Canadian Society of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting
Réunion annuelle de la Société canadienne des études bibliques
University of Calgary
6-8 June/juin 1994


Programme with Abstracts


CSBS Executive Committee Meeting / Réunion du Comité executif de la SCÉB



A. Hebrew Bible/Bible Hébraique                                                                          Room EDC 280
Presiding/Président: Susan Slater Kuzak (Atlantic School of Theology)

9:00 Lyle Eslinger (U. of Calgary) “šûl in Prophetic Literature and in the Book of Isaiah”

Six verses in the prophetic corpus aid our understanding the word šûl in Isaiah’s vision (Isa 6:1; 47:2; Jer 13:22, 26; Nah 3:5; and Lam 1:9; cf. Exod 28:33-34). The paper examines these verses together with the structure of Isa 6:1-5 and proposes a new view of Isaiah’s temple vision, which contains scenes of nudity and ritual violence. Conclusion: that šûl is a metonymic euphemism for what is seen in indecent exposures. Isaiah sees God’s and collapses in Hamitic shame (cf. Gen 9:22). But the genre of the vision’s subplot is comedy and all is set right by the cloaking action of the seraphim and the spontaneous heavings of the temple.

9:30 Adrian M. Leske (Concordia College) “Who is the King of Zechariah 9-14?”

Most interpretations of Zechariah 9-14 have concluded that the “king” referred to in Zech 9:9-10 is a future Davidic Messiah, and the latest commentary, that by Carol and Eric Meyers, is no exception. A few other scholars (e.g., Joachim Becker) have argued that the king in that passage is really Yahweh. The purpose of this paper is to suggest a third alternative in the light of the various restoration plans which developed during the exilic and post-exilic periods, and in the light of the whole context of Zech 9-14.

10:00 Mark Love (U. of Sheffield) “Incoherent Confrontations: Engaging Zechariah’s Refusal to Mean”

Zechariah 1-8 is a text at odds with itself. Past generations are condemned for failing to comply with previous prophetic proclamations in Zech 1-8’s frame (1:1-6; chs. 7-8). Yet, the prophetic message the book delivers in 1:7-6:15 is obscure and replete with impenetrable symbolism; the book is practically incoherent. Rather than attempt to overcome the incoherence by interpreting the symbols, I examine what purpose the incoherence serves in this text. I propose that Zech 1-8 is a parody that uses this structure to expose the incoherence latent in the prophetic works.

10:30 Break

11:00 Robert C. Culley (McGill U.) “Isaiah and the Illness of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38)”

Chapter 38 of Isaiah is interesting because it contains both prose and poetry. The prose is a legend about Isaiah and Hezekiah. The king suffers an illness. After Isaiah announces that it is fatal, the king prays and is then told that he will live. The poem is filled with the kind of language about personal misfortune usually found in complaint psalms. Both prose and poetry deal, in their own ways, with rescue from difficulty. This paper will explore the linkage of the two perspectives.

11:30 Jacqueline R. Isaac (U. of Toronto) “Here Comes the Dreamer: Joseph, the Elohist, and the Nature of Biblical Heroes”

When subscribing to a diachronic view of biblical composition, it becomes increasingly evident that much of the pivotal material in the Joseph Story may be ascribed to the Elohist. Indeed, it may even be suggested that the Elohist has chosen the Joseph Story as the primary platform upon which to focus, and from which to project, the Elohistic worldview and theology. Within the Joseph Story, it is largely the Elohistic dream sequences which set the stage for the events which follow, and they determine the development of Joseph as a biblical character, patriarch and hero. Through his role as dream interpreter, Joseph gains worldly power and rescues all Israel, fulfilling his own prophetic dreams and becoming one of the most prominent biblical heroes. In this paper I will discuss the aspects of the Elohist’s Joseph which transform him into a hero of epic proportions, and I suggest some possible connections between such a heroic tale and the rest of the patriarchal narratives.

12:00 Joyce Rilett Wood (U. of Sudbury) “The Transformation of History into Myth”

The paper will explore the conclusion reached by many investigators (e.g., Eliade, Bultmann): historical figures are very soon assimilated to mythical models, and historical events are identified with the category of mythical actions. The paper will cite some of the evidence in the Hebrew Bible for this metamorphosis of history into myth with reference, for example, to the patriarchal and Exodus histories and to the biographies of the Judaean prophets.

12:30 James Black (U. Calgary) “Michal’s Window”

Using the narrative about Michal in 1 and 2 Samuel, this paper explores the presences of Michal as both active participant and passive instrument in David’s story. In how far is she a figure in what Elaine Showalter calls in another context the “ideology of representation"? To what extent is she a source of folkloric/mythic archetypes, among which are: a giant-killer’s reward; the return for a fabulous bride-price; the contriver of a bridegroom-in-the-dark trick; one of the OT women associated with windows? The windows narratives (1 Sam 19 and especially 2 Sam 6) are the paper’s chief concern. Biblical analogues and literary-folkloric Scholarship will be adduced to propose linkages between Michal’s story and Rapunzel—Lady of Shalott tales of women in containing inner spaces and at windows, of women living with delimited vision that is coloured by intense desire and being cursed. Selected biblical scholarship consulted includes that of Peter R. Ackroyd, Robert Alter, P. K. McCarter, Peter Miscall, Meir Sternberg. Selected literary-critical scholarship consulted includes Karen Hodder, Max Luthi, Elaine Showalter.

13:00 Break


B. Christian Origins/Origines chrétiennes:
Historical Jesus/ Le Jésus historique                                                                     Room EDC 284

*Please note that papers will be summarized and not read in these sessions. Copies of the papers (on disk) can be obtained from Michel Desjardins in mid-May. Interested members should contact him directly.

Presiding/Présidente: Peter Richardson (U. of Toronto)

Wendy Cotter (Loyola U. of Chicago) “Setting the Miracles Free from their Bondage”

Gregory Bloomquist (St. Paul U.) “The Rhetoric of the Historical Jesus”

I propose to discuss Jesus’ rhetorical presentation of himself. This presentation provides an important corrective in the current debate concerning the historical Jesus. Scholars have occupied themselves with attempts to discern the historical Jesus’ words and actions, and once they have been discerned they are often taken as providing direct access to the historical setting of which they speak; yet, these same scholars know that when they set about to discuss how the first Christians used those words of Jesus, they necessarily examine how those early communities and believers adapted Jesus’ words to fit other agenda. What I am therefore suggesting is that we need to do the same with Jesus’ words and deeds. We need to be able to probe more fully the rhetorical agenda of Jesus.

Robert Cousland (U. of Calgary) “Jesus and the Historical Crowds”

Given that the crowds or multitudes figure in the four gospels it is hardly surprising that they have begun to receive critical scrutiny in recent years. Much of this scrutiny, however, has focussed on theological and redactional concerns to the exclusion of historical questions. Yet the crowds raise a number of questions. One such question is whether it is possible to discern an historical substratum to the depiction of the crowds in the gospels. If it is possible, can it be said that this substratum offers any insights into the historical Jesus?

Respondents: Daniel Fraikin (Queen’s Theological College) and Willi Braun (U. of Toronto)

10:30 Break

Presiding/Président: Steve Wilson (Carleton U.)

John Marshall (Princeton U.) “From Reversal to Union: The Gospel of Thomas and the Cynic Jesus”

Wayne McCready (U. of Calgary) Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Data, Method and Justification”

The presentation will deal with research linking the historical Jesus with Dead Sea Scrolls. Consideration will be given to how and why primary materials from the scrolls are used by researchers to contextualize Jesus within Second Temple Judaism—and to popularize Jesus in the modern context.

Grant Lemarquand (Wycliffe College) “The Historical Jesus and African Biblical Scholarship”

There is a growing corpus of African biblical scholarship. The perception of the historical Jesus in this scholarship cannot be separated from the needs of African societies and African churches. While scholars in the “West” might regret the dangers of subjectivism in the approach of African scholars to historical questions, their work raises the issue of whether “cultural bias” can play a positive role which may help us in our imaginative reconstructions of historical situations, and in particular in our reconstructions of the historical Jesus.

Respondents: Dietmar Neufeld (U. of British Columbia), Terry Donaldson (College of Emmanuel and St. Chad), and William Klassen (St. Paul’s United College)

13:00 Break


A. Hebrew Bible/Bible Hébraique                                                                          Room EDC 280
Presiding/Président: John L. McLaughlin (U. of St. Michael’s College)

14:00 John Van Seters (U. of North Carolina) “From Faithful Prophet to Villain: Observations on the Tradition-History of Balaam”

The biblical tradition about Balaam, son of Beor, presents this foreign prophet in conflicting portraits, either as an obedient prophet of Yahweh or as a scoundrel who attempted to subvert the destiny of Israel. In the present account in Num 31:8, 16 (P) Balaam is vilified in connection with the defection to Baal of Peor. Outside of Numbers, the matter is more confusing. Micah 6:5 seems to reflect the positive view of J, while Deut 23:4-5 is quite negative. The text in Josh 24:9-10 is the most confusing. As it stands it is negative, but it betrays signs of having been altered in transmission. A reconstruction of this text may give a clue to the tradition-history of the Balaam story. 

14:30 Solomon Nigosian (U. of Toronto) “Moses in Non-Pentateuchal Sources”

Although the complete biography of Moses is found in the Pentateuch, there are also references in the other books of the Old Testament. Are these references relevant or irrelevant to an understanding of biographic matters on Moses? I shall present some observations, particularly with regard to the decisive role of Moses in Israelite religion, based on the location and frequency of these references. 

15:00 Gary N. Knoppers (Pennsylvania State) “‘YHWH is not with Israel’: the Topos of Alliances in Chronicles”

In discerning the major foci of the Chronicler’s ideology, recent scholars, such as Ackroyd, Mosis, and Welten have argued that material in Chronicles tends to fall in repeated patterns or topoi. Through the use of such topoi the Chronicler patterns and unifies his history. Welten investigates the topoi of war reports, descriptions of military techniques, and reports of military fortifications. Mosis contends that the Chronicler uses distinctive vocabulary, imagery, and theme to construct the reign of Saul as an exilic situation that recurs in Judah’s history. I argue that the Chronicler’s depiction of alliances during the divided monarchy constitutes a topos. The coalitions the Chronicler portrays are disparate in nature (military, diplomatic, commercial): nevertheless, each involved a union of interests bonding Judah to either Israel or a foreign nation. Although such covenants are not a major issue for the Deuteronomist, the Chronicler boldly restructures these pacts so that they receive divine condemnation and are historically unsuccessful. The Chronicler’s distinctive treatment of alliances raises the question of whether the stark contrast that some scholars (e.g. Japhet, Williamson) draw between the attitude of the author of Chronicles and the author(s) of Ezra-Nehemiah toward residents of the former northern kingdom is well-founded. 

15:30 Ehud Ben Zvi (U. of Alberta) “Introducing a Prophetic Book: An Historical-Critical Study of the Role of Obadiah 1”

From a formal point, Obadiah 1 contains a superscription or title and an audition report, the implication of the latter being doom for “Edom.” It is the contention of this paper that the entire verse functions as an introduction to the Book of Obadiah. In more specific terms, the main role of Obadiah 1 is to help the original audience create a provisional “schema” of what the following text is about, and to suggest to the readers or learners of this text a set of questions and issues to be dealt with through their interpersonal, communal reading. These questions include among others: (1) what is the background and time of Obadiah (i.e. the character to whom the hazon is attributed); (2) what is the referent of the term “Edom” in terms of the historical community of readers; (3) can a prophetic book contain only a prophecy of doom against a nation? Thus, the function of Obadiah 1 is neither to introduce a historical prophet to the original readers of the book bearing his name, nor to claim that Obadiah actually wrote the book, but rather it is to prepare the audience for the reading of the book.


B. Christian Origins/Origines chrétiennes:
Historical Jesus/Le Jésus historique                                                                      Room EDC 280
Presiding/Président: Michel Desjardins (Wilfrid Laurier U.)

Edith Humphrey (McGill and Carleton U.) “Will the Reader Understand? Apocalypse as Veil or Vision in Recent Historical Jesus Studies”

Jesus research in our decade seems less a discussion or dispute than a set of separate conversations which bypass each other. The reasons for this “ships in the night” phenomenon are complex. However, a foundational issue which obstinately refuses to provide common ground is the varied understanding and evaluation of “apocalyptic” in the gospels. Is apocalyptic really the mother of Christianity, or a red herring in the understanding of Jesus and the earliest community? This paper will sketch the approaches to “apocalyptic” of several representative scholars in an attempt to disclose what may be at stake, politically, ideologically or theologically, in their assessments.

Larry Hurtado (U. of Manitoba) “A Taxonomy of Recent Historical Jesus Studies”

N. T. Wright refers to a “third quest” of the historical Jesus having begun sometime within the last twenty years or so. In this paper, I attempt to offer a categorization of important historical Jesus studies of this period, suggesting that there are competing schools of thought in this newest wave of work. This in turn raises the question of whether this newest quest can rise above the classical problems of previous quests.

Barry Henaut (U. of Ottawa) “‘I Believe in the Christ of Faith’, or What Paul of Tarsus could have learned about Christianity from I. Howard Marshall, Leander E. Keck and the Jesus Seminar”

I focus on some of the sociological need served by the continued quest of the Historical Jesus. My basic premise is that the fundamental impasse so well documented by A. Schweitzer has not been adequately resolved—indeed, with the Wisdom-Jesus of the Jesus Seminar it seems we have now come full circle and again have a pre-Schweitzerian Jesus, the small “l” liberal preacher so popular in late 19th century lives (witness A. Juelicher’s exposition of the parables). Why the continued quest in the absence of an adequate methodology to get behind the resurrection line?

Respondents: Stephen Westerholm (McMaster U.) and Robert Webb (Canadian Theological Seminary)


CTS Presidential Address/Discours présidentiel de la SCT                                     Room ST 143
Peter Slater “Christ and Culture”


President’s Reception


Joint Session with CSSR, CTS, CRS                                                                     Room EDC 179
Charles Kannengiesser (Université de Sherbrooke) “Ancient Christian Heresies: An Interpretative Key to Contemporary Crises”

Reception Following



 7:30-9:30 Women Scholars Breakfast                                                            The University Club


A.(i) Christian Origins/Origines chrétiennes                                                          Room EDC 280
Presiding/Président: Wayne McCready (U. of Calgary)

8:30 Allison Trites (Acadia Divinity College) “The Imperturbability of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel: A Heuristic Study”

One of the striking features of Mark’s Gospel is its portrayal of the activity ministry of Jesus. He is busy preaching, teaching and healing, and the crowds are often presented as pressing and urgent in their demand for attention (Mark 3:10; 5:27; 6: 56). Against this background it is noteworthy that Jesus is repeatedly seen withdrawing or retiring from public view (e.g. Mark 1:12; 3:7; 6:31; 7:24). This paper attempts to study these occasions of withdrawal to see if they provide a heuristic device for the imperturbability of Jesus in the face of frequent interruptions.

9:00 Alan D. Bulley (Saint Paul U.) “Death and Rhetoric in the Hebrews ‘Hymn to Faith’”

Michael R. Cosby’s The Rhetorical Composition and Function of Hebrews 11, provides the most extensive rhetorical analysis of the passage in question. In spite of the title of his book, however, Cosby’s discussion of “function” has more to do with the rhetorical function of individual elements of style in Hebrews 11 than it has to do with the workings of the chapter as a persuasive unit. This paper will attend to the role of chapter 11 in the argumentation of Hebrews by building on Cosby’s work through analysis of the techniques of epideictic rhetoric in connection with orations celebrating the dead, and of the interration of the themes of pistis, suffering, and death.

9:30 Bill Richards (Emmanuel College) “‘I have written to you briefly’: The Closing Apology for Brevity in Early Christian Letters”

Several early Christian letters refer to their own brevity. Where the letter runs to several thousand words, however, the correspondent has hardly written “briefly.” This paper argues that the “apology for brevity” is in fact a conventional closing feature for certain kinds of letters, whatever their length. In those that are primarily for instruction and exhortation, it invites the reader to re-read and to share the contents. Examples of the form indicate: (1) features of its internal structure and, (2) its place in the transition to the letter closing. Identification of this “apology for brevity” adds to our understanding of what, formally, defines “catholic” epistles.

10:00 Break


A.(ii) Introductory Session for a Proposed New Seminar                                      Room EDC 280

Presiding / Président: Terry Donaldson (College of Emmanuel &: St. Chad), Leif Vaage (Emmanuel College)

10:30 “Jews, Christians, and ‘Pagans’ in Urban Context: The Struggle for Success in the Eastern Roman Empire (30-330 CE.)”

The purpose of this session is to introduce and discuss plans for a proposed sequel to the Voluntary Associations seminar. The seminar topic comprises three interconnected levels: (1) a set of area-by-area studies of the concrete urban settings for the religious movements in which we are interested; (2) building on this basic level, case studies of the tri-cornered relationships among Jews, Christians, and ‘Pagans’; and (3) shaping and guiding these specific studies, the larger question of the “struggle for success” and its outcome. This introductory session will contain presentations both of a programmatic paper and of the proposal itself, followed by discussion and planning for the future.

General Discussion

11:30 Break


B. Trajectories of Biblical Tradition/Trajectoires bibliques                                 Room EDC 284
Presiding/Président: Eliezer Segal (U. of Calgary)

8:30 Eliezer Segal (U. of Calgary) “The Distinctiveness of Babylonian Aggadah: Reflections on the Esther-Midrash”

A detailed study of the Babylonian midrashic commentary on Esther suggests that much of the perceived difference between the midrashic oeuvres of Palestine and Babylonia derives from the literary contexts in which these texts were studied and preserved. The Palestinian collections reflect the popular synagogue sermons in which exegetical methods were subordinated to the requirements of literary homilies, whereas the Babylonian rabbis dealt with aggadic midrash as part of their academic curriculum. Examples will be adduced of how this situation influenced the Babylonian Talmud’s approaches to formal literary structures and to exegetical methods.

9:00 Jack N. Lightstone (Concordia U.) “The Rhetoric of the Mishnah: A Preliminary Glance”

After a brief account of the conceptual and methodological issues informing a rhetorical-analytical approach to the study of Mishnah; this paper undertakes, by way of a preliminary exploration such an approach: the rhetorical analysis of Mishnah Gittin chapter 1. In the latter, the essay endeavors, first, to lay bare, in preliminary fashion, the rhetorical strategies employed by the redactors in organizing and integrating discrete materials into larger literary units, and, second, to venture some initial hypotheses about the modes of thought implicitly communicated in these strategies.

9:30 Bradley Maclean (St. John’s College, U. of Manitoba) “Plurality and the Voluntary Associations of Delos”

Situated in the centre of the Cyclades, Delos is one of the smallest islands, measuring scarcely 5 km. by 1.3 km. Despite its size, Delos’ renown as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis has resulted in the founding of more than fifteen temple cults. Alongside these many cults are numerous religious associations (including a synagogue) and trade guilds, composed variously of Greeks, Italians and even Egyptians; both free and freed, men and women. In short, the religious life of Delos manifests in a microcosm the religious and social pluralism of Greco-Roman antiquity. This paper will consider two aspects of this pluralism: (1) it will identify and discuss the various kinds of religious associations and guilds on Delos; (2) it will discuss their relationship to one another, and to the temple cults of the island.

10:00 Break

10:30 Alan Kirk (U. of Toronto) “Examining Priorities: The Guard at the Tomb and the Resurrection Epiphany in Matthew and the Gospel of Peter”

A strong case has been made recently by both Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels (1990), and John Dominic Crossan, The Cross that Spoke (1985), that the Gospel of Peter preserves a version of the ‘Guard at the Tomb’ and resurrection epiphany pericope more primitive than the Matthean version. Their arguments are closely examined and counter-arguments are developed for the priority of the Matthean version and for the likelihood that the Gospel of Peter bases its version on Matthew’s, rewriting it in accordance with the socio-religious interests prevailing in the circles in which the Gospel of Peter was produced.

11:00 Harry O. Maier (Vancouver School of Theology) “1 Clement, 1&2 Corinthians, and the Rhetoric of Hubris”

This paper explores the particular ways in which Clement depicts the persons who have revolted against the presbyters of the Corinthian church, and it argues that in his depiction, he draws on rhetorical themes and vocabulary typical of contemporary pagan discourse on civic discord and division. The paper builds on themes developed by Barbara Bowe’s treatment of 1 Clement (A Church in Crisis), but it treats an aspect of Clement’s use of political rhetoric not discussed in her book or in other Clementine scholarship, namely Clement’s borrowing of themes and vocabulary linked closely with pagan discourse on the vice of hubris. The possibility is explored that Clement based his depiction of the Corinthian upstarts on the political rhetorical themes relating to hubris in Paul’s Corinthian correspondence. Finally, the paper looks at the possibility of determining from Clement’s use of rhetorical themes the precise social setting of the dispute.

11:30 Break


12:45-13:45                                                                                                              Room EDC 179
CSBS Student Prize Essays/Gagnants du concours de la SCÉB ouvert aux étudiants
Presiding/Président: Harold Remus (Wilfrid Laurier U.)

12:45  The 1993 Joachim Jeremias Prize: Carla E. P. Jenkins (Memorial U.)
           “The Samaritan Woman and the Reader in John 4.1-42”

13:15  The 1993 Founders’ Prize: Sharon Lea Matilla (McMaster U.)
           “Christo-Centric Participationist Apocalyptic Eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15”


13:45-15:00                                                                                                              Room EDC 179
CSBS Annual Business Meeting/Séance d’affaires annuelle de la SCÉB


CSSR Presidential Address                                                                                    Room EDC 384
Jacques Goulet (Mount Saint Vincent U.), “From Abyss to Abyss: Eros and Agape”


CSBS Presidential Address/Discours présidentiel de la SCÉB                            Room EDC 179
Presiding/Présidente: Eileen Schuller (McMaster U.)
Harold Remus (Wilfrid Laurier U.), “‘Magic’, Method, Madness”


CSBS Annual Dinner/Banquet annuel de la SCÉB at “La Caille on the Bow” (off-campus)



A. Politics and the Bible Seminar/
Séminaire sur la politique et la Bible Room                                                                      EDC 280

*Please note that papers will be summarized and not read in these sessions. Copies of the papers can be obtained from John L. McLaughlin in mid-May. Interested members should contact him directly.

Presiding/Président: John L. McLaughlin (U. of St. Michael’s College)

Grant Hovers (U. of Toronto) “The Religious and the Secular in Modernity: The Biblical Dimension to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Thought”

I shall argue that a critical examination of Rousseau’s works sheds important light on the deeply controversial relation in modernity between religion and secularism, which scholars typically interpret as simply opposed to each other. My hypothesis is that Rousseau, who is typically portrayed by scholars as a secular critic of modernity, nevertheless presupposes a religious dimension in his secularism. For as a critic of modernity. Rousseau repudiates all oppression, whether sanctioned by religious dogma or secular reason, on the basis of the biblical doctrine of charity. This doctrine, as Rousseau invokes it, recognizes all human beings as worthy of love, respect, and equality in both religious and secular spheres of existence. Thus Rousseau takes aim at rationalistic and theistic defenders of oppression for failing to recognize that state and church are equally bound to charity. What is additionally significant about the central role which Rousseau reserves for the doctrine of charity in his works is that, while he normally opposes religion (as represented by the Church), he appropriates an historically religious doctrine for the purpose of scrutinizing the secular dynamics of modernity.

Kim Ian Parker (Memorial U.) “Writing, Speech, and Power: The Biblical Canon in a Post-Modem Age”

The paper attempts to show how an inquiry into the postmodern interplay between speech and writing can be used to show that the formation of the biblical canon has more to do with political power than with religious authority. The paper will first set forth the problematic relationship between speech and writing through a brief examination of Derrida’s reading of Plato’s Phaedrus. Second, the paper will show that the same interplay between speech and writing is at issue in the power struggles between the prophet and the priest. Finally, the paper will show how that same tension manifests itself in the early chapters of Genesis, revealing a peculiar tension between the “word” of God and the “voice” of the narrator’s textuality.

Samuel Ajzenstat (McMaster U.) “Jacob the Arch-contractualist: Biblical Politics for a Modem Age”

General Discussion

9:45 Break

Presiding/Président: Kim Ian Parker (Memorial U.)

David Jobling and Catherine Rose (St. Andrew’s College) “A Philistine Reading of 1 Samuel”

John L. McLaughlin (U. of St. Michael’s College) “‘Hebrew’ Politics in 1 Samuel”

The term “Hebrew” occurs in I Samuel in the speech of Canaanites, Philistines and Israelites. Interpretations of the word have included: (1) a straightforward synonym for “Israelite,” (2) an ethnic designation for Israelites used by non-Israelites and by Israelites in dialogue with them, and (3) a socio-political designation. Through attention to the nuances of the relevant texts the paper will show that there are serious problems with the first two options, and that “Hebrew” is best understood as a social and political appellation used by all three groups.

Lyle Eslinger (U. of Calgary) “Politicking and Temple Building in 2 Sam 7”

2 Samuel 7 is the key text in the modem concern about the relationship between conditional “Sinaitic” and unconditional “Davidic” covenants. Stripped of its history of religions label, what the chapter reports is a battle of wits between Yahweh and David over the matter of obligation. Can David oblige Yahweh and contain him by building a royal temple for him? Can Yahweh stigmatize David’s cheek by reminders of all that he (and Israel) owe to God for favours past? More important can Yahweh distract David with more glittery prospects? Emerging out of this conversation, in conjunction with certain other biblical allusions to this conversation, is the modem concept of a “Davidic covenant.” This grandiose notion is not supported in subsequent events in Israel’s history (as represented in the Bible). Reading the dialogue in 2 Samuel 7 as political repartee, we put more stock in its face value and less in what the characters, especially Yahweh, say. Careful attention to Yahweh’s speech in context reveals an augmented political perspicacity and a proportionally diminished theological promise. Regarding the “eternal” covenant, to paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli, “forever is not the language of politics.” General Discussion

11:30 Break

Presiding/Président: John L. McLaughlin (U. of St. Michael’s College)

Jo-Ann Badley (Wycliffe College) “The Theological Context of our Historical Method: An Examination of William Wrede’s ‘Messianic Secret’”

S. Neill’s observation that “The Messianic Secret” by William Wrede has had “an influence out of all proportion to its size” is recently reaffirmed by H. Raisanen’s study “The Messianic Secret in Mark". Raisanen credits Wrede with having “steered gospel studies in a new direction” and assesses subsequent solutions to Wrede’s dilemma, considering the methodological approach of the modem scholars. While the impact of Wrede’s work is amply documented, the implications of the theological context of the problem as Wrede saw it, are less adequately treated. Wrede himself points to the connection between his investigation of Mark and both the source critical assumptions he makes and the theological setting of the discussion. Further, Wrede pays careful attention to his method, both in the Introduction to the Messianic Secret and in other writings. My paper examines the inter-relationship of theology and history in “The Messianic Secret” by Wrede, paying particular attention to the controls established by the theological context and the historical method in Wrede’s analysis of the Markan material.

Susan Lochrie Graham (Wycliffe College) “Medusa’s Laugh: Psychoanalysis and New Testament Feminist Criticism”

This experimental paper explores a variety of feminist interpretive strategies critiqued from a historical-critical viewpoint. At the same time it uses narrative to highlight the androcentric bias or the semiotics or academic discourse. Like its best known intertext it raises political issues centering around the role or marginal voices in constituting dominant structures, in this case concerning the practices of New Testament interpretation.

General Discussion

Business Meeting: wrap up and prospects


B. Christian Origins/Origines chrétiennes                                                             Room EDC 284
Presiding/Présidente: Wendy Cotter (Loyola U. of Chicago)

8:30 Richard S. Ascough (Toronto School or Theology) “The Completion or an Obligation: The Background of 2 Cor 8”

In 2 Cor 8 Paul is concerned with the collection of money for the church in Jerusalem. He urges the Corinthians “to complete (epiteleo) what a year ago you began not only to do but to desire” (8:11a). H. D. Betz suggests that the language or chapter 8 reflects the realm of business and law, particularly in Paul’s use of epiteleo (the only formal imperative in chs. 8-9), “which occurs time and again to denote the ‘carrying out’ of governmental orders by envoys". However, the verb also has the sense of the discharging of a religious duty. This aspect is borne out by an examination of the sacred laws of religious clubs in the Greco-Roman world. With this background it is more helpful to understand Paul’s argument in 2 Cor 8 as urging the completion of a religious obligation rather than the execution of an administrative responsibility.

9:00 Steven C. Muir (U. of Ottawa) “Acts 9.1-22 as a Rite of Passage”

The story of the conversion of Paul contains the components (separation, transition, integration) of what cultural anthropologists call a “rite of passage.” The rite of passage model is a useful tool to help understand the issues behind Luke’s narrative. It is my thesis that Luke uses Paul’s healing from blindness as the central symbol of his transformation in character, and that the theme of a transforming initiation is used by Luke to address the problem of social divisions faced in his community. Paul is a paradigm of the power of God at work in believer—power that can overcome divisions by creating new identity.

9:30 Stephen Westerholm (McMaster U.) “The Law and Israel’s Destiny in Romans 9-11”

Discussions of Paul’s view of the law necessarily examine a much disputed passage in Romans 9:30-10:4. But understanding of that passage is impossible without some grasp of the (at least equally problematic) argument of chapters 9-11 as a whole, and of the (also disputed) place of these chapters in the context of the entire epistle. This paper attempts to make sense of Paul’s claims about the law in 9:30-10:4 as pan of a tentative reading of both the immediate and the larger contexts.

10:00 Break

10:30 Paul Gamet (Concordia U.) “When is the Believer Justified (Gal. 5.5)?”

This verse has often been interpreted as teaching that justification for the believer is in a future day of judgment. If so, it clearly contradicts what Paul taught in Rom 5. This might tend to support the view that Paul’s doctrine of justification is inconsistent and thus not central to his soteriology. This paper argues that justification for Paul is a metaphor for the divine acceptance of the believer, that there are other metaphors for Paul for this acceptance, including those associated with the so-called “participatory language", that it is a mistake to set participatory language in tension with the forensic in the Pauline literature, and that divine acceptance is for the believer an already acquired possession in Galatians as well as in Romans. Finally, the paper proposes an Isaianic background for Gal 5:5, demonstrating that the verse is perfectly compatible with the present justification of the believer.

11:00 Wayne Douglas Litke (U. of Alberta) “Gal 3:28, Genesis and the Story of Aristophanes”

This paper deals with the phrase ouk eni arsen kai thelu in Gal 3:28. Here Paul breaks his pattern of ouk eni . . . oude and replaces it with ouk eni . . . kai. Likely Paul is quoting here from the LXX of Gen 1:27. Thus Paul argues that “in Christ” the original creation is not simply restored, but is improved upon. Two considerations flow from this conclusion. First of all, Paul’s contention that the original creation needed improvement appears to deny the conclusion of Gen 1:31 that all creation was “very good.” Secondly, Paul may have had some other creation myth in mind to which he compared the creation story of Genesis 1 unfavourably. It is suggested that the latter may have been some version of the hermaphrodite creation myth as presented in Aristophanes’ story in Plato’s Symposium. Both of these considerations may have influenced the omission of the male and female parameters from Col3:11.


Joint CSBS/CSSR/CTS Dinner—Mountain Ranch B.B.Q.


Other Meetings

6-8 June/juin: CTS Annual Meeting / Reunion annuelle de la SCT
4-6 June/juin: CSPS Annual Meeting / Reunion annuelle de l’ACEP
7-10 June/juin: CSSR Annual General Meeting / Séance d’affaires annuelle
7-9 June/juin: CTS Annual General Meeting / Séance d’affaires annuelle

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Page created by: John L. McLaughlin
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Richard S. Ascough
Last update:
December 20, 2004