Canadian Society of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting
Réunion annuelle de la Société canadienne des études bibliques
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
May 30-June 1, 2004



Saturday, May 29 / Samedi, 29 Mai

14:00-19:00 ( St. Paul’s College, Room 263)
CSBS Executive Meeting / Réunion du Comité Exécutif

Sunday, May 30 / Dimanche, 30 Mai

9:00-11:45 (St. Paul’s College, Room 249)
New Testament / Nouveau Testament
Chair/Président: Terence Donaldson (Wycliffe College)

9:00-9:30 Matthew R. Anderson (Concordia University), “By Your Very Nature: Mimesis and Authority in Pauline Rhetoric”

The proposed paper maintains that Paul’s rhetoric, even in an overtly-historical letter such as 1 Corinthians, relies on the anti- or a-historical process of “identification” or “redescription” to achieve its persuasive end. While there is always a connection between rhetoric and history, that connection, for Paul, is apparent rather more in the history that his rhetoric creates (in hermeneutical terms the “world of the work”), than in the political and sociological context out of which it is written. While many specific examples of rhetorical figures may be found in the Pauline corpus, this paper examines Paul’s larger persuasive task, and notes the unique role that mimesis and apostolic authority played in its implementation. Finally, the paper proposes a role for rhetoric and not only ethics in the examination of the Pauline “indicative-imperative” split.

9:30-10:00 Murray Baker (Wycliffe College), “Paul and the Salvation of Israel: Paul’s Ministry, Jealousy and the Salvation of Israel”

It is usually assumed that Paul, in Romans 11:11-15, saw a connection between “Israel’s jealousy” and either Israel’s current or future salvation. This paper challenges that assumption and provides a reading of the passage that finds no link between jealousy and salvation. Israel’s jealousy is the human face of God’s hardening.

10:00-10:30 Roy R. Jeal (Booth College), “Clothes Make the (Wo)Man”

In the Pauline letters a new rhetorical aspect of body is presented with the language and imagery of being clothed with a person, with Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 13:14; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24). While the image of stripping off and putting on clothing relative to behaviour was well known in the ancient Mediterranean world, language portraying the image of putting on a person is new with the New Testament, one of the new ways of speaking used to convey Christian understanding. This essay offers a socio-rhetorical interpretation of the Pauline texts that speak of being clothed with a person, and examines the implications for those who become clothed with Christ. There are connections not only for behaviour in the community, but also for a political discourse of body. A refashioned body is produced that has new religious, social and political roles in the world. The refashioned body becomes an agent of social change. The new clothing makes the new person and the new social reality.

Break: 10:30-45

10:45-11:15 Jean-Sébastien Viard (Université de Montréal), “Loi, chair et libération: une solution structurelle au problème de Rm 7, 1-6”

La complexité de la péricope Rm 7,1-6 est maintenant presque légendaire. Il suffit de lire les premiers versets pour saisir le problème: Paul propose une image dans laquelle une femme se voit libérée de la loi par la mort de son mari, mais lorsqu’il dresse un parallèle avec l’expérience des croyants, le chrétien semble être en même temps celui qui meurt et celui qui est libéré de la loi!
Cette présentation souhaite proposer une solution qui rende fidèlement compte de la vie et de l’expérience chrétiennes, tout en respectant l’intégrité du texte paulinien. Après avoir présenté les grandes avenues de la recherche sur Rm 7,1-6 et clairement posé nos présupposés de lecture, nous aurons recours à une analyse structurelle (outil fort peu utilisé jusqu’ici) qui nous permettra d’identifier avec précision les relations qui sont en jeu dans notre péricope. L’interprétation des résultats nous donnera ensuite l’occasion d’analyser l’argumentation paulinienne, afin de faire ressortir que le « mari » de l’analogie est clairement identifiable à la chair (sarx). Non seulement cette hypothèse permet de clarifier l’analogie et de justifier son usage, mais elle est en harmonie avec le contexte plus large de Rm 6-8.

11:15-11:45 Ian W. Scott (King’s University College), “Narrative Logic in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians”

The category of narrative has become increasingly popular in the analysis of Paul’s letters, but has often been criticized as a (post-)modern preoccupation imposed on the ancient text. At the same time, despite the recent flurry of studies focussing on Paul’s rhetoric, there has been much less attention paid to the kind of logic implied by the structure of the Apostle’s argument. This paper will first examine Paul’s use of knowledge language and argue that his theological knowledge is structured as a story. Then we will examine Paul’s argument in Galatians 2:15-6:10 and suggest that it proceeds by way of a logic which closely resembles the phenomenology of reading developed by Wolfgang Iser.


9:15-11:45 (St. Paul’s College, Room 313)
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament / Bible Hébraïque/Ancien Testament:
Pentateuch and Former Prophets / Le Pentateuque et Les Livres historiques
Chair/Président: Carl Ehrlich (York University)

9:00-9:30 Frank Clancy (Waterloo), “A Third ‘Map’ for OT Texts”

Scholars use two “maps” for most Old Testament texts: the Joshua “map” (Joshua 13-19); and the "P" “map': Ezek. 47-48, Deut. 34 and Num. 34. However, the DtrH, the books of the prophets and most of Psalms seem to use a third geo-political structure. The third “map” has no territorial claim Galilee, limited territorial claim in Gilead, no twelve tribe system, and no Ephraim and Manasseh. Also, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun and, probably, Naphtali are in Mt Ephraim. The Joshua “map” should be restricted to Chronicles, Joshua 13-Judges 1 and later additions to other texts.

9:30-10:00 Daniel Miller (University of Michigan), “The Incantations of Balaam ben Beor”

Numbers 22–24 reveals the non-Israelite Balaam to be a highly skilled diviner, but his main allure to potential employer Balak is clearly his supposed great power in cursing (and blessing). Since it may be demonstrated that blessings and curses are, in fact, no more than particular types of incantations (notwithstanding an unwillingness among scholars heretofore to go beyond vague statements as to some undefined affinity among “incantation,” “blessing” and “curse”), Balaam should be characterized as a bona fide “magician”—a person who can wield “words of (ritual) power” to achieve some kind of dynamic (frequently extra-mundane) end. This assessment may well receive added support from the Deir Alla inscription.

10:00-10:30 Marie-France Dion (Concordia University), “The Use of Macro-Syntactic Analysis and Synchronic Methodology in Source Criticism. A Case Study: Source Criticism of the Jephthah Narrative (Judges 10:6 - 11:40)”

The text of Judges 11:1-40 has been studied both by scholars working with a synchronic approach to the text and those favouring the diachronic methodologies. This paper demonstrates that the results of source criticism can be corroborated through synchronic categories. Source criticism, assisted by a macro-syntactic analysis, is applied to the text of Judges 11:1-40 thereby isolating the oldest literary stratum of the narrative as Judges 11:1-6, 11, 29, 32a, 33. Synchronic categories are then applied to this literary strata and show that it contains all the required elements of the making of a good story (structure, plot, climax, etc.).

Break: 10:30-45

10:45-11:15 M. Ellen White (Tyndale Seminary), “Michal the Misinterpreted”

Throughout history Queen Michal has been interpreted in a negative light and recent scholarship has not done much to liberate her from such understandings. This paper will argue that such thoughts about Michal come from outside the text and are based on concerns that have little or nothing to do with Michal. It is not meant to be a character study of Michal, but an examination of where interpretation has gone wrong in regards to Michal. Therefore, issues such as her use of Teraphim, her lying, and her admonishment of David will be looked at, but issues such as her character type will not be addressed. Furthermore, it will examine the possible reason for such false interpretations and propose a new way to view Michal.

11:15-11:45 Keith Bodner (Tyndale University College), “Revisiting the ‘Collusion at Nob’ (1 Samuel 21)”

After some narrow escapes and deft evasions of Saul’s spear, in 1 Samuel 21 David comes to Ahimelech the priest at Nob. Most commentary on this episode assumes that David acts deceptively toward Ahimelech, and thus procures food and weaponry from the oblivious priest. However, in an intriguing study of 1 Samuel 21-22 that was published as a JSOT article in 1994, Pamela Reis suggests that David and Ahimelech together are in “collusion” against Doeg the Edomite (and by extension, King Saul). In this paper I will present a reading of this narrative unit, and analyze the David-Ahimelech relationship in its local and broader contexts.


11:45-13:00 (St. Paul’s College, Room TBA)
Lunch for all Students and New Members / Casse-croûte pour étudiants et membres nouveaux


13:00-14:30 (St. Paul’s College, Room 318)
Special Session Organized by Students / Session spéciale organisée par les étudiants
(Joint Session of the Canadian Academic Religious Societies / Session commune des Sociétés Religieuses Académiques Canadien)
Facing the Post-secondary Classroom: Preparing to be a Teacher / Faire face à la classe : Se préparer pour enseigner
Chair/Président: Andre Maintenay (University of Toronto)

Panelists: Michele Murray (Bishop’s University), Harold Remus (Wilfred Laurier University), Lissa Wray Beal (Providence Theological Seminary), Edith Humphrey, (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)


14:30-15:50 (St. Paul’s College, Room 318)
Student Essay Prizes / Prix pour travaux d’étudiant(e)s
Chair/Président: David Hawkin (Memorial University)

14:30-15:00: Jeremias Prize: Susan Haber (McMaster University), “From Priestly Torah to Christ Cultus: The Re-Vision of Covenant and Cult in Hebrews”
15:00-15:10 Questions/Discussion
15:10-15:40: Founders Prize: Kenneth A. Ristau (University of Alberta), “Breaking Down Unity: An Analysis of 1 Chronicles 21:1-22:1”
15:40-15:50 Questions/Discussion


16:00-17:00 (St. Paul’s College, Room 318)
CSBS Annual General Meeting / Assemblée annuelle de la SCÉB

17:10-18:10 (St. Paul’s College, Room 318)
Presidential Address / Conférence du Président
Presiding/Présidence: David Hawkin (Memorial University)
Gary Knoppers (Penn State University), “Mt. Gerizim and Mt Zion: A Study in the Early History of the Samaritans and the Jews”

19:00-22:00 (The River Mandarin Restaurant)
CSBS Annual Dinner / Banquet annuel de la SCÉB


Monday, May 31 / Lundi, 31 Mai

9:00-12:00 (St. Paul’s College, Room 325)
Joint Seminar of CSSR, CTS and CSBS: Violence and Religion / Groupe de travail conjoint (SCÉB, SCÉR, STC): La violence et la religion
Religion and Violence: Pedagogical Issues / Religion et la violence: Questions pour enseignants
Chair/Président: Aaron Hughes (University of Calgary)

Michel Desjardins (Wilfrid Laurier University), “How Does One Teach the Bible as a Promoter of Violence (too)?”

Randi Warne (Mount Saint Vincent University), “‘Myth’ America”

Alyda Faber (Atlantic School of Theology), “On Teaching Theology and Violence”


9:15-12:00 (St. Paul’s College, Room 201)
Literary Approaches / Approches littéraires
Chair/Président: Francis Landy (University of Alberta)

9:15-9:45 David Jobling (St. Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan), “Bringing Good News: David’s Response to Saul’s Death and the Reading of Biblical Narrative”

9:45-10:15 Christine Mitchell (St. Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan), “Characterizing God in 2 Chronicles 32:19”

This paper takes as its starting point a verse in the episode of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem, 2 Chron. 32:19. I explore three phrases in the verse: “the God of Jerusalem,” “the gods of the peoples of the earth/land,” and “made by human hands.” I explore how the verse functions within the context of 2 Chron. 32, and I explore the interrelationships between this passage, 2 Kings, Isaiah, and the Psalms. Finally, I locate in this verse a site of struggle over the characterization of God, as this utterance irrupts into an otherwise pan-Israel conception of God found in Chronicles.

10:15-10:45 Ken Ristau (University of Alberta), “The Rebirth of Israel: Family and Children in Isaiah 1-11”

In Isa 8:18, Isaiah declares that he and his children are signs and portents to Israel, given by Yahweh. Indeed, children are an important part of the so-called Isaiah memoir of chapters 1-12, dominating the narrative of chapters 7-11. In these chapters, there are four children identified with names: Shear-yashub, Immanu-el, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, and Pele-yoez-el-gibbor-avi‘ad-sar-shalom. The latter three are immediately interconnected with the oracles of which they are signs. The focus of scholarship on these children has been to understand the historical events they signify, the precise meaning of their names, and their importance to the immediate context. In this quest, scholars have largely overlooked the question of why Isaiah even employs children as signs. This paper is, in part, an attempt to come to terms with that question. But, it is also more than that, it is an attempt to grasp at the meaning(s) of the children as signs, particularly within the broader motif of family that recurs throughout the book of Isaiah. Part of this attempt will seek to explore processes of deferral, refraction, and displacement that operate in the text as well as the relationships between signs, signifiers, and signifieds. The primary concern of this paper is not to prove a thesis—the book of Isaiah defies that type of understanding and explication—rather it is an attempt to open new interpretive and reading possibilities. It is an exploration of the traces and threads that flow throughout the book and it is written with the conviction that Isaiah tells an intimate story about the family of God and that family's struggles to know and relate meaningfully to the relationships, realities, and worlds that surround them.

Break: 10:45-11:00

11:00-11:30 Lyle Eslinger (University of Calgary), “Large-scale Parallelism in the Genesis Creation Stories”

Genesis is well-known for including parallel accounts of creation in chs. 1-2. Two less known parallels are more significant for our understanding of the archaic mythological frame of biblical thought. Order emerges from chaos twice in Genesis 1-11: first in the creation event and second in the re-creation events of the flood and its aftermath. The two creation series (chs. 1-5 and 6-11, approximately) are connected by a number of parallels. The recurrences manifest a biblical neurosis about the nexus between culture and nature. It expresses Freud’s “archaic inheritance” from which the nature-culture dichotomy emerges. Though often characterized as the “pre-history,” Genesis 1-11 is a persistent sub-text that flows through the Bible. In the N.T., for example, it transmogrifies into the debate about “faith and works.” And in the modern world, of course, it resurfaces in concerns about humans’ ecological footprint and fears about the repercussions of Promethean technologies.

11:30-12:00 Dilys Patterson (Concordia University), “Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Assyrians?! Biblical Intertextuality and the Ancient Jewish Novel”

Generations of scholars were puzzled by the blatant historical errors in the Book of Judith, the most obvious being the identification of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar as the king of the Assyrians; however, when the Book of Judith is examined within its literary context a fresh explanation emerges. These “errors” become significant intertextual tools that work to juxtapose elements of biblical literature in a manner that creates new meaning.
The early development of prose fiction drew on Aristotle’s concept of mimesis, or imitation of life, but during the Hellenistic period, the notion of imitation also included the incorporation of allusions from literature. The use of intertextuality in Jewish literature of the Second Temple period tends to be overlooked by scholars. Influenced by forms of Hellenistic literature, such as the extended prose fiction of Xenophon’s Cryopaedia, Jewish authors of this time sought to emulate the form while creating a tale with a uniquely Jewish voice.
The literary theory of Julia Kristeva draws attention to what occurs in literature when intertextuality is used; according to Kristeva, the use of intertextual references transpose different “signifying systems” into the new literary work. With this understanding of intertextuality, the conflation of disparate elements of biblical literature, such as the identification of Nebuchadnezzar as the Assyrian king, take on a symbolic importance that surpasses the specificity of one particular moment in Jewish history. Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, serves to recall the cumulative threat of annihilation at the hands of foreign powers.
The author of the Book of Judith successfully uses biblical intertextuality to create a unique tale about a Jewish woman who defends her people. This paper explores the use of biblical allusions in the Book of Judith as a fresh approach to the study of Second Temple literature.

12:15-13:45 (Bell Tower Cafe, St. Paul’s College)
Women Scholars Lunch / Casse-croûte pour Casse-croûte pour les femmes savantes

13:45-16:30 (St. Paul’s College, Room 201)
Reading Bible, Gender and Theory Seminar / Groupe de travail sur la lecture de la Bible, le genre, et la théorie
Literary Approaches / Approches
Chair/Président: Lyle Eslinger (University of Calgary)

13:45-14:15 David A. Bergen (University of Calgary), “‘If They Pray Toward This Place’: Solomon Reads the Book of the Law”

The Deuteronomic narrative embeds a “book of the law” (Sonnet 1997) that awaits future engagements by characters populating the storyworld of the Primary Narrative (Genesis-Kings). At the level of discourse, the narrator of Deuteronomy mediates to the external reader the contents of the code given to Israel by Moses. Centuries later, David installs the ark of the covenant in Jerusalem (2 Sam 7), appropriating Moses’ law of centralization (Deut 12) for his capital city. On his deathbed, David advises his successor to adhere to the dictates of Moses’ book (1 Kgs. 2:3-4). This paper analyzes narratologically the temple prayer of dedication in 1 Kgs 8 to confirm Solomon’s familiarity with the Mosaic code. Solomon’s discourse also reveals an (inherited?) aptitude for innovative appropriation by positing the newly constructed temple as the mechanism for the normalization of divine-human relations (cf. Deut 4 and 30). In situating the temple as pivotal to Israel’s relationship with Yahweh, Solomon substitutes cult for law and downplays his father’s advice to heed Moses’ document. Ironically, Solomon’s rhetorical flourish is directed towards Yahweh (8:22), who wastes no time in reminding Solomon where his attentions ought to be focused (9:4-6).

14:15-14:45 Glenn Wooden (Acadia Divinity College), “Changing Perceptions of Daniel: Reading Dan 4 and 5 in Context”

In this paper I will focus on how the editors of the present collection of stories in Dan shaped the way that the reader is expected to understand the interpretative skills of Daniel in chapters 4 and 5. The narratives of the first six chapters of the book were free-standing stories brought together in at least two stages (3-6?, 2-6 [7], and then 1-6 [12]) to produce the first half of the present book. It is commonly claimed by scholars that the Daniel of 1-6 and that one of 7-12 have different abilities: the former being portrayed as skilled at interpretation, the latter as always dependent on an interpreting angel. I argue that the stories in 1-6 present Daniel as an interpreter equally as dependent upon heavenly assistance as in the visions of 7-12. The problematic material for my approach is found in chapters 4 and 5. When studied as stories from a court/administrative setting, those two chapters present a court diviner in whom was the “spirit of the holy gods” (ch 4), or one who simply understood enigmatic writings (ch. 5). However, by reading them in their present context and by giving attention to the overall narrative, the dates assigned to events, inserted poetic material, the use of specific terminology, and their placement in the second half of the story material, it can be shown that the reader is intended to understand Daniel’s source of information in each case as a revelation from the God of Israel. In this way, independent stories about skillful Jews, became a unified portrayal of the abilities of the central character, thus legitimating the message of the visionaries who were encouraging the people of God during the persecution under Antiochus IV.

14:45-15:15 J. Richard Middleton (Roberts Wesleyan College), “Does God Come to Praise Job or to Bury Him?  The Function of YHWH’s Second Speech from the Whirlwind (Job 40:6-41:34 [Heb 41:26])”

The book of Job is an artful, complex, polyvalent text, whose meanings have exercised interpreters for millennia. Among the oft-debated hermeneutical issues is the divergence between the perspectives found in the poetic dialogues and the prose framework of the book. One particularly egregious divergence between the dialogues and the framework is the tension or contradiction between 1) God’s explicit approval of Job’s abrasive complaint, in contrast to that of his friends’ speech (stated twice in the prose epilogue) and 2) God’s implicit rebuke of Job’s arrogance at daring to question divine justice (found in the speeches from the whirlwind), a rebuke that is followed by Job’s “repentance.” Without claiming to provide any definitive resolution of the tension between dialogue and prose framework, this paper will engage in a close reading of God’s speeches and Job’s responses, with a focus on the second speech. My purpose will be to explore the wild possibility that God’s intention in the speeches might actually cohere with the explicit approbation given Job in the prose epilogue. Central to my reading of the second speech will be three questions. First, what is the status of God’s appeal to the primordial monsters, Behemoth and Leviathan? Secondly, of what does Job “repent” in his response to the second speech? And, thirdly, why is there a second speech at all (why didn’t the first suffice)?

Break: 15:15-15:30

15:30-16:00 Francis Landy (University of Alberta), “Prophetic Parable, Rhetorical Entrapment and Intertextual Implication”

Isaiah 5.1-7, the parable of the vineyard, appears on the surface to be the prototypical prophetic parable, conforming to the genre of entrapment, whereby the victim unknowingly pronounces his own condemnation. However, expectations are disappointed; the audience does not respond, and YHWH has to pronounce sentence himself. Moreover, the text is characterized by uncertainties of gender and genre—is the initial speaker male or female, is it is a love song or a legal indictment?—that reflect the ambiguities of prophetic identity and the double voicedness of prophetic discourse, which destroys the poetic world it constructs. The paper will provide, on the one hand, a close reading of the parable, showing how it fails to achieve coherence, and is riven by unexplained shifts and fractures. On the other, I show how the parable is progressively enmeshed in a web of intertextuality, surreptitiously introducing intimations of other texts, moods, and genres. The song ultimately turns into a cry, which is both that of oppressed and the violated body of the woman/vineyard herself. The final section of the paper will turn to passages which interpret or comment on the parable. Examples are the list of woes in 5.8-23, the song of the vineyard in 27.2-5, and the anticipation of some of its motifs in ch.3. In particular, I will be concerned with misogyny and its relationship to erotic idealization, and with the underlying motif of mourning, both in the parable and the book as a whole.

16:00-16:30 Karen Leonhardt (University of Alberta), “A Burial Place vs. An Inheritance: Negotiation and the Cave of Macphelah”

On an initial reading, Genesis 23 serves as a death notice for Sarah and records the negotiations between Abraham and Ephron for the purchase of her burial place. However, even an initial reading of the text reveals enormous complexities. Subtle shifts in language develop into a dialogue which runs counter to the surface negotiations. Throughout the text, actions and words conceal meaning as often as they reveal it. In fact, this single narrative functions on a multiplicity of levels, telling no less than five “stories.” These include the stories of the purchase of a field (Ephron’s story), the death of a wife (Abraham’s story), the death of a mother (Isaac’s untold story), the death of a woman (Sarah’s story), and the purchase of an inheritance (the land’s story). The final story brings together a field and a grave, the womb and the tomb, in a way which demonstrates that life and death together form an inheritance.


13:45-17:00 (St. Paul’s College, Room 325)
Joint Seminar of CSSR, CTS and CSBS: Violence and Religion / Groupe de travail conjoint (SCÉB, SCÉR, STC): La violence et la religion
Religion, Violence and the New Testament / Religion, violence, et le Nouveau Testament
Chair/Président(e): TBA

13:45-14:15 Todd Penner (Austin College) and Caroline Vander Stichele (University of Amsterdam), “Apostolic Aggression: Constructs of Masculinity and Insider Violence in the Book of Acts”

In the book of Acts the early Christian heroes are at once portrayed as victims like Stephen—martyrs for the faith—but also lauded as exempla of manly virtue (andreia). They are also quite blatantly presented in the narrative as the real victors, performing masculine feats and proclaiming virile words, effeminizing their male opponents in the process. This paper explores how the act of writing Acts becomes at one level a demonstration of Luke’s own self-comportment as elite male in empire—his own exhibition of virtus and imperium for and over the reader.

14:15-14:45 Gordon Zerbe (Canadian Mennonite University), “Soldiering and Battling: The Function of Military Metaphors in Paul’s Letters”

Michel Desjardins (Peace, Violence and the New Testament, 1997, p. 82) has proposed that the numerous military metaphors found in Paul’s writings “reflect his recognition of the importance and worth of the military—or at least his acceptance of it.” This paper reviews this claim, by assessing the textual evidence, surveying trends in the history (and social location) of interpretation, and engaging recent Rome-critical readings of Paul.

14:45-15:15 Alan Kirk (University of Manitoba), “The Memory of Violence and the Death of Jesus in Q”

Social memory theory assesses the semantic interaction between a community’s sacralized pasts and present social realities in contexts of commemoration. Scholars tend to look at Jesus’ death as a theological abstraction. Because Q seems to feature comparatively little theological reflection on Jesus’ death, it is often assumed that allusions to Jesus’ death in Q have a secondary status in the materials and that Jesus’ death played a marginal role in the worldview of the so-called Q community. We will attempt to overcome the limits of the perspective by recovering the essential nature of Jesus’ crucifixion as an act of ritualized violence that had a formative rippling effect upon the memory of the group that had aligned itself with him, an effect that issued in the emergence of Q itself as a commemorative artifact.

Break: 15:15-15:30

Religion, Violence and the New Testament (Johannine Literature) /
Religion, violence, et le Nouveau Testament (Les écritures de Saint Jean)

15:30-16:00 Olu Peters (Emmanuel Bible College, Kitchener), “Politics of Violence in the Apocalypse of John: Moral Dilemma and Justification”

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 for some is to pass the judgment that the ethics of the Apocalypse of John is sub-Christian and even immoral (e.g., T. F. Glasson, D. H. Lawrence, and H. Bloom).
In response to this tendency, the focus of this proposed paper is to state the hard fact of vengeance, but also to submit a moral justification that emerges from the study of both the text and context of the Apocalypse. Reading through the visions of the Apocalypse, especially those in which the judgment of God is pronounced and celebrated (6:9-11; 11:16-18; 15:5-8; 16:5-7; 19:1-10), one comes to an understanding that vindictive attitude and violent activities are rooted in divine justice. The insight that John provides through his visions is that divine justice calls for acts of reward and punishment (2:23; 14:6; 18:5-20; 20:11-15; 22:1-12). This understanding for John is a Christian ethic. Vengeful and violent activities in the Apocalypse may appear disturbing but should not be deemed immoral.

16:00-16:30 Edith Humphrey (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary), “‘And I shall heal them’—Repentance, Turning and Penitence in the Johannine Writings”

This paper tackles the problem of “repentance” in the fourth gospel, Johannine epistles and Apocalypse of Jesus to John. Though these works vary in genre and in authorship, they share the theme of overarching light over against darkness. Has the synoptic call, “Repent, for the kingdom is at hand” been banished and replaced by an absolutism? The rhetorical approaches of evangelist, elder and seer differ. Yet nowhere in these writings is the call to repentance muted, and nowhere has the penitent cause to be disheartened. A closer analysis will show why, and how this is so.

16:30-17:00 Jo-Ann Brant (Goshen College), “Talking the Big Talk: Vaunting, Flyting and Sounding in the Gospel of John”

This paper situates the debates of the Gospel of John within the Greek cultural and literary traditions of insult contests (sounding), verbal duels (flyting) and praise of the hero (vaunting) that frame physical contests. In the Homeric epics, combatants pump themselves up with flyting before battles and boast of their victories afterwards. When flyting is integrated into Greek tragedy and the Gospel of John, it becomes less formal and appears to be part of the give and take of heated discussion rather than a necessary prelude to battle. When the hero dies, vaunting falls to the witnesses. Recognizing the role of these speech acts within the Gospel has implications for how we understand Jesus’ critical words about Jews and the purpose of witnessing or testifying.


19:30-21:00 (St. Paul’s College, Room 100)

(Sponsored by Canadian Theological Society)

Ada María Isasi–Díaz (Drew University School of Theology)
“Reconceptualizing Differences: A Challenge and a Promise”

21:00 (St. Paul’s College, Hanley Hall)
Joint CTS/CSSR/CSBS/CSPS Reception


Tuesday, June 1 / Mardi, 1 Juin

9:00-11:00 (St. Paul’s College, Room 305)
Reading Bible, Gender and Theory Seminar / Groupe de travail sur la lecture de la Bible, le genre, et la théorie
(Jointly with the /Conjoint avec la Canadian Gay and Lesbian Studies Association)
Queer Scriptures, Queer Theologies
Chair/Président: Wes Pearce (University of Regina)

Jean-Sébastian Viard (Université de Montréal), “The Virgin Joseph: A Challenge to Hegemonic Masculinity”

Despite several values and meanings associated to his character in Church history (patron saint of workers, husbands and fathers, for instance) Joseph has never been worshipped even closely as much as Mary. I feel this lack of interest concerning Joseph comes from a gap between 1) the meanings his character has been invested with, 2) Joseph’s representation on can make out of his description in the NT and, 3) the leading models which influence male identities.
In fact, Joseph is not credible as a male model. He is even inadmissible from a patriarchal masculinity’s point of view, and this inadmissibility is precisely what I will study in this contribution. Using R. Connell’s theory on hegemonic masculinity and M. Foucault’s theory on power, I will show how Joseph’s figure as found in the NT can become a challenge to patriarchal masculinities and even help to deconstruct the patriarchal structures which characterize society and the Church.

Catherine Rose (York University), “Prostituting the Body of Christ: Christian Biblical Discourse on HIV/AIDS as a Disease of Globalization and the Making of Marginality in Canada”  

“The Beads of Hope” campaign, a two year project in the United Church of Canada designed to increase awareness of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and to raise money for the work of partner church in the South, is the starting point of this paper. My reading will place the campaign in the context of larger progressive Christian discourses about globalization, prostitution and biblical interpretation. Drawing on queer theory and recent feminist work on migrant female sexual labour, this paper will seek to unsettle constructions of history, biblical authority and nation in these Christian discourses that contribute to a narrative that paradoxically serves the interests of global capital.

Ralph Carl Wushke (Toronto School of Theology), “Queer Hermeneutics: Who is the Queen/r in that Picture?”  

Contemporary philosophical hermeneutics, influenced by Derrida and others, have been a key source for the (d)evolution of queer theory. Texts beyond scripture, including the body are read from all sides. The author (re)discovers a 25 year old photo of himself in drag, and asks: what is inside/outside the text? Who is the “other” in the picture? What has become of him/her?

Karen Williams (Toronto School of Theology), “The Scholarly Construction of Paul’s Normalcy: Why Are You so Sure He Wasn’t Queer?”

The term, “queer” is used, not just to define private sexual acts which fall outside the boundaries of “acceptable” heterosexuality, but also to denigrate other queer behaviour also deemed outside dominant cultural norms, thus shoring up and policing the boundaries of “normalcy”. In this paper, I will argue, in conversation with queer theorists and historians, that many Pauline scholars betray their Christian anxiety about Paul’s normalcy in their “disciplinary” interpretations of Pauline texts, interpretations which, I will argue, are based more on dominant cultural assumptions (which are also gendered, classed and raced) than on persuasive textual and/or historical argumentation. Because these exegetically unpersuasive interpretations serve to patrol the boundaries of Christian “normalcy” and construct its queer Other, I will attempt to demonstrate the flimsiness of their textual authority.

Response: James Miller (University of Western Ontario).

11:00-12:30 (St. Paul’s College, Room 313)
Recovering Women’s Voices in Biblical Scholarship / Retrouver les voix des femmes dans les études bibliques
Chair/Président: David Jobling (St. Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan)

11:00-11:30 Marion Ann Taylor (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto), “Elizabeth Rundle Charles: Victorian Exegete”

Elizabeth Rundle Charles (1828-96) is described in Allibone’s Dictionary of Authors as one who had reputation as a linguist, painter, musician, poet, and preëminently as the author of The Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family, 1863, and more than twenty-five other volumes. Among her “other volumes” are several fascinating books on the Bible, including a commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, a record of her travels to the Holy Land, and several books, which focus on the female characters of Scripture. Her work stands as a striking example of how gender and culture affect interpretation.

11:30-12:00 Christiana de Groot (Calvin College), “Elizabeth Carter as Biblical Interpreter”

Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806) was the daughter of a preacher at Canterbury cathedral who educated his sons and daughters without distinction. She learned the classical and modern languages, and was especially adept at Greek. Her translation of Epictetus was widely known, and earned her the reputation of being the best Greek scholar of her day. It is her annotated Bible and essays on Answers to Objections Concerning the Christian Religion that will illustrate her conventional reading. Her interpretation of scripture bolstered views and practices which valued the traditional, the established order, even though the reader of the text did not pursue a traditional feminine vocation. The paper will explore the intersection of faith and praxis by studying Carter’s Bible annotations and essays in the context of her poems and published correspondence.

12:00-12:30 Lissa Wray-Beal (Providence Seminary), “Sacred Hours: 19th Century Women as Psalm-Readers”

This paper uses selected writings of several women who engaged the Psalms from 1806-1875, to examine their exegetical methodology and theological expression. Particularly, how familiar were these women with the critical academic tools developed in their century? How did they balance the use of these tools with spiritual and theological exegesis? And, in the span of time covered by their writings, are there any demonstrable unifying concerns that color their exegetical thought as they interact with these beloved writings of the Church?


9:00-12:15 (St. Paul’s College, Room 249)
The New Testament and Its Trajectories / Le Nouveau Testament et ses trajectoires
Chair/Présidente: Kimberly Stratton (Carleton University)

9:00-9:30 Terence Donaldson (Wycliffe College), “Ethical Monotheism and the Gentiles in the Letter of Aristeas”

The Letter of Aristeas contains one of the most generous affirmations of universalism to be found in the whole corpus of Second-temple Jewish literature: “These people [i.e., the Jews] worship God, the overseer and creator of all things, whom all people, ourselves included, O king, also [worship], although naming him differently, Zeus and Dis” (16). At the same time, however, the work also describes the Jewish law as a set of “unbroken palisades and iron walls to prevent our mixing with any of the other nations in any matter” (139). The purpose of this paper is to explore the religious status of the Gentiles in the Letter of Aristeas as it is traced out around these two foci.

9:30-10:00 Philip A. Harland (Concordia University), “Acculturation and Identity in the Diaspora: A Jewish Family and ‘Pagan’ Guilds in Hierapolis”

This paper explores complexities of acculturation among Jews living in cities of the Roman empire, with a focus on Hierapolis in Asia Minor. In particular, one recently re-published inscription (formerly CIJ 777), which involves the maintenance of a Jewish family grave on Jewish and Roman holidays, demonstrates the potential for interaction between Jews and their Greek neighbours, including connections with local guilds. The study places this Jewish family’s interactions within the context of local association-life and burial customs, examining areas of cultural and structural assimilation (and dissimilation) in the process.

10:00-10:30 Ian Henderson (McGill University), “Charismatics, Peddlars, Scribes, Cash and Books: Revisiting Harnack’s “Mission and Expansion of Christianity”

In 1902, Adolf Harnack published Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten. Harnack’s survey is still unequalled, despite advances in knowledge of the physical and social environments through which Jesus-devotion diffused itself and despite even greater theoretical revolutions in understanding religious change. In hindsight, Harnack raises key questions: above all, whether the Mission and the Aussbreitung of Jesus-cult were related programmatically or ironically? Did Aussbreitung occur despite or because of Christian consciousness of Mission? A re-reading of Harnack further directs less attention to the salvation-historical quest for aspects of the Greco-Roman situation which were pre-disposed to receiving the gospel, and more to obstacles which Christians felt to be in their path(s). Further, we may imitate Harnack by speaking as concretely as possible of what, after all, moved when Christianity “spread”; who and what changed what kinds of location? Finally, how would we revise Harnack if we could?

10:30-11:00 Kenneth Fox (Canadian Theological Seminary), “Anthony Thiselton’s Hermeneutics over the Abyss”

Anthony C. Thiselton may be described as someone—to use his own words—seeking “more complex and adequate accounts of meaning and theories of hermeneutics.” And like Stephen D. Moore and others, he takes seriously the theoretical challenge coming from certain streams of literary theory with respect to the stability of textual meaning. In this paper I attempt to bring Thiselton’s comprehensive position, which is scattered over many of his writings, more sharply into focus and evaluate it. This also means applying Thiselton’s “hermeneutical principles to [an] actual text of the New Testament,” and for this I have selected 1 Corinthians 15.

Break: 11:00-11:15

11:15-11:45 Frederik Wisse (McGill University), “HETERODIDASKALIA: Accounting for Diverse Teaching in Early Christian Texts”

Modern scholarship on early Christian texts has been much preoccupied with the diversity of views within them and among them. The question needs to be asked whether the major diversity apparent to the modern scholar would also have been apparent to the ancient readers. The paper surveys the awareness of diversity in teaching that the texts themselves display and what kind of diverse teaching was tolerated and what was opposed. On this basis suggestions are made on how best to account for diversity of teaching prior to the beginning of orthodoxy in the second half of the 2nd century.

11:45-12:15 Kimberly Stratton (Carleton University), “Ritual Power and Resistance in Antiquity”

While scholarship on “magic” in the last few decades has tended to regard it as merely an accusation deployed ideologically to marginalize an opponent or group of people this paper will explore the ways that certain types of practices, including those labelled “magic,” but also asceticism, ecstasy, and prayer, may have been used by women and men in positions of relative subordination or dependence to access sources of numinous power. Employing Catherine Bell’s theory of ritual practice, I will suggest that these practices can be seen as subversive strategies to challenge hegemony by accessing sacred authority and redressing imbalances of power through practical means.

13:30-16:15 (St. Paul’s College, Room 249)
New Testament / Nouveau Testament
Gospels / Les Evangiles

Chair/Président: Steven Muir (Concordia University College)

13:30-14:00 Jean-François Racine (Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley) “Hybrid Features in the Acts of the Apostles: A First Exploration”

Les Actes des Apôtres mettent en scène des personnages aux traits hybrides tels que les Samaritains, l’eunuque éthiopien, le centurion Corneille et Timothée. Le genre de l’oeuvre est également hybride, présentant des caractéristiques variées qui la rendent difficile à classifier. Ce travail explore certains éléments hybrides des Actes, principalement des personnages, à l’aide des travaux de Homi Bhabha sur le rôle de l’hybridité dans la culture (post)-coloniale. Il suggère ainsi de porter attention aux effets subversifs d’une telle hybridité sur certaines conceptions de l’identité culturelle.
The paper will be delivered in English.

14:00-14:30 Daniel A. Smith (Tyndale Seminary), “Editorial Purpose in the Post-Markan Empty Tomb Narratives”

This paper examines the Empty Tomb stories in Matthew 28:1-10, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-18. In contrast with Mark 16:1-8, the later canonical evangelists give accounts in which either (a) the women who see the empty tomb in Mark are witnesses also of the risen Jesus (in Matthew and John), or (b) authoritative witnesses to the risen Christ (Peter and John’s “Beloved Disciple”) also see the empty tomb (in Luke and John). The paper treats text-critical and redactional issues and offers some suggestions concerning what may be at stake for these authors working directly or indirectly with Mark’s text.

14:30-15:00 Rene Baergen (Emmanuel College), “Servant, Manager or Slave? Reading the Parable of the Rich Man and His Steward (Lk 16:1-8a) Through the Lens of Ancient Slavery”

The Parable of the Rich Man and His Steward (Lk 16:1-8a) is one of the more difficult parables of the New Testament; even a cursory survey of its various designations (whether Unjust Steward, Dishonest Manager, Shrewd Manager, Foolish Master or Dishonoured Master) indicates the conflicting ways in which the parable has been read. The character of the rich man has recently come under increased scrutiny, and with considerable profit, but the status of his steward has not received similar attention, with few exceptions. It is the contention of this paper that the status of the parable’s oikonomos, whether slave, freed or free, matters, and indeed demands that the parable be set within the context of ancient slavery. Such a context presents a point of entry into the social-historical and cultural dimensions of the text and suggests a way through the current hermeneutical morass.

Break: 15:00-15:15

15:15-15:45 John F. Horman (Waterloo), “Taken as Gospel—When the New Testament Gospels first became Scripture”

As Harnack noted, before 150 C.E. the documents which today form the New Testament did not enjoy the status of scripture. When early Christian writers cited Scripture, they often used such formulae as “It is written” or “the Scripture says”; such formulae were never, except in error, used for writings in the New Testament. While sayings attributed to Jesus were deemed authoritative they were not deemed scriptural, and any accompanying narrative was generally ignored. Scripture for the early Christians was more or less what today is called the Old Testament, with one or two exceptions.

15:45-16:15 John S. Kloppenborg (University of Toronto), “Evocatio, Devotio, Hostium and the Date of Mark”

An examination of the “prediction” of the dismantling of the Temple (Mark 13:2) as an indication of the date of Mark.

13:30-16:45 (St. Paul’s College, Room 313)
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament / Bible Hébraïque/Ancien Testament
Latter Prophets and Writings / Les livres prophétiques et les livres poétiques et sapientiaux
Chair/Président: Michael Kolarcik (Regis College)

13:30-14:00 Ehud Ben Zvi (University of Alberta), “Why Were the Prophetic Books Produced and ‘Consumed’ in Ancient Israel?”

This paper explores possible answers to this question from the perspective of social organization, socializations processes, self-identity/ies, and activities such as shaping and constructing versions of the past that communicate shared worldviews. Although the paper focuses on the prophetic books (i.e., the books later called “The Latter Prophets”), it has implications for other authoritative literature that eventually became part of the Hebrew Bible and which serves similar systemic purposes.

14:00-14:30 Jennifer Pfenniger (Emmanuel College), “Speaking or Smouldering Lips in Song of Songs 7:10?”

One of the controversial passages in the Song of Songs that attracts attention and skepticism is Song 7.9 [10], “And thy mouth like the best wine, that goeth down smoothly for my beloved, gliding through the lips of those that are asleep” (RV). These disputed lines, which follow upon the exultation of a female lover, correspond to the following words: wechikek keyayin hatob holek ledodi lemesharim dobeb siphte yeshenim. The seventh word (dobeb) whose meaning seems particularly key for the translating of the verse, is a hapax legomenon, the masculine singular active participle qal of a supposed verb, dabab. The question considered in this paper is the meaning of this verb in its present context, and whether an existing rendering of this passage might be preferred, if any. Whereas the historical options for understanding of dabab have been limited to dabab I and II (“glide” and “speak” respectively), the hitherto unexplored possibility of dub (“pining,” “languishing”) represents a more favourable semantic configuration and transmits a way of understanding which makes sense within the context of Song of Songs as it stands. In Song 7.9 [10], then, it is difficult to make sense of dobeb on the supposition that it is a form of dabab, whereas it is intelligible if it refers to pining or languishing.

14:30-15:00 John Kessler (Tyndale Seminary), “Diaspora and Homeland: The View from Yehud in Zechariah 1-8”

Over the past twenty years significant scholarly attention has been devoted to a variety of issues in the study of Yehud in the Persian Period. These include the borders and population of Yehud, its internal socio-political dynamics (especially the relationship between the returnees and the non-deported population), and the degree of interface between Yehud’s internal life and broader Persian Imperial policy. More recently attention has been focused on the nature and functioning of the relationship between the community in Yehud and other Jewish/Yahwistic communities in the Levant, Egypt and Mesopotamia. This paper will investigate one perspective in this pastiche, the view of the broader Yahwistic communities as perceived in Zechariah 1-8. This paper will argue Zechariah 1-8 achieved its final form early in the Persian Period, somewhere close to the rededication of the Jerusalemite Temple. Its editor views the drastically under-populated state of Jerusalem and Yehud as aberrant and calling out for remedy. This remedy will include the purification, rededication, and ultimate preeminence of the Temple, the return of the Diaspora members to Yehud, the pilgrimage and worship of the Gentiles, and the filling of Jerusalem to overflowing. Such a vision represents a perspective somewhat distinct from that of such texts as Haggai, Malachi, and Ezra-Nehemiah.

Break: 15:00-15:15

15:15-15:45 Matthew Mitchell (Temple University), “Accusatory Communal Laments: Reflections on the Genre of Psalm 89 with Reference to 4Q236”

Psalm 89 has been the subject of numerous debates. Scholars have variously described it as a royal psalm, a lament, a prophetic complaint, or some combination of these genres. Genre designation is further complicated by the harsh tone of verses 39-52, traditionally explained as a redactional addition. This paper argues that Ps 89 displays a marked unity through its use of covenantal, Davidic and symbolic language, and finds further clues to the psalm’s genre in a Qumran fragment (4Q236). Psalm 89 can still be defined as a “lament,” but as fragment 4Q236 shows, it is an angry lament in which accusatory language serves as a unifying element rather than a redactional seam.

15:45-16:15 Ken Penner (McMaster University), “Realized or Future Salvation in the Hodayot: The Value of the Tenses”

Heinz-Wolfgang Kuhn argued on the basis of the tenses and syntax in the Hymns of the Community in 1QHa that in contrast to the usual future-expected salvation known from other apocalyptic writings of Palestinian Judaism, the Qumran sect believed in a present-realized eschatological salvation.
My dissertation on the semantic value of the Hebrew “tenses” in the Dead Sea Scrolls proposes that the prototypical feature set of the basic verb forms may be discovered using an empirical method of statistical correlation between formal features and semantic function.
This proposed paper applies the findings of my dissertation research on the Hebrew “tenses” to the question of whether salvation was conceived as realized or future in two of the Qumran Hymns with the most prominent eschatological content (1QHa XI 20–37 and 1QHa XIX 6–17).

16:15-16:45 David S. Vanderhooft (Boston College), “Habakkuk on the Chaos of Politics”

Habakkuk links the dissolution of justice (mišpat) and tôrah (1:4) with Yhwh’s decision to raise up the Chaldeans (1:6). The prophet thus develops an inverse relationship between the possibility of maintaining justice and the reality of imperial depredations. As in other cases in the prophetic literature, the particular historical vicissitudes of the Judean community—here the Chaldean menace—elicit commentary about a possible devolution into a state of chaos. The Chaldean conqueror is the human catalyst of this devolution, and the prophet therefore renders the conqueror’s image through mythological allusions: he is a Sea Monster (1:15-16) explicitly likened to Death (mâwet, 2:5). The prophet’s rendering, however, depends too on analysis and interpretation of Babylonian military procedures and rhetoric. Thus, the historical relationship between Judah and Babylon, and the Babylonian military presence in the Levant after 605 B.C., furnish the raw material for a complex commentary on myth and history, chaos and politics.

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