Canadian Society of Biblical Studies 2011

Complete Programme


George Martin Hall, Margaret Norrie McCain Hall, and Edmund Casey Hall

are all at St. Thomas University, at the University of Fredericton


Saturday, May 28, 2011


14:00-19:00 (Brian Mulroney Hall 203)

Executive Committee Meeting / Réunion du Comité Exécutif



Sunday, May 29, 2011


8:45-11:45  (George Martin Hall 204)


Chair / Président: Judith H. Newman (Emmanuel College)


8:45-9:15  David J.H. Beldman (University of Bristol/Redeemer University College)

“Time Out: Non-Linearity and Closure in Biblical Narrative.”

Given that most of the narratives in the OT/HB are historical narrative, one would expect that biblical narrative would follow a linear chronology.  Although in most instances this is indeed the case, there are examples in which narratives in the OT/HB deviate from strict linear chronology.  This paper will examine cases of non-linear chronology in biblical narrative, particularly when the deviation in chronology manifests at the end of the narrative, and what rhetorical purpose this feature might have in the respective examples.


9:15-9:45  Michael E. Gill (Acadia)

“1 Esdras: Translator and Redactor.”

I will present linguistic evidence that challenges Zipora Talshir’s formulation of the relationship between 1 Esdras (1Es) and its canonical parallels (2 Chr and Ez-Ne).  In demonstration of this, elements of translation will be compared and contrasted between the canonical and non-canonical portions of 1Es, such as the treatment of certain glosses for the temple and titles: ‘house’, ‘temple’, ‘shrine’, ‘prophet’, etc.  Also, the distribution of the word logos, which only occurs within the non-paralleled portions of the text, will be used in support of my thesis.  This evidence suggests that our current 1Es, which survives only in Greek but represents a Semitic original, owes its shape to a redactor who worked with Greek texts, contra Talshir who identifies Greek 1Es as either translation or paraphrase of a completed Semitic original.  


9:45-10:15  Daniel O. McClellan (Trinity Western University)

Monotheism—Still a Misused Word in Jewish Studies?

This paper will take up Peter Hayman’s 1991 Journal of Jewish Studies discussion of “monotheism” as an inadequate descriptor for ancient Jewish belief regarding deity. It will align with Hayman’s line of argumentation against the applicability of the term from an etymological point of view, but will depart from it in suggesting that “monotheism,” which developed as a descriptive term, can still adequately describe formative Judaism. It will show that “monotheism” comprises a specific view of the nature and function of other divine beings in relation to Yhwh, and it will describe this view and its development within formative Judaism.


10:15-10:30  Break


            10:30-11:00  Erin Vearncombe (University of Toronto)

“The Clothed and Re-clothed Body: Dress, Gender and Identity in Judith and Joseph and Aseneth.”

While clothing and adornment play significant roles in the texts of Judith and Joseph and Aseneth, they have received little attention in scholarly interpretation. Dress in these texts functions to both subvert and confirm status, particularly gender status, in surprising and important ways. The text of Judith highlights the constructedness of gender in Judith’s “dressing to kill”; while female adornment for seductive purposes is generally given a negative evaluation in ancient discourse relating to dress, in Judith it allows for the salvation of her people. Aseneth’s clothing functions to reveal inward status on her external person; where Judith seems to challenge traditional male discourse concerning female dress, the text of Aseneth is in greater continuity with this discourse, true beauty found through the adornment of the soul, here through conversion.


11:00-11:30  Reuben Y. T. Lee (York University)

“Diaspora Immigrants in Jerusalem in the Late Second Temple Period: Their Identities,

Cultures, and Integration into the Local Society.”

As attested in literary sources and ossuary inscriptions found in Jerusalem, some Diaspora Judaeans stayed for a long term in the city and died there. The process of integration into the local society and maintenance of their Diaspora identity and culture, at times spanning more than one generation, shaped the social and cultural complexity in Jerusalem. This paper will explore how the interactions between the local and Diaspora Judaeans, with their different geographical origins and cultural backgrounds, characterized the social formation process in the city. It will focus on how the Diaspora immigrants integrated to the local Judaean society and maintained their boundaries with the local Judaeans.


11:30-11:45 Closing Discussion



9:15-11:45  (George Martin Hall 205)


Chair / Président: Alicia J. Batten (Sudbury)


9:15-9:45  Wayne Coppins (Georgia)

“The Category of Demonic Possession in Ernst Käsemann’s On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene.”

This paper will examine Ernst Käsemann’s appropriation of the category of the demonic in On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene (2010). It will be organized around the following elements of Käsemann’s argument: 1) the historical attestation of the tradition that Jesus healed the possessed, 2) the NT authors’ understanding(s) of the demonic, 3) the right to demythologize and its proper scope, 4) demonic possession in today’s world. The final section will then briefly compare Käsemann’s treatment of the category of the demonic with that of others, namely Raymond Brown, Brendan Byrne, Anthony Thiselton, Colin Gunton, and Gerd Theißen.


9:45-10:15  Robert S. Snow (Ambrose University College)

Priestly Activity in a Galilean Grain Field (Mark 2:23-28).”

In Mark 2:25–26, many scholars argue that Jesus appeals to the story of David and his companions consuming the showbread to highlight his royal authority which enables the disciples to do what is “not lawful on the Sabbath”. But, in his synopsis of 1 Sam 21:1-6, a passage which contains no reference to Sabbath, Jesus highlights the priestly actions of David and his companions. Applying this background to the Sabbath setting of 2:23–28, the disciples’ work on the Sabbath, which is permitted only for the priests in the Temple, hints a redefinition the Temple’s sacred space early in Mark’s narrative. 


10:15-10:30  Break


10:30-11:00  Stephen L. Chambers (Concordia Lutheran Seminary)

“Locating the ‘Gerasene’ Demoniac.”

Identifying the location of this exorcism is notoriously difficult, as the Synoptic tradition attests (Mark 5:1 / Matt 8:28 / Luke 8:26). Did it take place at Gerasa, Gadara, Gergesa, or somewhere else? This paper begins by surveying textual considerations such as the variant readings in the Synoptics, and the testimony of early Christian writers. It then looks at realia, focusing on the traditional site of Kursi and, in particular, its relationship to the nearby city of Hippos. This latter part of the presentation treats topographical, historical, and archaeological factors which, while both enlightening and complicating the discussion, nevertheless ground it securely in the north-east corner of the Kinneret.


11:00-11:30  James Magee

“‘The Field of Blood’ and ‘The Valley of Slaughter’: Memory and Manuscript in the Matthaean Construction of Judas’ Death (Matt 27.3-10).”

Werner Kelber has called for a constructive linking of memory and orality/literacy studies in scholarly approaches to Gospel texts. This paper brings these two interpretive methods to bear on the problematic Jeremiah ascription in the last of Matthew’s Erfüllungszitate.  I shall argue that in the wake of the 70 CE fall of Jerusalem, the Matthaean community appropriated the figure of Jeremiah and his prophecies as a memorial framework for understanding the recent Roman devastation in Palestine.  Matthew’s narration of Judas’ death, marked by explicit reference to Jeremiah, will be mined as a potential locus of such memory by means of a reinvigoration of C.H. Dodd’s underutilized theory of early Christian Testimonia.


11:30-11:45  Closing Discussion



9:30-11:00  (George Martin Hall 207)


Chair / Président: Steven Muir (Concordia University College)


9:30-10:00  John Van Seters (Wilfrid Laurier)

“The Means and Methods of Written Communication in Palestine in the First Millennium BCE.”

The primary focus of this paper will be on the rise of the alphabetic system of writing and the use of papyrus scrolls as an important means of communication throughout the Levant and Syria-Palestine and the implications that this has for the development of Palestinian literary texts in the middle and late first millennium bce. The history of literary criticism of the Hebrew Bible has generally made assumptions about the facility with which scribes in Judah and Israel could have made use of the alphabetic system of writing and the ready access to abundant supplies of papyrus (or parchment) for the purposes of producing extended literary works from the tenth or ninth centuries bce onwards (dates often assigned to parts of the Pentateuch or the story of David). This paper will seek to articulate the time frame and technological parameters within which such a literary development, as reflected in the Hebrew Bible, could have taken place.


Response:  Tyler Williams (The Kings University)


10:00-10:30  John S. Kloppenborg (Toronto)

“Some Comments on Early Christian Media.”


Response: Terry Donaldson (Wycliffe College)


10:30-11:00  Robert Derrenbacker (Laurentian)

“‘Technologizing the Word’: The (Underappreciated) Contribution of Walter J. Ong to New Testament Studies.”

Response:  Fred Tappenden (Manchester)


11:00-11:30  Closing Discussion






Negotiating the Work/Life Balance

Negotiating the work/life balance is an ongoing challenge. Come to this year's student session and gain insight from the experiences of a panel of scholars. The session will include time for an informal discussion with the panelists regarding strategies for maintaining a holistically successful life as an academic.

Presiding:  Sonya Kostamo (University of Alberta) (CSBS Student Liaison)

Panelists: Alicia J. Batten (Sudbury), Zeba Crook (Carleton University), and Edith Humphrey (Pittsburg Theological Seminary)



STUDENT ESSAY PRIZES / PRIX POUR TRABAUX D’ÉTUDIANT(E)S (14:00-15:20; Edmund Casey Hall -Ted Daigle Auditorium)

Chair / Président: Margaret MacDonald (St. Francis Xavier)

14:00-14:30 Jeremias Prize Paper:  Callie Callon (University of Toronto), “Adulescentes and 
Meretrices: The Correlation between Squandered Patrimony and Prostitutes as drawn from Greco-Roman Comedy in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.”

14:30-14:40 Questions

14:40-15:10 Founders Prize Paper:  Frederick Tappenden (University of Manchester), “Imaging 
Resurrection: Toward an Image Schematic Understanding of Hellenistic Jewish Conceptualizations of Resurrection.”

15:10-15:20 Questions



CSBS ANNUAL MEETING / ASSEMBLÉE ANNUELLE DE LA SCÉB (15:30-17:00; Edmund Casey Hall—Ted Daigle Auditorium)

Presiding / Présidence:  Margaret MacDonald (St. Francis Xavier)



PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS / CONFÉRENCE DU PRÉSIDENT (17:15-18:15; Edmund Casey Hall -Ted Daigle Auditorium)

Presiding / Présidence:  Marion Taylor (Wycliffe College)

Margaret MacDonald (St. Francis Xavier): “Making Room for the Little Ones: How New Research on Children and Slaves in the Roman World is changing what we think about the History of Early Christian Women”



19:00-23:00 (BrewBakers, 546 King Street)

CSBS Annual Dinner / Banquet annuel de la SCÉB



Monday May 30, 2011 / Lundi, 30 Mai


8:45-11:45  (George Martin Hall 204)


Chair / Président: Eileen Schuller (McMaster)


8:45-9:15  Ken Penner (St. Francis Xavier)

“Inflectional Changes in the Greek Translation of Isaiah: Purposeful or Mistakes?”

Septuagint scholars have disagreed about the reason for the numerous differences between the Greek and Hebrew of Isaiah: are they mistakes (due to the translator’s incompetence) or are they purposeful? One reason for the lack of agreement is the difficulty in identifying changes introduced by the translator. Most of the differences are due either to updating (in which case the meaning of the text is not changed) or to confusion between letters that look or sound alike (in which case the difference may originate with the Vorlage rather than the translator). But neither of these types of differences is helpful for determining whether they are mistakes or purposeful. For that, we need to isolate the set of differences that both change the meaning of the text, and originate with the translator. One such subset consists of the differences of inflection that are not due to visual or phonetic similarity, for example, the second person עמך  is transformed into the third person λαον αυτου. In this presentation I examine two types of inflectional differences: personal pronouns and verb tenses.


9:15-9:45  Krzysztof J. Baranowski (Toronto)

“The Article in the Book of Qoheleth.”

The use of the article in the book of Qoheleth is commonly considered chaotic and taken as an argument in favor of a non-Hebrew original of the book or its late date of composition. However, the claim of inconsistencies in the use of the article in the book of Qoheleth should be reexamined in light of the use of the article in cognate North-West Semitic languages and of linguistic study of the article. Indeed, a careful and close reading of single verses and sections of the text in their respective contexts reveals that the article is used in a meaningful and logical manner in order to convey the author’s thought in his own, particular perspective. By discussing some examples from the book of Qoheleth I will show that any grammatical analysis of the article in the Hebrew Bible should be concerned with possible contextual reasons of its use and non-use.


9:45-10:15  Robert D. Holmstedt (Toronto)

“Pronouns Scribes, and Sacrifice: Where Linguistics and Text-Criticism meet in Leviticus.”

Two examples of problematics pronouns in textual witnessed to Lev 1.17 and 25:33 serve to illustrate the nexus between linguistic analysis and reconstructing textual history. While the relationship between the linguist working on ancient languages and the text critic is mostly one where the former depends on the latter, exceptions like Lev 1.17 and 25:33 demonstrate that the relationship can be flipped: linguistic analysis is critical to reconstructing the textual history. Such cases merely highlight the mutual dependence of linguists and text scholars and thus serve as a call for greater interaction in the face of ever increasing specialization and compartmentalization in biblical studies.


10:15-10:30  Break


10:30-11:00  Andrew R. Jones (Toronto)

“Who Said What to Whom: Change in Person in the Book of Amos.”

Although unframed change in person deixis rarely occurs in biblical Hebrew narrative, it is common in Hebrew prophetic literature. However, this does not mean that unframed change is merely a stylistic feature of the prophetic genre without rhetorical significance. In this case study of the book of Amos I identify four types of change in person: (1) deictic change marked by a quotative frame; (2) vocative non-deictic change; (3) illeistic non-deictic change; and (4) deictic change unmarked by a quotative frame, which often serves a rhetorical purpose and sometimes offers a clue to the production history of the text.


11:00-11:30  Anthony R. Pyles (McMaster Divinity College)

“Crudity, Prudery, and Treachery: Translating Sex in the Song of Songs.”

Are modern commentators fond of crudity, or are English Bible translators prudes?  Is there a traitor in our midst?  This paper examines the translation of דֹּדִים in the Song of Songs, with special attention to cognates and the distribution of דֹּדִים in the Hebrew Bible.  The frequent translation “love” is found to be not only inadequate but misleading.  In conclusion, “lovemaking” is proposed for its preservation of euphemism and ability to capture wordplay between דּוֹד and דֹּדִים.


11:30-11:45  Closing Discussion



8:45-11:45  (George Martin Hall 205)


Chair / Président: Keir Hammer (Taylor College)


8:45-9:15  Ryan C. Stoner (Toronto)

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – Luke’s Parable of the Great Feast and the Social Control of Jokes.”

The parable of the great feast is often interpreted as an example of how the kingdom of God operates: the poor and marginal are accepted to the Lord’s banquet while the rich and elite are excluded. However the function of the parable in its Lukan context is more complex. I argue in this paper that analyzing the parable in the context Greco-Roman meal customs and discourse shows that it should be understood as what Mary Douglas defines as a joke i.e. a questioning of dominate and arbitrary social relations.  Luke’s rendition of the parable exhibits a joke structure by playing on Greco-Roman expectations of meals and table fellowship much like his satirical and moralizing contemporaries such as Horace, Lucian, and Plutarch.


9:15-9:45  Mona Tokarek LaFosse (Wilfrid Laurier)

“Why Sixty? A Question of Age and Reputation in 1 Timothy 5:9.”

The author of 1 Timothy directs the fictitious Timothy to “enlist a widow if she is not less than sixty, the wife of one husband, and bearing witness in noble works” (5:9). Commentators have attempted to account for the meaning of this text in various ways related to financial aid, marriage, sexuality and/or power. However, none has adequately addressed the specificity of the age of sixty or the meaning of “enlist” (katalego). By comparing several inscriptions from voluntary associations, I suggest that “enlisting” 60+ widows refers to a public declaration of their honourable reputation based on an idealized lifetime of virtuous behaviour.


9:45-10:15  Alicia J. Batten (Sudbury)

“Agrarian Imagery in the Letter of James.”

Commentators generally agree that the Letter of James was written to an urban audience. Yet James also incorporates a variety of examples from nature and agricultural motifs, such as plant imagery (Jas 1:10-11), springs and trees (3:11-12), field labourers and harvesters (5:4), and the farmer who patiently waits for the early and late rain (5:7). These references are in part the result of influences from the LXX and sometimes teachings associated with Jesus, but they also cohere with the tendency among some Roman writers to contrast the rural/natural with the urban/artificial. Focusing upon comparisons to these latter authors, this paper argues that agrarian imagery functions as a generally positive pole throughout James, in contrast to negative phenomena associated with the city.


10:15-10:30 Break


10:30-11:00  Christina M. L. Fry (Calgary) 

“A Prophet is Not Without Shame: Embodiment and The ‘Social Cement’ of Mediterranean Society.”

Honour and shame are embodied experiences with an evolutionary basis in the dominance contests of our primate ancestors. Often, ancient religion served to bridge biology and morality, transforming these primal emotions into the 'social cement' of everyday life. Throughout his ministry, however, Jesus performs actions that run counter to honour and shame structures and reverse social hierarchies. How does a biological understanding of honour and shame inform the reception Jesus receives in Nazareth and elsewhere? Does Jesus seek to eradicate honour/shame structures or re-orient them? Does this approach to the 'social cement' of everyday life pose a problem for the early Church to negotiate?


11:00-11:30  Richard Last (Toronto) 

The Writings of Greco-Roman Associations: Insights into the Gospel Communities Debate.”

The New Testament evangelists offer few clues about the scope of their intended audiences. Critics wishing to investigate the issue have opted to tackle cognate inquires, such as travel patterns among early Jesus groups, intended audiences of biographical literature, and patristic conceptions of original Gospel audiences. Peculiarly, these endeavours do not illuminate writing practices within ancient communities. This is odd because the majority of scholars agree that the Gospels were composed and read within communal settings – the main point of contention is not over the communal environment of Gospel production and engagement but rather, whether they were intended to be read by specific communities or “all Christians.” What is needed is attention to the manner with which known communities produced and used texts. This paper analyzes the writing habits of Greco-Roman associations in an attempt to illuminate communal practices of writing in antiquity. It then applies its findings to the Gospel audience debate.


11:30-11:45  Closing Discussion



8:45-11:45  (George Martin Hall 207)


History, Historiography, and the Hebrew Bible - Method (Session 1)

Chair / Président: Tyler F. Williams (The King’s University College)


8:45-9:15  Suk Yee (Anna), Lee (McMaster Divinity College)

“Old Testament Historiography: A New Perspective on Methodological Approach.”

The discipline of OT historiography has been subject to severe critiques in the last three decades. Skepticism takes the form of a progressive loss of confidence in the historical value of the biblical narratives. In recent years, a new “high tide” in the discussion appears, in which the debates between the conservatives and the minimalists have drifted into bad-tempered arguments with heated atmosphere. The disagreement is mainly due to the methods of approach each camp use and their presuppositions about the nature of the biblical evidence and to the relative value of extra-biblical sources.

This work offers a new perspective on the study of OT historiography. At the outset, the current state of OT historiography will be depicted and three major historiographical methods will be examined in order to propose a better way of doing OT historiography. The three approaches to be evaluated are: (1) biblical text approach; (2) archaeological approach; and (3) sociological approach. Finally, a new perspective with two horizons will be sketched: (1) Historiography as a literary genre; and (2) Historiography as a witness to faith.  This paper argues that the genre of ancient Hebrew historiography aims at narrating the past as a witness to faith, thus the reconstruction of the biblical Israel should not focus on their historical reality but rather on their perspective of life. The interpreters, instead of searching for the historical facts alone, should begin with the question of how and why later communities shaped the past in the service of their own present.


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

“The Zeruiah Brothers within the Saga of King David.”

In the biblical Saga of King David, the three Zeruiah brothers, Joab, Abishai and Asahel, are Ammonites, the grandsons of a notorious Ammonite ruler, and they become mercenary commanders under a renegade, David of Bethlehem. After the Death of Saul, in his battle with the Philistines, these Zeruiah brothers lead David’s forces in a civil war against the Israelites and Saul’s successor until David ultimately gains the throne of both Israel and Judah. After the loss of the youngest brother, Asahel, in the earlier civil war, the two older brothers lead David’s troops throughout his reign in both foreign wars and local insurrections against David’s rule. In the end, however, they find themselves on the wrong side of the struggle between David’s sons for succession to the throne and a new mercenary leader murders Joab and takes his place as supreme commander under the new ruler Solomon. The question raised by this brief outline of the sordid role of the Zeruiah brothers in David’s court is whether this reflects a historical source of the actual reign of David, as so many scholars have advocated, or is a purely fictional portrayal of the institution of monarchy in the late Persian period for quite ideological reasons. This paper will attempt to address this question and offer reasons for the latter alternative.


9:45-10:15  Ian Douglas Wilson (Alberta)

“Narrativity in Joshua 5-12 and Historical Discourse in Ancient Judah.”

Mario Liverani pointed out some years ago that the thought patterns and deep narrative structures of a historiographical document tell us something about the people who composed and read the document, who made the document an integral part of their intellectual repertoire.  In this paper I will explore Joshua 5-12* as a source on the intellectual milieu of ancient Judah.  Following the work of Richard Nelson, Thomas Römer, and others, I read these narratives as a source on monarchic period discourses, during the reign of Josiah.  The conquest accounts, even from the perspective of seventh-century Judean readers, depict events from the distant past.  As narratives that became an essential aspect of Judah’s identity, they offer us a window into the historical consciousness of Judean readers, how Judeans thought about history.  For this type of exploration, Hayden White’s work on narrative forms and narrativity proves to be particularly helpful.  Every narrative, he argues, carries with it a particular discursive content, embedded in the modes by which the story is told.  Thus, in an attempt to uncover some of this discursive content, I will analyze the narrativity of Joshua 5-12*, its emplotment, argumentation, and ideological outlook.  John Van Seters and others have argued that the Joshua narrative has strong literary parallels with Neo-Assyrian conquest accounts.  In order to provide a comparative perspective, therefore, I will also briefly analyze Neo-Assyrian narratives, focusing primarily on the annals of Sennacherib.


10:15-10:30  Break


10:30-11:00  Paul S. Evans (McMaster Divinity College)  

“History in the Eye of the Beholder: Assessing Allegations of Racism in Modern Historical Reconstructions of Ancient Israel.”

In her recent article “The Rescue of Jerualem from the Assyrians in 701 B.C.E. by the Cushites” (Pages 247-60 in Raising up a Faithful Exegete: Essays in Honor of Richard D. Nelson; Edited by K. L.  Noll and Brooks Schramm; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2010), Alice Bellis has argued that due to racial prejudices historians and biblical interpreters have failed to acknowledge the role of Africans in the deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian threat under Sennacherib in 701 BCE. This paper will critically examine the evidence for her conclusions and also consider how racial and political bias affect biblical scholarship and particularly reconstructions of ancient Israel’s history.


11:00-11:30  Luke Javed Sommers (McGill)

“A World in Which Things Are Not As They Should Be: Women and Domestic Space Judges.”

One of the roles the book of Judges serves within the Deuteronomistic History is to reinforce the Deuteronomistic ideology.  Most scholars agree that while the ideology of the Deuteronomists evolved over the period (roughly late 7th-early 5th centuries B.C.E.) in which they worked, it remained relatively consistent at its core.  In terms of politics and theology, this ideology promoted strong central government and exclusive Yahweh worship.  The book of Judges in its final form communicates the Deuteronomistic ideology by depicting the fabricated era of the judges, a period of foreign oppression and societal degradation that result from idolatry and lack of political leadership.

Part of this depiction is the portrayal of women and domestic space, especially the stories of Judges 4; 11; 16; and 19.  In these stories domestic space is transformed from the expected ancient Near Eastern role of a safe and hospitable space, to a threatening and hostile environment.  Furthermore, the social expectations of women are also severely challenged.  In Judges 4 and 16, women are aggressive and manipulative, operating within their domestic space to break the limitations their society set for them.  In Judges 11 and 19, nameless female characters are wronged in shocking and appalling ways; these women experience domestic space not as the setting for victory, but rather for victimization in physically terrifying circumstances.  Through these portrayals of women in domestic space, Judges 4, 11, 16, and 19 emphasize that pre-monarchic Israel was “a world in which things are not as they should be.”


11:30-11:45  Discussion




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

Meet outside of George Martin Hall 207. The group will proceed from there to a cafeteria on campus.


13:30-16:00 (George Martin Hall 204)


Chair / Président: John McLaughlan (St. Michael’s)


13:30-14:00  Peter W. Flint (Trinity Western)

“The Use of Isaiah at Qumran.”

Judging from the high number of copies found at Qumran (21), Isaiah was one of the three most popular books at Qumran. It thus comes as no surprise that this prophetic book was frequently quoted or alluded to in the Pesharim and other documents found at the site. This paper identifies these quotations and allusions, and considers how they are used in several non-biblical scrolls. Themes that emerge are faithfulness to the Covenant, the Qumranites as a separate and righteous people, and eschatological perspectives.


14:00-14:30  Andrew Krause (McMaster)

“Protected Sects: The Apotropaic Performance and Function of 4QIncantation and 4QSongs of the Maskil and their relevance for the Hodayot.”

As the self-proclaimed ‘Sons of Light’, the Qumran Community became obsessed with their battle against the forces of evil, allowing this polarity to pervade their literature. This paper will compare two ‘sectarian’ apotropaic texts (4QShira–b and 4QIncantation) with the Hodayot texts in terms of function and ritual performance.  We will demonstrate that the same prophylactic elements that unite the apotropaic texts are present in the Hodayot, especially their Enochic demonology and sapiential elements used for defence against evil spirits. While examples will be drawn broadly, we will conclude with a case study of the hymn of 1QHa IV.


14:30-15:00  Carmen Palmer (Emmanuel College)

“The Ger at Qumran: Signs of an Inclusive Community?”

While it is generally agreed that the term ger often changes in meaning from that of “resident alien” (pre-exilic) to that of “proselyte” (post-exilic) in Hebrew scriptures, there is yet disagreement as to when this should occur.  Looking specifically at the eight occasions of ger in the “sectarian” material of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Damascus Document, Temple Scroll, Nahum Pesher, 4QFlorilegium, 4QOrdinancesa, 4QInstruction, and 4QLots) may we render any or all of these examples as “proselyte”?  And if so, what ramifications would this information offer to the assumed precedent of an exclusive “Qumran” community?  Drawing primarily on inner-textual comparisons, this paper will argue that the ger is indeed to be rendered as “proselyte” in each word occurrence, and that all except one occurrence look positively to this figure.  


15:00-15:30  Nick Meyer (McMaster)

“‘Whethering’ the Storm: The Contribution of 11QTargumJob to the Interpretation of Job’s Interrogation by God.” 

The function of the divine speeches from the whirlwind in the literary setting of Job elicits quite different interpretations by scholars. This paper will argue that at a crucial point of the narrative--God's response to Job's first reply (40:8-12)--11Q10 34:3-8 translates what look like impossible demands in the Hebrew into an invitation to act the part of God's royal vice-regents humankind has been created to be. This understanding of the divine speeches will then be related to the broader picture of creation and anthropology in Job, and in particular to Job's enigmatic second response to his heavenly interrogator.


15:30-16:00  Closing Discussion



13:30-16:45  (George Martin Hall 205)


Chair / Président: Stephen L. Chambers (Concordia Lutheran Seminary)


13:30-14:00  Terence L. Donaldson (Wycliffe College)

“‘We Gentiles’: Ethnicity and Identity in Justin’s Dialogue.”

On a number of occasions Justin uses the phrase “we Gentiles” (hēmeis ta ethnē) as an identifier for Christians (e.g., Dial. 41.3; 122.5; 130.2), part of a larger tendency (by no means restricted to Justin) to depict the community of “Christians” as consisting characteristically of “Gentiles.” The usage deserves further thought. As one-half of a Jewish binary pair, the term is not one that non-Jews would instinctively use as a self-identifier. The purpose of this paper is to investigate Justin’s use of ethnē in the Dialogue with Trypho and to suggest reasons why he found it useful as a term of self-identification.


14:00-14:30  Walter T. Wilson (Emory)

“Wisdom, Philosophy, and Hermeneutics in the Sentences of Sextus.”

Described by Origen as a book that “even the masses of believers have read” (Cels. 8.30), the Sentences of Sextus offers unique insights regarding popular Christian morality in the late second century. While the author draws extensively on canonical materials for his sayings, what makes this writing particularly fascinating is its reliance on two (and possibly three) generically similar collections of Neopythagorean maxims. This presentation will explore the dynamics of Sextus’ biblical hermeneutic with special attention to how it has been shaped by these philosophical sources and what difference this influence makes for the sort of biblically-informed praxis the text imparts to its readers.


14:30-15:00  Heather Barkman (Manitoba)

“Tertullian’s Identification of the Species of Women.”

When the topic of Tertullian and women is addressed, the argument often either highlights his misogyny or asserts that he is not misogynistic but misunderstood.  Support for both stances can be found within Tertullian’s work but this approach often overlooks the finer details of his gender interpretations.  Instead, I will examine Tertullian’s assertion that “woman” is the genus under which there are many species including virgin, wife, and widow (On Prayer 22; On the Veiling of Virgins 4).  Each species is subject to a different set of ideals and may function differently within the church.  I argue that it is this conceptualization of women that is central to understanding Tertullian’s views of gender.


15:00-15:15  Break


15:15-15:45  Mary R. D’Angelo (Notre Dame)

Fourth Maccabees and the Trope of Tyranny in the Imperial Politics of the Early Second Century.”

In 4 Maccabees, the common Greek designations for the emperors are deployed to construct an opposition between Antiochus IV Epiphanes as cruel Tyrant and the true rule of Pious Reason/ Piety (Eusebes Logismos/Eusebeia). Although the date of 4 Maccabees cannot be established with certainty, the early second century offers a striking context for this opposition both in the propaganda of Trajan as represented by Pliny’s Panegyric and Dio Chrysostom’s  First Oration on Imperium (Basileia) and in the hellenizing ambitions of Hadrian.  


15:45-16:15  Madison Robins (Toronto)

“Paying the Preacher: Travelling Teachers and Christian Charity.”

Evident in the Pauline epistles and the Didache is the potential for wandering preachers to profit unfairly from the congregations they visited. The Passing of Peregrinus, Lucian’s satirical biography of an itinerant Christian charlatan, provides an important outside witness for this figure in the early Church. My presentation will compare the distribution of funds to charismatic leaders as presented in these texts in order to understand the place of the traveling sage within the economic system of the early Church in Asia Minor. Each text describes various ways a community might weigh the potential for abuse against the benefit of new teachings and stronger connections with the network of Christian communities across the eastern Mediterranean.


16:15-16:45  Closing Discussion



13:30-15:30  (George Martin Hall 207)


History, Historiography, and the Hebrew Bible – Chronicles (Session 2)

Chair / Président: TBA


13:30-14:00  Keith Bodner (Crandall)

“Simeon and The Social Network: Plot and Genealogy in 1 Chronicles 4.”

One of the most discussed movies of the past year has been The Social Network, a film that purports to explain the backstory behind the explosive popularity of the social networking Facebook website. Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires, the screenplay is co-written by Aaron Sorkin (of The West Wing fame) and while the film explores the darker side and ironic loneliness of the wired age, it also points to the contemporary need for identity and community. Taking my cue from several issues raised in the film and ancillary debates, in this presentation I would like to explore the genealogy of Simeon in 1 Chronicles 4. The paper begins with a some general review on the study of genealogies in recent days, and then turns to presentation of Simeon within the matrix of 1 Chronicles 1-9. I will conclude with an evaluation of the place of Simeon’s genealogy in the larger plot of the Chronicler’s work, and how literary analysis can factor in to a reading of the book.


14:00-14:30  Shannon Baines (McMaster Divinity           College)

“The Cohesiveness of 2 Chronicles 33:1-36:23 as a Literary Unit Concluding the Chronicler’s History.”

This study will demonstrate that 2 Chr 33:136:23, the accounts of Manasseh to the edict of Cyrus, should be interpreted as a cohesive literary unit which serves as the concluding chapter to the Chronicler’s history of Judah. The Chronicler developed the cohesiveness of this unit through: (1) the establishment of Hezekiah’s reign as a climax in the Chronicler’s history, creating a clear boundary for the beginning of this concluding unit; (2) the omission of the queen mothers’ names; (3) the repetition of the theme of exile; and (4) the theme of sin, judgment, and restoration as an inclusio to the unit. In addition, some brief proposals will be provided about how this literary unit may be functioning within the Chronicler’s history.  


14:30-15:00  Ehud Ben Zvi (University of Alberta)

“Reading Chronicles and Reshaping the Memory of Manasseh.”

Manasseh was a significant site of memory for the primary readership of the book of Chronicles. This paper will explore certain ways in which Chronicles contributed to the shaping of this site of memory among the literati of the late Persian/early Hellenistic period and the light that this process of re-shaping may shed on the social mindscape of, at least, this literati.


15:00-15:30  Closing Discussion



19:00-20:30  (Margaret Norrie McCain Hall 100; Noel Kinsella Auditorium)

Craigie Lecture / La Conférence Craigie

Chair / Président: Margaret MacDonald (St. Francis Xavier)

John J. Collins (Yale University)

“New Perspective on the Sect of the Dead Sea Scrolls”


20:30-23:00  (Margaret Norrie McCain Hall 100; Noel Kinsella Auditorium)

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




Tuesday May 31, 2011 / Mardi, 31 Mai


9:15-11:45  (George Martin Hall 204)


Chair / Président: Ken Penner (St. Francis Xavier)


9:15-9:45  Ted M. Erho (Durham) and Pierluigi Piovanelli (Ottawa)

“African Sleeping Beauty: New Discoveries, New Hypotheses, New Projects on the History of the Ethiopic Bible.”

The recent digitization of the libraries of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, the National Archives & Library of Ethiopia (both in Addis Ababa), and the monastery of Gunda Gunde (Tigray province), sponsored by the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (Collegeville, Minnesota), has made available some of the most ancient copies of the Ethiopic versions of biblical and parabiblical texts. Moreover, recent radiocarbon tests and advancements in the study of Ge’ez paleography are leading to a drastic revision of the dating of many previously known Ethiopic manuscripts. At the same time, the data gleaned from new epigraphic evidence and the reappraisal of religious loanwords in Aksumite Ge’ez suggest new avenues of interpretation for the origins of the Ethiopic Scriptures. The time is ripe for new collaborative projects, such as the Textual History of the Ethiopic Old Testament project (THEOT), that will identify the best manuscripts of the Ethiopic Bible and outline its textual history though the ages.



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

Hannah and Peninnah (1 Samuel 1:2-2:21) Seen Through the Eyes of Nineteenth-Century Women.”

The stories of Hannah and Peninnah, the wives of the prophet Samuel’s father Elkanah (1 Samuel 1:2-2:21), provoked great interest in the nineteenth century. This paper will examine nineteenth-century women’s interpretations of Hannah and Peninnah, focusing not only upon on the writings of women who used the stories to reflect upon such issues as women’s roles as mothers and the power of prayer, but also the ethical issue raised when Hannah left her young son in the care of Eli, whom most interpreters judged was at least an ineffectual parent. The writings examined in the paper include commentaries, educational works, poems and most significantly, Louisa J. Hall’s published play, “Hannah, the Mother of Samuel the Prophet and Judge of Israel” (1839).



10:15-10:30  Break


11:00-11:30  Dina Teitelbaum (Ottawa)

“‘The Perception of Judah Maccabee Throughout the Ages.”

The story of Judah Maccabee, preserved in its Greek version, retold by tradition and interpreted in art, music, and literature, transcends its deutero-canonical placement. This paper presents views of Judah Maccabee by numerous people in history, professing a variety of ideologigies. Our focus is on their motives for their interest in the ancient hero - a character associated with stength, bravery, and piety. We show that, over the last two thousand years, Judah Maccabee has been portrayed either as a role model or as a warning, and has served propagandistic, apologetic, or anarchistic purposes.


11:00-11:30  Heidi Epstein (St. Thomas More College)

“‘Love in Search of a Word’: Vaughan Williams’ Musical Commentary on the Song of Songs.”

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ musical setting of the Song of Solomon (Flos campi) seemingly epitomises a utopian “symphony of eroticism,” replete with “whispers of intimacy, shouts of ecstasy, and silences of consummation” (Trible).  But this lush primer of amatory musical conventions is riven with ‘lack’: wisps of the Song serve merely as unvoiced epigraphs. The resulting ambiguous text-music relations equally support a dystopic portrait of postmodern love: “Silent yet garrulous … [such] desire speaks only in substitutions, in figures, without truly knowing what it says” (Belsey).  I propose a musicological reading of Flos campi that: 1) anatomises its postmodern language of love; 2) allegorises the unfortunate dis-connection of the text from its originary “songfulness” (Kramer); 3) begs a re-situation of the biblical Song within the musical discourse of love as a cultural practice.


11:30-11:45  Closing Discussion



9:15-11:45  (George Martin Hall 205)


Chair / Président: Terry Donaldson (Wycliffe College)


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

“The Abrahamic Covenant and the Nations in Matt 1:1-17.”

The Gospel of Matthew schematizes Israelite history by grouping Jesus’ genealogy into three periods of fourteen generations: (1) Abraham to King David, (2) David to the deportation to Babylon, and (3) the deportation to Babylon to Jesus, the Messiah (Matt 1:17). This annotated genealogy contains aspects of the Abrahamic covenant and the nations tradition. First, Abraham occupies the primary position in Israelite history as the progenitor of the nation (Gen 12:2-3; 15:4-5; 17:4-8; cf. Josh 24:25; 2 Esd 19:7; Sir 44:19-22). Second, Abraham is a source of blessing to all the nations of the earth (Gen 12:2-3; 18:17-19; 22:16-18). Therefore, Jesus’ genealogy situates Jesus as the culmination of Jewish salvation history bringing about the restoration of Israel and alluding to the ingathering of the nations with Abraham’s prominent position at the beginning, the phrase “and his brothers,” and various Gentiles found within Jesus’ ancestry (Matt 1:1-17; 10:5-15; 28:18-20; cf. 8:5-13).       


9:45-10:15  Calogero A. Miceli (Concordia)

Even Jesus Needed a Teacher: A Narrative-Critical Investigation of Jesus’ Testing by Satan in the Synoptic Gospels.”

In this presentation, a new perspective on the role of Satan’s character in the ‘testing’ of Jesus episodes (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4: 1-13) is presented. Rather than presupposing that Satan is out to impede Jesus’ journey by tempting him to do evil, a narrative-critical interpretation suggests that Satan’s character is teaching Jesus valuable lessons. A literary reading of these pericopes demonstrates that Satan is fulfilling God’s will by teaching the protagonist to understand who he is, what he is capable of, and how to purposefully use his powers throughout his ministry. The arguments in favour of this view are based upon literary analyses of the text and include an analysis of the characters, settings, and literary devices. The fact that the Holy Spirit initiates the encounter between Jesus and Satan, the familiarity of each location with God’s presence, and the way Jesus learns to use his powers for the betterment of others is what is argued as evidence that Satan’s role in the story is in-line with the will of God. In light of this analysis, the outcome is a suggestion that the verb ‘peira,zw’ be translated as ‘test’ as opposed to ‘tempt’. By grappling with a familiar text from a drastically new perspective, the attempt is to change presupposed outlooks on Satan’s character specifically in this episode and to further the narrative-critical approach for a better understanding of biblical texts in general.


10:15-10:30  Break


10:30-11:00  Keir Hammer (Taylor College)

“Waterless Rebirth: Communal Identity in the Gospel of John.”

While we do not know the origin of the rebirth metaphor, the Gospel of John offers some helpful insights into this metaphor’s development.  The account of Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisee—Nicodemus—serves as a platform to engage the idea of rebirth.  Such language does not appear to be connected to the rite of baptism; rather, communal identity is the goal and focus of this language in John.  Rebirth is presented in a form that stands in contrast to but not in opposition to communities whose identity stems from water baptism.

11:00-11:30  Matthew Thiessen (College of Emmanuel and St. Chad and Lutheran Theological Seminary)         

“Two Methods of Giving Birth: Paul’s Interpretation of Genesis 16-21.”

Most interpreters view the allegory in Galatians 4:21-31 as a weak argument that Paul was forced to construct to combat the message of his opponents in Galatia. Since Genesis 17 requires the circumcision of males, it appears that this passage supports Paul?s opponents, causing interpreters to conclude that Paul has to perform ?hermeneutical jujitsu? (so Richard Hays) in order to use the text as support for his mission. I will argue that Paul’s interpretation of Genesis corresponds to important elements in the Abraham narrative and has antecedents in the retelling of this story by the book of Jubilees.

11:30-11:45  Closing Discussion


8:45-11:15  (George Martin Hall 207)


Chair / Président: Erin Runions (Pomona College)


8:45-9:15  Kevin M. McGeough (Lethbridge)

“Debt in Deuteronomy: Credit Regulations in Non-Monetary Economies.”

The laws relating to the manumission of debt in Deuteronomy 15 are most often understood within the framework of humanitarianism, as means of allowing the poor to escape from otherwise inescapable cycles of debt. While this view is valid, attempts at curtailing monarchical and elite economic authority may have been just as important motivations. This paper shall seek to better understand Deuteronomistic debt laws within a comparative framework, by investigating Biblical credit law in general and the mechanisms through which debt and credit facilitated the storage of wealth in other non-monetary economies in the ancient Near East, such as at Late Bronze Age Ugarit and Ur III southern Mesopotamia.


9:15-9:45  Matthew M. Whitehead (Trinity Western)

“The Imprecation of Psalm 139: Entrance Liturgy or Malediction?”

This paper discusses the nature of the imprecation in Psalm 139. Rather than categorizing vv. 17-24 as Ancient Near Eastern malediction, this writer contends that the whole psalm fits better under the rubric of temple entrance liturgy in the vein of Psalms 15 and 24. The essay begins by noting key flaws in the traditional understanding of this psalm, then, after a brief consideration of the genres of imprecation and entrance liturgy, examines the structure and essential features that argue for its reclassification. This discussion centers on Torah ethics and the psalmic designation of “the righteous”.


9:45-10:15  J. Richard Middleton (Roberts Wesleyan College)

“The Role of Human Beings in the Cosmic Temple: The Intersection of Worldviews in Psalms 8 and 104.”

After Genesis 1-2, the Psalms contain more sustained reflections on creation than perhaps any other section of Scripture. While various psalms allude to creation, and others focus on creation in particular stanzas, Psalms 8 and 104 are devoted entirely to this theme. Whereas Psalm 8 highlights the prominent, even exalted, human role in the created order, Psalm 104 contextualizes humanity as but one creature among many in a complex intertwined cosmos.  Nevertheless, upon closer study it becomes evident that both psalms share elements of a common worldview, including a remarkably similar view of what constitutes being human, a conception of the world as a cosmic temple and a rejection of the motif of creation-by-combat against primordial enemies. This paper will explore the diversity-in-unity of Psalms 8 and 104, with a focus on how their shared and distinctive emphases may address the human vocation of the use of power in a world conceived of as a sacred realm over which God is enthroned, yet into which evil has intruded.



10:15-10:45  Heather Macumber (St. Michael’s College)

“A Fusion of Roles: Priest, Prophet and Messenger.”

Various proposals accounting for the proliferation of angelic mediators following the exile of Israel and the destruction of the temple have been offered by scholars. In this paper, I argue that the rise of angelic intermediaries in the Second Temple Period is a result of a flux in leadership in the earthly realm left by the absence of a traditional king. The normative institutions of priest and prophet are also left in a state of confusion creating a need for a mediator between heaven and earth. The angelic mediators found in Zechariah 1-6, 1 Enoch 1-36 and Daniel 7-12 serve as examples of this phenomenon.



10:45-11:15  Closing Discussion


13:30-16:45  (George Martin Hall 205)


Chair / Président: Mona Tokarek LaFosse (Wilfrid Laurier)


13:30-14:00  Steven R. Scott (University of Ottawa)

“Clear Inclusios as Section Markers in the Gospel of Mark.”

The Gospel of Mark contains several clear inclusios; for example, there is extremely strong parallelism between the call of Simon, Andrew, John, and James, and the call of Levi, and between the preparations for entering Jerusalem and the preparations for the Last Supper. While the clear and obvious parallelism between such units may serve other literary goals, they also seem to demark literary sections of text. The paper will begin by looking at clear examples of this phenomenon before examining less clear examples. The result is a proposed outline for the Gospel which may provide insight on Mark’s intentions as an author.


14:00-14:30  Esther (Xiaxia) Xue (McMaster Divinity College)

A Narrative Analysis of the Longer Ending of Mark: Encounter with the Risen Jesus.”

In recent work, most narrative critics emphasize the meaning and significance of the ending of Gospel Mark at 16:8. Rarely does research work analyze the Longer Ending (Henceforth LE) of Mark (16:9-20) by means of a narrative approach. This paper attempts to investigate the narrative features of the LE and explore how it can be integrated into the whole book of Mark. The purpose of this paper is to show that: (1) the story of risen Jesus in the LE should be treated as a unified story and can be investigated by means of narrative criticism; (2) the LE can be combined with Mark 1:1—16:8 as a whole; and (3) the narrator of the LE invites the reader to encounter the risen Jesus and fulfill his summons.


14:30-15:00  Jonathan Bernier (McMaster)

“John’s Memory in the Spirit: Hermeneutical Licence or Constraint.”

The focus of the paper will be John 14:26, wherein Jesus informs his disciples that the Holy Spirit would come to remind them of the things which he had said. Frequently this statement is construed as evidence that John felt free to tell Jesus’ story however he saw fit. Against such a view it could be argued that 14:26 indicates that John felt obligated to remain faithful to that which Jesus said. The question asked in this paper, then, is whether 14:26 represents hermeneutical licence or hermeneutical constraint?


15:00-15:15 Break 


15:15-15:45  Gary Yamasaki (Columbia Bible College)

“N Sync or Outta Sync? Perspective Criticism and a Biblical Storyteller's Control of the Information Flow to the Reader.”

Perspective Criticism provides a means of discerning a biblical storyteller's subtle - even subliminal- evaluative guidance supplied through point-of-view manipulation which leads an audience to fel distanced from (and disapproving of) a given character, or empathy for (and approving of) the character. This paper will examine one simple, but powerful, technique for producing such distance or empathy: controlling the flow of information to the reader - convergence of the reader's information with that of a particular character resulting in asense of empathy, and divergence resulting in a sense of distance. This narrative dynamic will be demonstrated first in a film clip, and then in a piece of biblical narrative.

15:45-16:15  Ian Brown (Regina)

“The Man of Dust and the Man of Heaven: Paul and the Gospel of Thomas Revisited.”

When the question of the relationship between the authentic letters of Paul and the Gospel of Thomas is raised, the concerns addressed are generally source critical: did Paul know Thomas, or did Thomas know Paul. Lost on the source critical approach are the conceptual parallels between Paul and Thomas, especially each author’s understanding of anthropology. Both Thomas and Paul appropriate the double creation story in Genesis 1 to comment on the fallen state of humanity, Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, and Thomas in sayings 83-85. In my paper I will look at Paul and Thomas’ interpretation of Genesis 1 alongside Philo of Alexandria’s On The Creation in order to argue that all three represent Middle Platonic interpretations of Genesis 1.

16:15-16:45  Closing Discussion


13:30-16:00  (George Martin Hall 207)


Chair / Président: Andrew Wilson (Mount Allison)



13:30-14:00  Fiona C. Black (Mount Allison)

“The Shulammite’s Burning Bush: Passion, In/Per/version and the Absence of God.”

This paper deals with the contentious presence—or absence—of Yahweh in Song 8:6. It converses with an unexpected intertext: the revelation in the Burning Bush (Exod. 3:14). The common denominator for both texts is fire, which sparks and sputters, rages, and even speaks.  Love and death are the obvious referents for the Song’s fire. Less obvious is the appearance of an unstable Yahweh, which is not a scribal accident as is usually assumed, but perhaps an intentional exploration of divine nature, a matter which Exod. 3:14 explores further. Certain mystical writers (Teresa of Avila, Clare of Asisi), and commentators on mystics (Michel de Certeau, Amy Hollywood) assist here in what could easily be taken for a paper on the philosophical proofs for the existence of God (since these are texts used in such inquiries). Rather than explicitly pursuing that question however, the paper interrogates the trajectory of God’s actions with respect to the literary tropes of burning, sending out and speaking. Here, it is the other side of divine-human intercourse that is explored—the frustrated drive to connect (by both parties), or, speaking otherwise.


14:00-14:30  Peter Sabo (Alberta)

“Death and Life in Isaiah 66:17.”

This paper offers a reading of Isa 66:17 which focuses on its relationship to other texts in the Hebrew Bible and especially the book of Isaiah. In light of these diverse intertexts, the verse could refer to the death cult as much as it could to the fertility cult. Rather than concentrating on the specific cultic activity, what is important for this paper is that the ambiguity points to two important aspects of intertextuality that are often ignored in biblical studies: pleasure/life and death.



14:30-15:00  Erin Runions (Pomona College)

“Babel, Filiation, and the Dea(r)th of Democracy.”

This paper interrogates the formation of political ideals, as transmitted and represented by the use of the Tower of Babel as a political symbol. Sabrina Inowlocki has persuasively argued that Josephus’s use of the terms “tyranny,” “hubris,” and “stasis,” in re-writing the Babel story function as a critique of the Zealots. The paper looks at the way Greek political ideas encoded in this retelling of the Babel story continue to influence its contemporary  use as a political symbol, one that simultaneously critiques and validates centralized, hierarchical and authoritarian structures of power. It asks whether concerns over tyranny, hubris and stasis are still at work in what Jacques RanciŹre has called the hatred of democracy, that is, the fear of governance not authorized by filiation and kinship.  More particularly, the paper considers whether a Hellenic anti-democratic fear of excess, including fear of non-reproductive sexuality, is made manifest through contemporary political invocation of the Babel symbol.


15:00-15:30  Ryan Olfert (Alberta)

“‘Who will rescue me from this body of death?’: Reflections on the Discourse of Sacrifice in Early Christianity and Materialist Political Theologies.”

The sacrificial discourse of early Christians is often imagined as evidence of a rupture within various realms, such as Judaism, the Roman Empire, or Hellenism. Yet, the articulation of their difference with respect to animal sacrifice was not limited to mere renunciation. Early Christians deployed a discourse in which sacrifice became spectral, an “empty signifier,” in order to turn sacrifice back on itself, that is to say, sacrifice without sacrifice. This paper will suggest the so-called “spiritualization” of sacrifice is in some important ways a comparable operation to a particular political subjectivity which Slavoj Žižek, Alain Badiou, and others have recently offered as a way out of the impasses that mark modernism. They have sketched out this possibility through an iteration of a Pauline universalism, which as an intentionally secularized theology is meant to capture the heart of revolution. By examining the sacrificial language, including the citations of Malachi 1:11 and 14, in the early Christian liturgy, the Didache, this paper will present some cautions to those who assert this type of theo-political secularism. And, in return, this points to new avenues of reflection with respect to the emergence of early Christian groups.

15:30-16:00  Closing Discussion