LDS Sessions at the Society for Biblical Literature

November 2, 2006 | 37 comments
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Mormons make an appearance at the important SBL conference.

My sources inform me of two interesting LDS offerings at the annual meeting of the Society for Biblical Literature, to be held November 18-21 in Washington.

Session S20-21 on Monday morning from 9:00-11:30 is sponsored by the SBL group on Latter-day Saints and the Bible. We will focus here on the writings of John as a case study for LDS interests in translating the New Testament. Presenters will include Jared Ludlow, John Hall, Richard Draper, and Eric Huntsman. Then, following a brief business meeting to plan next year’s meeting, the discussion during the final half hour will be led by Kent Brown, Richard Draper, John Hall, Andrew Skinner and Jack Welch, highlighting efforts underway to produce a scholarly New Testament commentary sensitive to LDS interests. Comments from the audience will be welcomed.

Session S20-70 = A20-81 on Monday afternoon from 1:00-3:30 is a program cosponsored by the SBL Latter-day Saints and the Bible group and the AAR consultation on Open and Relational Theologies. The theme of the session is “Are Openness and Relational Theologies Biblical?”, a topic that has proven to be quite interesting recently. Presenters will be John Sanders (Huntington College), James McLachlan (Western Carolina University), Michael Lodahl (Point Loma Nazarene Universtiy), and David Paulsen (Brigham Young University). The final half hour is reserved for open (and relational?) discussion. Information about a forthcoming volume edited by David Paulsen and Donald Musser on conversations between Latter-day Saints and others about 20th Christian theologies (includingOpenness theology) will also be handed out at this session.

Kudos to the organizers; it’s great to see us represented in mainstream religious studies. Don’t miss these sessions if you’ll be in attendance, and send me your notes afterward!

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37 Responses to LDS Sessions at the Society for Biblical Literature

  1. Ben on November 2, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    There are also a good handful of LDS presenters in other sessions. And once again, I won’t make it this year. Sigh.

  2. Rosalynde Welch on November 2, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    Ben, who are the other presenters? Shout out here.

  3. Nate Oman on November 2, 2006 at 1:24 pm

    I am considering making the trek up the DC for this conference. Are any other bloggernacle types going to be there? Just curious…

  4. Costanza on November 2, 2006 at 3:07 pm

    I’ll be there

  5. Melissa on November 2, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    Here are a few of the sessions I’m attending:

    History of Christianity Section
    Sunday – 1:00 pm-2:30 pm

    Grant Underwood, Brigham Young University, Presiding

    Theme: Who Do You Say That I Am? The Construction and Use of Mormon and
    Anti-Mormon Identities

    David Gore, University of Minnesota, Duluth
    Joseph Smith and the Rhetoric of Economics and Prophecy

    Quincy Newell, University of Wyoming
    Seeing Jane: Jane Elizabeth Manning James’ Posthumous Career as an LDS
    Symbol

    D. William Faupel, Wesley Theological Seminary
    Elijah III: The Influence of Mormonism on John Alexander Dowie

    Sara Patterson, Loyola Marymount University
    “A PO Box and a Desire to Witness for Jesus”: Calling and Mission in the
    Ex-Mormons for Jesus

    Responding:

    Kathleen Flake, Vanderbilt University

  6. Melissa on November 2, 2006 at 3:11 pm

    Quran and Biblical Literature
    11/18/2006
    4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
    Room: 203A – CC

    Daniel C. Peterson, Brigham Young University
    The Quranic Tree of Life

  7. Melissa on November 2, 2006 at 3:11 pm

    Egyptology and Ancient Israel
    11/20/2006
    1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
    Room: 159B – CC

    John Crawford, Johns Hopkins University
    Egypt Among the Nations

  8. Melisssa on November 2, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    And of course, my own session

    Religion and Sexuality
    Monday, November 20,
    4-6:30 PM [A20-128 in the AAR Program Book].

  9. TrailerTrash on November 2, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    The American Academy of Religion meets simultaneously with the SBL and there are many LDS themed presentations there as well.

  10. Kevin Barney on November 2, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    I know that Ronan is presenting something there as well.

    For a number of years now, BYU has been sending a fairly good sized contingent to SBL. I’ve always wanted to go, but the timing in November makes it tough with my work schedule. Maybe one of these years I’ll make it.

    I understand that one of the appeals of SBL is the book sale. At the end of the conference whatever’s left is marked down so that publishers don’t have to schlep their stock back, and it is a veritable feeding frenzy over the remaining stock. Or so I’ve been told.

  11. Melisssa on November 2, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    Our own Sam Brown is presenting what looks like an interesting paper.

    History of Christianity Section and Death, Dying, and Beyond Consultation
    Saturday – 4:00 pm-6:30 pm
    Samuel Brown, Harvard University
    Joseph Smith’s Conquest of Death: Sacerdotal Genealogy and the Chain of Being

  12. Melisssa on November 2, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    Actually, next year’s conference in San Diego will be the last year that the AAR and the SBL will meet concurrently until 2011. This announcement a couple of years ago was quite controversial (and I think remains upsetting for some members of the SBL), but is very good decision for a number of reasons.

  13. Rosalynde Welch on November 2, 2006 at 3:40 pm

    Melissa, thanks for the notices. Completely off-topic: you wrote “Grant Underwood, BYU, presiding.” Is the term “presiding” SBL’s? I remember being mildly amused that at the LoC JS conference sessions were “presided” over, thinking this was a sort of incongruous overlay of Mormon culture. But maybe it’s routine parlance in religious studies?

  14. Ronan on November 2, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Ronan Head, Johns Hopkins University, “Everything you ever wanted to know about Babylonian slavery but were afraid to ask.”

    S20-102 Assyriology and the Bible
    Monday November 20, 2006 4:00 PM
    CC 144A

  15. Melisssa on November 2, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Sorry, Ronan. I didn’t mean to exclude you. I searched for your name in the online program book, but it didn’t appear. Thanks for posting your paper!

    Your title almost tops mine:

    “A Mormon Philosophy of Sex: Some Surprises.”

    I think a creative blend of our two titles might have been the most provocative of all ;)

  16. Melissa on November 2, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    And of course, my own session

    Religion and Sexuality
    Monday, November 20,
    4-6:30 PM [A20-128 in the AAR Program Book].

  17. Melissa on November 2, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    Sorry about that hiccup (and the typos) not sure what happened there. This is what I get for blogging when I’m supposed to be working . . .

  18. Costanza on November 2, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    Rosalynde,
    “Presiding” is pretty commonly used in Religious Studies and History conferences.

  19. Melissa on November 2, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    RW,

    “Presiding” is not unique to the SBL, the AAR uses “preside” as well. It’s standard practice.

  20. Nate Oman on November 2, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    FWIW, in law you “chair” or “moderate” a panel. I don’t know that I have ever heard of someone presiding…

  21. Rosalynde Welch on November 2, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    Ah! Very interesting, Costanza and Melissa. In literature we generally “moderate,” as well. I’m sure there’s some profound insight to be drawn here.

  22. Melissa on November 2, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    “I’m sure there’s some profound insight to be drawn here.”

    I doubt it highly.

    When people speak about the person overseeing the session they say “chair” or “moderater.” I would have written it that way myself, but I pasted it straight from the program book.

  23. Kaimi Wenger on November 2, 2006 at 4:36 pm

    Melissa,

    That sounds like a really interesting talk — you’ll have to let me know how it goes. Is this being recorded? I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it to DC this month.

    I am, however, excited that next year’s will be a little closer to my neck of the woods. :)

    Rosalynde,

    I like the idea of a chance for Mormon women to preside. Women certainly don’t get many of those in the church context.

  24. Kevin Barney on November 2, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    Melissa, I hope at some point you will give us a sense of what your paper is about, whether pre- or post-conference. I would certainly be interested in the surprises.

  25. HP on November 2, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    John Gee is also presenting in the Egyptology and Ancient Israel session

  26. manaen on November 2, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    Could someone point me to information about next year’s conference in San Diego? Thx!

  27. Rosalynde Welch on November 2, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    “I would certainly be interested in the surprises. ”

    I’m imagining a giant beehive wheeled into the room, out of which suddenly emerge two dozen Cougarettes in knee-length skirts and long-sleeved sweaters.

  28. Nate Oman on November 2, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    “I like the idea of a chance for Mormon women to preside. Women certainly don’t get many of those in the church context.”

    Doesn’t the Relief Society President preside every week in Relief Society meetings?

  29. Rosalynde Welch on November 2, 2006 at 6:01 pm

    Nate, it’s not at all clear to me that they do. In his talk “The Doctrinal Foundation of the Auxiliaries,” Elder Scott doesn’t specify but very strongly implies that priesthood keys are necessary for any presiding authority. Thus the general RS explicitly DOES NOT preside in any capacity over stake or ward RS, and by analogy—an analogy he specifically recommends—I think we must conclude that ward RS presidents do not preside at the ward level, either. They “organize,” “implement,” “recommend”—but they do not seem to preside.

    Fathers preside but are not presidents; RS officers are presidents but they do not preside.

  30. Costanza on November 2, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Manaen,
    I think this is about all there is online about the 2007 conference (at least from the AAR side of things):
    http://www.aarweb.org/annualmeet/future.asp

  31. Kevin Barney on November 3, 2006 at 12:18 am

    Ha, that is indeed ironic, Rosalynde, since “president” derives from the participial form of the verb from which preside comes; IE a president is literally “one who presides.” It seems incredibly silly to me to claim that a RS president does not preside over RS meeting because she lacks priesthood keys.

  32. Julie M. Smith on November 3, 2006 at 12:30 am

    Re #31: It also creates a problem for Elder Oaks’ recent talk:

    “When my father died, my mother presided over our family. She had no priesthood office, but as the surviving parent in her marriage she had become the governing officer in her family.”

  33. A. Nonny Mouse on November 3, 2006 at 1:39 am

    Though I’m not sure I would do so, one could argue, following Rosalynde’s line of argumentation in 29, that furthermore, it’s obvious that Relief Society president’s don’t preside because they don’t even have the power to extend callings in their own organization (neither do the other Auxiliaries: the Young Men’s organization included): callings have to go through and come from the bishopric. Once again, I’m not saying I would argue that Relief Society President’s don’t preside, I’m just saying, if you follow that sort of argument that Rosalynde makes, it seems logical…

    To prevent further threadjacking: It’s too bad I’m not near DC. Sounds like there will be a lot of fun sessions there… That John Alexander Dowie character seems quite interesting

  34. Julie M. Smith on November 3, 2006 at 10:29 am

    Mr. or Mrs. Mouse: I don’t think you can take “ability to extend callings” as the key ingredient in “presiding”: fathers don’t extend callings but they clearly do preside in their homes. In a church setting, a second counselor (bishopric or stake) might preside over a meeting, but couldn’t extend callings without the bishop/SP. It seems to me that “having responsibility over” would be a better indicator for presiding than “ability to extend callings.”

  35. Matt W. on November 3, 2006 at 10:53 am

    Does anyone know if John Hall (mentioned above, so not a total threadjack) is still planning to publish a greek translation of the Bible via Farms?

    He discussed this in a fireside I went to in San Antonio some time ago, but I’ve never seen publication announcements.

  36. g.wesley on November 3, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Matt, yes (though perhaps not directly through FARMS). Hall is one of the editors (including Welch, Brown, and Skinner) of the BYU New Testament Commentary (of approx. 13 projected volumes). He is currently working with Huntsman on the Epistles of John volume which may be out in a year or so. The project has been in the works for several years, and aspires to be academic (though not on the same level as say Anchor Bible). It will (at least Hall’s volumes) be formatted like most academic commnetaries with frontmatter on authorship, provenance, impetus, etc., followed by a translation, grammatical/linguistic/historical/theological notes and commentary. (the translation will be presented in parallel columns with the KJV [which will among other things allow for discussion of the differences between the Greek text behind KJV and the Nestle-Aland/GNT text used today], where it will differ from the format of other commentaries.)

  37. A. Nonny Mouse on November 3, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    Julie: Mr. or Mrs. Mouse: I don’t think you can take “ability to extend callings� as the key ingredient in “presiding�: fathers don’t extend callings but they clearly do preside in their homes. In a church setting, a second counselor (bishopric or stake) might preside over a meeting, but couldn’t extend callings without the bishop/SP. It seems to me that “having responsibility over� would be a better indicator for presiding than “ability to extend callings.�

    I agree whole-heartedly, which is why I think Rosalynde is perhaps over-inferring from Elder Scott, though I haven’t re-read his article to see if I agree with her interpretation. I believe Relief Society presidents _do_ indeed preside over their organizations.

    However, if you wanna go the über-conservative route and say they don’t, I’m just saying you could use that fact as fodder… And Elders Quorum President, for example, commonly extends callings and sets apart members of his Elders Quorum, however none of the “auxiliaries” do.

    Once again, I don’t agree with this line of argumentation, just saying that it seems fodder-able.
    Also, presiding over a meeting doesn’t require keys (Bishops and Stake Presidents have keys, Second Counselors don’t), and I’d perhaps be tempted to argue that it’s a different sense of the word than preside over an organization, though undoubtedly related.