Canadian Society of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting
Réunion annuelle de la Société canadienne des études bibliques
Brock University, St. Catherine’s, Ontario
25th May/mai 28th May/mai 1996


Programme with Abstracts


13:00-18:00 Mackenzie Chown C 208


13:00-15:00 Mackenzie Chown D 308
Presiding: Leif Vaage (Emmanuel College, U. of Toronto)

Steve Mason (Penn State): “Josephus the Missionary?”

The much-debated question whether Judaism was a missionary religion is incapable of resolution as it stands: one needs to examine particular places, times, and groups. Josephus’s situation in Rome at the end of the first century provides a convenient case because we have other evidence of significant conversion to Judaism in that time and place. Josephus’s later writings were aimed at a group of gentiles already interested in Judean culture. Given this social context, one purpose of these writings was to encourage both further interest in and full conversion to Judaism. Respondent: Terry Donaldson

Terry Donaldson (College of Emmanuel and St. Chad): “‘The field God has assigned’: Geography and Mission in Paul.”

According to evidence from his own letters and elsewhere, Paul was actively engaged in evangelization throughout an extensive geographical area. This phenomenon is of considerable significance, both for our understanding of Paul’s own sense of what he was up to, and for its contribution to the eventual “success” of the Christian movement itself. This paper will focus its attention on the former, without losing sight of the latter. That is, both by examining Paul’s own statements and by identifying other factors (social, geographical, political, etc.) affecting his movements, we will attempt to identify and account for the geographical pattern of his mission.

Respondent Roger Beck

Roger Beck (Erindale College, U. of Toronto): “On Becoming a Mithraist: New Evidence for the Propagation of the Mysteries.”

The paper will review what is known (and what is still debated) about the growth and spread of Mithraism, in the context of Leif Vaage’s paper and the question of “mission.” Our view of the cult’s dissemination and recruitment has been dramatically enriched by the recent discovery of the complete album (membership list) of a mithraeum at Virunum in the province of Noricum for the year 183 CE (G. Piccoullini, Mithrastempel in Virunum, Klagenfurt, 1994). The album, inscribed on a bronze tablet, also records the new members added in each of the following 18 years. An overlap of names allows the identification of a previously discovered list as being that of a second mithraeum to which members of the first migrated. The implications of these discoveries will be discussed.

Respondent: Steve Mason


13:00-15:00 — Mackenzie Chown D 309
Presiding: Kim Parker (Memorial U.)

13:00 John Van Seters (U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): “The Law of the Hebrew Slave: A Comparative Study.”

This paper will propose that, contrary to the broad consensus among scholars, the version of the law in Ex. 21 :2-11 is later than the parallel laws in Deut. 15: 12-18 and Lev. 25:39-46. The consensus view has led to a serious misunderstanding of the meaning and purpose of the law in Exodus vis a vis the other laws. A proper ordering of these laws supports the thesis that the Book of the Covenant is later than the Deuteronomic Code and the Holiness Code. This reordering of the legal codes has serious implications for Pentateuchal study and the understanding of ancient Israelite society.

13:30 Tyler F. Williams (Wycliffe College): “The Golden Calf Episode (Ex 32) and Current Issues in Pentateuchal Studies.”

The composition of the golden calf episode in Exod 32 and the nature of its relationship to parallel or similar accounts in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible have long been a source of debate among scholars. In this paper I will focus on the composition of Exod 12 and its relationship Deuteronomy 9-10, taking into consideration the literary and contextual features of both texts. I will bring the conclusions of this analysis to bear on current issues in Pentateuchal studies, especially the question of deuteronom(ist)ic elements in Genesis to Numbers.

14:00 John E. Harvey (Wycliffe College, U. of Toronto): “Jeroboam I as a Second Moses Gone Awry .”

Various scholars have shown how the Deuteronomistic Historian (Dtr.) patterned the lives of Joshua, Samuel, Elijah, and Josiah after the life of Moses. In this paper I will argue that by means of structural and linguistic features the Dtr. also patterned the life of Jeroboam I after Moses. This instance, however, differs from the others insofar as the Dtr.. patterned Jeroboam’s early life after that of Moses and his later life after Aaron, such that for the Dtr. Jeroboam I was an “anti-Moses.”

14:30 Leonard E. Van Dyke (McMaster U.): “The Theme of Reversal in Judith.”

A central literary component of the book of Judith which is generally minimized or simply overlooked, is the motif of reversal. This paper examines three major ‘reversals’ in Judith: 1) reversals inherent in the structure; 2) reversal in the Judith/Holofernes confrontation; and 3) reversal in the norm. Following this discussion, this paper investigates various Jewish and Greek novels in order to demonstrate that reversals are a principle element of their composition. The presence of reversals in both the Jewish and Greek novels suggests: 1) the motif of reversal should be considered a defining characteristic of the Jewish and Greek novel genre; 2) support for the hypothesis that the Greek and Jewish novel share some form of relationship, and 3) the book of Judith belongs within the Jewish novel genre.


15:30-16:45 / Thistle 243


17:00-18:00 / Thistle 243
Presiding: Wayne McCready (U. of Calgary)
Jack Lightstone (Concordia U.): “Whence the Rabbis? The Question of Rabbinic Origins Reconsidered.”


New Residence Dining Hall and Patio



7:30-9:00 / (Location: TBA)


9:00-11:00 / Mackenzie Chown D 309
Presiding: Barbara Organ (U. of Sudbury)

Section I: Context

Jacqueline Isaac (U. of Toronto): “Don’t Believe Everything You Read, Girls, or: Why Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza Thinks Having a Suspicious Mind a Desirable Attribute for Biblical Scholarship.”

In this introduction to our seminar topic, I will discuss the place of the ‘“hermeneutic of suspicion” in the development of Fiorenza’s feminist model for biblical interpretation, and its roots within liberation theology. I will focus primarily on her early work, especially the essay “Toward a Feminist Biblical Hermeneutics” [The Challenge of Liberation Theology: A First World Response, B. Mahan and L.D. Richesin, eds. (1981 )], and chapter one of Bread Not Stone, entitled “Woman Church.” In the context of this discussion, some attention will be paid to the question of the intellectual “pedigree” of feminist scholarship.

Philippa Carter (McMaster U.): “Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza’s Work as Paradigm.”

I shall attempt to track and evaluate some of the “epiphanies” in Fiorenza’s work since the publication of In Memory of Her. I shall comment particularly upon her attempt to identify and resist the “kyrocentric” nature of the biblical text and its interpretation within the context of the development of hermeneutics. Based upon my reading of But She Said (particularly pp. 165-217), I shall endeavour to sketch the implications of such resistance (political, theological, social) for those of us who would apply her method and emulate her example.


Section II: Applications

Christiana de Groot van Houten (Calvin College, Grand Rapids): “Suspecting Paradise: The Hermeneutics of Suspicion and the Garden of Eden Narrative (Gen 2-3).”

In this presentation, I explore the usefulness of the “hermeneutic of suspicion” in understanding the Garden of Eden narrative. The narrative of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2-3 is fertile ground for exploring androcentric thinking evident in scripture and for examining whether the text establishes and promotes a patriarchal social system. This text has been the locus of much discussion. The history of its interpretation reflects the recent history of feminist interpretation. While Phyllis Trible’s work remains a landmark, some of her claims have become problematic. I wish to explore three issues in this discussion. Firstly, the use of the Hebrew word ‘adam to denote both genetic human being and sexually differentiated man seems to indicate a world which sees man as the norm of humanity. Eve does not function as a prototype of humanity, but only of the female sex. Secondly, the particular act of disobedience portrayed in Genesis 3 may be categorized as the sin of pride, involving overstepping one’s limits, taking for oneself what is out of bounds. Would the results have been different if Adam had taken the initiative rather than Eve? Is this text advocating a patriarchal social system where women do not act as independent agents? Thirdly, the text models patriarchal marriage. It was for the man that the woman was created; it is his needs that have dominated the narrative and his needs that are met in the marriage. How are we to interpret the conflicts between these androcenticities and the more liberating aspects of the text uncovered by Phyllis Trible?

Patricia Dutcher-Walls (Knox College, U. of Toronto): “Suspicions about Suspicious Characters: Athaliah the Queen? (2Kgs 11).”

Using a hermeneutics of suspicion, we will snoop around the story of Athaliah in II Kings 11. Why is this only queen of Judah so suspect as a character, and why does she get bumped off? Such questions will lead to skepticism about the author’s motives and strategies in the narrative. To borrow an idea from Cheryl Exum, we will investigate how Athaliah was killed in the story and by the story. Bring your detective kit full of narrative and rhetorical analytic equipment!


9:00-11:00 / Mackenzie Chown D 319
Presiding: Stephen Westerholm (McMaster U.)

9:00 Alan Kirk (U. of Toronto): “John’s and Jesus’ Opening Speeches in Q: Liminality and Resocialization.”

The contrast between John the Baptist’s gory throat of judgment in a 3:7-9, 16-17 and Jesus’ more sanguine Inaugural Sermon in a 6:20b-49 has always posed a special problem for compositional analyses of Q. Stratigraphical solutions by definition remain locked into diachronic views of the text and leave unanswered the question of the compositional logic of the synchronic juxtaposition of the two speeches. This paper proposes a solution using Perdue’s theory that wisdom texts assume and create a situation of liminality which prepares instructees for resocialization and corresponding alterations in status. Thus the effect of John abusively undermining the verities of the intended audience’s traditional world view is to suddenly shift an audience into the liminal situation indispensably preparatory for the instructional speeches which follow, whose intent is to resocialize the instructees into a radically different view of reality.

9:30 Jo-Ann Brant (Goshen College): “Nicodemus, the Myrrh and other Oddities about Jesus’ Burial in the Fourth Gospel”

Raymond E. Brown calls Jesus’ burial in the Fourth Gospel “an honorable burial” and attributes the deviations from the synoptic account to John’s transformation of “the crucifixion into a triumph.” Joseph and Nicodemus recognize Jesus’ royal status by burying him with enough myrrh and spices to satisfy a royal burial. In contrast, I contend that this detail regarding the burial of Jesus marks the preparation for his resurrection. Jesus is buried like the phoenix of Hellenistic Egyptian tradition. John’s editorial comment that Jesus is prepared according to Jewish custom applies only to the contrast between the Egyptian tradition and what Nicodemus does in wrapping Jesus or in placing Jesus in a tomb rather than a coffin. If one examines Nicodemus’ two dialogues in the gospel, one finds evidence that he has reached the “correct” conclusion and formed the “proper” expectations regarding Jesus. His actions at Jesus’ burial signify his anticipation that something other than decomposition will happen to the body.

10:00 John Horman (Waterloo, Ont): “Is there a Common Greek Source for Thomas and Mark?”

In 1979 in Novum Testamentum, I suggested that a common written Greek source lay behind the version of the Parable of the Sower in the Synoptics and the version of the same Parable in the Gospel of Thomas. In this paper I will examine the other sayings common to Mark and Thomas to see if they also may have come from a common written Greek source.


11:00-12:00 / Mackenzie Chown D 319
Presiding: Margaret MacDonald (U. of Ottawa)

11:00 Edith Humphrey (Aylmer, Que): “This is the Word of the Lord”(or is it a Vision)?  Rhetoric and ‘Vision’ in Narratives of Paul’s Conversion.”

This paper continues a study of the rhetorical role of vision-reports which occur within larger narratives or discourses in the NT. The three narratives of Paul’s conversion or call (Acts 9:1-19, Acts 22:1-21, Acts 26:1-18) have presented numerous challenges to exegetes, through complexity in voice and detail. At issue in this study is the persistent designation of this episode as a “vision” (9: 1 0, 12; 26: 19) coupled with an emphasis on opening of eyes, despite the auditory medium of revelation which characterized all three accounts. Here Luke’s characteristic use of fragmentary vision finds its most extreme expression, so that we may be hard-pressed to agree that there is a vision at all. Is this difficulty due simply to our nice distinction between audition and vision, an observation not shared by the ancients? Or is the insistence upon vision important to Luke’s purpose, while the visions themselves are on the whole suppressed or translated into propositional short form? What does it mean to clothe “the word” with the garb of vision, and how might this understanding direct the rhetoric at various levels of narration?

11:30 Richard Ascough (Toronto School of Theology): “Civic Pride at Philippi (Acts 16: 12)”

The introduction of Philippi in the account of Acts (16:12) presents the exegete with a particularly thorny problem. At issue is the nature of the information the writer gives concerning the city. Is it “a first city of the district of Macedonia” or is it “a city of the first district of Macedonia” as the UBS4 / NA27 reads? The first way of reading the text presents a case of civic pride on the part of the author, but at the expense of historical accuracy. The second reading preserves the historical accuracy of the account, but has negligible textual support. We will argue that despite loosing the “historical accuracy” of the passage, the better attested reading must be retained at Acts 16:12. This reading finds support in the social context of civic pride in Greco-Roman antiquity .


11 :00-12:00 / Mackenzie Chown D 309
Presiding/Président: David Jobling (St. Andrews)

11:00 J. Glen Taylor (Wycliffe College): “Psalms I and 2 as Introduction to the Hebrew Psalter.”

Although scholars generally agree that Psalms 1-2 function as an introduction to the Hebrew Psalter, there is much debate concerning the message conveyed by this introduction. In this paper, I will survey current opinions and take the discussion a step further by arguing Psalm 1 does not simply invite the reader to meditate upon the Psalms as a kind of torah. Rather, primarily by virtue of its placement together with the now fully messianic Psalm 2, Psalm 1 seeks also to characterize Israel’s messiah as one who must meditate upon the law. In a sense then Psalm 1, a wisdom psalm, may be understood as a kind of “messianic” psalm.

11:30 Robert C. Culley (McGill U.): “Psalm 22: Sufferer, People, and World.”

Psalm 22 is interesting and important for many reasons. This paper will only consider one issue, the fact the present text seems to offer three phases. The sufferer, presented in vv. 2-23, faces hostility, physical deterioration, and apparently also death and thus evokes the typical figure of the sufferer found in other complaints of the individual. Then, this figure is related to two further contexts. Vv. 24-27 connects the figure to the nation. Vv. 28-32 speaks of the wider world. The paper will consider how the three spheres of the individual, nation, and world may be related to each other.


11:00-13:00 / Thistle 247
11:00-12:00 Annual Business Meeting
12:00-13:00 Special Session:
“Crisis and Catharsis: Rethinking the Role of the Corporation”


13:15-14:15 / Thistle 243
Presiding: Wayne McCready (U. of Calgary)


Tony Chartrand-Burke (U. of Toronto): “The Gospel in Miniature: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas as Children’s Story .”

Stories of Jesus’ youth collected in the much-maligned Infancy Gospel of Thomas (In. Thom.) attempt to fill in the “hidden years” of Jesus’ life absent from the NT gospel accounts. Reconciling In. Thom.’s image of the enfant terrible with tales of the adult Jesus presents some difficulties, but this is not just a modern concern—it is a problem that is also addressed by the compiler of In. Thom. The writer has constructed a text with the transformation and maturation of the young Jesus as its principle of organization and central theme. Arranged this way, the disturbing elements in the stories are diminished, leaving it a serviceable text for the worshipping community. The impact of this new text may have been felt most among children, those younger Christians often ignored by historians, for In. Thom. offers children a biography of Jesus with which they may more easily identify, while also offering their parents a model for the perfect son or daughter.


Jane Webster (McMaster U.): “Engendering Wisdom in Proverbs, Ben Sira and The Wisdom of Solomon.”

This paper considers the literary effect achieved through engendering wisdom in Proverbs, The Wisdom of Solomon and Ben Sirach. Attention is focused on the female images evoked by the text and the use of erotic language.


14:30-15:45 / Thistle 243
Presider: Jack Lightstone (Concordia U.)

Harold Remus (Wilfrid Laurier U.): “By the Skin of Our Teeth: The Place of Biblical Studies in the Canadian University.”

The increasingly precarious situation of post-secondary academic institutions raises fundamental questions about the role and viability of biblical studies in those institutions and about what the future may hold for biblical studies professors and students. The reading of the entails is not encouraging. This address examines some or the issues, as a way of leading into general discussion by the membership. Included will be a report on the job picture derived from questionnaires sent to Canadian departments and programmes of religious studies and Canadian theological colleges.

Respondent: Donna Runnalls (McGill U.)


16:00-17:00 / Concordia Chapel
Morny Joy (U. of Calgary) “Beyond a God’s Eyeview: Other Perspectives in Religious Studies”


17:00-19:00 / New Residence Dining Hall


20:00-21:30 / (Thistle 247)
Speaker: Grace Jantzen

Topic: “Who Counts as a Mystic? Power, Gender and Ecstasy”

Grace Jantzen was born in Saskatoon and began her study of philosophy at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Calgary. She then went to Oxford to read theology. From 1980 to 1995 she was lecturer and reader of philosophy of religion at King’s College, London University. In 1995 she was appointed John Rylands Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. Her most recent book is entitled Power, Gender and Christian Mysticism and was published by Cambridge University Press in 1995.


21:30-23:00 / (Sean O’Sullivan Gallery)
Speaker: Grace Jantzen



7:30-9:00 / (location TBA)


9:00-12:15 / Schmon Tower 403
Presiding: Terry Donaldson (College of Emmanuel and St. Chad)

Steve Fai (University of Ottawa): “Herod’s Roman Temple.”

Vitruvius described architectural order as both giving form to and being formed by the greater cosmological order that permeated the Roman world. , For Vitruvius, the location, or siting, of a building was intimately tied to every aspect of its physical and metaphysical construction. For example, the location of a temple was dependent upon specific attributes shared between the site, the building, and the god or goddess. This paper will discuss Herod’s understanding of Roman architecture within the context of first century Caesarea Maritima and, in particular, as it relates to his siting of the Temple to Caesar and Rome.

Respondent: Michele Murray (U. Of Toronto)

Dorothy Sly (University of Windsor): “Isopoliteia: Claim and/or Reality?” ,

In the mid first century, large scale violence between the Jews and their gentile neighbours erupted in both Alexandria and Caesarea Maritima. What precipitated these outbreaks? Specifically, did jealousy over citizenship rights play a significant role? With respect to Alexandria, Philo would have his readers believe that the Jewish community was robbed of its rights by a hostile governor and a malicious mob. He puts these words in the mouth of the governor Flaccus, repentant after the fact: “if I cast on them [the Jews] the slur that they were foreigners without civic rights, though they were inhabitants with full franchise, just to please their adversaries, a disorderly and unstable horde” (In Flaccum 172, LCL translation).
How much credence can we lend to Philo? The prime intent of this paper is to explore the causes of the troubles in Alexandria. The secondary intent is to compare the situation in 38 CE in Alexandria with that in Caesarea Maritima almost three decades later.

Respondent: John Kloppenborg (University of St. Michael’s College)

Reena Zeidman (Queen’s University): “Fairly Dangerous? The Pagan Fair and the Jewish Participant.”

We are well aware of the characteristics of the Graeco-Roman market/fair from Greek, Latin and Christian literature and archaeological evidence-its set times during the year, its connections with a god and its products for sale. But are those elements discussed in the Jewish literature, and what does this Jewish material suggest about Jewish-Gentile economic and social relations? Evaluated in this paper will be Z. Safrai’s 1984 article (“Sinai”), who claims that the prohibitions imposed upon Jewish participants grew more lenient after the Bar-Kochba revolt. S. Stern’s recent book, Jewish Identity in Early Rabbinic Writings (1993), argues against this, which will also be employed to round out the picture of Jewish and Gentile relations in the period.

Respondent: Jack Lightstone (Concordia U.)

Lee Johnson (Emmanuel College, University of Toronto): “Ancient Literary References to Caesarea: An Annotated Bibliography.”

This paper represents an attempt at a comprehensive compilation of ancient Jewish, Roman and Christian literary references to Caesarea Maritima prior to the mid 4th century C.E. Not only does this work provide an indication of the volume of written references within which Caesarea was mentioned, but by means of various annotations its readers should be able to determine the religious and political settings of the conversation which included Caesarea Maritima in antiquity. By providing a literary map of ancient Caesarea, this bibliography should prove to be a tool for future research for the Religious Rivalries seminar.

Respondent: Steve Wilson (Carleton University)


9:00-12:15 / Schmon Tower 405
Presiding: John McLaughlin (Wheeling Jesuit College)

9:00 Joyce Rilett Wood (Atlantic School of Theology): “Prophecy and Folktale.”

Hermann Gunkel identified folktale motifs in all parts of the Hebrew Bible, including prophetic literature (Des Märchen im Alten Testament, 1921). The idea of my paper is that Hosea used the genre of folktale to convey his prophecy. I will retell Hosea’s first folktale (1-2).

9:30 Francis Landy (University of Alberta): “Strategies of Dispersal and Concentration in Isaiah 6.”

I propose in this paper a literary-critical reading of Isaiah 6, looking especially at strategies of focus and diffusion in the text. The chapter can be divided into three parts: i) the theophany (vs. 1-4); ii) the prophet’s reaction and initiation (vs.5-8); iii) the prophet’s commission (vs. 9-13). I will argue that in the first and third parts the rhetoric is centrifugal, either spatially or temporally. For instance, attention is directed from the divine figure to the hem of his train, and thence to the seraphim who attend him. In the central section, the rhetoric is centripetal, focusing attention on the prophet and the transformative act wrought by the seraph. The tension between centripetal and centrifugal rhetorical programs intensifies the distance between God and humanity and provides the basis for the mystification of prophetic language to which the prophet is summoned.

10:00 P. D. M. Turner (Vancouver): “The Greek Translator(s) of Ezekiel Revived: New Light on an Old Question.”

For nearly a century it has been thought that the Old Greek of Ezekiel was by more than one hand. Thackeray postulated two translators, Herrmann three, Johnson-Gehman-Kase could find only two translators, explaining the residual phenomena in terms of a later revision of a roll containing i-xxvii, while most recently Turner proposed a modified synthesis of Thackeray and Herrmann. It will be shown on the basis of exhaustive modem study of i-xxxix that the version is both a linguistic unity recensionally bisected, and a renditional pastiche, the original Alexandrian Ezekiel having been carefully excerpted for the sake of the life of the Jewish community which required it.

10:30-10:45 BREAK

10:45 Marion Taylor (Wycliffe College): “James Frederick McCurdy: A Founding Father of Old Testament Scholarship in Canada.”

James Frederick McCurdy (1847-1935) was named by John S. Moir in A History of Biblical Studies in Canada as the father of biblical studies in Canada. In this paper, I will examine McCurdy’s life and writings with a view to testing the legitimacy of this claim. McCurdy’s intellectual and spiritual development as he moved outside of the fold of Princeton Seminary where he worked for more than ten years alongside of his mentor, William Henry Green, the renowned critic of radical higher criticism, will be traced and his contributions to Old Testament studies in Canada assessed.

11:15 Rebecca Idestrom (U. of Sheffield): “Old Testament Scholarship in Sweden at the end of the 19th Century: The Rise of the Historical-Critical Method.”

At the end of the 19th century Swedish Old Testament scholarship was going through a transition period. Biblical research was being challenged and reevaluated as it responded to the waves of new theories and ideas from the continent. The emergence of the historical-critical method dominated theological discussions and led to a theological crisis for many individuals. This paper will outline the response of certain scholars at Uppsala University to modern historical criticism, some of the factors which influenced their approach and how this in turn affected the development of Old Testament scholarship! in Sweden in the twentieth century. .

11:45 John Sandys-Wunsch (Mill Bay B.C.): “When we do exegesis we find what we are looking for; sometimes it is even there.”

Examples chosen from the history of exegesis show that the interests of the investigator tend to determine the results achieved. Examples are taken from the works of Hobbes, Edelmann, G.L. Bauer, Rudolph Bultmann and others to illustrate this point. Personal motives can lead to solid results even as they can also skew the whole investigation. The recognition of this factor should be taken as a summons to critical self-examination and not as a justification of subjective ramblings.


13:00-14:30 / Schmon Tower 403
Presiding: Jacqueline Isaac (U. of Toronto)

Section III: Critique

Susan Lochrie Graham (Trinity College, University of Toronto): “Seeing Jesus as Comedic Hero: E. Schüssler Fiorenza’s Portrait of the Historical Jesus.”

Historical Jesus portraits are generally presented as narratives telling the story of Jesus in his context. Writers often use limiting devices to exclude theology, broadly defined. But the theology of the historian creeps back in unrecognized ways, among them the plot structure. Feminists, who are attempting to create a picture of Jesus that includes women,need an inclusive structure. This paper will show that Fiorenza, the only feminist biblical critic to attempt a full-length study of the historical Jesus (Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet), rewrites the Jesus narrative in a comedic pattern, which allows for both male and female agency and in which the movement in the plot is from limitation to freedom, with a picture of Jesus as master of the feast and creator of a new egalitarian community. Fiorenza’s portrait imports the female/feminine image of Sophia into Jesus’ role, thus “feminizing” him as much as possible: he is the embodiment of the female side of God. She can then allow a comedic plot to unfold. Her feminist ethics, then, are incorporated in her plot; this is the meaning of the form itself.

Daniel Fraikin (Queens Theological College): “Prophets of Sophia: Prophets or Archaeologists?”

At what conditions will the recovery of sophia really help women? When is naming effective towards liberation? Can we revive the myth that supports it, what does it take, who can do it, can men do it too? Comments on Schüssler Fiorenza’s Jesus, chapter 5: “Prophets of Sophia.”


13:00-14:30 / Schmon Tower 405
Presiding: Michel Desjardins (Wilfrid Laurier U.)

13:00 Sylvia Keesmaat (Institute for Christian Studies): “Subversive Speech: Romans 8 as Recital, Lament and Thanksgiving”

Walter Brueggemann describes “three models of subversive speech, each of which begins in pain, and each of which ends in praise” (Israel’s Praise 136). They are: credo recital, lament and songs of thanksgiving. I will argue not only that Paul employs all of these models in Romans 8, but that insofar as they are found in this passage, they are rooted in exodus traditions which themselves are examples of this subversive speech. Such a reading of this passage not only explains Paul’s thought in terms of the scriptures he read, but also illuminate the dynamic which begins in pain and ends in praise that shapes this chapter. This dynamic is described in Romans 8 in terms of suffering and expectation, groaning and hope, being killed and yet being more than conquerors. The rhetorical weight of Romans 8 as subversive speech for a suffering Roman church will also be addressed.

13:30 Harry Maier (U. of British Columbia): “1 Clement, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and the Rhetoric of Hubris.”

Clement’s references to the character of those in late first-century Corinth who removed presbyters from their position of leadership draw on a topos of the hybrist prevalent in literature contemporary with 1 Clement. These have been untenably interpreted as literal descriptions of Clement’s opponents, leading to the false conclusion that the problems in Corinth were caused by gnosticism or some other from of heresy. In fact, Clement’s depictions of his opponents as seditious, arrogant, boastful, and self-inflated point not to heresy, but hybris as the dominant criticism he levels against them. Clement found the motif in 1 and 2 Corinthians, adopted, and then developed it more extensively. His use of the topos, prevalent in political treatises, is consistent with his use of the political rhetoric of stasis, homonoia, and eirene throughout the letter.

14:00 Alan Bulley (St Paul University): “Clarifying the Rhetorical Species of Hebrews.”

New Testament documents often resist clear-cut decisions about their rhetorical species. A lack of clarity about rhetorical species can, however, force a document into an inappropriate framework that produces a skewed understanding of its thrust. This difficulty is evident in the case of Hebrews, given the number of studies that have appeared in the last few years with quite different perspectives on the issue of its rhetorical species. Margaret Mitchell’s (Paul and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation: An Exegetical Investigation of the Language and Composition of 1 Corinthians [HUT, 28, Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1991]) isolation of criteria for the identification of the deliberative species has brought much-needed precision to the task and will be applied to the specific case of Hebrews.


14:45-16:45 / Schmon Tower 405
Presiding: Adele Reinhartz (McMaster U.)

14:45 Karen Hamilton (Emmanuel College): “Jael: Sexual Aggressor and Mother in Israel.”

Several recent articles and books have called attention to the ways in which Jael’s role in the murder of Sisera in Judges V is that of a sexual aggressor. Notice has been taken of the intertwining of the images of eroticism and death in this poetic passage. There has also been some recognition of Jael’s mothering role in this passage. What has not been noticed, however, is the degree to which Jael’s roles as sexual aggressor and mother are deliberately and ironically combined, as well as the effect that the presentations of Deborah and Sisera’s mother have on this combination. This article works closely with such linguistic features of the text as juxtaposition, repetition and the creation of images to show the deliberate and ironic combination of the roles of sexual aggressor and mother in the character of Jael.

15:15 David Jobling (St Andrew’s College): “The Medium of Endor: Close Reading and Canonical Hermeneutics.”

This paper is related to the author’s earlier remarks to the Society on Hannah. The Medium of Endor in chapter 28 forms with Hannah a strong pair of bookends for 1 Samuel. In this reading, she is aware of Saul from the beginning, fully in charge of the whole transaction between them, and skilled in both the technical and the pastoral functions of a minister of religion. At another level, she mediates the apparently broken relationship between the present and the past—Saul’s separation from Samuel, Israel’s separation from its mythical past.

15:45 Richard Ratzlaff (McMaster U.): “Prolegomena to a Form-Critical Study of 1QSb.”

The Priestly Blessing of Numbers 6:22-26 is one of the few examples in the Hebrew Bible of a text which is explicitly designated as being intended for liturgical use in the temple. We have, however, little concrete evidence of its actual use in the cult, even in the period of the Second Temple. E. P. Sanders does not even mention it in his survey of Jewish “practice and belief’, whereas Schürer-Vermes refer to the Mishna for evidence of the use of the Priestly Blessing in the cult. The texts from Qumran have provided some evidence for how the Priestly Blessing may have been used by one group in Early Judaism. 1 QS i 20-ii 19 describes a ceremony which includes a blessing close to the Priestly Blessing and 1 QSb includes a series of blessings modelled on the Priestly Blessing. Scholars have paid relatively little attention to this text but there is general agreement that the blessings are genuine Blessings, i.e., that they were intended for liturgical use. There is no agreement, however, whether the Blessings were used in the liturgy of the group responsible for the scrolls (Stegemann), or whether they were intended for the eschaton (Licht/Schiffman). This purpose of this paper is to test the assumption that 1 QSb contains genuine blessings. Do the remains of 1 QSb, as well as those of other possibly liturgical texts from Qumran, allow us to determine whether it is possible form-critically to isolate a genre based on the Priestly Blessing?

16:15 Gary Phillips (College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA): “‘And he Killed all the Male Children...’: Intertextuality, Ideology and Reading Matthew’s Infancy Narrative Responsibly.”

Matthew’s Gospel may be the most explicit anti-Jewish of Christian canonical narratives. Matthew’s narrative plays a controversial ideological role in a long tradition of anti-Jewish and anti-semitic theological and cultural polemic. The gospel’s antithetical rhetorical strategy that pits the old against the new, Moses with Jesus, “us” with “them,” Jewish children with Christian children is sustained by a dramatic rereading and rewriting of Hebrew narrative. This paper focuses on two issues: (1) Matthew’s rewriting of Exodus 2 and 4 and the role of intertextuality in fostering anti-Jewish and anti-semitic ideology; and (2) Emmanuel Levinas’s challenge to us to become responsible readers for the sake of the biblical text and all the children.


Sunday, May 26th

Discussion of Stephen Wilson’s Related Strangers: Jewish Christian Relations 70-170 (Minneapolis: Augsburg/Fortress, 1995)
Presiding: Harry Maier

Stephen Wilson (Carleton University)
Lloyd Gaston (Vancouver School of Theology)
Paul-Hubert Poirier (U. Laval)

Mary Schaefer
, “Liturgy as the Rule of Prayer”: Questions for Faith and Theology.

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