Canadian Society of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting
Réunion annuelle de la Société canadienne des études bibliques
University of Ottawa / Universite d’Ottawa
May 27-29 Mai 1998
May 26 / Mardi, 26 mai
Tuesday, May 26 / Mardi, 26 mai
CSBS Executive Meeting / Réunion du Comité Exécutif
Wednesday, May 27 / Mercredi, 27 Mai
9:00-11:30 (LMX 219) Themes and Methods / Thèmes et méthodes
Religious Rivalries / Les rivalités religieuses
Themes and Methods / Thèmes et méthodes
Steve Wilson (Carleton) “Defection and Apostasy”
A survey of defection and apostasy in early Judaism, early Christianity and Greco-Roman society. Attention will be paid to the definition, incidence and causes of defection/apostasy, drawing on ancient evidence and on sociological surveys of the equivalent modem phenomenon and theories of deviance.
Respondents/Réponses: Nicola Denzey (Princeton), Margaret MacDonald (St. Francis Xavier), Alan Segal (Barnard)
Philip Harland (Toronto) “The Declining polis? Religious Rivalries in the Civic Context in Light of Recent Studies of the polis (I-II CE)”
Until recently, a theory of decline has predominated among scholars of the polis (city) in Hellenistic and Roman times. It is common to read of the corrosion of civic spirit, interference by ruling authorities and the hollowness of civic life and institutions, especially with reference to cities under Roman rule. Such a theory has had important and, I would argue, negative effects on how scholars have viewed various facets of civic life, especially social-religious life. In this paper I survey some recent studies of the polis which have begun to question key aspects of this overall scenario of decline, pointing instead to the abiding vitality of civic life in areas such as Asia Minor. This has important ramifications for our understanding of the polis as a context for religious rivalries.
Respondent/Réponse: Cecilia Wassen (McMaster)
Presiding/Présidence: Fiona Black (Sheffield)
9:00 Richard Middleton (Colgate Rochester Divinity School) “The Deceptive Simplicity of Babel: A Socia-Literary Reading of Gensis 11:1-9”
The Tower of Babel narrative in Genesis 11:1-9 is widely acknowledged to be a work of superb and compact literary artistry. Yet this superb artistry disguises a complex nest of interpretive cruxes over which there is no agreement. These include the significance of the common language, whether scattering and linguistic diversity have a positive or negative function, and especially the nature of Babel’s sin. This paper addresses the above issues by means of a coherent literary reading of the text against the sociopolitical background of Babylonian ideology, attending also to intertextual clues in the rest of Scripture and to the function of the Babel narrative in the context of the Primeval History. It is my thesis that the deceptive simplicity of the text reproduces rhetorically the deceptive attractiveness of Babylonian cultural achievements and ideals, which the narrator ironically calls into question.
9:30 Joyce Rilett Wood (Toronto) “Speech and Action in Micah’s Prophecy”
Micah’s prophecy combines solo and choral performance before an audience. The paper will present the speakers, their differing viewpoints or conflicting interests, and consider the action which accompanies the spoken word.
Break / Pause
Over the past hundred years, two approaches were widely used: for a period there was a concern with individual authors, who they were, or at least when and where they lived; then there came form criticism, which continued as the most popular approach until recently. Over the past while, other options have been explored, although I will speak of only two in this paper. The first is often called “structural,” although it often seems to include what is also called rhetorical and stylistic. The other approach is called “canonical,” a rather broad term that always needs further definition. These approaches will be considered from the point of view of their notions of text and reading.
10:45 Erin Runions (McGill) “Utopia, Co-option, or Hybrid Space? The Bright Future in Micah”
In this paper I explore the use of utopia in the text of Micah. The abrupt shifts to descriptions of a bright future in Micah (2:12-13; 4:1-7; 5:1-8; 7:14-20) have been the topic of much discussion amongst biblical scholars, and are usually described either as the words of false prophets, or as later additions to the text. In light of my inquiry into Micah as a persuasive text, I wonder if these are utopic elements which function as a sort of political intervention in the text, perhaps operating as Enrique Dussel might see utopia, as a lens through which to reflect alienation, and to recognize the need for liberation. Yet when read carefully, and in the light of other passages within the book, these texts reveal ambiguities which might in fact call into question their liberatory potential. Finally, the paper considers whether or not these passages might fill a third function, that is, of hybrid space (following Bhabha), which resists the kind of political/ rhetorical closure scholars have tried to attribute to these passages.
13:30-15:3Q (LMX 219)
Feminist Critical Theory Seminar / Séminaire sur le féminisme
A Feminist Voice in Literary Critical Approaches to Biblical Studies / La voix des femmes en critique littéraire de la Bible
Presiding/Présidence: Barbara Organ (Sudbury)
Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt Divinity School) “Susanna”
Preserved in two major Greek versions, retold in midrashic and patristic tradition, and interpreted by artists, composers, and choreographers, the lives of the Book of Susanna outstrip its canonical placement. Contested among all these readings is Susanna’s body, which becomes the sight of various feminist as well as gendered interpretations. The reader is similarly placed in contested positions ranging from voyeur to protector, and these subject positions in turn are complicated by the reader’s social location, intertextual appropriations, and methodological interests. For the literary-critical leader, there is no Daniel to offer a solution to the problem of meaning; indeed, Daniel himself, as character, adds to the problems.
Respondents/Réponse: Philippa Carter (McMaster), Darlene Juschka (Toronto)
Biblical Themes / Thèmes bibliques
Presiding/Présidence: John L. McLaughlin (Wheeling Jesuit)
13:30 David Hawkin (Memorial) “‘ And he made the stars also’ (Gen 1:16): Can the Cosmology of Genesis be rehabilitated?”
Since the Copernican revolution there have been a number of significant attempts to rehabilitate biblical cosmology. One of the more intriguing of these is by those who posit the “anthropic cosmological principle” (ACP). Modem cosmologists have shown that there are billions upon billions of stars. The universe is so vast that the earth seems totally insignificant in the cosmological scheme of things. Proponents of ACP claim, however, that the earth is unique and that humans do have a significant place in the universe, just as they do in biblical cosmology. My paper will examine the inadequacies of this argument.
14:00 Solomon Nigosian (Toronto) “Cosmogonies According to Israelite Writers ”
What cosmogonic conceptions did Israelite writers appropriate from the peoples of the ancient Near East? The biblical sources demonstrate that there are at least three different accounts of cosmogony: two in Genesis 1-2 and the third has to be pieced together from various allusions scattered throughout the biblical collections. These different accounts, I shall suggest, indicate that: (1) several forms of cosmogonic stories were current in ancient Israel; (2) Israelite writers appropriated and reshaped existing cosmogonic views of the Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Canaanites and Persians; and (3) Israelite writers were not interested in developing their own view or lore concerning the origin of the world.
14:30 Lorenzo DiTommaso (McMaster) “The Causes of War in 9 Jewish Writings of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods”
In this paper I discuss what Second Temple Jewish writers understood to be the causes of war and, more generally, the conflict of nations or peoples. The paper is concerned with historical and earthly wars rather than eschatological and other-worldly ones, though I recognize that those in the former category were often given cosmological dimensions. The discussion will be set in the context of the post-exilic views on the causes of war (esp. regarding the events of the sixth century) and any formal antecedents found in Classical Greek and Hellenistic historiography. The paper will focus on the Jewish historians of the period, but will also examine apocalyptic reviews of history, the pesharim of Qumran, and some pseudepigraphic literature.
How To Get A Job / Comment obtenir un emploi
with Profs. John Kloppenborg and Michel Desjardins
Presiding/Présidence: Caroline Whelan-Donaghey (Queen’s College NF)
Healing and Martyrdom / Guérison et martyre
Presiding/Présidence: Robert Culley (McGill)
15:00 Steven Muir (Ottawa) “Chosen Instruments: Affliction, Healing and Election in Luke-Acts”
Luke-Acts has two accounts of affliction followed by healing: Zechariah (Luke 1) and Paul (Acts 9). In each story, the person’s I physical condition corresponds to their relationship with God opposed and sick, in accord and well). Luke was influenced by the LXX, and we see this pattern in 2 Kings 5 (Naaman), Daniel 4 (Nebuchadnezzar) and 2 Maccabees 3 (Heliodorus). Anthropological accounts of healing cults and shamans show that affliction and healing may be interpreted as signs of divine election into a special relationship with a supernatural being. These cases illuminate how illness is given meaning in Luke-Acts.
15:30 Tony Cummins (Canadian Theological Seminary) “Paul’s Autobiography as Paradigm: from Jewish Zealot to Christian Martyr Figure (Gal 1:13-2:10)”
After a brief critique of the so-called ‘apologetic’ and ‘paradigmatic’ interpretations of Paul’s autobiography, this paper attempts a new ‘paradigmatic’ evaluation of Gal 1.13-2.10. It is argued that: [a] Paul is primarily concerned to encourage his beleaguered Galatian converts to remain faithful to Christ by patterning his own costly conformity to the truth of the gospel; [b] that the significance of this is the more clearly seen when viewed as a christologically re-configured Maccabean model of Judaism; and [c] that it is within such a paradigmatic reading that those aspects usually appealed to in support of the apologetic interpretation may be properly recast, subsumed, and understood. In sum, in the course of his autobiographical narrative Paul emerges as ‘an ironic Maccabean Martyr figure’: one who, unlike his Jewish(-Christian) detractors, remains faithful to the martyred and exalted Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God.
CSBS and CTS Joint Session / Session conjointe: SCÉB et CTS
Presiding/Présidence: Marilyn Legge (St. Andrew’s College)
Panel Discussion of Power, Powerlessness and the Divine (ed. Cynthia Rigby; Scholars Press, 1997)
Susan Slater Kuzak
(AST), Richard Middleton (Colgate Rochester Divinity School), George
Schner (Regis College), Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd (TST)
Respondent/Réponse: Cynthia Rigby (Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary)
Thursday, May 28 / Mai 28 juin
Women Scholars’ Breakfast / Petit déjeuner des femmes
Café Nicole in Ottawa Novotel Hotel, 33 Nicholas St.
219) Sardis and Smyrna Studies / Études sur Sardes et Smyrne
Religious Rivalries / Les Rivalités Religieuses
Presiding/Présidence: Margaret MacDonald (St Francis Xavier)
Sardis and Smyrna Studies / Études sur Sardes et Smyrne
Peter Richardson (Toronto) “Religious Architecture in its Urban Setting in Asia”
An illustrated paper, drawing on archaeological excavations, highlighting arrangements for meeting the religious needs of communities in Asia. Examples will be drawn from Pergamum, Sardis, Ephesus, Priene and Miletus. The variety and range of types will be 11 emphasized, together with indications of experimentation in solving old problems in new ways in the period from the first century BCE through the second century CEo Consideration will also be given to the ways the religious precincts influenced and shaped city plans and to the symbolic significance of some of the structures within the urban context. Two points of particular attention will be the synagogue remains at Priene, Miletus (?) and Sardis, and the Imperial Cult remains at Pergamum, Ephesus and Sardis.
Religion in Sardis and Smyrna: Survey Papers
These survey papers will begin to open up the new territory of interest for the seminar. The papers will be preliminary in nature, identifying and setting out the material to be investigated, but leaving detailed investigation for subsequent papers. Each paper will include: (1) a description of the primary source material that is available; (2) an overview of the history and development of the religious community under discussion in the two cities; and (3) an identification of the relevant cases, texts, and issues that might be investigated in more detail.
Feminist Critical Theory Seminar / Séminaire sur le féminisme
Feminist Approaches to Post-Modernism and Deconstruction / Approches féministes sur postmodernism et déconstruction
Presiding/Présidence: Jacqueline Isaac (Toronto)
Mary Rose D’Angelo (Notre Dame) “Feminist Biblical Criticism: Canadian Content, Madonnas and Métissage”
My first response to The Postmodern Bible’s chapter on Feminist and Womanist Criticism was an instant, quite positive recognition that of its embeddedness in the history and culture of US women. Enslavement and race form an undigested lump in American consciousness, and the centrality of the Bible in African-American culture made Womanist interpretation particularly important. Canadian experience may offer analogies in the relations among the Anglophone and Francophone communities and the First Nations. If so, the unexplored role of the Bible in Catholic religious imagination complicates the search for Canadian feminist interpretation, while interpretive “métissage” may provide a particularly appropriate tool.
Morny Joy (Calgary) “Postmodernism and Feminist Interpretation”
Postmodernism, specifically in its approach to texts, where it is most often associated with deconstruction, has had a mixed reception from feminist theorists. As a biblical scholar, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza regards it as basically apolitical, and a tool of patriarchy. In contrast other feminists, such as Susan Hekman (1990), advocate its use to displace prevailing dualistic structures that have relegated women to an inferior status. In Religious Studies, certain feminists have tended to restrict their use of deconstruction to Derrida’s early approach of a suspicious way of reading texts. As examples, Elizabeth Johnson (1992),and Anne Carolyn Klein (1995), introduce it in ways that critique accepted definitions of women and disclose the vested interests that are symptomatic of the elision or rejection of women. This paper will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of postmodernist strategies for women, especially in interpretive practices.
Student Essay Prizes / Prix d’étudiants
Guest Lecture / Conférencier invité
Amy Jill Levine (Vanderbilt Divinity School) “Becoming Flesh: Sexuality and the Historical Jesus”
Annual General Meeting / Assemblée générale annuelle
Presidential Address / Conference du President
“Scripture on the Silver Screen”
Adele Reinhartz (McMaster University)
Dinner / Banquet Annuel de la SCÉB
19:00 Les Muses, Hull, P.Q.
Friday, May 29 / Vendredi, 29 Mai
9:00-11:15 (LMX 124)
Reading Biblical and Extra-Biblical Texts / Lire les textes bibliques et extra-bibliques
Presiding/Présidence: Mary Rose D’Angelo (Notre Dame)
9:00 David Jobling (Saskatchewan) “Towards an Adequate Psychological Approach to the Book of Ezekiel”
David J. Halperin (Seeking Ezekiel) has reopened the question of Ezekiel’s personal psychopathology. The issues he raises have been sharpened by feminist readings which show the pervasiveness of Ezekiel’s misogyny (going beyond the notorious chapters 16 and 23). Important as Halperin’s work is, it is inadequate in two ways. First, he concentrates on individual to the neglect of social psychology. The book of Ezekiel needs to be read in relation to the mass trauma of the Exile; for example, studies of how leadership develops in traumatized communities (Jonestown, etc.) will be relevant. Second, he neglects the literary dimension. “Ezekiel”—regardless of how we answer the historical questions—is for us a fictive character, and work on psychological readings of literary texts must be taken into account. This paper will attempt methodological ground-clearing, and will raise issues going beyond the reading of Ezekiel.
9:30 Jo-Ann Brant (Goshen College) “The Sword, the Stone and the Holy Grail”
By applying Paul Ricoeur’s model of analysis for the symbolism of evil to the Matthean Jesus’ claim, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt 10:34), I enter into a quest to locate the significance of this passage within the myth of the divine warrior king. When metaphoric interpretation gives way to symbolic interpretation, the division rendered by the sword becomes less an act of violence and more an act of creation and regeneration.
Break / Pause
10:15 Fiona Black (Sheffield) “What is My Beloved? On Readers, Reading and Desire in the Song of Songs”
One cannot wade through scholarly literature on the Song of Songs without encountering acclamations of the book’s beauty or its supposedly idyllic presentation of love. Readers seem to have a curious relationship with this text, one that demands admiration and loyalty, and which has so far precluded awareness of the book’s negative features and any serious investigation of its gender politics. This readerly love affair provokes questions about reading the Song. (How does it work its charms upon readers? With what expectations do readers approach this book? Are they “romantic” or even sexual?) This paper considers readerly desire in a range of responses to the Song—allegorical, feminist critical, Kristevan—in an effort to investigate scholarly readerly fascination and overwhelmingly positive interpretation. It also considers the perspective of my own work-viewing the body imagery of the Song as grotesque—in an attempt to understand why I am not swept off my feet by the Song’s enchantments.
10:45 Jack Lightstone (Concordia) “The Extra-mishnaic Tractate Mourning and the Evolution of Early Rabbinic Guild Expertise: A Socio-Rhetorical Analysis”
This paper’s theoretical framework is socio-rhetorical analysis. Rhetoric reflects and informs shared social definitions, and the roles and institutions created by those definitions. Previously, the author has undertaken a socio-rhetorical analysis of Mishnah, the foundational rabbinic document. The current paper conducts a similar analysis of sections of Maseket Semahot (Tractate Mourning), an extra-mishnaic text dated as early as the late third century (i.e., within a century of Mishnah’s promulgation) and as late as the eighth century. A comparison the rhetorical features of Mishnah and Maseket Semakot, will not only shed light on the evolution of social definitions of the guild expertise of early rabbis, but also may help to establish the dating of Maseket Semakot.
Jewish and Christian Historical Issues / Histoire du Judaisme et du Christianisme
Presiding/Présidence: Ian Henderson (McGill)
9:00 John L. McLaughlin (Wheeling Jesuit) “Does Isaiah Allude to the marzeah?”
The marzeah was an important social and religious institution throughout the ancient Semitic world, as reflected in references from a variety of geographic locations spanning two millennia. It is surprising, therefore, that it is only mentioned twice in the Hebrew Bible, i.e., at Amos 6:7 and Jeremiah 16:5. In recent years, various tic scholars have suggested that other biblical texts also refer to the marzeah without actually using the word. I will evaluate such proposals concerning Isa 28:1-4 and 7-8 in the light of what is known about the marzeah from the two biblical uses of the term and from the extra-biblical references to the marzeah.
9:30 Paul Spilsbury (Canadian Theological Seminary) “Josephus’ Pattern of Religion”
In Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 BCE - 66 CE, E.P. Sanders states, “The principal source for the history of the period, and for its social and religious issues, is the work of the Jewish author, Josephus” (5). It is noteworthy, therefore, that Josephus plays practically no part in Sanders’ earlier work, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (quoted a total of only 3 times). In the present study I hope to fill the lacuna left by Sanders in Paul and Palestinian Judaism by attempting to answer the question, “How did Josephus understand the pattern of his religion?” Or, “How, in Josephus’ view, did one become a Jew and remain a Jew?” I will also assess the utility of the term “covenantal nomism” to describe Josephus’ understanding of the relationship between God and Israel.
Break / Pause
10:15 Frederik Wisse (McGill) “Pseudepigraphical Letters as Evidence for Early Christianity”
The only evidence surviving from the first hundred years of the Christian movement comprises some forty texts, of which ten appear to be pseudepigraphical letters. While authentic letters are of great value to historians, since they provide specific evidence about persons, places and events, pseudepigraphical letters cannot be assumed to provide dependable historical data other than the religious views of the unknown authors. The persons, places events to which they allude are either borrowed from earlier texts or fictitious. The consequences of this for the pseudepigraphical letters of the NT will be surveyed.
10:45 Wayne McCready (Calgary) “Friendship and Religious Self-Definition”
Rodney Stark in The Rise of Christianity. How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries (Princeton, 1996) provides sociological analysis on the growth of early Christianity. This paper will consider two proposals made by Stark: i) conversion to a religious group occurs when there is stronger attachment to members of the group than to nonmembers, ii) “successful conversionist movements” develop techniques for open social networks based on intimate interpersonal attachments. Following David Konstan’s Friendship in the Classical World (Cambridge, 1997), a case will be made for the concept of friendship—based on achieved personal relationships that contrast with ascribed and obligatory roles (e.g. kinship, class)—as an essential factor for open social networks and religious self definition of parties and sectarians at the turn of the common era.
CSSR Annual General Meeting / Séance d’affaires annuelle
Rhetorical Readings / Lectures rhétoriques
Presiding/Présidence: Wayne McCready (Calgary)
13:00 Edith Humphrey (Carleton/Ottawa) “Why Bring the Word Down? The Rhetoric of Demonstration and Disclosure in Romans”
This paper follows upon previous studies of visionary texts linked to rhetorical argument, in which evocative imagery and directive polemic have been seen to interact in various ways. This paper will consider Paul’s strategies of declaration and persuasion in the letter to the Romans, an epistle that contains no “vision” as such, but that makes frequent reference to incipient “apocalyptic” motifs and sometimes recalls elements of revelatory forms. The question will again be asked, how do these two modes of visionary and discursive language work together or modify each other? Central to this discussion is Paul’s treatment of Christ, faith and the word in chapter 10, in which apocalyptic exploits of heaven and the abyss are passed over for a word that is near. It would appear that Paul’s subtle use of visionary motifs in Romans parallels his manipulation of an antivisionary form in 2 Corinthians: it is the nature of the proclaimed mysterion and the apokalypsis that allow it to be contained, yet not deadened, within Paul’s rhetoric.
13:30 Ian Henderson (McGill) “Jesus, Apollonius and Conversational Style: a Comparative Model for Pre-Gospel Rhetorics”
Greco-Roman rhetoric never developed a theory for semi-private conversational persuasion: the theory of the conversational symposium was left to the elite logic of idealized, trained, privileged philosophers. This poses a problem for analysing Gospel rhetoric, in which Jesus is often represented in semi-public repartee. In his life of Apollonius of Tyana, Philostratus gives us a characterization of his hero’s speaking style. He describes the spoken style of a hero who declines to compose books until he has publicly practiced silence. Apollonius is, moreover, presented less as the deliverer of rhetorical 1 7 set pieces than as the giver of oracles and nugatory sayings, often combined with works and gestures of divine power. Apollonius’ style is that of a divinely authorized conversationalist who, like the Gospels’ Jesus, combines divine deeds with divine logia. Philostratus thus explicitly reflects on the stylistics of a level of rhetoric which is under-represented in Greco-Roman rhetorical theory and which the gospels themselves represent dramatically, but without explicit general stylistic reflection. Apart from any actual resemblance between the speech habits of Apollonius and those of Jesus, Philostratus offers Gospel rhetorical critics an analytical perspective which current projects in Gospel rhetorical criticism need.
14:00 Laurence Broadhurst (Toronto) “Second Clement: Sermon, logos paraklaseos, or free-form speech?”
In the 1980s, Lawrence Wills (1984) and C. Clifton Black (1988) briefly explored the “form” of the early Christian sermon, concentrating on speeches in Acts and the entire texts of Hebrews and 1 Clement. Wills offered the tripartite structure of what he called the logos parakleseos as a rhetorical form used in preaching by early Christians. He suggested they used the innovative model either as the overall structure of a “sermon” or as a recurring structural element within one. Black countered that the form is not innovative but typical of Classical rhetoric, as evidenced by the various handbooks (esp., Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian). This paper takes a step toward answering Black’s concluding call for rigorous application of these observations to specific texts. Looking closely at what appears to be a relatively clear example of a “sermon,” 2 Clement, it reviews the extent to which this “mystery document” fits the bill. Bowing deeply to the ancient rhetorical treatises and glancing on occasion at similar test cases (e.g., Hebrews, Barnabas, Melito of Sardis (Peri Pascha), the paper offers conclusions with ramifications for rhetorical criticism as a method, the social situation of the Church in second century Corinth and several of the so-called “epistles” of the New Testament.
19:30 (UCU 014) Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics, Union Seminary NYC
Joint Session of CSBS, CSSR, CTS and CPS / Session conjointe: SCÉB, CSSR, CTS et SCP
Dr. Larry Rasmussen
“Ecumenical Earth Ethics: Moral Frameworks and Deep Traditions”
Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics, Union Seminary NYC
Joint Reception / Rector’s Reception
Hosted by Dr. Dale Schlitt, St. Paul’s
Main Page / Page d’accueil