will become more so. Chris addressed the criticisms that memory theory doesn’t add terribly much to historical critical method and that it can be used simply to vindicate the biblical account, and showed quite clearly that not only can it mean a great deal, and throw up a lot of important questions, but also that it is only mis-applications (or simplistic applications) of memory theory that function as uncritical means of accepting the biblical account.
I have to confess a personal fascination with this approach, so expect to see rather more on memory (and ancient media culture) from T&T Clark in the future.
I also attended a panel review of Francis Watson’s new book with Eerdmans (who can thank me later for the publicity) on Gospel writing. It was an interesting session, in which Watson wasn’t given an entirely easy ride. A particular criticism was that Watson dispenses with Q and then sees Thomas as a possible source for Luke and Matthew. This doesn’t really hold water for those who date T in its entirety as post Lk and Mt. Nevertheless it’s clear that Watson’s book is a major contribution (which I'd have loved to have published!). It would have been nice if Mark Goodacre had been there to join the discussion and to give his thoughts on both Thomas and Q, which formed a large part of the discussion. It was nice to see Helen Bond, Loveday Alexander, Chris Keith, James Crossley and several others in St Andrews. Similarly, I enjoyed discussing a potential new edition of ‘One Lord, One God’ with Larry Hurtado and catching up with John Lyons about our new Reception History monograph series (link to vol 1), Scriptural Traces, which publishes as a subseries of the Library of Biblical Studies. Proper website coming soon. I was very much hoping to catch up properly with Steve Walton (and a few others), but I didn’t get the chance to.
So a good summer of conferences and many more excellent and enjoyable conversations than mentioned above. Now I suppose I’d best get back to planning for SBLAAR.