Canadian Society of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting
Réunion annuelle de la Société canadienne des études bibliques
Bishop’s University / Université Bishop’s
Lennoxville, Québec

June 1-4 Juin, 1999


Programme with Abstracts

Tuesday, June 1 / Mardi, 1 Juin

13:00—18:00 (N214)
CSBS Executive Meeting / Réunion du Comité Exécutif

Wednesday, June 1 / Mercredi, 2 Juin

9:00—11:30 (N2)
Religious Rivalries / Les rivalités religieuses
Rodney Stark’s The Rise of Christianity and the “Struggle for Success”

Presiding/Présidence: Terry Donaldson (Emmanuel & St. Chad)

Roger Beck (Toronto) “Stark and the Pagans”

The paper will explore two issues for paganism arising out of Chapters 2 and 8-9. (1) How germane to paganism, especially in the public sphere, is the cult versus sect distinction and the correlation with class? Is a “sect”, in the sense of a lower-class reform move-ment, even conceivable within paganism? What does reforming paganism mean? (2) How useful for paganism is Stark’s model of a religious economy and related concepts (rational choice, religious “firms”, rewards and compensators, risk, credibility, “free riders”, market regulation)? It will be suggested that the metaphor (which is what it is!), though helpful in some respects, should be nuanced to describe two markets (analogous to, say, a debt market and an equity market) within a single religious economy: the market of the public cults and the market of the associative cults (the mysteries, Judaism[s], Christianity/-ies).

Adele Reinhartz (McMaster) “Christian Mission to the Jews: Success or Failure?”

It is commonly accepted that Jews in the Greco-Roman world were on the whole unreceptive to the Christian message. In The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark challenges this view, and argues that, on the contrary, Diaspora Jews provided the initial basis for church growth in the first two centuries, and continued to be a significant source of Christian converts until at least the fourth century. This paper will look at Stark’s argument as well as the primary evidence for and against his position, and then examine in detail the situation in a Diaspora urban centre.

Steven Muir (Calgary) “‘Look How They Love One Another’: Early Christian and Pagan Care for the Sick, and Other Charity”

Rodney Stark and the early third-century Christian apologist Tertullian (Apology 39) each contrast the charity of the Christians with that of the pagan world. In Chapter 4 of The Rise of Christianity, Stark asserts that one factor in the growth of Christianity was their care for the sick. Stark examines the empire-wide plagues of 165-80 and 250 CE. He finds that Greco-Roman medicine, civic religion, and philosophy were unable to deal with these plagues as effectively as the simple palliative care practised by the Christians. I look at the charity and health care in the ancient world generally and at the evidence from Sardis and Smyrna, finding the situation not as black-and- white as either Stark or Tertullian paint it. For example, healing cults, such as that of Asclepius, are not discussed by Stark.

Respondent/Réponse: Peter Beyer (Ottawa)


9:00—12:00 (N4)
Reading Biblical Texts / Lire les textes bibliques
The Law and Prophets / La loi et les prophètes

Presiding/Présidence: John L. McLaughlin (Wheeling Jesuit)

9:00 John Van Seters (North Carolina) “The Transformation of the Practice of Child Sacrifice in the Biblical Tradition of the 6th Century BCE”

Beginning with the evidence for the practice of child-sacrifice in Judah as reflected in Deuteronomy, DtrH (Kings) Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the paper will then compare the laws related to this practice in Exod 13:11-15 and 22:28b-29 and the related laws in Deuteronomy and the Holiness Code. I will suggest that the laws in Exodus reflect a radical transformation of this practice in the late exilic period. This change introduced the requirement of redemption or substitution for the first-born sons with a new etiological legitimisation for the change within the exodus tradition.

9:30 Robert C. Culley (McGill) “The Language of Complaint in Jeremiah’s Confessions”

Some of the language in the so-called “confessions of Jeremiah” recalls the language of the individual complaints in the book of Psalms. The complaint psalms manifest a common, traditional language and it appears that poets resorted to this shared language to articulate the suffering of individuals. The traditional language, of course, is not specific to any particular situation but draws all particular instances of suffering into larger, more general pictures of what suffering is all about. Whether the confessions are from Jeremiah or attributed to Jeremiah, this process of the specific expressed in the more general applies. What happens when tradi-tional language is adopted to explain particular instances?

Break / Pause

10:30 Lissa M. Wray (TST) “Intertextuality: A Case Study from the Book of Hosea”

This paper examines some of the methodologies of intertextuality, as well as addressing the issue of the relative dating of the Pentateuch and Hosea. Hosea 7-10 focuses upon the northern kingdom, its monarchy, and its capital, Samaria. In keeping with this northern focus, Hosea utilizes a series of word and image associations derived from Genesis 49:22-26. Hosea uses the Genesis passage, being Jacob’s blessing upon Joseph and his descendants, to address the rejection by God of the primary Joseph tribe, Ephraim. His use of the passage highlights the extent of the reversal of Jacob’s blessing. This ironic reversal of the Genesis passage suggests he was drawing upon a firm, recognizable tradition.

11:00 Joyce Rilett Wood (Bishop’s) “Prophetic Poetry and Mesopotamian Lament Literature”

Four decades ago Samuel N. Kramer called attention to the striking resemblances between prophetic laments and Sumerian.8 Canadian Society of Bibilcal Studies laments over destroyed cities (“Sumerian Literature and the Bible,” AnBib 12 (1959) 185-204). The idea has been recently explored by Delbert R. Hillers (Lamentations, 1992) and F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp (Weep, O Daughter of Zion, 1993). This paper will show how the Mesopotamian city lament tradition illuminates the form and con-tent of prophetic poetry. It will include a discussion of the female figures and consider the movement from city goddess to personified city in both Sumerian and prophetic literature.

13:45—14:30 (J200)
Student Essay Prize / Prix pour travaux d’étudiant(e)s
Presiding/Présidence: John Van Seters (North Carolina)
Zeba Antonin Crook (TST)
“Saul the Client: The Reciprocity and Gratitude of Paul the Apostle”

14:45-16:00 (J200)
CSBS Annual General Meeting / Assemblée annuelle de la SCÉB

16:15-17:15 (J200)
Presidential Address/Conférence du Président
Presiding/Présidence: John Van Seters (North Carolina)
Daniel Fraikin (Queen’s Theological College)
“Biblical Studies and Bible Effects”

17:45 Manoir Hovey, North Hatley
CSBS Annual Dinner / Banquet annuel de la SCÉB


Thursday, June 3 / Jeudi, 3 juin

7:30 (TBA)
Women Scholars’ Breakfast / Petit déjeuner des femmes


9:00-12:00 (N2)
Religious Rivalries / Les rivalités religieuses
Rhetorical Image and Social Reality:
A. Sardis and Smyrna Case Studies

Presiding/Présidence: Michele Murray (Toronto)

Laurence Broadhurst (Toronto) “Rhetoric and Reality in Melito’s Homily”

The question addressed here is one posed by Dietmar Neufeld in the closing pages of his paper last year: what is the “rhetorical function” of the other constructed in Melito’s homily? In other words, to what extent should we take Melito’s invective at face value? When Melito beckons “ungrateful Israel” to “come and take issue with me about your ingratitude” (line 635), does he have a real, local oppo-nent in mind or is there a lurking “artificiality of declamation”? The launching pad for this discussion is a critique of the recent work of Miriam Taylor and Judith Lieu. Discussions of the rhetorical context of the Asiatic Second Sophistic and some of the rhetorical features of the homily itself follow.

Wayne McCready (Calgary) “Martyrdom—In Accordance with the Gospel”

Kathy Eden in her book, Hermeneutics and the Rhetorical Tradition: Chapters in the Ancient Legacy and Its Humanist Reception (Yale UP, 1997), suggests that while the interaction between rhetoric and hermeneutics practised by ancients was typically adversarial—because its common arena was the law courts—attention should be paid to wholistic issues because it was generally agreed that what a person meant to do or say was best understood in its broadest context. Following Eden’s analysis of ancient rhetorical traditions, this paper will use the interpretative analysis of socio-rhetorical criticism to examine conflict theory between Judaism and early Christianity that usually is understood to be reflected in the Martyrdom of Polycarp. Particular attention will be given to how a text such as the Martyrdom of Polycarp can be used for assessing reli-gious rivalries in their historical and social settings.

Respondent/Réponse: Tim Hegedus (Waterloo Lutheran)

Break / Pause

B. Facets

Harold Remus (Wilfrid Laurier) “Apuleius and Symmachus: Whose Victory?”

Approximately 200 years apart, Apuleius of Madaura and Symmachus, Prefect of the City of Rome, appear before Roman officials. Apuleius, on trial for his life in North Africa, can appeal to assumptions, rooting in the common Graeco-Roman culture that he and the official share. Two centuries later the assumptions are now at odds: Symmachus, on behalf of Senators representing that culture, appeals to a Christian emperor to retain in the Senate the altar of Victory that embodies that culture. The comparison sheds light on the changes that took place in the Empire over the course of those two centuries and on the various terms employed to designate that change.


9:00—12:00 (N4)
New Testament/ Nouveau Testament
Literary and Rhetorical Readings / Lectures rhétoriques et littéraires

Presiding/Présidence: S. Tony Cummins (Canadian Theolical Seminary)

9:00 Mary Ann Beavis (St. Thomas More) “The Power of Parables”

It is frequently asserted by interpreters that listening to the parables had a “world-shattering,” life-changing effect on Jesus’ audiences. This paper will examine this extravagant claim, with reference to (1) interpreters’ reasons for making it; (2) speculations about the power of language in biblical scholarship; (3) evidence from a variety of sources, both ancient and modern, of stories, broadly defined, with this kind of transformative power. The paper is intended as a preliminary effort, offered to provoke discussion and directions for further research.

9:30 Adrian M. Leske (Concordia University College) “Conflict in Christology in Matthew’s Gospel”

This paper will argue that the question put to the Pharisees in Mt 22:41-46 is an indication that Jesus rejected not only the Pharisaic but also the traditional understanding of royal messianism in the light of Isa 55:3-5. I will argue that Matthew’s emphasis on Son of David Christology, particularly in the infancy narrative, is a result of the author’s polemic against the Pharisaic claim that Jesus was not the Messiah. This will involve an examination of the term “Christos” in the context of Mt 11:2 and 16:16 over against its use in Mt 1-2.

10:00 Keir Hammer (Toronto) “Women, Nonsense and the Miraculous: A Study of Luke 24:11 and Acts 12:15”

The resurrection account is a significant component in the New Testament narratives about Jesus, and this is especially true for the Luke-Acts narrative, where the resurrection becomes a key transformative element in the lives of those who considered them-selves followers of Jesus. Within the cultural milieu to which Luke-Acts was likely directed, resurrection was, however, considered most implausible. The criticism which the declaration of a resurrection would have evoked is compounded by the fact that Christian tradi-tion presented women as the progenitors of the resurrection story. Luke 24:11—as its parallel in Acts 12:15—is at the centre of Luke-Acts’ attempt to confront and deflect potential criticisms of Jesus’ resurrection as merely a “woman’s myth.” This paper will explore the above issues through a detailed examination of the Luke-Acts passages and other relevant texts.

Break / Pause

11:00 Allison Trites (Acadia Divinity) “Litotes in the Book of Acts”

The Book of Acts is fond of using litotes, which has been defined as “a figure of speech in which an affirmation is expressed by the negative of the contrary.” This was a commonly used device in the Hellenistic world, and its characteristic manner of statement seemed to be employed to add to the artistic appeal and to provide variety in literary expression The many uses of litotes in Acts are examined and compared to some examples taken from well known Hellenistic writers to see if the uses in Acts fit into the general conventions of established Hellenistic usage.

11:30 Alicia Batten (St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN) “‘Friendly’ Persuasion in James”

Friendship was treasured by many writers in antiquity. Often, it was perceived as the noblest type of relationship that any man (unfortunately the lack of evidence makes it difficult to determine the nature of friendships between women) could have with another, and the status of friendship with God was accorded a few famous patriarchs. Building upon rhetorical studies of the letter of James, but with a focus upon a few key passages, this paper will examine the role of friendship language within James’ rhetoric. In what manner does James borrow from the traditions of friendship, and what does such language promote within the author’s argument?


13:30-15:00 (N2)
Special Student Session
How to Design a Course in Biblical Studies / Comment faire le plan d’un cours biblique

Presiding/Présidence: Jane Webster (CSBS Executive Student Member-at large)

Panelists: Philippa Carter (Wilfrid Laurier), Michel Desjardins (Wilfrid Laurier), Edith Humphrey (Ottawa)

One of the most daunting tasks that students in biblical students will likely face is the preparation of their first introductory course in biblical studies. Help is on the way! Three experienced panelists will discuss various approaches to course outlines, selection and use of textbooks, and different types of assignments. Consideration will also be given to adjustments needed for teaching context (university, seminary, etc.) and class composition and size.


13:30-15:00 (N4)
Postmodern Readings of the Bible / Lectures postmodernes de la Bible
Presiding/Présidence: David Jobling (St Andrew’s)

13:30 Francis Landy (Alberta) “Towards a Post-Holocaust Reading of Isaiah”

Death is inscribed in many ways in the book of Isaiah, explicitly and implicitly, by name or through attribute and metaphor. Death is the unseen, perhaps silent, dialogue partner, towards which all the words of the book are cast, as propitiation, negation, or solicitation, and in which they are swallowed: “Therefore Sheol has stretched its throat, and gaped its mouth without limit . . .” (5.14). The death is of a culture and a world, and is manifested in a disintegrative, fragmented language, in poetry that both constructs a verbal mirage, a fantasy of perfection, and erases it. God in the book is both the antithesis of death, and the presence behind, the author of death itself. The paradoxes, desolation and courage of the perversely incomprehensible poetry of Isaiah are recollected in the elliptical poetry of the post-Holocaust poet, Paul Celan, a language always on the verge of death or suicide. In my paper I intend to read the two poets together, in the context of the post-Holocaust writings of Derrida, Blanchot, and Cixous.

 14:00 Erin Runions (McGill) “The Cock, the Big Other and the Police: In Canada and in the Paran Desert”

Anyone involved in resistance movements knows that those non-compliant with the symbolic order aren’t hailed by the police; they are dragged off, beaten up, or blown up, even in places where “the Big Other” is “supposed to be” Go(o)d. This paper explores the ideological process of interpellation-subjectivation proposed by Althusser and developed by Zizek as it pertains to accounts of those resisting the Big Other. To this end, I will look at violent response to resistance movements in Canada and amongst the Israelites in the wilderness. Specifically, the paper will look at different types of records relating to three cases of resistance: media reports and first hand accounts of police brutality and intimidation of the anti-poverty demonstrators in Montréal; videotapes, court testimonies and first hand accounts of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s siege and attack on 18 Secwepemc traditionalists on their sundance grounds in “British Columbia”; and the biblical account (Numbers 16) of Korah, Dathan and Abiram being swallowed up by an earthquake in return for questioning Moses in the desert. In looking at these stories, I will consider first the ideological operation that both produces resistance and violence. I will then suggest that this operation critiques Zizek’s often misogynist Lacanian imagery and sug-gests instead that what is really at work is an hysterical phallus.

15:00-17:30 (Centennial)
CSBS and CTS Joint Session / Session conjointe: SCÉB et CTS
Jubilee: History and Hope for a New Beginning / Jubilé: Histoire et Espoir pour un nouveau Début

Presiding / Présidence: Sylvia C. Keesmaat (Institute for Christian Studies)

David Jobling (St Andrew’s) and Catherine Rose (York) “Biblical Reflections on Jubilee: Some Friendly Amendments”

The recent initiative to persuade governments and financiers to restructure international debt, and to remit the national debt of the most impoverished nations, is important and welcome. But its slogan “Jubilee 2000” raises for biblical scholars hermeneutical issues which have not been adequately addressed in the existing literature. The borrowing of the euphonious term “jubilee” from Leviticus 25, a very complex text in a part of the Bible usually little visited by Christian theologians, preempts and skews the question of how the interpretation of the Bible may be brought to bear on the debt crisis. The economic “debate” within the Bible (for example between Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15) needs much more attention..14 Canadian Society of Bibilcal Studies Jewish scholarship has been remarkably neglected. This paper will develop these and other friendly questions about how the Bible functions in the Jubilee initiative.

J. Richard Middleton (Colgate Rochester Divinity) “The Feast of Fools: Jesus, Jubilee and the Unfinished Story”

Harvey Cox’s 1969 book The Feast of Fools sparked a 1978 song by Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn. This paper reads the account of Jesus at Nazareth in Luke 4:16-30 intertextually with Cockburn’s “Feast of Fools” and his later (1981) song “Justice,” in order to foreground the existential power (and abrasiveness) of the Lukan text. The biblical background of Jubilee upon which the text draws (by way of Isaiah 61) will be explored, as well as its nuancing and revision of the Jubilee vision by appeal to the Elijah and Elisha stories. The focus will be on Jubilee as socio-ethical practice rooted in a founding narrative of redemption, which is yet incomplete.

Lee Cormie (TST) “Hope for a New Beginning: The Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative”

On the eve of the third millennium, the biblical image of jubilee is becoming a symbol of hope for a new beginning around the world. This paper will probe four dimensions of this resurgent hope: (1) epochal changes associated with knowledge explosions, new technologies, organizational forms (movements, institutions, and structures), emergent global culture, and the deep contradictions characterizing emergent planetary civilization; (2) global neoliberalism (or neoconservatism) as an expression of hope and faith in history, inspiring visioning and policy-making in centres of power around the world; (3) the spirit of jubilee as an alternative vision of hope for a new beginning, and its expression in the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative and related organizations, networks and campaigns around the world (Jubilee 2000/U.K., Kairos Europa, Jubilee 2000/U.S., Amerindia, etc.); and (4) challenges and possibilities for theology and ethics in the 21st century, concerning the continuing presence of divine creativity in history, the growing scope of the invitation to co-creativity, the openness of history, the prospects for a second “fall,” the deepening urgency of liberation of all the oppressed—and the exploited earth—at the centre of true hope for the future, and the vocation of the Church to witness to the rebirth of hope in history.

Respondent/Réponse: Eric Beresford (Anglican Church of Canada)

General Discussion.

17:00-19:00 (Central Quad)
(in case of inclement weather: Students’ Center Pub)
Bishop’s Principal’s Reception / Reception de la Principale


19:00—21:00 (Centennial)
The Craigie Lecture / La conférence Craigie
Prof. James L. Kugel, Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature (Harvard) and Professor of Bible (Bar Ilan)
“You’re Killing Me With Kindness, or, A Modest Proposal Concerning the Teaching of ‘Introduction to the Old Testament’”


21:00-23:00 (Centennial Reception Area)
Joint Reception / Réception conjointe


Friday, June 4 / Vendredi, 4 juin

9:00-12:00 (N2)
The Bible, Body, and Feminism / La bible, le corps, et le feminisme
A Panel Discussion on the Interface between Deconstruction Theory and Feminist Discourse on Embodiment /
Discussion sur la théorie de déconstruction et le discours féministe sur l’incorporation

Presiding/Présidence: Mary Ann Beavis (St. Thomas More)

To continue the discussion in feminist theory and biblical criticism in the CSBS, this panel addresses the interface between deconstruction theory and feminist discourse on embodiment. Does deconstruction bypass questions of embodiment or is it a useful tool for thinking about embodiment? Panelists will focus this line of questioning around biblical texts.

Panelists: Marsha Hewitt (Trinity College, Toronto), Francis Landy (Alberta), Gary Phillips (Univ. of the South), Erin Runions (McGill)

Respondent/Réponse: Philippa Carter (Wilfrid Laurier)

Following the panel presentations and prepared response, there will be a 15-minute break before the general discussion involving panelists and audience.


9:00-12:00 (N4)
Trajectories of Biblical Tradition / Trajectoires des traditions bibliques
Presiding/Présidence: Michael Knowles (McMaster Divinity)

9:00 Jean Duhaime (Université de Montréal) “‘Les voies des deux esprits’ de la Règle de la communauté de Qumrân (1QS iv 2-14)”

Les voies des esprits de vérité (1QS iv 2-8) et de perversion (1QS iv 9-14) ont été peu étudiées du point de vue de leur structure littéraire. L’analyse révèle que ces listes sont construites selon un procédé de structuration semblable à celui des psaumes bibliques : les thèmes principaux sont annoncés, puis développés en petites unités regroupées en sections plus grandes signalées par des inclusions et autres formes de récurrences. Les deux listes antithétiques abordent successivement les attitudes et les comportements propres à chaque esprit et les conséquences qui en découlent.

[“‘The Ways of the Two Spirits’ in the Rule of the Community from Qumran (1QS iv 2-14): A Rhetorical Analysis”

The literary structure of the ways of the spirit of truth (1QS iv 2-8) and the spirit of deceit (1QS iv 9-14) has not received much attention. A close reading reveals that these lists are structured after literary devices similar to those in the biblical Psalms: main themes are first introduced and then developed in small units, which are assembled in larger sections marked by inclusions and other forms or repetitions. The two antithetic lists deal in sequence with internal attitudes and external behavior associated with each spirit and their resulting consequences.]

9:30 Dilys Patterson (Ottawa) “The Primordial Monsters of the Jewish Apocalypses”

Monsters were part of the cosmology of the ancient Near East. In biblical literature the monsters play a small role in Israelite theology; Yahweh’s dominion over the monsters, Leviathan and Behe-moth, indicate Yahweh’s power to maintain right order by binding and punishing those who break His covenant. The authors of the Jewish apocalypses draw on this facet of theology in different ways..17 La Société canadienne des …tudes bibliques Some portray the monsters as part of a final sacrificial feast that ushers in a new covenant, some continue the biblical tradition by using the monsters as a symbol of Yahweh’s power to maintain right order, while one other disassociates the monsters from theology completely. This paper presents the biblical view of the Israelite theology concerning the monsters and explores the various ways these monsters figure in Jewish apocalypses such as Jubilees, 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch and The Apocalypse of Abraham.

10:00 Jack N. Lightstone (Concordia) “Mishnah’s Rhetoric, other Material Artifacts of Late-Roman Galilee and the Social Formation of the Early Rabbinic Guild”

Attempts to use the material evidence for Late-Roman Palestine to shed light upon the social formation of the early rabbinic guild has been fraught with disappointment. In this paper, I (a) suggest why, and (b) suggest another, less direct approach to having the evidence for the material culture of the late-Roman Galilee speak to the social formation of earliest rabbinism. I take up the latter task by relating the social formation of the early rabbinic guild both to the rise of the Palestinian Patriarchate, on the one hand, and, on the other, to the rapid urbanization of the Galilee and its Jewish population during the same period, as evinced in the material remains of the region.


12:00-13:00 (Molson 10)
Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion /
Assemblée annuelle de la Corporation canadienne des sciences religieuses


13:30-15:30 (TBA)
Joint Session/ Session conjointe:
CSBS, Canadian Society of Medievalists, and Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies /
SCÉB, Société canadienne d’études de la Renaissance et Société canadienne des médiévistes

Space and Place Colloquium/ Colloque: Espace et lieux
James W. Flanagan (Hallinan Professor of Religion, Case Western Reserve) “Postmodern Perceptions of Premodern Space”
Respondents/Réponse: Peter Richardson, Lesley Cormack, et al


16:30-18:00 (J200)
CSBS, CSSR, CTS, CSCH, CSPS Joint Session /
Session conjointe de SCÉB, SCÉR, STC, SCHÉ, ACÉP

Issues Facing Religionists, their Societies, and the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion

Main Page / Page d’accueil

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