As with most things this semester I’m about one step behind on getting things done, so here is a later-than-planned account of my SBL experience this year.
The greatest highlight for me was the publication of my thesis with Mohr Siebeck: Christosis: Pauline Soteriology in Light of Deification in Irenaeus and Cyril of Alexandria. I got the proof-ready copy in right at the deadline, and there were reportedly some printing issues that might have delayed its arrival, but to Mohr’s credit they had several copies available at the display. I was even asked to sign a couple of copies, which was unexpected to say the least. Now the waiting game for reviews.
I also experienced the academic highs and lows associated with writing. As a high, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Edith Humphrey’s paper on 2 Cor 5.21 (Manifest in the Body: Deeds, Sin, Righteousness and Glory), which interacted with the pdf copy of my thesis on Durham’s website. (By the way, the printed edition fills in a few gaps and adds additional material in a few places.) Her interest in my work is not surprising, but it is always nice to have someone interact with it. After the session I went to have coffee my good friend Nijay Gupta, who is the Associate Editor of the new Journal of Paul and His Letters. He showed me a copy of the most recent issue, which has an article about Romans 3:23. Since one of my only publications to date is an article about glory in Romans 3:23 in JSNT, I thought this article might interact with my arguments. After a quick perusal through it, I didn’t see my name. Through this I learned a lesson that disagreement is not the worst thing for an author to face; the worst thing is being ignored. This is not to cast aspersions on the JSPL article since my article came out just last year, but it was a lesson in the lows that come with the highs from participation in the academic game.
I gave a paper this year in the Paul and Politics section: ‘Paul and Empire in Light of the Acts of Paul‘. I don’t frequent that section, but I had some new evidence for them to consider. Using Wright and Barclay’s debate as a proxy for larger discussions, I tried to situate the Acts of Paul, and particularly the Martyrdom of Paul which is the final section of the Acts, within this dispute. While I started more on the Barclay side of things, I found myself working towards the middle since there are aspects of this second century reception of Paul (and possibly his letters) that supports both sides of the argument. I didn’t add much new to the debate, but I think I won novelty points, which is often difficult to do in NT studies.
Of course, the best part of SBL is meeting up with old friends and making new ones, and this conference was as successful in that area as any other. Now I just need to think of a paper for next year…