Canadian Society of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting
Réunion annuelle de la Société canadienne des études bibliques
Carleton University Ottawa, Ontario
May 23-26, 2009

(Unless noted, all events are in the Southam (SA) and Loeb (LA) buildings)




Saturday May 23, 2009


14:00-19:00 (SA 314)

Executive Committee Meeting / Réunion du Comité Exécutif


Sunday May 24, 2009


8:45-11:30 (SA 415)

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament / Bible Hébraēque/Ancien Testament I

Chair / Président: Mark J. Boda (McMaster Divinity College)


8:45-9:15 Matthew Thiessen (Duke University)

The Text of Genesis 17:14

The purpose of this paper is to establish a firm text-critical foundation from which to discuss the function of circumcision in Genesis 17. While a number of text-critical issues arise within Genesis 17, verse 14 plays a particularly important role in understanding the significance of circumcision in the chapter. Nonetheless, virtually all commentators are silent on the textual difficulty of verse 14 and therefore follow the reading preserved in the MT. In contrast, this paper will argue that the LXX and Samaritan Pentateuch represent the earliest inferable textual state of Genesis 17.14.


9:15-9:45 Edward Ho (McMaster Divinity College)
The Threefold Parody in the Beginning of Job
A Rhetoric of Irony, literary critic Wayne Booth identifies clues to the recognition of irony in literature. This paper argues that the author of Job uses some of these pointers in the beginning to signal to the reader an authorial ironic intent and the prologue is thus meant to be understood as a parody. Through subversive uses of the sapiential didactic narrative genre, the heavenly council type scene, and the testing motif, the naivety of the belief that the plight of Job originates in some kind of heavenly decision is exposed by this threefold parody.


9:45-10:15 Ehud Ben Zvi (University of Alberta)

On the term “Deuteronomistic” in Relation to Joshua-2 Kings in the Persian Period

This paper will address the question of to which attributes of the “classical” history of Israel shaped by these books may the term “deuteronomistic” be applicable, once the focus shifts to Persian period literati and the communicative, ideological and social function of these attributes.


10:15-10:30 Break


10:30-11:00 Frank Clancy (Waterloo)

Missing Chronological Information in Chronicles

Chronicles does not include much of the chronological information in Kings because Israel was not included.  However, three missing pieces of information should be in Chronicles because they deal with Judah are missing: 1. the 23rd year of Jehoash; 2. the 14th year of Hezekiah; 3. and the synchronisms between Hezekiah’s reign and the end of the kingdom of Israel.  The reference to the 23rd year of Jehoash may have been omitted deliberately by the Chronicler.  However, the other two probably were added to Kings by a redactor and were not part of the Chronicler’s source text.


11:00-11:30 Robert D. Holmstedt (University of Toronto)

Dating the Language of Ruth: An Assessment

In a recent ZAW article, Ziony Zevit attempts to “revitalize” the case for the “relatively late date” of the book of Ruth using historical-contextual as well as specifically linguistic means. At the same time a small number of scholars have spear-headed an attempt to remove linguistic data from any discussion of dating biblical texts. This has culminated in a detailed, two-volume forthcoming work by Ian Young, Robert Rezetko, and Martin Ehrensvärd . This paper will consider what linguistic features in the book of Ruth might be relevant for dating the book and will use these features to test the cogency of Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd’s anti-dating arguments (I am indebted to these authors for providing me with an advance copy of their work).


8:45-11:30 (SA 406)

New Testament / Nouveau Testament

Gospels / Les Evangiles

Chair / Président: Zeba Crook (Carleton University)


8:45-9:15 Kyung S. Baek (Trinity Western University)

Matthew 1:1 As the Title for the Gospel of Matthew: Bi/bloj gene/sewj and Jesus’ designation as ui9oj  0Abraa&m

Although the significance of Matthew 1:1 (Bi/bloj gene/sewj 0Ihsou~ Xristou~ ui9ou~ Daui\d ui9ou~ 0Abraa&m) is recognized by scholars debate still lingers as to its nature and limits.  Five different proposals have been forwarded as to its exact referent: (1) It extends only to the tripartite genealogy of Jesus (1:2-17); (2) It is limited to Jesus’ genealogy and birth narrative (1:2-25); (3) It continues and includes the visit of the magi and the massacre of infants by King Herod (1:2–2:23); (4) It extends even farther to encompass the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry to “Galilee of the Gentiles” (1:1–4:16); or (5) It envelops the entire Gospel ending with Jesus’ commission to his disciples (1:2–28:20). This paper proposes Matthew 1:1 to be the title for the entire Gospel, which accounts for its initial position, the ambiguous meaning of bi/bloj gene/sewj, and its terseness including five titular elements that thematically resonate well beyond the initial chapters and seem to encapsulate Matthew’s general focus and message.  Therefore by concentrating on the use of bi/bloj gene/sewj and Jesus’ designation as ui9oj  0Abraa&m, I can conclude that Matthew 1:1 may be functioning on a number of levels (with multiple referents), but it primarily acts as a title that orientates its audience for everything that follows.


9:15-9:45 Agnes Choi (Wycliffe College)

“Never the Two Shall Meet? Urban-Rural Interaction in Matt 20:1-15”

One finds both urban and rural imagery in the Synoptic Gospels. A single pericope typically draws upon imagery from only one of these domains; thus, it is curious to find these two domains combined in Matt 20:1-15. While the history of interpretation of this parable has traditionally focussed upon the peculiar wage policy of the oikodespotēs, this paper will consider papyrological evidence to assess whether other aspects of this parable, particularly the way in which urban-rural interaction was depicted, might have struck Jesus’ audience as unusual.


9:45-10:15 Esther Kobel (University of Basel, Switzerland)

Chewing the flesh of Jesus: “Cannibalistic” language in John 6

Several documents of the first centuries C.E. testify that Christ-believers are accused of performing ritual murder followed by the cannibalistic consumption of human flesh and incestuous and promiscuous intercourse. These events are sometimes labelled “thyestean” and “oedipodean” after Thyestes and Oedipus, two heroes of Greek mythology. Allusions to thyestean banquets and oedipodean intercourse would have been recognized and understood immediately in the Greco-Roman milieu. This paper will explore the possible relationship of the “cannibalistic” language in John 6 to accusations of “thyestean” behaviour in the context of menace that generally marks the Johannine communal meals.


10:15-10:30 Break


10:30-11:00 Jordash Kiffiak (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Luke’s Very Brief Preface

Scholarly attempts to determine the generic affinity(ies) of Luke’s preface (1.1-4) have relied to various extents on arguments pertaining to its length. The preface is very short – one sentence, consisting of 42 words. This paper will seek, first, to confirm the negative judgement of Loveday Alexander, which has been challenged of late, namely, that a meaningful point of comparison cannot be found in any preface within the grand literary tradition of Hellenistic historiography. Next, I will compare Luke’s preface to those in other literary corpora. In particular, technical treatises will be considered and – not treated in Alexander’s The Preface to Luke’s Gospel (1993) – the writings of amateur historians.


11:00-11:30 Kari Tolppanen (Wycliffe College)

A Source Critical Reassessment of the Lukan Eschatological Discourse (Luke 21:5-36)

The author argues that Luke did not derive his triple tradition from the document now known as canonical Mark, but from another branch of the ‘Markan’ tradition, which he calls a Non-Canonical Markan Source/Tradition.  The author bases his argument on the observation that sometimes theological elements, which Luke clearly emphasizes in his double work, are absent in a Lukan pericope while present in a parallel Markan pericope.  The author uses the Lukan Eschatological Discourse as an example.  The discourse misses several such theological elements, which Luke emphasizes elsewhere in his Gospel.


8:45-11:30 (SA 316)

Second Temple Judaism

Chair / Président: Anne Moore (University of Calgary)


8:45-9:15 Jeremy Penner (McMaster University)

Did Jews Pray the Shema in the Second Temple Period?

Specialists in Jewish liturgy commonly assert that the Shema was an established liturgical custom already in the Second Temple period. Through a careful reexamination of the evidence this paper highlights a number of difficulties with this assertion and offers an alternative interpretation of such Second Temple period texts thought to evince the existence of the Shema liturgy.


9:15-9:45 Andrew B. Perrin (Trinity Western University)

Dusting for Scribal Fingerprints: The Interpretive Overlay of 4QReworked Pentateuch

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has provided an invaluable window into the pluriform nature of the biblical texts in the mid-late Second Temple era. While investigations into the transmission and developmental processes of the Hebrew scriptures often revolve around the 200+ “biblical” manuscripts at Qumran, few attempts have been made to explore the interface between scripture and interpretation in alleged parascriptural documents to clarify the origins of the biblical text. One such text that blurs the line between scripture and interpretation is 4QReworked Pentateuch (4QRP). The 4QRP group is represented by five manuscripts which all evidence overt scribal intervention in the scriptural text for interpretive purposes. Therefore, one question to be legitimately posed on these texts is: Beneath the editorial faćade applied by the scribe, does this text contain potentially early Pentateuchal readings unknown from other textual traditions? The present paper aims to formulate a methodology to enable text critics of the Hebrew Bible to constructively interact with 4QRP and thus extract reliable text-critical data from this intriguing hybrid text. In the process of achieving this goal I will explicate the textual character of 4QRP and highlight the apparent editorial emphases of the 4QRP scribe(s).


9:45-10:15 Tyler Smith (Oxford University)

Josephus as (Re)writer of the Samson Episodes

Josephus is better known as a historian than as an interpreter of the Bible. Nevertheless, his “translation” of the Hebrew Bible is a rich source for thinking about biblical interpretation and spiritual historiography in Antiquity. This paper will look at Josephus’ (re)presentation of the Samson narratives (Ant. 5.275-317; cf. Judges 13-17) with attention to his departures from the biblical text, editorial comments, elisions, additions, and moralizing. It will be argued that Josephus applies his creative literary skill to these narratives in order to extract support for a larger project in the Antiquities of the Jews, namely, to demonstrate that those who submit to God’s will “succeed in all things beyond belief” (Ant. 1.14), and that those who disobey have something less savory in store.


10:15-10:30 Break


10:30-11:00 Mary R. D’Angelo (University of Notre Dame)

Bad Hair For Boys at Banquets

In both the Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides and Philo’s Vita Contemplativa, hairdos worn by boys receive a surprising amount of detailed attention and moral weight. John Pollini has used Philo’s description of the hairdo of serving boys at banquets to identify the slave-boys in a number of art works of the Flavian-Trajanic era. This paper will suggest that Pseudo-Phocylides and Philo are describing the same hairdo, but their use of it derives from very different social positions. Together with other Jewish texts from the period, they offer insight into the representations of male homeroticism in Judaism of the early imperial era. 


11:00-11:30 Shawn W.J. Keough (St. Michael’s College)

‘God is not like a man’: Principles of divine revelation and biblical exegesis in Philo of Alexandria

This paper will offer a synthetic presentation and analysis of the way Philo confronts the tension between his most foundational theological principles and the persistent anthropomorphism and anthropopathism of the books of Moses. In particular, Philo finds two biblical descriptions of God especially troubling: God’s swearing an oath to Abraham (Gen 22.16; Sac 1.91-101; Leg 3.200-210), and God’s repenting of having created humanity and deciding to destroy humanity by a flood (Gen 6.5; Deus 1.20-85). In Philo’s treatment of both biblical episodes he brings forward two apparently contradictory biblical statements: ‘God is not like a man’ (cf. Num 23.19 LXX), and, ‘God is like a man’ (cf. Deut 1.31 LXX). These two opposing biblical statements provide Philo with an interpretive framework within which he develops and articulates his own fundamental convictions regarding the mode of divine revelation and the task of biblical interpretation.


11:30-12:30 (SA 416)

Lunch for all Students and New Members / Casse-croěte pour étudiants et membres nouveaux 


12:30-14:00 (SA 416)

Special Session Organized by Students / Session spéciale organisée par les étudiants
Presiding: Agnes Choi (Student Liaison, CSBS Executive)

What Not To Do on the Road from Candidacy to Tenure

Panellists: Tony Burke (York University), John Kloppenborg (University of  Toronto), Michele Murray (Bishop’s University), Daniel Smith (Huron  University College).

The approval of one’s thesis proposal may be the last step towards attaining candidacy, but it is only the first step towards attaining tenure.  What common mistakes should be avoided during the writing of the dissertation, the job search, and the first years of working at an academic institution?  What obstacles might one encounter as an instructor, a researcher, and a colleague?  The panellists will discuss not only the errors and challenges of the different phases of this journey, but also strategies for manoeuvring through them successfully.  There will be ample time for discussion, so bring your questions.  See you there!


14:00-15:20 (LA C164)

Student Essay Prizes / Prix pour travaux d’étudiant(e)s
Chair / Président:
Francis Landy (University of Alberta)

14:30-15:00 Jeremias Prize: Erin Vearncombe (University of Toronto), “Whom did he Marry? Women, Sex and Holiness in the Book of Jubiliees.”


15:00-15:10 Questions


15:10-15:40 Founders Prize: Danielle Duperreault (McGill University), “The Poetics of History and the Prophecy of Deutero-Isaiah”


15:40-15:50 Questions


15:30-17:00 (LA C164)

CSBS Annual General Meeting / Assemblée annuelle de la SCÉB

Presiding / Présidence: Terence L. Donaldson (Wycliffe College)


17:15-18:15 (LA C164)

Presidential Address / Conférence du Président
Presiding / Présidence: Francis Landy (University of Alberta)

Terence L. Donaldson  (Wycliffe College)

Supersessionism in Early Christianity

Since World War II, the question of the New Testament and “antisemitism” or “anti-Judaism” has received considerable attention. In recent years, however, these “isms” have been joined by another. “Supersessionism,” originally used in Christian tradition with a positive (even triumphalistic) valence, is increasingly used as a negative characterization of traditional Christian claims that the church has superseded Israel in the divine purposes and has inherited all that was positive in Israel’s tradition. The term has some advantages; for example, it focuses attention on the issue of self-definition, which in many ways is antecedent to any actions, speech or attitudes directed against (anti) the other. Still, in that it was first used with respect to a Christianity that existed as a distinct institution, separated from its original Jewish matrix and now self-consciously Gentile, it has limitations when used with reference to an earlier, transitional—or proto-Christian—period. During this period, lasting at least until 150 C.E., any description of Christian self-definition needs to take several variables into account: the terms on which Gentiles were included; whether Jewish believers had any distinct, ongoing status; the relative status of Jewish and Gentile believers; the relationship of the movement to scriptural Israel; the relationship of the movement to contemporary Judaism; whether a positive place was envisaged for Israel as a distinct entity in the (eschatological) future. Since we can discern a range of opinion on these matters within this period, what might loosely be described as supersessionism at a lower resolution displays significant differentiation at a higher. Moreover, it is part of a larger spectrum where, at either extreme, “supersessionism” is not really applicable. The purpose of this paper is to describe this spectrum—in other words, to provide a taxonomy of supersessionism in  early Christianity.


19:00-22:00 (Canal Ritz, 375 Queen Elizabeth Dr.)

CSBS Annual Dinner / Banquet annuel de la SCÉB

Monday May 25, 2009


8:45-12:00 (SA 415)

Patterns in Biblical Scholarship/Methods of Interpretation

Chair / Président: Ellen Aitken (McGill University)


8:45-9:15 Edith Humphrey (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)

 “My Duty to Instruct”—Elizabeth Stuart Bowdler’s Practical Criticism of the Bible

Late eighteenth century England is not well known for its women authors, because those who wrote in this age frequently did so anonymously.  Elizabeth Stuart Bowdler makes an intriguing case that women should analyze the Bible, an argument that would have been congenial to her own day—written pieces both fulfill a mother’s duty to instruct her children, and also allow that instruction to be detached from their author so as to be better examined for their content, unencumbered by family affection.  Less coy than some of her contemporaries, Mrs. Bowdler thus finally consented to attach her name to what she calls “practical observations on the book of Revelation.”  Because this piece predates the French Revolution, an early editor sees in it not only the wise council of a mother, but prophetic insight into the anti-religious fervour that characterized much of the French Revolution.  Such commentary is odd, since her piece is generally not directed towards a predictive reading of the Apocalypse, though it has some novel interpretations of symbolic details, such as the two witnesses of chapter 11, which are decoded as the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Ascribed to her also is a commentary and critical notes on the Song of Solomon.  This paper will demonstrate how Bowdler’s historical and  Anglican context has influenced her readings, for good and for ill.  It will also argue that the commentary on Song of Solomon must surely have come from her pen, because of strong similarities in outlook, approach and favourite themes between the two works. 


9:15-9:45 Christiana de Groot (Calvin College)

Deborah: A Lightening Rod for Nineteenth Century Women’s Issues

This essay presents part of the rich reception history of the Deborah narrative in women’s writings in the nineteenth century. An examination of three authors, Elizabeth Baxter writing in 1897, Grace Aquilar writing in 1845 and Clara Neyman writing in 1898 reveals that each woman used their interpretation of the Deborah and Barak narrative in Judges chapters four and five to support their position regarding women’s rights and duties. Together, the views of these three writers create a spectrum of the nineteenth century beliefs about women’s sanctioned place in the home and society.


9:45-10:15 Marion Ann Taylor (Wycliffe College)

University of Toronto Women and Criticism in the Nineteenth Century

The history of the rise of biblical criticism in the nineteenth century in Britain has been rehearsed many times. Scholars have focused their histories on the lives and publications of key academics and religious leaders. Missing from these studies are those who had neither voice nor position in the academy or church. In this paper, I want to listen to the voices of women whose lives were touched by criticism with a view to recovering a forgotten chapter in history of the rise of criticism in Britain.  I want to suggest that while women did not play a significant role in biblical scholarship per se in the nineteenth century, women were consumers, popularizers, practitioners and critics of criticism. 


10:15-10:30 Break


10:30-11:00 Alain Gignac (Université de Montréal)

The mise en scŹne of Rom 7:7–8:4 : A narrative and synchronic approach

Rom 7 is a hermeneutical, epistemological and methodological challenge. I do not pretend offering a definitive solution nor wish to expose forces and weaknesses of past solutions, but I want to open a new way of reading. If one adopts as epistemological stand point a synchronic perspective, and as methodological frame, narrative analysis, which hermeneutical possibilities are created ? Following the steps of Stanley Stowers, taking into account the enunciation indices of the text (as defined by Benveniste) and not trying to identify the “I” which is speaking, I construct a dialog between two characters which respects the difficulties of the text and explains why the Wirkungsgeschichte has seen alternatively in the discourse a Christian “I” or a non-Christian “I”.


11:00-11:30 Gary Yamasaki (Columbia Bible College)

Performance Criticism Meets Perspective Criticism: Attending to Point of View in the Performing of Biblical Narratives

The performing of biblical narratives has gained increasing attention since the 1980s, but analysis of such performances has not yet considered the role of point of view in the dynamics of the story being performed.  Perspective criticism—a new methodology involving the analysis of point of view in biblical narratives—indicates that a storyteller can relate a story from an objective on-the-sidelines point of view, or from the point of view of one of the characters, a distinction which is crucial, for the former creates a sense of distance from all characters, while the latter creates a sense of affinity with the one character.  This distinction can be realized in a performance through choosing between retaining the persona of the narrator (simply telling the audience what the characters are doing), and taking on the persona of a character (mimicking their voice/actions).  In this session, we will view a portion of David Rhoads’ performance of Mark, witnessing how he mimics every character’s voice/actions, thus creating a sense of affinity even in situations where a sense of distance is obviously intended.


11:30-12:00 Sophia Chen (Wycliffe College)

The Test of Abraham (Genesis 22:1-19) in the Abraham Cycle: A Canonical Reading

The story of the test of Abraham is a favourite in Judaism, Muslim, and Christianity; its artistry is also widely acknowledged. Much scholarly attention has been dedicated to the examinations of the text. However, its theological significance is often ignored by modern biblical criticisms, such as source, form and tradition criticism. In reaction to the impasse, this paper seeks to answer: How can the reader read the text as Scripture? How does the text live on beyond its historical horizon and edify the faith of future generations? Through the lens of a canonical reading, one shall see that the story possesses an intrinsic canonical force that directs to the future. Its message is not to be historicized, but rather continues to live on.


9:00-12:00 (SA 403)

Reading for the Uncanny in Hebrew Scriptures

Chair / Président: Matthew W. Mitchell (Canisius College)


9:00-9:30 Francis Landy (University of Alberta)

Rahab and La Malinche

There are two stories in Joshua: an overt story in which the conquest of the Holy Land is mandated, together with the annihilation of its idols and the uprooting of its gods. The second story is precisely the reverse of the first. In it the conquest is destabilized by the exchange of sexual and sacred goods. Of this the story of Rahab is paradigmatic. Joshua sends out two spies whose purpose is not so much military as symbolic, to repeat and thereby undo the effects of the first spy story in Num.13-14, and surreptitiously to disclose the other’s secret, in particular its genital secret. The Israelites gain possession of the land even while they destroy its male guardians. The devouring mother of Num.13-14 becomes the ever available consort, reminiscent of both the Song of Songs and the wise woman of Proverbs. She thus introduces a hybrid space, which is not simply a space of miscegenation and the interpenetration of languages, as for example when Rahab adopts a Deuteronomic voice, but a space that speaks, that creates its own dialectic, and its own complex shifts of power and idiom. Ilana Pardes has pointed out the analogy between accounts of the conquest of the Holy Land and that of the New World. In this context, Rahab may be compared to La Malinche, Cortes’ trilingual consort and cultural intermediary. La Malinche, with her vast cultural resonance as traitor and heroine, personifies the horror and lure of mestizaje that determines the entire sacred history of Mexico and the Americas in general. So the religion of Israel is the product of cultural negotiation and anxiety. It is no accident that in Midrash and in Christian tradition, Rahab becomes the wife of Joshua.


9:30-10:0 Erin Runions (Pomona College)

From Disgust to Humor: Nonheteronormative Racialization and the Transvaluation of Affect in Joshua 2

This paper starts from the premise contemporary disgust toward non-normative forms of sexuality in the U.S. is conditioned by the racialization of certain representations of sexuality in the Bible, even where the biblical heritage and/or racialization is no longer obvious. Attitudes toward Canaanites are central in reproducing disgust toward nonnormative sexualities. Disrupting disgust with the Canaanites requires the interrogation of the colonial commitments that allow for this response. Drawing on queer of color critiques, and cultural studies theorizations of affect, this paper uses the well-recognized humor in the story of Rahab in Joshua 2 as a way of intervening in the usual circuits of disgust. The Canaanite Rahab is racialized as nonheteronormative in the story; however, the usual disgust is not present, either for the story’s narrator, or its interpreters. The story of Rahab revalues the usual affect that buttresses depictions of the Canaanites in the Tanakh.  Here I want to pick up on the suggestion made by Yair Zakovitch and others that Rahab’s story is a humorous one built from various traditional folktales, though I find the punch line in different places than does Zakovitch. The story uses humor to represent the racialized nonheteronormative subject positively, and it undercuts the corollary positive aura surrounding the Israelites’ conquest. A humorous earlier indigenous tale can be discerned that undercuts the affective values of the story’s colonial final form, with attendant emotions circulating around the Canaanites, the divine warrior, holy war, and even Rahab’s own heroism. In other words, one plausible redactional layer of Joshua 2 talks back to the conquest narrative that tries to tame it, as well as to the affects associated with it, including disgust at the Canaanites and exclusionary righteous hope for the Israelites. It is in the final form of the story, however, that Rahab is the most queer. Though resistant, she is neither fully transgressive or heroic, but she is funny. That hilarity revalues the usual emotive response to Canaanite sexuality, allowing affective bodily energies to turn the repulsion of disgust into the inclusion of pleasure.


10:00-10:15 Break


10:15-10:45 Fiona C. Black (Mount Allison University)

Lament without Gender? Pursuing the Affective Side of the Complaint Psalms.

It is assumed that complaint psalms, among other types, are the utterances of a male speaker (and intended for a male audience). There is no particular reason to do so (grammatical or literary), save for the conventions of biblical scholarship, most notably, the assumptions of form-critical readings of these texts.  More globally, in fact, one might be tempted to posit that gender is rather a non-issue in these texts, since readers typically fail to find (or comment on) any obvious signals about masculinity or femininity in any part of them. And yet, the complaints are profoundly interested in subjectivity, exploring as they do the constitution of the subject in the face of (or perhaps by virtue of) grief and suffering. Is this to be a subject, then, without gender? This paper argues that it is in the balance between the observance of the literary conventions of lament and the counter-cultural impulses of complaint and imprecation that clues about gender might be located. Most significantly, it is in the affective qualities of these texts (and their interpretive histories) that gender-especially the feminine-might be interrogated.


10:45-11:15 David Jobling (St Andrew’s College)

“Giving was Voluptuous to Me”: The Bible in Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Setzuan

This is the third of a series of essays on the Bible in Brecht’s plays, where it is a pervasive presence. The text which gives The Good Person of Setzuan its shape is Genesis 18-19, three of whose major elements the play plays with: the arrival of three divine beings and the hospitality they receive; the destruction of the inhospitable city; and the promise of a son. But we also find significant allusion to the Decalogue, the Gospels and Paul. Some collocations of biblical texts seem to occur below the level of consciousness, as a return, perhaps of Brecht’s repressed Lutheran childhood. Most attention will be given to the play’s deconstruction of two biblical topoi: political overthrow as human achievement rather than divine punishment, and doing good – rather than evil – as a “seduction.”


11:15-11:45 Michael DeRoche (Memorial University)

From Adultery to Zenot: The many accusations of Hosea.

One of the perplexing aspects of Hosea studies is the precise nature of sexual “crimes” committed by Gomer. At various points in Hos 1-4 the prophet accuses his wife of a variety of sexual acts. She is a  zonah and a qodeshah. He also accuses her of committing menaaphet. As many commentators have remarked, it is not easy to reconcile the sexual activities implied by these different terms. While most scholars, feminists and non-feminists alike, agree that Gomer must have committed some sexual act that Hosea takes as a violation of their marriage, they are uncertain about the precise identity of the act. Suggestions include prostitution, adultery, and/or some form of cultic sexual activity. Others, due to the uncertainty surrounding these terms, feel it is impossible to specify the act in question, and are only willing  to say that she is guilty of being promiscuous, or that she must have committed some type of sexual indiscretion. Employing the behavioral theories of the social-psychologist, Lenore Walker, in particular her “cycle theory of violence,” this paper reassesses the many sexually oriented charges that Hosea brings against his wife.


11:45-12:00 Discussion


8:45-12:00 (SA 406)

Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l'Historiographie Ancienne: Prophets and Prophecy in Ancient Israelite Historiography (Session 1)

Chair / Président: Patricia Kirkpatrick (McGill University)


8:45-9:15 K. L. Noll (Brandon University)

Neither Prophets nor History Writing in the Nebi’im

Deuteronomy 18:22 defines genuine prophecy as the ability to foretell events without contingency.  The story of Micaiah ben Imlah (1 Kings 22) attacks that definition with a deliciously deceptive tale in which prophets who tell lies are genuine and a prophet who tells the truth is not.  In this story, the king of Israel is not defeated by his own hubris.  He is defeated by an ingeniously deceptive god who chooses a false prophet to speak a true message that is articulated in such a way that the king is compelled to reject it as false.  As such, this story is another example illustrating that the Former Prophets do not constitute a Deuteronomistic History.  Rather, these scrolls testify to an ongoing literary debate among ancient scribes who were dissatisfied with the religion advocated by the book of Deuteronomy.  The implications of this are profound.  The biblical Former Prophets are not best described as history writing and the treatment of prophets within this narrative literature has nothing to do with real flesh-and-blood prophets.  These tales are literary conceits, artificial constructions understood by the ancient reader to represent theological debates in dialogue with Deuteronomy, not reports of historical events under the guidance of a god who revealed his intentions to prophetic servants.


9:15-9:45 John Van Seters (Waterloo)

Prophecy as Prediction in Biblical Historiography

There is great diversity in the roles that prophecy plays within the biblical historical narratives, but the present paper will focus on the role of prediction of future events by prophets within the Dtr corpus and its later literary supplements. Such a role of prediction may be viewed in comparison with the element of prediction in Near Eastern literature, primarily in the form of omens and divination; and in Greek histories, such as Herodotus, in his use of oracles, mantics and wise counselors to anticipate future events. While the biblical narratives do recognize the use of omens manipulated by specialist ephod-wearing priests for the purpose of predicting the outcome of an impending battle, Dtr seems to denigrate the use of divination and give to the prophet the function of predicting future events. This has to do, not only with warnings about the consequences of disobedience to the divine will, but also concerning the more long-term destiny of royal dynasties and the fate of the nations of Israel and Judah. This is reflected in the so-called “theology of the Dtr history,” as spelled out by von Rad, as well as in certain reactions to Dtr in later additions to the history (e.g. the David Saga). The paper will take up a number of examples to illustrate these features. What I hope will become clear are the great differences in the understanding of prophecy as prediction within biblical historiography.


9:45-10:15 Mark J. Boda (McMaster Divinity College)

Recycling Heaven's Words: Prophets, Angels and Priests in the Historiography of Judges

It is often noted that the dominant historiographic structure in the book of Judges is that of a five stage cycle of events which include: sin, punishment, crying out, salvation, quiet (e.g., Amit 36-37; cf. Greenspahn 1986: 388). Others have suggested a four part cycle (Trompf 1979: 219-20) by excluding the element “quiet” or a six part cycle (Mayes 1983: 61-62; cf. Gunn 1987: 104-105) by including the element of the raising up of the deliverer (cf. O’Connell 1996: 26n18). The present paper investigates the role of prophets and other divine intermediaries within the historiographic structure of the book of Judges, revealing that a word from the deity is as consistent as other elements in this historiographic structure. A close look at the similarities and differences between the various instances of this element within the book highlights a key theme in the book and suggests the role of the book within a broader “Deuteronomic History”/“Former Prophets”.


10:15-10:30 Break


10:30-11:00 Keith Bodner (Atlantic Baptist University)

A Bad News Bearer: The Dramatic Fulfillment of a Prophetic Word about the Dissolution of a Priestly Line

Even a brief glance at Thomas Römer’s recent book on the Deuteronomistic History is sufficient for noticing the great artistry of the overall story that stretches from Joshua to Kings. Part of the allure of this history—as a legion of commentators have observed—is the extraordinary cast of characters that populate the Former Prophets. One such under-rated (yet intriguing) character is Jonathan son of Abiathar, and I am proposing this character for the subject of my paper. In the two prominent episodes in which he appears, this member of the Elide line is used in a larger discussion about succession, which is ironic, since he himself is banished into obscurity by the succession of a rival house. Through the character of Jonathan the reader is confronted with both literary issues of composition, and thematic issues at the heart of the narrative.


11:00-11:30 Lissa M. Wray Beal (Providence Theological Seminary)

Ahijah and Jeroboam: Template for Prophetic Activity in the Book of Kings

The kingship of Jeroboam I, so crucial to the remainder of the Book of Kings, is bounded and punctuated by prophetic interactions. In those interactions, the fate of successive Israelite kings is found. Ahijah, in 1 Kgs. 11 proffers the word of hope for an enduring house, and in 1 Kgs. 14 delivers the fatal word of judgment against that house. In 1 Kgs. 13 the man of God from Judah delivers the dramatic word against the altar, and is then himself caught up in another prophetic interaction as commentary upon the first. This paper explores the three prophetic interactions, noting the similar means and motifs by which the prophetic word comes to Jeroboam, and the comparability of those means and motifs to other prophetic words at similar junctures in successive kingships. In this, the Jeroboam narrative provides a template for prophetic activity throughout the Books of Kings. This paper also explores how some of the prophetic interactions in Jeroboam’s reign are fulfilled within his reign, while others remain open. Both the fulfilled and unfulfilled words in Jeroboam’s reign provide narratological threads to connect this narrative to the remaining history of the kings of Israel and Judah. Further, each works together to provide a commentary upon the certainty of YHWH’s prophetic word.


11:30-12:00 General Discussion


12:00-13:30 (Baker’s Grill on the 4th floor of the Uni Centre)

Women Scholars’ Lunch / Casse-croěte pour les femmes savants


13:30-17:30 (SA 406)

Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l'Historiographie Ancienne: Prophets and Prophecy in Ancient Israelite Historiography (Session 2)

Chair / Président: Tyler F. Williams


13:30-14:00 Paul Evans (Ambrose University College)

Prophecy Influencing History: Dialogism in the Chronicler’s Ahaz Narrative

The Chronicler's account of the reign of Ahaz of Judah (2 Chronicles 28) has invariably been read in comparison with the account in 2 Kings 16 (his putative Vorlage).  Though the Chronicler follows the general outline of 2 Kings 16 there are numerous differences between the accounts (including the insertion of an encounter between Israelites and a prophet) which interpreters have explained in various ways. Interestingly, 2 Chronicles 32:32 references the “vision of Isaiah” (which is the editorial incipit and natural title of the canonical book) as a source employed by the Chronicler, inviting the interpreter to view Chronicles in dialogue with the book of Isaiah.  Following this lead, this study will examine the relationship between 2 Kings 16, Isaiah 7 and 2 Chronicles 28, drawing on Bakthin’s ideas of dialogism.  While in the context of the Syro-Ephraimite threat, Isaiah 7 emphasized the need for Ahaz to trust in Yahweh (Isa 7:9) and clearly predicts that Assyria will trouble Ahaz severely (Isa 7:17), in 2 Kings 16 Ahaz’s trust in/appeal to Assyria appears to successfully end the Syro-Ephramite threat as Assyria comes to his aid.  The potential for conflict between these texts is obvious.  As well, the insertion of a new prophetic story into the Ahaz narrative may be influenced by the prophetic encounter between Isaiah and Ahaz in Isaiah 7. This study suggests that the texts of Isaiah and 2 Kings are positions that are answered by Chronicles.


14:00-14:30 Ken Ristau (Penn State)

The Reconstruction of Jerusalem in Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: Finding History in Prophecy

Haggai and Zechariah are identified in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 as prophets at the time of the reconstruction of the temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem. This, and the date formulations that appear in their writings, have given scholars confidence that their books are among the earliest of the Persian period and provide contemporary reflections on the situation in Jerusalem. Among the biblical texts, this sets them apart; few texts in the Bible are accepted today as contemporary to the events they describe. Yet, using these texts to reconstruct our understanding of the period is complicated by their prophetic genre. My paper will examine this problem through a careful historical reading of the texts.


14:30-15:00 Ralph J. Korner (McMaster University)

The “See-Saw” History of Visionary Literary Devices in Hebrew Prophecy, and Beyond

My article in Novum Testamentum (NovT 42/2 [2000]) suggests a reiterative macro-structure for Revelation that results from the use of three visionary literary devices that occur within Jewish Second Temple apocalyptic literature. Although not specifically addressed in my article, they also occur within prophetic visionary literature in the Hebrew Bible. These three visionary literary devices are: the “space/time referent” (Rev 1:9, 10), “and I saw,” and “after these things I saw.” If one assumes that these three are used in a technical literary fashion for the structural demarcation of visions, then greater organizational clarity results for HB visionary texts, especially in Ezekiel, Zechariah 1–6, and Daniel 7–12. Additionally, then, one sees diachronic development from Amos’s text (3rd person terminology) through to Zechariah (1st person terminology) and on to later Jewish and early Christian visionary literature. But of particular interest to one’s interpretation of the historiography in the apocalyptic section of Daniel (chs. 7–12), is the juxtaposition of 1st person visionary terminology with prophetic superscriptions (e.g., Dan 7:1 “…in the first year of King Belshazzar”). In Ezekiel and Zechariah the concurrence of these two elements seems to be a key factor in the ascription of prophetic authority to their visionary texts. Daniel’s apocalyptic historiography also appears to be a case in point. If this is so, then how does an acknowledgment of this “mixed genre” better help one to “see” what the author of Daniel’s historiographical message “saw”?


15:00-15:15 Break


15:15-15:45 John Kessler (Tyndale Seminary)

Once again, the  Motif of the ‘Empty Land’: Reflections on the Intersection of History,  Ideology and Community in Sixth-Century BCE Literature.

This  paper will present a summary of the socio-demographic situation in Yehud in  the mid- to late-sixth-century (BCE) in Yehud, then survey the way in which  this situations is variously portrayed and explained in some of the literature  of the period. The paper will conclude with an examination of the way in which the complex, mutual interaction between historical reality and ideological concerns shapes historical representation within the biblical text.


15:45-16:15 Lisbeth S. Fried (University of Michigan)

The Role of the Prophets in Ezra 1-6

I have suggested in a previous article (Fried 2008) that the authors of Ezra-Nehemiah attempted to describe a restoration community that instantiated Ezekiel’s programmatic ideals. A major component of those ideals was a belief that the prophets caused the downfall of Judah and that they must never again enter the land of Judah (Ezek. 13:9). It is likely to comply with Ezekiel’s ideology that prophets are noticeably absent from the lists of returnees in Ezra 2=Nehemiah 7. In spite of this, the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah is portrayed in Ezra as instrumental in ending the stoppage of work on the temple and in permitting it to continue until the temple is completed (Ezra 5:1, 2 and 6:14). I suggest that after creating the drama of  the forced cessation of work on the temple, the author had no way to get it started again. He used the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah as a type of deus ex machina to unravel his plot and so complete the work on the temple.  This use of the prophets expresses the author’s very practical, but mundane, conviction that sometimes they can inspire the people for good.


16:15-16:45 Colin M. Toffelmire (McMaster Divinity School)

(Re)Visionary History: Historical Reconstruction and Religious Identity in the Animal Apocalypse

The Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch 85-90 offers a unique example of ancient historiography in the guise of a prophetic vision of the history of the people of Israel in which the players are represented by animals.  The structure of the allegory is controlled by the primary image of clean v. unclean.  All of the animals representing the people of God are clean animals, and all of the animals representing the surrounding nations are unclean animals.  Also of vital importance for the rhetoric of the Animal Apocalypse are the roles of the primeval patriarch Enoch.  By assuming the mantle of Enoch the pseudonymous author is able to offer his comments regarding Israelite history and identity both as an authoritative prophet living in the ancient past and also as a perfect priest able to enter the heavenly Temple (cf. 1 En 14-15).  Through a close literary examination, I argue that this controlling metaphor of clean v. unclean is used by the author of the Animal Apocalypse, in concert with the dual prophetic/priestly role of Enoch, to retell Israelite history, thereby establishing both a religious history and identity for Jews living in Seleucid era Yehud.  History thus becomes a frame in which the author sets his message of religious and militant resistance.


16:45-17:15 General Discussion


17:15-17:30 Open Planning Session for Montréal 2010



13:30-16:30 (SA 415)

Concepts of Ancient Jewish Discourse: Continuity and Transformation (6th c. BCE-3rd c. CE) (Theme: Concept/s of Prophecy)

Chair / Président: Hindy Najman (University of Toronto)


13:30-14:00 Ehud Ben-Zvi (University of Alberta)

Exile, Empty Land and the General Intellectual Discourse in Yehud

The concept and the associated meta-narrative of “Empty Land” required and resulted in drastic and related processes of social memory creation and forgetfulness whose success must be explained. This paper raises the issue of whether the social and ideological success of these processes was related, to a large extent at least, to a systemic preference for “Empty Land” over its alternatives within the discourse of Yehud. In particular, this paper will explore the multiple ways in which the concept of “Empty Land” was deeply interwoven with a significant number of other central images/motifs/metanarratives associated with the concept of “Exile” in  the general intellectual discourse of Yehud. In other words, positive discursive connectedness played an important role in the development of “Empty Land.”


14:00-14:30 Christine Mitchell (St. Andrew’s College)

Earth-Empire in Haggai-Zechariah and Persian Imperial Inscriptions

This paper is a comparative analysis of the concepts of “earth” as a geographic term and as a socio-political term in Haggai-Zechariah and the inscriptions of Darius the Great.  Clarisse Herrenschmidt (1976) has argued that while the words “land/people” (dahayu-) and “kingdom” (xšaća-) were used in the Bisitun inscription to describe the area under Darius’ rule, his later texts used a new word to describe the vastness of his dominion.  This word “earth” (būmī-), previously meaning “land, soil”, and used as the counterpart to “heavens/sky”, now came to have the meaning of “empire”.  In Haggai-Zechariah, the Hebrew word ארץ, while still linked with place-names in such phrases as ארץ־יהודה (e.g., Zech 2:4), may be read when it stands alone as a counterpart to Darius’ būmī-.  As such, the Hebrew texts use the rhetoric of Persian texts in order to counterpoise the Persian Great King with the divine king Yhwh.  However, by adopting this imperial rhetoric, these prophetic books divorce the concept of the land from the people who inhabit it.  This move undoes the link between people, land and Yhwh that is so important in earlier prophetic texts.  Geographic space is re-oriented from local connections with land to universal connections with Yhwh’s created order.


14:30-14:45 Break


14:45-15:15 Tim Langille (University of Toronto)

History as a Contested Space? The Invention of Tradition and Collective Memory, Competing Narratives, Polemic Discourses, and the Exodus Narrative in Diaspora

Matt Matsuda posits that “[n]o history can be a pure event, pure evolution; each rather is a repetition, a return to a story which must be retold, distinguished from its previous telling. The past is not a truth upon which to build, but a truth sought, a re-memorializing over which to struggle” (The Memory of the Modern, 16). I will look at Josephus’ Contra Apionem in attempt to determine whether or not we are dealing with a case of history as a contested space (i.e., a struggle over re-memorialization) in a polemic debate between Jewish and non-Jewish sources (i.e., Manetho, Lysimachus, and Apion), as the power to narrate, or to block the formation of other narratives, is central to disputed spaces. This paper takes a mnemohistorical approach to explore the possibility that Alexandrian Jews (re)invented tradition and created a new collective memory of Moses and the ‘Exodus narrative’ in response to their diaspora environment. More specifically, this paper argues that Alexandrian Jews grafted new tradition and collective memory onto older ones by creating new narratives from and drawing off previously existing narratives in order to establish a presence in and to elevate their part in the history of their Egyptian diaspora home.


15:15-15:45 C. J. Patrick Davis  (Trinity Western)
From Egypt to Babylon, Dispersion to Exile: Symbolic Spaces in the Apocryphon of Jeremiah C
The most prominent components of the Qumran composition entitled 4QApocryphon of Jeremiah C are first, narrative expositions featuring the Prophet Jeremiah among the dispersed Jews in Tahpanes in Egypt (4Q385a 18 ii), and then writing to the Babylonian exiles from the Diaspora (4Q389 1). Second, are apocalyptic-style discourses reviewing the history of the Second Temple period (4Q385a 4 1–9, 4Q387 2 ii, 4Q389 8 ii 1–4 and 4Q390 1 i–ii). In a recent article, Cana Werman has challenged the inclusion of 4Q390 among the other fragments of the Apocryphon, principally because the chronological breakdown of the 490-year epoch appears distinct from what is presented in 4Q385a 4 1–9, 4Q387 2 ii and 4Q389 8 ii 1–4. She considers the Apocryphon to be externally focused in terms of its historical description while 4Q390 is consistently more concerned with events taking place within Israel. What Werman has missed is what will be the focus of this paper: How the dual-setting in Egypt and then the public reading in Babylon provide a framework for understanding the differences Werman has observed between the two historical schemata. This study will elaborate upon three features of the fragments of the Apocryphon according to their dual setting. First, differences in presentations in Egypt and Babylon; second, distinctions in terminology and emphases; third, the function of Jeremiah as a leadership critique. Finally, the employment of symbolic spaces (Egypt and Babylon; Temple and land; nearness and distance) will be used to show how the Apocryphon developed and functioned for different audiences in different times and different places.


15:45-16:15 General Discussion of Papers


13:30-16:30 (SA 515)

Travel Seminar

Chair / Président: Steven Muir


13:30-14:00 Ronald Charles (University of Toronto)

Conquering the world in Joseph and Aseneth

Respondent: Kimberly Stratton (Carleton University)

I probe the question of how the narrative of Joseph and Aseneth encourages travels to distant and inhabited lands, and how it justifies itself. The narrative expresses an ideology of conquest, which does not stop at the land of Egypt or to other lands. The text envisions the re-arranging of the whole cosmos by and for the benefit of those who would take refuge in the Jewish faith embraced by Aseneth and by people like her. Thus, my argument is that Aseneth’s conversion has implications that go beyond the individual dimension because the conquering of the prized Aseneth seems to signal the conquering and the re-creation of the whole cosmos.


14:00-14:30 Erin Vearncombe (University of Toronto)

Mapping, Mission and Mimesis: Paul’s Redefinition of Imperial Articulations of Travel

Respondent: Richard Ascough (Queens University)

Paul’s claims to travel in Romans 15 in particular function as status claims within the larger domain of Roman imperial consciousness of spatiality and its manipulation.  Travel was vital to the Empire not only on a practical level, but perhaps most significantly on a rhetorical level, used to validate and emphasize Roman sovereignty.  Paul uses and redefines imperial travel-related rhetoric in order to achieve a “remapping” of the Empire, offering an alternate polity with an alternate sovereign within the same geographical boundaries. 


14:30-15:00 Jane S. Webster (Barton College)

A Journey through the Book of Tobit: Travel and Magic in a Jewish Novel

Respondent: Anne Moore (University of Calgary)

The apocryphal Book of Tobit revolves around a journey. Tobit sends his son, Tobias, to collect some money from a distant land accompanied by an angel in disguise and a friendly dog.  Together, they have many picaresque adventures.  But the Book of Tobit alludes to other types of journeys as well: forced travel into exile, righteous walking in the “ways of truth and justice,” passage into death, and pilgrimage to Jerusalem. This paper will explore the narrative motif of journeys and magic in the Book of Tobit and identify a number of possible implications for its sociological context. Finally, it will also consider various interpretations of the journey motif through art.


15:00-15:15 Break


15:15-15:45 Michele Murray (Bishop’s University)

Seeking Protection Along the Way: Magic and Travel in the Ancient Mediterranean

Respondent: Janet Tulloch (Carleton University)

Travel in the ancient world was fraught with danger and uncertainty, but it was a necessary and unavoidable part of life for many people. Some travellers, in an effort to obtain a sense of protection, guidance, and security, engaged in religious and magical practices and rituals as they made their ways along the roadways and seaways of the ancient Mediterranean world.  This paper will explore these types of behaviours, particularly among Christian travellers.


15:45-16:15 Philip Harland (York University)

“Journeys in Pursuit of Divine Wisdom: Stories of Thessalos and Other Seekers”

Respondent: Terry Donaldson (University of Toronto)

The distraught youth seeking answers to life's questions was a recurring image within the thought-world of authors in antiquity.  Integral to this image was the motif of travel and wandering to find the answers to these questions, and this travel could be quite extensive.  These young wanderers, whose persistent itch could only be scratched by finding god or philosophy, can be discovered in sources ranging from Greco-Roman medicinal guide-books (Thessalos) and satirical literature (Lucian) to early Christian novels (Clement).


16:15-16:45 Concluding Remarks: Steven Muir


19:30-21:00 (SA Theatre B)

Craigie Lecture / La Conférence Craigie 

Amy-Jill Levine

Resurrecting Late Judaism: Archaeology, Analysis, and Apologetic


Joint CSBS/CSSR/CTS/CSPS reception (hosted by CSBS)

21:00-23:00 (Loeb Lounge)


Tuesday May 26, 2009


10:00-12:00 (SA 415)

Concepts of Ancient Jewish Discourse: Continuity and Transformation (6th c. BCE-3rd c. CE)

Chair / Président: Ehud Ben-Zvi (place)


10:00-10:30 Judith Newman (Emmanuel College)

Liturgical Imagination in the Composition of Ben Sira.

Ben Sira participates in a recognizable way in the pre-exilic wisdom genre, yet it reconfigures that genre in its use of prayer and hymnic language which punctuates its proverbial discourse throughout. Moreover, the book reflects a textualized notion of wisdom drawing as well on the language of temple ritual. Pre-exilic Israelite wisdom traditions rely on human reflection on the natural world and social relations as the source of wisdom. By contrast, a soliloquy of praise set in the mouth of the personified wisdom figure (Ben Sira 24) identifies the font of wisdom as the divine sanctuary and the speech as a whole is identified as the book of the covenant, the torah of Moses. The final chapters of the book likewise point to the sanctuary. The composition and oral transmission of wisdom discourse by the pious sage thus occurs through the reconception of temple and prayer reflected in the book itself (Ben Sira 38:34b-39:11). By reassessing both the book's prayers and its temple discourse, this essay will argue that the role of high priest in the temple as center of the polity is ultimately trumped by the role of the pious prophetic sage as himself the performative medium of divine instruction which includes his own book. The ultimate (variant) shapes of the book whether in Hebrew, Greek, or Syriac thus represent the extension of such scripturalized sapiential prayer discourse that is part of the liturgical temper of the Greco-Roman era.


10:30-11:00 John Kloppenborg (University of Toronto)

Soul Formation in Hellenistic Judaism.

The paper discusses the development of discourse about soul formation in the Testament of the XII Patriarchs, 4 Maccabees and James, and the influence of Platonism and Stoicism on these writers.


11:00-11:30 Hindy Najman (University of Toronto)

The First and Second Destruction in the Late Ancient Jewish Imagination

Many post-70 CE texts represent and characterize the second destruction as though it were the first destruction.  This paper considers the conception of exile and destruction in several post-70 Texts. 


8:45-11:30 (SA 406)

New Testament World

Chair / Président: Kimberly Stratton (Carleton)


8:45-9:15 Pauline Hogan (Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Corner Brook NL)

Mary Baker Eddy and the Apocryphal Acts

There is a curious parallel between the fictional situations created by the early Christian Apocryphal Acts of the second and third centuries, and the real life situation of the late nineteenth century religious figure who founded the Christian Science religious movement. Mary Baker Eddy used biblical interpretation to confront the legal and medical establishments of her day. There are similarities in the way the central figures of many of the Apocryphal Acts challenged the legal and social powers of their era. In both cases, the role of healing performed a central function.


9:15-9:45 Rene Baergen (Emmanuel College)

Capernaum and the Quest for the Historical Jesus

Scholarly tradition increasingly locates the Galilean Jesus in and around Capernaum: it is his “center” (EP Sanders) and “headquarters”  (R Horsley), “base” (G Theissen) and “hub” (J Reed), emblematic of his kingdom (JD Crossan) and constitutive of his career (S Freyne). Despite this rhetorical celebration, however, the fact of Capernaum seems only rarely to have required engagement with the particular geographic conditions which make it so. This paper will explore the role of Capernaum in the reconstruction of Jesus and suggest very briefly some contours of a quest beyond geographical amnesia.


9:45-10:15 Daniel A. Smith (Huron University College)

Further into the Empty Tomb: Narrative, Apologetic, and Hagiographical Deployments in Early Christianity

This paper examines different trajectories of deployment of the story of Jesus’ empty tomb in early Christianity after the canonical gospels, detecting mainly an apologetic for the resurrection of the body (construed as the resurrection of the flesh), but also some interesting hagiographical applications of the “logic” of the empty tomb.


10:15-10:30 Break


10:30-11:00 Matthew W. Mitchell (Canisius College)

‘Some More Light On the Text’: the Apostle Paul as a Narrative Device in HBO’s Deadwood.

Study of the “bible and film” or “religion and popular culture” is a growth area for scholars. This phenomenon can also be seen in other disciplines such as philosophy, with books appearing on the “philosophy of” any number of television shows or movies. As far as Pauline scholarship is concerned, these studies tend to be exclusively thematic or topical given the relatively rare direct use of Pauline materials by popular media. An exception occurs in Season One of the HBO television series Deadwood, in which recurring and explicit use of Paul’s letters is made. In this paper, however, rather than concentrating on the biblical text’s interpretation, the approach favored by most scholarship in this area, I will examine the role of the Pauline text as a narrative device within the television show, as well as reflecting on the methodological issues that arise for biblical scholars seeking to explore popular media.


11:00-11:30 Adele Reinhartz (University of Ottawa)

Media-ting the Bible: Searching for Scripture in Digital Image and Sound

In recent decades, biblical studies has broadened its purview beyond historical, theological and philological issues to investigate the ongoing role of the Bible for contemporary culture, with particular focus on Bible and film. Research in this area, however, is hindered by the sheer number of films that use Bibles, biblical quotation and biblical motifs, and the inability to search films rapidly for relevant material.  To address the latter problem, an interdisciplinary (Arts, Engineering) research collaboration has been created at the University of Ottawa, funded through the SSHRC Strategic Program “Image, Text, Sound and Technology” (2008-2009).  This paper will briefly discuss the strategy adopted by the ITST research team and provide a “live” demonstration of the tool that illustrates the research done to date.


8:45-12:00 (SA 403)

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament / Bible Hébraēque/Ancien Testament II

Chair / Président: Christine Mitchell (St. Andrew’s College)


8:45-9:15 William Morrow (Queen’s University)

Cruel God in the Context of Joban Scholarship

I am responsible for the entry on Margaret Brackenbury Crook (1886-1972) in the Dictionary of Women Interpreters (forthcoming from Baker Press). Among her accomplishments as a biblical scholar is her monograph, The Cruel God: Job’s Search for the Meaning of Suffering (Beacon Press, 1959). This paper will contextualize The Cruel God within contemporary trends in Joban scholarship. Among other topics, attention will be paid to her theory that the structure of the book resembles a series of lectures, her assignment of a Babylonian provenance to the original book, and source criticism of the Elihu speeches.


9:15-9:45 Joel N. Lohr (Trinity Western University)

In What Sense ‘Desire’?  Reexamining tĕšěqČ and Its Reception History

The curse Eve receives in the Genesis creation story includes not only a pronouncement that she would experience increased pain in childbearing but also an unclear statement indicating that her ‘desire’ would be for her husband and that he will rule over her (Genesis 3:16). The underlying word for ‘desire’ used here, tĕšěqČ, is found in only two other places in the MT (Genesis 4:7 and Song of Songs 7:11 [7:10]) and its reception history suggests a complicated and potentially confused picture.  Non-Hebrew versions of these passages only complicate the issue further. In this paper, I examine the textual and translational history of the term before investigating the term’s history of interpretation.  I argue that our understanding of ‘desire’ may be faulty and/or in need of adjustment.


9:45-10:15 Daniel A. Machiela (McMaster University)

The Translation of Elijah: The Morphology of the Elijah-Elisha Narrative in the Ancient Versions and Their Relevance to Second Temple Messianism 

This paper will take a detailed look at the way in which the Elijah-Elisha material from 1-2 Kings is attested and received within the Hebrew Bible itself (i.e. inner-biblical exegesis), especially the books of Chronicles and Malachi, and then examine how these accounts are dealt with in the versions and certain manuscripts from Qumran. Through such an approach we may discern the gradual conflation of these texts, and the development of the idea that Elijah would precede and herald the messianic era.


10:15-10:30 Break


10:30-11:00 R. Glenn Wooden (Acadia)

Antiochus IV Epiphanes in History, Theology, and Translation

The intersection of the thinly veiled chronicle of Antiochus IV in Daniel 11:21-45, other sources for the life of Antiochus, and the relatively quick translation of Daniel into Greek all make the Old Greek a text where history might have led to an informed, clarified, or corrected translation. In Daniel, the translation of negev by “Egypt” and “Kittim” by “Romans” have confirmed this for scholars (Hanhart 1981; van der Kooij 1986; Dines 2008) and led them to find other alterations. I propose that 11:40-45 should be used to determine whether the translator knew to what Dan 11 referred, but this raises doubts about the common assumptions.


11:00-11:30 Steven Scott (University of Ottawa)

The Binitarian Nature of the Book of Daniel

This a follow up paper to my “The Binitarian Nature of the Book of Similitudes” (JSP 2008). In that paper I argued that there is a distinction made between the Lord of Spirits (the El manifestation of God) and the Name of the Lord of Spirits (the YHWH manifestation of God).  In this presentation, I will do a careful analysis of Daniel’s visions, and argue that the Son of Man figure is best seen as the YHWH manifestation of God. Parallels in imagery with earlier texts (primarily Ezekiel) are drawn upon.

11:30-12:00 Heather Macumber (St. Michael’s College)

The Right Way to Mediate: Human and Angelic Interaction in Zechariah 1-8 and the Book of Watchers

Second Temple literature abounds with occurrences of angelic figures who mediate between the earthly and divine realms. Zechariah 1-8 recounts the actions of an interpreting angel who reveals heavenly mysteries to Zechariah and directly petitions God on behalf of Jerusalem. In The Book of Watchers, a similar intercession for humanity is made by the four archangels. In addition, a curious distortion of angelic mediation occurs between the seer Enoch and the fallen Watchers. This paper will compare and contrast the models of human and angelic interaction found in Zechariah 1-8 and The Book of Watchers and evaluate their contribution to the development of apocalyptic literature.


13:00-16:15 (SA 406)

New Testament: Paul, Acts, 1 Peter,  and Revelation

Chair / Président: Matthew Mitchell (Canisius College)


13:00-13:30 Nick Meyer (McMaster University)

Jews, Gentiles and Paul’s Polemical Text: 1 Thess. 2.14-16 in Socio-Historical and Theological Context

The text of 1 Thess. 2.14-16 has generated many controversies and interpretive cruxes, not least for its stunning attack on “the Jews.” I will argue that though Paul does not directly credit the suffering of his converts to the Jewish community of Thessalonica, the rejection of Paul’s message by the majority of Jews there had exacerbating social effects on Paul’s converts and left Paul and them in a social and theological conundrum. This situation will then be used to illuminate Paul’s surprising juxtaposition of the model Judean churches with severe polemics against “the Jews.”


13:30-14:00 Catherine Jones (St. Michael’s College)

Theatre of Shame: A New Reading of 1 Cor 9 in light of the Implications of Paul’s Manual Labour

For many scholars, Paul is viewed as having freely chosen to engage in manual labour to safeguard his freedom as an apostle of Christ. Using 1 Cor 9 as the interpretative key, Paul is seen as refusing the material support offered to him by the Corinthian congregation, financial support that was rightfully his given Paul’s accepted status as an apostle. Such an interpretation, however, fails to take into account the fact that 1 Cor 9 is a problematic text in that it is unable to explain other texts in the Pauline corpus where manual labour is portrayed as a scenario of shame and dishonour. I will demonstrate that manual labourers in an ancient Mediterranean context were deemed slavish and contemptible. The life of a manual labourer was analogous to a theatre of shame, a picture that is confirmed by Paul himself. Thus, Paul’s descriptions of the context and implications of his manual labour suggest that he was not as self-evidently an apostle as he appears to contend in 1 Cor 9.


14:00-14:30 Margaret Y. MacDonald (St. Francis Xavier University)

Ambivalent Ideals: Women and the Household in Acts 16

Comparison of assessments of the role of Lydia in recent scholarship offers an interesting study into the variety of feminist readings of Acts and of the tension between historical and literary/rhetorical readings.  At the heart of the debate is the issue of Lydia’s social status. In contrast to liberationist readings which have understood Lydia as a historical figure of humble means calling together a type “contrast society,” some scholars have viewed Lydia as a fictional character shaped by the ancient motif of the involvement elite women in the reception of religions. This paper considers whether a focus on families challenges any common assumptions about the women of Acts that have emerged especially in recent feminist analysis. Household ideals and the house-church setting will figure prominently in the discussion.


14:30-14:45 Break


14:45-15:15 Rev. Frank Z. Kovács (North-West University, South Africa)

Acts 27-28: Lukan Paul as Servant in the Dynamics of God’s Salvation

The last two chapters of Acts examined in terms of the Lukan presentation of Paul is revealing, particularly the depiction of Paul as God’s servant in the context of God’s programme of salvation.  The Lukan Paul viewed from this perspective, relating servant to salvation, seems to shed greater light on the dynamics of the spread of the Gospel.  The field of inquiry consists of two general areas, the Lukan characterisation of Paul and the dynamics of God’s programme of inclusive salvation.  The characterization of Paul is focused to include the role of servant by examining the legitimating features in the narrative and discourses dealing with both Paul’s character and his commission.  In this way Lukan Paul emerges as God’s servant whom endures hardships along his journey and as a result facilitates the spread of the Gospel.


15:15-15:45 Keir Hammer (Taylor University College)

“Rebirthed by God the Father”

Scholars of 1 Peter have argued that various terms from the introductory portions of this early Christian letter serve as key metaphors for the work as a whole.  Suffering, diaspora, and strangers are some of the terms that have been highlighted in 1 Peter’s opening.  Unfortunately little attention has been paid to the role of rebirth language within this text’s structure.  In this paper I will argue that rebirth language is much more important to the letter’s opening than has been previously assumed and will demonstrate using repetitive-progressive texture (an analysis that comes from Socio-Rhetorical criticism) that rebirth language is part of a larger progressive pattern that shapes the thrust of the work as a whole.


15:45-16:15 Ralph J. Korner (McMaster University)

Understanding the Reiterative Structure of the Book of Revelation: Don’t be Left Behind.

Contra to a dispensational reading of Revelation’s text (e.g., the popular Left Behind series), I demonstrate a reiterative narrative for the Apocalypse that is based upon an objectively determined structure, one which is anchored in the original audience’s historical and literary contexts (“‘And I Saw…’ An Apocalyptic Literary Convention for Structural Identification in the Apocalypse,” NovT 42/2 [2000]:160-183). This reiterative reading results from the use of three literary devices that also occur throughout visionary literature in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Jewish Second Temple and early Christian apocalyptic literature. They are: the “space/time referent” (Rev 1:9, 10); “and I saw”; and “after these things I saw.” I shared this presentation in 2007 in St. Andrews (Scotland).


13:00-16:45 (SA 403)

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament / Bible Hébraēque/Ancien Testament III

Chair / Président: William Morrow (Queen’s University)


13:00-13:30 Peter W. Flint (Trinity Western University)

Towards the First Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible: The Oxford Hebrew Bible Project

One of the last great lacunae in Biblical Scholarship is the complete lack of a critical (eclectic) edition of the Hebrew Bible. This paper briefly affirms the need for critical texts by tracing scholarly editions of the New Testament and the Septuagint, culminating in Novum Testamentum Grace and the Göttingen Septuagint editions. It then shows how most modern English translation of the Hebrew Scriptures are based on the received Masoretic Text (as in the medieval Leningrad Codex and Aleppo Codex), but in reality presume an eclectic parent text by adopting more than 100 new readings from the Qumran Scrolls and/or the Septuagint. The question will then be addressed of why almost all Biblical scholars have resisted a critical (eclectic) edition of the Hebrew Bible, instead upholding the supremacy of the Masoretic Text. Finally, the Oxford Hebrew Bible Project (OHB) will be introduced, with a few illustrations from the Book of Psalms, which I am preparing for the OHB project as my major research project.


13:30-14:00 Margaret Hebron (Trinity Western University)

The Oxford Hebrew Bible Project and the Book of Psalms: An Introduction to the Project, as Illustrated by Psalm 145

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the Oxford Hebrew Bible Project (OHB) and explain its importance for textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. While text critical editions exist for the New Testament, no critical text of the Hebrew Bible has ever been published. Ron Hendel, the general editor for the OHB, anticipates that the OHB will greatly encourage further productivity in the field and inspire similar publications. I will focus specifically on the Book of Psalms, being prepared by Professor Peter W. Flint, and will examine key passages in the acrostic Psalm 145 with a special interest in readings from the Dead Sea Scrolls that will be used in the critical text. Some of these readings have already been incorporated by English Bibles such as the RSV and NIV.


14:00-14:30 Gerbern S. Oegema (McGill University)

Early Judaism and Modern Culture

This paper presents the main thesis developed in my forthcoming book titled “Early Judaism and Modern Culture: Essays on Early Jewish Literature and Theology” (Eerdmans 2009). In it I explore the literature and theology of Early Judaism (300 BCE – 200 CE) from a hermeneutical point of view in order to identify its importance for today. I look at what theologically can be said about the contents of these writings. How do the ancient authors treat topics such as the authority of the Bible, the importance of philosophy, the quest for religious identity, the relevance of the literary world, gender, ethics, the inter-religious dialogue and politics?


14:30-14:45 Break


 14:45-15:15 Tyler F. Williams (Taylor University College)

“Psalm 151: An Orphan in the Greek Psalter”

Psalm 151 is unique within the Septuagint Psalter in that it has no corresponding parent text in the Masoretic book of Psalms; as such it is marked as e[xwqen tou' ajriqmou' (“outside the number”).  The discovery of two Hebrew psalms related to LXX Psalm 151 among the Dead Sea Scrolls (Psalms 151A and 151B in 11Q5), has raised significant questions surrounding its relationship to these psalms and the nature of its Vorlage. In this paper I will explore these questions and any implications they may have to our understanding of the development of the book of Psalms.


15:15-15:45 Carmen Palmer (Emmanuel College)

Luther and the Torah Psalms: Luther’s Means of Working within a Mosaic Law Understanding

In his fight against indulgences in the Catholic Church, Martin Luther is famously known for his polemic between “law” and “gospel.”  Any biblical text deemed to suggest that “works” were required for salvation would simply not suffice.  But how would he apply these ideals to the Torah Psalms, (specifically Psalms 1, 19, and 119), the Psalms which view “law” or “instruction” in a positive light?  In the following study of Luther’s lectures on the Torah Psalms, we will discover that Luther’s views hinge on what, precisely, he defines this “Law” to be.  Finally, we will observe that Luther’s understanding of Psalm 119 as “Mosaic Law” ultimately differs from modern historical-critical assessments of this “Torah/Law” as potentially a non-Pentateuchal source of law, and note what implications this would have on Luther’s conclusions. 


15:45-16:15 J. Richard Middleton (Roberts Wesleyan College)

“Against You, You Alone, Have I Sinned”: An Intertextual Reading of Psalm 51

Out of 150 psalms in the MT, seventy-three are connected to David through their superscriptions. Of the thirteen that make an explicit link to some event in David’s life, the most famous is Psalm 51, which references the liaison with Bathsheba and the subsequent confrontation with the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 11-12).  Although there are some phrases in Psalm 51 that might corroborate this as David’s prayer of confession, there are others that problematize such a connection.  Taking into account the complex issue of Davidic superscriptions (including the divergent testimony of the MT, DSS and LXX), this paper will explore an intertextual reading of Psalm 51 such that the psalm calls into question aspects of David’s response in 2 Samuel 11-12. The paper will also attend to the psalm’s allusion to Exodus 34:6-7, the occasion when YHWH forgave Israel’s sin of idolatry (the golden calf), and its possible relevance to this reading.