CSBS-SCEB


Canadian Society of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting
Réunion annuelle de la Société canadienne des études bibliques
Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
(Unless Otherwise Specified)
May 28-31 Mai, 2003

 

Programme with Abstracts


Wednesday, May 28 / Mercredi, 28 Mai

14:00-19:00 (Margaret Flahiff, Atlantic School of Theology)
CSBS Executive Meeting / Réunion du Comité Exécutif

Thursday, May 29 / Jeudi, 29 Mai

9:15-11:45 (Case 1, Management Building)
New Testament: James and John / Nouveau Testament: Jacques et Jean
Chair/Présidente: Edith Humphrey (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)

9:15-9:45 John S. Kloppenborg (University of Toronto), “Jesus Traditions in James”

That a strong relationship exists between the sayings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and the letter of James has been long recognized, though it is not clear whether James knows the Sermon on the Mount, some predecessor text, or pre-Matthaean (or Q) tradition. This paper will examine the possible allusions to sayings of Jesus in James and compare their rhetorical function in James with their rhetorical function in Matthew, and will inquire into the way they function as proofs in relationship to other proofs in James’ argument.

9:45-10:15 Dina Teitelbaum (University of Ottawa), “The Jewish Ossuary Phenomenon: Cultural Receptivity in Roman Palestine”

The origin of the ossuary is explained as a social move of a well-to-do segment in Jewish society emulating the imperial elite, rather than as an expression of belief in resurrection or redemption, as persistently claimed today. The employment of receptacles in secondary obsequies throughout the Greco-Roman world motivated Judaean society during Herod’s reign to introduce a receptacle into its indigenous funerary practices without shaking Jewish root principles. Whereas pagans collected cremated remains into an ash chest, Judaeans collected desiccated bones into aniconic ossuaries. The ossuary’s disappearance coincided with the Empire’s shifting from cremation to primary burial into sarcophagi.

Break: 10:15-10:30

10:30-11:00 Adele Reinhartz (Wilfrid Laurier University), “Martyn’s Method Revisited: A Two-Level Reading of the Gospel of John”

In History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel (1968, 1979), J. L. Martyn argued that the Gospel of John should be read on two levels: as a story of Jesus and as the story of the Johannine community. Many scholars accept this two-level reading strategy as a valuable tool particularly for analyzing the relationship between the Johannine community and the Jewish community in whose vicinity the Johannine believers are thought to have resided. Despite the widespread acknowledgement of this method’s utility, its application is generally limited to a small number of passages, notably, those that refer to the expulsion of believers from the synagogue. In this paper, I will attempt to apply this two-level reading strategy comprehensively to the Gospel as a whole, in order to test its usefulness both for exegesis and for historical analysis.

11:00-11:30 Mary Rose D’Angelo (University of Notre Dame), “Visionary Form in John 20:14-18 and Revelation 1:9-19 and the Resurrection Appearances”

This essay argues that the visionary experience of Mary, and particularly the vision report in John 20:14-18 deserve a special scrutiny from scholars of early Christianity. A comparison between John 20:14-18 and Rev 1:9-19 demonstrates their formal correspondances and offers an entrée to the character of the resurrection appearances and of early Christian prophecy in general. The insight it offers into this experience is an important lens through which the context of Jesus and the gospels as a source for the “teaching of Jesus” can be reexamined.

11:30-11:45 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

 

9:15-11:45 (Case 2, Management Building)
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament / Bible Hébraïque/Ancien Testament
Chair/Président: John L. McLaughlin (University of St. Michael’s College)

9:15-9:45 J. Glen Taylor (Wycliffe College), “Has the Mystery of Jacob at the Jabbok Been Solved?”

9:45-10:15 Tony S. L. Michael (University of Toronto), “Baruch and Tov: A New Conclusion”
Emanuel Tov (The Septuagint Translation of Jeremiah and Baruch, 1976) argued that one translator was responsible for the Old Greek translation of the book of Jeremiah, including Bar 1:1-3:8, and that this translation is only preserved in Jeremiah 1-28. The second half of Jeremiah and Baruch contained what he refers to as the work of a reviser. He bases much of his argument on the basic assumption that translators tend to use the same rendition as much as possible. Having recently completed a new translation of Baruch and after examining Tov’s evidence I am prepared to argue that there was no reviser and that it is, in fact, Tov’s theory that requires a revision.

Break: 10:15-10:30

10:30-11:00 Andrew Yun (Johns Hopkins University), “The Cult of the Moon God in Iron Age Syria-Palestine”

The comprehensive survey of Biblical, Aramaic, and Akkadian literary sources as well as iconographic evidences of seals, monumental arts, etc., reveals that the Aramean lunar cult of Harran was adopted by the Assyrian as Sin of Harran and spread into western Syria and Palestine as a major lunar deity, under the Aramean cultural influence which accompanied the political expansion of the Assyrian Empire. The expansion of this particular form of lunar cult, as most clearly evidenced by the presence of the crescent moon emblem of the moon god of Harran in glyptic art of seals from Syria and Palestine during the Iron Age IIC, inevitably led to conflict with other diverse local lunar cults of Syria and Palestine. The funerary inscription of Si’gabbar from Nerab and the Neo-Assyrian royal correspondences, especially of Sargon II, provides a rare resource to reconstruct the larger social context of the Neo-Assyrian provinces, especially of Harran, in northern Syria, to historically contextualize the cult of Sin of Haran, and to understand how religious syncretism worked in the case of two distinctive lunar cults, of Sin of Harran and of Sahr, who was indiginous to north-western Syria during the Iron Age II.

11:00-11:30 Joyce Rilett Wood (Toronto), “When Gods Were Men”

It is commonly believed that the God of biblical Israel, in stark contrast to the Gods of the ancient world, lacks human form and is beyond sexuality: God is grammatically male and sociologically male (God is husband, father and king), but he is only male by gender, not by sex.
This talk focuses on the masculine representation of God in Genesis 18-19 and related texts. I will retell the epic story of visitation in light of its ancient context and show how it was updated to meet the theological needs of a different age.

11:30-11:45 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

 

11:45-13:00 (Case 3, Management Building)
Lunch for Student Members / Casse-croûte pour étudiants

 

13:00-14:30 (Room 212, Management Building)
Special Session Organized by Students / Session spéciale organisée par les étudiants
The Write Stuff: Habits of Good Writing / Écrire éffectivement: Cultiver de bonnes habitudes
Chair/Présidente: Colleen Shantz (University of St. Michael’s College)

Panelists: David Jobling (Saskatoon), Michel Desjardins (Wilfrid Laurier University), John S. Kloppenborg (University of Toronto), Fiona Black (Mount Allison University)

 

14:30-15:50 (Room 212, Management Building)
Student Essay Prizes / Prix pour travaux d’étudiant(e)s
Chair/Président: Gary Knoppers (Penn State University)

14:30-15:00: Jeremias Prize: Murray Baker (Wycliffe College), “Jews, God-fearers, Theos Hypsistos, and Stephen Mitchell At Miletos: An Epigraphical Application of a Novel Theory”

Stephen Mitchell, most notably in his contribution to Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity (Athanassiadi and Frede 1999), has provided a broad perspective on the cult of the Most High God and has proposed that the much discussed theosebeis are followers of this cult. In this paper Mitchell’s perspective is used to approach the famous Miletos theatre inscription, “the place of the Jews [and the / who are] God-fearers” (IvM 940f). An understanding of the inscription is proposed which draws in the cult of the Most High God and other theatre inscriptions (most notably IvM 940g).

15:00-15:10 Questions/Discussion

15:10-15:40: Founders Prize: Lissa Wray Beal (Wycliffe College), “Evaluating Jehu: Narrative Control of Approval and Disapproval in 2 Kings 9 and 10”

This paper explores the final form of the Jehu narrative (2 Kings 9 and 10) to examine the narrative control of approval and disapproval of the usurper. Approval and disapproval is constructed through the voices of prophets, the LORD, Jehu, and the narrator. While the final word of approval by the LORD is authoritative, the Deuteronomistic criteria subsume and limit the LORD’s own word. The tension is seeded throughout the narrative, demonstrating the art of the narrative’s portrayal of Jehu. In the end, the narrative tension serves the Dtr-interests: that Jehu is approved and disapproved communicates exactly what Dtr intends.

15:40-15:50 Questions/Discussion

 

16:00-17:00 (Room 212, Management Building)
CSBS Annual General Meeting / Assemblée annuelle de la SCÉB


17:10-18:10 (Room 212, Management Building)
Presidential Address / Conférence du Président
Presiding/Présidence: Gary Knoppers (Penn State University)
Frederik Wisse (McGill University):
The Origin of the Christian Species: Lessons from Natural History for Reconstructing the History of Early Christianity”


19:00 -22:00 (The Granite Brewery: Henry House)
CSBS Annual Dinner / Banquet annuel de la SCÉB

 

Friday, May 30 / Vendredi, 29 Mai

8:45-12:15 (Case 1, Management Building)
New Testament: Gospels / Nouveau Testament: Évangiles
Chair/Président: Terence Donaldson (Wycliffe College)

9:15-9:45 Robert Derrenbacker, Jr. (Tyndale Seminary) “‘And he went out and wept bitterly’: A Socio-Cultural Reading of Peter’s Denial in Matthew 26:69-75”

All four of the canonical Gospels contain an account of Peter’s Denial, where the reader sees Peter’s threefold denial of Jesus. As well, Mark, Luke and John each portray Peter’s “rehabilitation” in subsequent narratives. However, in Matthew we see no such attempt to “rehabilitate” Peter. Instead, the last we see of peter in Matthew’s Gospel is his “weeping bitterly” at the conclusion of the Denial episode. This paper will explore Matthew’s account of Peter’s Denial from a socio-cultural perspective, specifically exploring group loyalty/disloyalty in the ancient world, the taking of public oaths in the defense of honour, and the public display of emotion in antiquity. The paper will conclude by beginning to explore some of the possible reasons for Matthew’s unique portrayal of Peter in his narrative.

9:45-10:15 David J. Hawkin (Memorial University), “A Creative Interpretation of the Temptations of Jesus”

In his brilliantly provocative interpretation, found in the story of the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky sees the Temptations of Jesus as symbolizing the potentially enslaving power of miracle, mystery and authority. Developments within modernity since Dostoevsky indicate that what he says needs to be reformulated. Nevertheless, the significance of the creative power of his interpretaiton shuld not be underestimated. I shall argue that he has shown how non-recognitive recovery of textual meaning can bridge the gap between the horizons of discourse of the ancient and of the modern.

Break: 10:15-10:30

10:30-11:00 John Horman (Waterloo), “How Mark (Sometimes) Created Narrative from Sayings”

As is well known, it was standard procedure for Greek and Roman historians to compose speeches which were deemed appropriate to their narrative. In the Gospel of Mark, this process was often reversed: the speech came first, and an appropriate narrative was built to provide a setting for the speech. As it happens, such narrative was most often provided for sayings shared between Mark and Thomas. Many of these are very difficult sayings; Mark’s narrative often attempted to find a way out of the difficulty.

11:00-11:30 Ross Kraemer (Brown University), “Rehabilitating Salome: Blaming Jewish Women for the Death of John the Baptist”

In this paper I argue that the gospel narratives are almost certainly a fabrication (either by the author of the gospel of Mark, or perhaps already known to that author) which functions not only to refute the possibility (made explicit in Mark and Matthew) that Jesus might be John raised from the dead (through a narrative which appears to leave the body and head of John permanently separated), but also accounts for why John might have suffered this particular form of death (a detail absent altogether in Josephus). My analysis relies not only on a careful reading of the gospel narratives but also on the very great difficulties implicating Herodias’ daughter Salome. In addition the paper explores why a tale about women is particularly useful to the formulators of this account, and how gender factors into the narrative, and into the representations of Herod in Mark, Matthew and Josephus.

11:30-12:00 Daniel Smith (Tyndale Seminary), “Lego humin in the Gospel Traditions”

Previous considerations of the sayings formula lego … humin (“I tell you”) in Q in particular have focussed either on its origins in the prophetic tradition or on its function as a signifier of redactional work. A close examination of its contextual function, however, establishes that it is used fairly consistently in Q to introduce statements which reverse some element of the previous context. This usage appears to be peculiar to Q. The paper considers relevant sayings material from Q, the Synoptic Gospels, and other texts to demonstrate this point.

12:00-12:15 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

 

9:15-12:00 (Case 3, Management Building)
Reading Bible, Gender and Theory Seminar: The Bible and Globalization /
Groupe de travail sur la lecture de la Bible, le genre, et la théorie: La Bible et le globalisme
Chair/Présidente: Fiona Black (Mount Allison University)

9:15-9:45 Sylvia Keesmaat (Institute for Christian Studies), “Rome, Globalization and Colossians”

Exploring the cultural and economic parallels between the Roman Empire of the first century and postmodern capitalist globalization will set the context for this reading of Colossians as a word of subversive hope in the face of empire. The strategies for resisting the Roman Empire and creating an alternative community found in Colossians will provide a point of departure for reflecting on strategies and creating a community of resistance to globalization in our own context.

9:45-10:15 Karen Williams (Emmanuel College), “Touching the Stranger: Biblical Readings and Global Activism”

Documents authorizing Christian activism on behalf of those harmed by unjust global political/economic practices invoke biblical readings of ‘the stranger’ in the NT. The stranger (Matt 25:34) is widow and orphan (James 1:27) leper (Mt 8:1-4); and persons in need of food, clothes (Mt. 25:35-36) and shelter (1 Tim. 5:10) needing care in their distress (James 1:27). What Christian practice is being authorized when ‘the stranger’ is related to ‘reading with the grain’ of such New Testament texts? Sara Ahmed’s, “Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality”, offers a feminist critique of the Western fetishization of the stranger, the biblical figure who “symbolizes that the other is always the weak one, asking something of the subject, asking for a generous response” (p. 149) in contrast to the one with ‘full hands’. Reading with Ahmed allows me to examine how this ‘reduction of the stranger to a being’ (p. 79) in biblical readings of ‘welcoming the stranger’ overlooks “the very relationships of social antagonism that produce the stranger as a figure in the first place” (p. 79) reproducing the body of Christ as purified space undisturbed by strangers where ‘we’ and not ‘they’ dwell. What Christian activism might be authorized if we read instead through Ahmed’s ‘ethics of touch’?

Break: 10:15-10:30

10:30-11:00 Catherine Rose (York University), “Defeating Goliath: Globalizing Biblical Discourse on AIDS”

Secular and religious organizations are being positioned increasingly as international actors in HIV/AIDS work (e.g. Health Canada 2000: “To Share and to Learn: The case for Canadians to Act Globally Against AIDS”). As powerful actors transnationally, Christian churches potentially offer an institutional site for the construction of oppositional transnational subjects and the generation of public discourse that advocates for international solidarity with the marginalized. This paper brings together queer AIDS activist scholarship and theories of globalization in order to read the materials distributed on the Internet by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance in its global AIDS campaign. Examining the alliance’s appeal to particular biblical narratives, this paper seeks to unpack the way in which globalization is thought through a biblical discourse that constructs subjects of HIV/AIDS in a way that may reproduce patterns of stigmatization, silencing and subordination that the alliance seeks to combat.

11:00-11:30 Grant LeMarquand (Trinity Episcopal Seminary), “Bibles, Crosses, Songs and Guns: Sudanese ‘Readings’ of the Bible in the Midst of Civil War”

With the exception of a brief period in the in the late 1970s and early 1980s the country of Sudan has been living in a state of civil war since its independence in 1956. During the latest phase of the war (from the late 1980s) approximately two million people, most of them from the southern part of the country, have died as a result of military conflict and famine. During this same decade and a half a previously small Christian community has grown exponentially. This paper will examine the popularity of particular biblical texts and a variety of strategies which Sudanese Christians have used to appropriate those texts in the midst of war.

11:30-11:45 Response: Erin Runions (Barnard College)
11:45-12:00 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

 

8:45-12:15 (Case 2, Management Building)
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament / Bible Hébraïque/Ancien Testament
Chair/Présidente: Patricia Dutcher-Walls (Knox College)

9:15-9:45 Randall Heskett  (Trinity College), “The De-Messianization of the Scriptural Scroll from Isaiah”

The book of Isaiah provides interesting examples of texts, originally not intended to be messianic, that were reinterpreted by later editors messianically (Clements, Wegner, Sheppard, Heskett). However, I will show how the shift moves in the opposite direction as well. The term mashiach, which originally expressed the significance of an anointed king who was currently on the throne, changed its meaning in the post-exilic era to account for the fact that there was no longer a king reigning and now referred to an eschatological figure who would fulfill the promises made to David in 2 Samuel 7:10-17. The exilic reference to Cyrus in Isa. 45:1 accounts for the beginning of that shift but not the full meaning of messianism as it developed in the post-exilic era. However, within the scriptural form of the scroll of Isaiah, Cyrus has now been de-messianized in order both to re-express the hope of a Davidic King who will usher in the messianic era and also to clarify the post-exilic sense of messianism.

9:45-10:15 Matthew Mitchell (Temple University), “Hosea 1-2: Negating the ‘Critical Obsession’ and Its Search for Unity”

Hosea’s early chapters have borne the weight of much of the critical commentary and scholarly discussion of the book throughout the history of its interpretation. Much of this attention has been the result of what Yvonne Sherwood has termed the “critical obsession with Hosea’s marriage,” and its related redaction-critical assumptions about the biographical purpose of the early chapters of the book. A careful analysis of the role that negation plays in chapters 1-2, in particular the naming and re-naming of the “children” (Lo- Ammi and Lo-Ruchamah), leads to rather different conclusions about both the purpose and genre of chapters 1-3 and their relationship to the book of Hosea as a whole.

Break: 10:15-10:30

10:30-11:00 Daniel Miller (University of Michigan), “The Ketef Hinnom Scrolls and Numbers 6:24-26: Genre and Context”

It is abundantly clear that the two scrolls discovered by G. Barkay at Jerusalem’s Ketef Hinnom bear a very striking resemblance to Num 6:24-26 (the so-called “Priestly Benediction”). It has been suggested that the Ketef Hinnom scrolls were amuletic in nature. Given that amulets in the ancient Semitic world (both West and East) have frequently been found to bear formulations deemed to be incantational in character, it is reasonable to argue that the words inscribed on these scrolls were meant to be incantations, despite the fact that the analogous biblical verses have conventionally been defined as a “blessing.” If the reinterpretation of the text of the scrolls is accepted, this necessarily raises questions about the original significance of Num 6:24-26 in the Israelite cult, before this fragment was put in its present biblical context.

11:00-11:30 J. Richard Middleton (Roberts Wesleyan University), “Is Violence the Primal Sin? The Socio-Ethical Significance of Boundary Transgression in Genesis 3”

There are few biblical texts as over-interpreted as Genesis 3. Whereas in premodern times, this text was read uncritically through a Pauline lens, in recent biblical scholarship a plethora of diverse-often mutually contradictory-readings has been proposed, drawing on structuralist, feminist, rhetorical, ideological and psychoanalytic perspectives. This paper attends both to 1) the literary context of Genesis 3 in the primeval history (Genesis 1-11), where human wrongdoing is portrayed primarily as violence, and 2) to concern with violence in the contemporary world. It explores the possibility that Genesis 3 narrates an “originary,” paradigmatic case of violence, in the sense of the transgression of boundaries external to oneself which ought to be respected, in this case boundaries articulated by God, the primal Other. Could it be that all inter-human violence is to be understood as stemming from this primal act of boundary transgression? Does this shed light on the positive articulation of the human calling in Genesis 1 and 2?

11:30-12:00 Gary Knoppers (Penn State University), “Projected Age Comparisons of the Levitical Townlists: Divergent Theories and Their Significance.”

This paper focuses attention on the relationship between the Levitical town lists found in MT and LXX Josh 21:1-42 and 1 Chr 6:39-66 (ET 6:54-81). Until recent times, two views dominated the discussion. Some (e.g., Curtis and Madsen; R. Braun) saw the presentation of Levitical towns in Chronicles as derived from the comparable list in Joshua, while others (e.g., B. Mazar) saw both lists as derived from a shared source. Within the past fifty years two new views have come to the fore. The first underscores the importance of LXX Joshua 21. Albright thinks that the tradition of LXX Joshua 21 lies between Chronicles and MT Joshua, while Spencer asserts that LXXB Joshua 21 represents the parent text for both MT and LXX Chronicles. Auld presents yet another view: the (original) presentation of Chronicles is antecedent to Joshua. Auld contends that the text of Chronicles has experienced “disordered growth” and that the (later) text of Joshua attempts to correct its uneven results.
Both of these two new theories have some merit. The witness of LXX Joshua provides many relevant variants to MT Joshua. Chronicles offers a briefer text, free of some of the explanations, comments, and numerical summaries found in Joshua. Nevertheless, the textual evidence is more complex than any of the four theories allow. I do not believe that it is possible to demonstrate a straight linear development from one original text (whether Joshua or Chronicles) to the other. The writer of one tradition did not passively appropriate material from an earlier text. I will argue that the author of the Chronicles account derived his text from an earlier form of Joshua. But he did not simply inherit material from his Vorlage; he also edited, shaped, and reordered it. The evidence supplied by LXX Joshua, MT Joshua, and Chronicles suggests a certain fluidity in the development of biblical texts before the rise of the Common Era.

12:00-12:15 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

 

13:30-17:00 (Case 3, Management Building)
Reading Bible, Gender and Theory Seminar: Recovering Women Interpreters of Scripture /
Groupe de travail sur la lecture de la Bible, le genre, et la théorie: Retrouver les interprètes femmes de l’Écriture sainte

Chair/Présidente: Lissa Wray Beal (Wycliffe College)

13:30-14:00 Marion Ann Taylor (Wycliffe College), “Harriet Beecher Stowe: Hermeneutics and Scripture”

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), who was catapulted to international fame with the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852, was the daughter of a minister, sister to five ministers, mother of a minister and wife of a minister and learned Biblical scholar. Theological controversies and debates over meanings of texts were part of her world. In her unpublished thesis, “Reading the Word: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Interpretation,” (University of Virginia, 1993), Gail Smith convincingly argues that hermeneutics is a central concern in Stowe’s writings which span the period of 1833-1878. In this paper, I am going to explore Stowe’s interpretive work on the Bible, making special reference to her illustrated work, Woman in Sacred History (1873).

14:00-14:30 Elizabeth Davis (Regis College), “Catherine McAuley’s Interpretation of Scripture”

Catherine McAuley, a nineteenth century Irish Roman Catholic woman, lived in a time and culture in which the Bible was practically invisible. Yet she used the Bible to shape a community of women, the Sisters of Mercy, who were motivated by the life and teachings of Jesus so that they could then make a difference in the lives of the women and children among whom they ministered. A study of Catherine’s numerous letters as well as the writings and art of the first sisters of her community shows her deliberate interpretation and use of the Bible to create a dialogue between the world of the text and her world of 19th century Ireland in order to bring about action for change. Her intent in integrating Scripture in the everyday life of her community reflects emerging directions in biblical interpretation that focus on the meaning brought to the text by the reader or reading community. Without the benefit of formal biblical study, she interpreted Scripture in a manner more fully developed today by scholars such as Sandra Schneiders and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. A study of her work dispels the myth that the interpretation of the Bible was foreign to Roman Catholic women in the nineteenth century and reveals another source for the developments emerging in today’s modern biblical scholarship.

14:30-15:00 Christiana de Groot (Calvin College), “Florence Nightingale: A Mother in Israel

Nightingale (1820-1910) was a devout believer, life long member of the Church of England, and learned reader of scripture. Her many accomplishments were grounded in her sense of calling, which was honed and enhanced through her scripture studies. We have access to her private engagement with the text in her Biblical Annotations. In addition to using scripture to cultivate her unorthodox faith, she helped shape The School and Children’s Bible (1872?), an abridged edition of the Authorized Version (King James) aiding Benjamin Jowett in his arranging and selecting of appropriate material. By examining her correspondence with Jowett on the children’s Bible and on the controversy surrounding the publication of Essays and Reviews (1860), we can obtain a picture of her view of the authority of scripture, its intended purpose and its appropriate use in the church and by believers.

Break: 15:00-15:15

15:15-15:45 Amanda Benkhuysen (Wycliffe College), “The Prophetic Voice of Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)”

In 19th Century England, celebrated and successful female authors restricted their subject matter to the private sphere (particularly, matters of love and family life). By contrast, Christina Rossetti was compelled by her Christian convictions and her understanding of the word of God to reject such limitations. Rather, she assumed a prophetic voice, engaging and critiquing the cultural, theological and political issues of her day. This is no where more apparent than in her devotional prose work, Letter and Spirit (1883), a commentary on the Commandments that employs harmonization, intertextuality, and typology to disclose the Divine Will and the duty of humanity in a changing world.

15:45-16:15 Margaret Dore (Emmanuel College), “Grace Aguilar: Woman of Israel”

Grace Aguilar (1816-1847), an English Jew of the early Victorian period, wrote poems, novels, prayers, sermons, histories and Scriptural commentary while teaching school to support her family. In Women of Israel, her popular and influential work of historical biography and Scriptural interpretation, Aguilar adopted and adapted prevalent notions of the genders’ different natures, separate spheres and women’s special mission to articulate Jewish women¹s responsibility to communicate Biblical literacy and thereby educate both Jew and Gentile. Though recognized in her time as a passionate and articulate spokesperson for her faith and people, Aguilar has since suffered from considerable critical indifference and her work dismissed as sentimental, pious and written for women. Exploring her elaboration of the organizing motif of Women of Israel, that “the women of the Bible are but mirrors of ourselves”, Aguilar is recognized as a complicated artist whose work is that of an accomplished midrashic theologian.

16:15-16:45 Rebecca Idestrom (Tyndale Seminary), “Elizabeth McDonald: An Early Canadian Contribution to the Study of Women in the Ancient Near East”

In this paper. I will explore the contribution of one of the early foremothers of Canadian Biblical studies, Elizabeth M. MacDonald. In particular. I will examine her study of women found in her 1928 Ph.D. thesis which was on the position of women as reflected in Semitic Codes of Law. Her thesis was published as a book in 1931 by the University of Toronto Press.

16:45-17:00 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

 

14:00-17:00 (Case 1, Management Building)
New Testament: Paul / Nouveau Testament: Paul
Chair/Présidente: Nancy Calvert-Coyzis (Redeemer University College & McMaster University)

14:00-14:30 Edith Humphrey (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary). “Which Way is Up?  Revival, Resurrection, Assumption and Ascension in the Rhetoric of Paul and John the Seer”

The Hebrew Bible, Second Temple literature, New Testament and early Christian Apocrypha present four distinct yet inter-related categories that indicate the boundaries between this world and the next, or between this world and the heavenly, and the possibility of crossing these. Revival (or resuscitation), resurrection, assumption, and ascension are key motifs, frequently intermingled and only loosely distinguished at certain points in the Jewish and early Christian texts, but afforded distinctive theological and paraenetic significance as they come to be viewed through the lens of the Jesus event. These modes upwards are used in contrasting ways in the explicit argument of Paul and the implicit narratival rhetoric of the seer John. In particular, we will consider the eschatological note of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, which treats resurrection and assumption and then adapts this language for exhortation, and the startling journeys “up” in Revelation 11 and 12 where two human witnesses arise and ascend while the Messiah is merely assumed. It will become clear that the four “upward modes” have come to signify various moments in the Christian drama, with a clear preference for resurrection and ascension as the normative and anticipated experience of the communities. However, the notions of revival and assumption are not wholly lost.

14:30-15:00 Ken Penner (McMaster University), “Did Paul Speak Hebrew?  Ancient Names for Hebrew and Aramaic”

The BDAG lexicon claims that the word Hebrais “the Hebrew language” in the New Testament actually refers to “the Aramaic spoken at that time in Palestine”. This opinion appears to be based on the several NT instances where Aramaic proper names are called “Hebrew”. Yet proper names are not a reliable language identifier because names cross linguistic boundaries easily (e.g., is “Nova Scotia” English or Latin?). Some scholars have therefore claimed that apart from proper names, the ancient world clearly and consistently distinguished between the Hebrew (Hebrais) and Aramaic (Suriake) languages. This paper will systematically examine the ancient references to Hebrew and Aramaic not involving proper names, in order to determine whether these two languages were clearly distinct.

Break: 15:00-15:15

15:15-15:45 William Richards (College of Emmanuel and St. Chad), “Reading Philippians: Strategies for Unfolding a Story”

Identifying different parts of the present text of Philippians as separate letters takes the task of epistolary analyis beyond simple form criticism into the realm of narratology, for any conclusions about the composite nature of a text imply reconstructing a story of how the relationship between sender and recipient was unfolding. Using work on the discourse of epistolary novels, this paper moves from a formal study of epistolary units in Philippians, to examining how any compositional hypothesis (including a reading “as is”) implies a more, or less, adequate strategy for appreciating the story of a first-century Macedonian community’s friendship with the Christian traveller, Paul.

15:45-16:15 Colleen Shantz (Unversity of St. Michael’s College), “In His Own Image and Likeness: Albert Schweizer’s Portrait of the ‘Mystic’ Paul”

This paper is a parallel reading of two of Albert Schweitzer’s books, written while he was also founding a medical practice in French controlled Equatorial Africa. The first is Schweitzer’s important study of Paul, Die Mystik des Apostels Paulus, and the second is his volume of reflections on life in Africa, Zwischen Wasser und Urwald (On the Edge of the Primeval Forest, English edition). Here I examine the ideological parallels between the two volumes and particularly the ways in which Schweitzer’s portrait of Paul as a heroic thinker bears a strong resemblance to Schweitzer’s own self-understanding.

16:15-16:45 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

 

20:00-21:15 (Scotiabank Auditorium, Marion McCain Building)
Craigie Lecture/La Conférence Craigie
Presiding/Présidence: Frederik Wisse (McGill University)
Phyllis Bird
(Emeritus, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary):
“‘Sacred Prostitution’ in History and Rhetoric: Constructing the Religious World of the Hebrew Bible”

Reception to follow in the Atrium (21:15-23:00).  Members of all societies welcome.

 

Saturday, May 31 / Samedi, 26 Mai

9:15-12:00 (Case 3, Management Building)
Religious Rivalries Seminar / Groupe de travail sur les rivalités religieuses
Chair/Président: Richard Ascough (Queen’s University)

9:15-9:45 Wayne McCready and Lincoln Blumell (University of Calgary)  Religious and Civil Identities at Roman Carthage”

To be a good citizen in Roman Carthage required allegiance to a common civil identity that was challenging for Jews, as well as for Christians. This seminar presentation will address the interplay between civil and religious identities, in the late second and early third centuries CE, and how that dynamic affected religious identities in the larger Mediterranean world - and in particular, in local contexts such as Carthage. The hypothesis that civil and religious identities functioned as opposite ends of a continuum will be considered. Primary sources will be surveyed to highlight the evolving nature of religious identities, and the impact on collective civil identity in a city such as Carthage.

9:45-10:15 Ian Henderson (McGill University), “Quid sit magus?  Religious Speech Representation in the Apologia of Maduara”

The Apologia of Apuleius represents speech about a religious rivalry in North Africa, though it is not about the rivalry of religions. The Apologia represents not only the voice of the defendant against a charge of magic, but also through that voice attributes speech to his accusers and others. Often read for its sociological data, the Apologia intentionally asserts its author’s (and hearers’) claims to the cosmopolitan rhetorical culture of the second sophistic. Both the self and the rhetorical-religious culture are artfully set against the historic, provincial backdrop of a “real” lawsuit. This study will examine the contrasting representations of speech - especially of “religious” speech - as a self-conscious portrayal of the trans-regional complexity of rhetorical and religious culture and personal identity.

Break: 10:15-10:30

10:30-11:00 Steve Muir (Concordia University College of Alberta), “What’s in the Box?  Apuleius and Concealed Religions in Carthage

In the Apologia of Apuleius, the second-century Carthaginian sophist defends himself against accusations. One charge was that he stored magical items in the household shrine (lararium) of a friend. In response, he asserts that these secret objects were from a mystery cult, into which he had been initiated. Later, Apuleius takes a dig at an accuser who did not observe the usual public practices of Roman religion (prayers, sacrifice). Some scholars suggest this opponent may have been a Jew or Christian. Apuleius’ text provides a window into conflict between public and ‘concealed’ or private religions in the Roman Empire.

11:00-11:30 Geoffrey D. Dunn (Bishop’s University), “Christians and Jews in Tertullian’s Carthage

The interaction between Christians and Jews in the Severan period is a matter of debate. Both the literary and archaeological evidence is not extensive but is sufficient to make a contribution to the scholarly investigation of anti-Judaism in early Christianity. In this presentation I shall examine again the question of Tertullian and the Jews in Carthage of the early third century of the Christian era. Those scholars who have been interested in Tertullian’s contribution to Christian anti-Judaism have often omitted Aduersus Iudaeos from consideration because of the controversy surrounding this treatise. Drawing on my earlier research, in which I have sought to argue for the work’s integrity and authenticity, I shall argue that just because Tertullian’s arguments involve scripture rather than current events, we should not take this as proof that he had no contact with contemporary Jews. My position is that the question of ‘ownership’ of the scriptures remained the most important question in determining the relationship between these two religious groups. In terms of the current interest about the parting of the ways between Christians and Jews, I shall argue, using the terminology of Judith Lieu, that Tertullian’s supersessionary language puts us in touch with both an image and a reality.

11:30-12:00 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

8:45-12:15 (Case 2, Management Building)
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: Historiography Session /
Bible Hébraïque/Ancien Testament: L’Historiographie

Chair/Président: Gary Knoppers (Penn State University)

8:45-9:15 Paul Dion (Waterloo), “The Ammonites”

The “Children of Ammon” (perhaps originally “the Children of Amman,” as in Greek; cf. Akkadian Bît Ammana) originated from a sparse sedentary population of the Bronze Age, and coagulated little by little during Iron Age I, eventually to form a small kingdom largely contained within a 20 km radius around Amman. It is unclear whether the kingship that crowned this basically tribal society began in Amman about the same time as in Israel, or only after the demise of the Omrides. The land of the Ammonites is poor in natural resources, but they prospered thanks to the caravan trails that crossed their country, and they thrived under Assyrian overlordship after 734. Their resistance to Babylonian conquest was crushed ca. 582, and their distinctive culture (sculpture, pottery, cyclopean architecture) disappeared progressively.

9:15-9:45 J. Glen Taylor (Wycliffe College), “The Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers as Background for the Stories of Jacob and Joseph in Genesis”

The Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers (TTB) has long been cited for a parallel it contains to the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39. It is not the purpose of the paper to argue for or against a direct parallel between these two episodes in which the wife of an overlord attempts to seduce the handsome underling; however, in as much as it is my purpose to suggest that the parallels continue within the broader parameters of Genesis 37, 39-48 -- and I suggest continue back into the Jacob cycle as well -- the theory is nonetheless given indirect support. In my judgment the parallels between the TTB and both the Jacob and Joseph cycles are sufficiently diffused and specific to warrant a hypothesis that the Hebrew writer(s) of the Jacob and Joseph cylces looked to the plot structure reflected in this Egyptian folk-tale (Marchen), well known to the court of Rameses II, for a model for writing the Hebrew story of the rise of a young shepherd to a state of prominence within the court of Pharoah. The paper will outline the parallels (including some possible cases from the Jumilhac tradition of the TTB) and explore several implications, not the least the strong potential the parallel seems to have to aid our understanding of hitherto enigmatic passages in Genesis (e.g. Gen. 32:23-33, the story of Jacob at the Jabbok, and Gen. 49:23-24 where Joseph is said to have repelled archers.) (N.B. It is strongly recommended that something other than the very abbreviated version of the story as found in ANET be read; see, e.g., Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume II: The New Kingdom [UCLA, 1976], pp. 203-11).

9:45-10:15 Christine Mitchell (St. Andrew’s College), “History Rewritten in Chronicles and Ben Sira–the Interdependence of Literary Genres in the Second Temple Period”

This paper examines the relationship of the histories recounted in Chronicles and Ben Sira to earlier historiographical texts. The techniques used to cite or allude to earlier texts, the historical traditions reflected, and the interpretation of the previous traditions in both Chronicles and Ben Sira are compared. Instead of trying to find wisdom elements in Chronicles, or historiographic elements in Ben Sira, this paper argues that the Chronicler was a broadly literate author trying to achieve a number of ideological aims. Furthermore, this paper argues that the Chronicler and Ben Sira were using similar literary techniques to convey their ideological aims, and that the concept of inserted genres might be a helpful tool in understanding these biblical texts.

Break: 10:15-10:30

10:30-11:00 Keith Bodner (Tyndale College), “Ark-eology: Shifting Paradigms in the ‘Ark Narrative’ of 1 Samuel 4-6”

There has been a discernible shift in recent studies of the “ark narrative” of 1 Samuel 4-6. Not so long ago there was widespread agreement that this material constituted a thoroughly “independent entity.” In more recent times, the statement has been made (with equal confidence), “there is no independent ark narrative.” Of course, many a scholarly edifice has been crumbling in our times, but by any measure this represents a rather dramatic point of departure. This paper will explore several literary treatments of the ark narrative (Alter, Fokkelman, Polzin) and trace the shifting emphasis of scholarly engagement with this material.

11:00-11:30 David Vanderhooft (Boston College), “Ask First of Samuel to Discover Saul: An Historiographic Commentary on the Relationship between Prophet and King in 1 Samuel”

The principle of royal deference to prophetic authority informs the historiography of Samuel and Kings and underlines Saul’s failure as Israel’s first king: he contravenes the word of God’s prophet, Samuel. This historiographical principle may also help solve two longstanding exegetical cruxes in 1 Samuel 1 and 28: the problem of why the author of 1 Samuel 1 develops an elaborate wordplay on the verb ša’al and the name ša’ûl in Samuel’s birth narrative; and the riddle of why the Medium at Endor recognizes the disguised King Saul only after the shade of Samuel appears (28:12). These two narratives, one set before Samuel’s birth (ch. 1) and one after Samuel’s death (ch. 28), foreshadow King Saul’s appearance and announce his death. Both narratives employ devices of concealment and discovery to reveal something crucial about Saul’s status as king, but only after the reader first encounters Samuel. The use of these carefully crafted literary devices reinforces the principle of royal subservience to prophetic authority, but does not undermine the historical value of the material.

11:30-12:00 John Kessler (Tyndale Seminary), “Persia’s Loyal Yahwists: Power, Identity and Ethnicity in Acheaemenid Yehud”

The socio-political portrait of Persian Yehud has been the object of much recent scholarly debate. Critical issues include whether or not Yehud experienced internal conflict, as well as the extent and nature of that conflict. Central to this discussion is the issue of the community of Babylonian returnees, or golah, and their interaction with the Judaean remainees. A variety of reconstructions have been proposed which view the golah as either a quasi-autonomous entity, (Weinberg, D. L. Smith), a group in relatively peaceful coexistence with the remainees (Carter, Barstad, Ben-Zvi) or a dominant élite (Briant, Blenkinsopp). More recently, the power dynamics between the golah returnees and those who remained in Babylon have been examined (Bedford). Drawing upon the work of Canadian sociologist John Porter, this paper seeks to advance the current debate through an examination of the golah as a “charter group” - an officially delegated group which represents the interests of a geographically distant power base (in this case, both the Persian crown and Babylonian golah community). The golah’s role as a charter group generated a unique set of problems and dynamics, frequently involving issues of ethnicity, identity, group membership, inclusion and exclusion. In a preliminary fashion, this paper will explore such dynamics, and how the responses to them were played out in the golah’s interactions with the various centres of power with which it was in contact, as well as within its own ranks.

12:00-12:15 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

 

9:15-12:15 (Case 1, Management Building)
The Setting of Early Christianity and Judaism at the Beginning of the Common Era /
Les origines du christianisme et du judaïsme au debut de l’Ère commune

Chair/Présidente: Colleen Shantz (University of St. Michael’s College)

9:15-9:45 Karee Kamis (University of Calgary), “The Gospel of Peter and Women’s Laments”

The passion narrative in the Gospel of Peter is part of a women’s lament that recounts Jesus’ persecution and death. In antiquity, and throughout the Mediteranean region, women established and perpetuated a hero’s kleos and time. Honourable burials included lament, and lament perpetuated memories of the deceased as the grave was tended, bones disinterred and moved to ossuaries. Lament was a hegemonic device that instructed others about a hero’s divine or superhuman activities that established a hero’s mythic status and their hero cult. By lamenting Jesus’ persecution and death, Jesus’ women followers not only provided an honourable legend about his last days that reflected their cultural context, they also offered a foundation for Jesus’ cult status in the later Jesus movement.

9:45-10:15 Michele Murray (Bishop’s University), “The Magical Female in Jewish and Christian Sources of Late Antiquity”

This paper will comprise part of a larger project that I am beginning on Women and Magic in Late Antiquity. The project will compare Jewish, Christian and Pagan textual sources (both canonical and non-canonical) connecting women (or the female principle in general) with the world of magic and witchcraft, and also will make use of any archaeological sources linking women with magical practices. In the conference paper I will focus on Jewish and Christian evidence, presenting my preliminary findings.

Break: 10:15-10:30

10:30-11:00 Keir Hammer (University of Toronto), “Are You my sister? Who is my Father? The role of Rebirth Language in Early Christian Social Development”

The role of familial or kinship language in the formation of early Christianity has been a topic of interest in recent scholarship. Within such discussions, however, the terminology of rebirth has received little or no attention. This paper will attempt to address this imbalance by placing rebirth language within the scope of familial language and by discussing how the language of rebirth can be understood, from a sociological perspective, to have assisted in early Christian social development.

11:00-11:30 William S. Morrow (Queen’s University), “The Limits of Lament: The Fate of Late Second Temple Community Complaint Prayer in the Light of Revelation 6:9-11”

Rev 6:9-11 contains the only direct allusion to a community complaint (lament) prayer in the New Testament. Typical markers include the accusatory question “How long” and the demand for revenge on the enemies. But the divine answer is to delay its fulfilment until the complete number of those to be martyred is realized. Other apocalyptic compositions also contain community complaints (e.g., 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch). Here also, the complaints are silenced by revealed information. These developments are especially interesting given the fact that apocalyptic literature seems to have a revolutionary potential (fuelling the Maccabean revolt, e.g.). It is also a fact that complaint prayer more or less dropped out of normal usage in Jewish liturgy after the disaster of the bar Kochba rebellion. This decision, at least in part, reflects a fear of the revolutionary potential of complaint prayer especially when it was married to apocalyptic speculation. But in a text such as Rev 6:9-11, both revolutionary impetus and collective complaint seem to be dampened. The paper will survey the use of collective complaint motifs in late Second Temple apocalyptic texts in order to understand this ambiguity more clearly.

11:30-12:00 Mona Tokarek LaFosse (University of Toronto), “Jewish Gospels: A Comparison of Papyrus Egerton 2 and the Signs Source of John”

The Egerton Gospel and the Signs Source are strikingly similar. Both are Jewish narratives, reflecting intra-Jewish dialogue about Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. Jesus is presented in both as the prophet-like Moses, performing signs and encountering resistance from Jewish authorities (as outlined in Urban C. von Wahlde’s version of the Signs Source). In neiter document, however, does the conflict appear as consistently hostile as the portrayal of the Jews in the Gospel of John. Despite the methodological difficulties associated with both of these documents, this investigation suggests the EG and SQ may have shared a similar social and cultural milieu in first-century Palestine or Syria.

12:00-12:15 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

13:30-16:15 (Case 3, Management Building)
Religious Rivalries Seminar: What We Have Learned About Religious Rivalries /
Groupe de travail sur les rivalités religieuses: Qu’est ce qu’on a appris?

Chair/Président: Steve Muir (University of Lethbridge)

13:30-14:00 Jack Lightstone (Concordia University), “City Life in the Southern Levant as the Early Rabbis Imag(in)ed it: What the Sources from Tosefta (Tractates Berakot through Eruvin) Say”

Previously (CSBS, 2001 and 2002), I argued that Tosefta regularly introduces topics related to the organization of city infrastructure and life as Tosefta deals with subject matter treated in Mishnah. I hypothesized that this tendency derives from two factors: the relative penchant of Tosefta, in comparison to Mishnah, to differentiate to a greater degree the spheres of its legally constructed “world”; the increased saliency for the early rabbinic guild of roman-style, urban organization. Having tabulated one-half of the relevant toseftan evidence in the two previous papers, I now turn to an analysis of the content of these passages, and more specifically to the following questions: What specific images of cities and city life are portrayed in the Toseftan evidence adduced thus far? How does Tosefta represent the interaction between Jews (including rabbis) and non-Jews in its constructed urban “worlds”? How do these toseftan urban “worlds” relate to other evidence about late Roman cities in southern Levant?

14:00-14:30 Peter Richardson (University of Toronto), “City and Sanctuary and Religious Rivalries”

 

Break: 14:30-14:45

14:45-15:15 Harold Remus (Wilfrid Laurier University), “Religious Rivalries and the Quotidien: Grounded Learning”
15:15-15:45 Richard Ascough (Queen’s University), “Retrospection, Reflection, and Retroversion: Where We Went, What We Did, and Where We Need to Go Again”
15:45-16:15 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

13:30-16:00 (Case 1, Management Building)
Joint Seminar of CSSR, CTS and CSBS: Violence and Religion /
Groupe de travail conjoint (SCÉB, SCÉR, STC): La violence et la religion
Chair/Président: William S. Morrow (Queen’s University)

13:30-14:00 Nancy Calvert-Koyzis (Redeemer University College & McMaster University), “Paul and the Violence of Identity: Paul’s Use of Monotheism in his Letter to the Galatians”

In his argument to the Galatians, Paul argues against a kind of exclusivist attitude as expressed by his Judaizing opponents as they seek to persuade Paul’s Gentile converts that in order to be members of Gods people they must not only have faith but they must also take on nationalistic aspects of Jewish law. The seriousness of the opponents‚ argument cannot be underestimated, because in it he counters a zeal for the law which at times had violent consequences.
Paul responds to a large degree by identifying the people of God according to his re-creation of Abraham. Paul modifies the popular discourse about Abraham, who rejected idolatry for monothestic faith and was obedient to law, by making it clear that it is now those who continue to assert the necessity of law for the new people of God who are actually no longer members. Instead by zealously adhering to law and persuading the Gentiles to do the same they all actually practice idolatry (4:8-10). Consequently they do not have faith after the example of Abraham.
By virtue of this new definition of the people of God, Paul excludes those in the believing community who see the law of continuing necessity for the people of God. In Galatians five Paul condemns those who preach this different gospel (5:4, 8, cf. 1:6-9) and expresses a violent wish that they might castrate themselves (5:12). The monotheistic faith of Abraham which the Galatians are to emulate becomes a faith which introduces a violence of identity similar to that described by Regina Schwartz in her book The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism, because it excludes those (now, the “other”) who hold to the necessity of obedience to Mosaic law which, to Paul in Galatians, is tantamount to idolatry.

14:00-14:30 Michael Gilmour (Providence College), “The Apocalypse of Peter and Early Christian Schadenfreude

This paper proposes that some Christian writers betray a tension in their work resulting from the intersection of three things: (a) certain teachings of Jesus which insisted on a non-violent response to enemies (e.g., “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you [Matt 5:44; Luke 6:27]); (b) the experience, memory, or anticipation of persecution; and (c) the very natural response captured by the German term Schadenfreude, simply defined as the pleasure derived from the sufferings of others. The anticipation of violent, eschatological retribution may have amounted to a guilty pleasure for some readers as they fantasized about their enemies’ ultimate demise instead of loving them and praying for them. As a response to this, it is argued, some writers were compelled to justify this dark pleasure, offering the ‘permission’ they and their readers needed to delight in gruesome descriptions of eternal torment. The Apocalypse of Peter is presented as an example. The paper draws on John Portman’s When Bad Things Happen to Other People (New York: Routledge, 2000), the first book-length study of Schadenfreude.

Break: 14:30-14:45

14:45-15:15 Grant LeMarquand (Trinity Episcopal Seminary), “‘Death had come to reveal the faith’: Sudanese Appropriations of the Cross”

With the exception of a brief period in the in the late 1970s and early 1980s the country of Sudan has been living in a state of civil war since its independence in 1956. During the latest phase of the war (from the late 1980s) approximately two million people, most of them from the southern part of the country, have died as a result of military conflict and famine. During this same two decades a previously small Christian community has grown exponentially. This paper will examine the use of the biblical texts and themes in Sudanese Christian songs and art work which have been produced during this recent period of civil war. The paper will repeat some of the introductory material given in the paper “Bibles, Crosses, Songs, and Guns: Sudanese ‘Readings’ of the Bible in the Midst of Civil War” in the “Reading Bible, Gender and Theory Seminar: The Bible and Globalization” but will focus on texts and themes to do with the cross.

15:15-15:45 Olu Peters (Emmanuel Bible College), “Just Vengeance and Violence in the Apocalypse of John”

The fact that the Apocalypse of John is marked by vindictive attitude and violent activities can hardly be contested. However, when confronted with this fact, the tendency of some is to pass the judgment that the ethics of the Apocalypse is sub-christian (e.g. T. F. Glasson).
In response to this tendency, the focus of this proposed paper is to state the hard fact of vengeance and violence, and also to submit a moral justification that emerges from the study of the text and the context of the Apocalypse. Reading through the visions of the Apocalypse, especially those in which the judgment of God is pronounced and celebrated, one comes to an understanding that vindictive attitude and violent activites are rooted in divine justice. That divine justice calls for acts of reward and punishment is a christian ethic. Violent activities in the Apocalypse may appear disturbing, but should not be deemed immoral.

15:45-16:15 Discussion/Presider’s Synthesis

N.B. For additional meetings of the Joint Seminar on Religion and Violence, consult the  lists of meetings of the other (joint) societies.

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Richard S. Ascough
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