I’m back from the Peter Conference at Edinburgh and the international Society of Biblical Literature conference after it, the latter of which this year took place in St Andrews, Scotland. It was absolutely beautiful weather for almost the entire time. I like international SBL because it tends to be more low-key than the annual meeting. Really, the people who come tend to be locals wherever it’s held, young scholars trying to get paper presentations on their CVs, and established scholars with research budgets who use the international meeting as a vacation. It’s a great mix and I enjoy it.
Two highlights of SBL are worth mentioning now. First, as part of a morning run, I actually got to run the fairways of the Old Course in St Andrews, including across the bridge on hole 18. It was incredible. On Sundays the course is open to the public so Jeff Stackert and I just ran straight out onto it. Second, the most interesting session I attended was one on the Gospel of Mark and pedagogy. It included Thomas Boomershine, Eve-Marie Becker, Jeremy Punt, Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, and Mark Goodacre. What a lineup! Each person discussed an important aspect of their pedagogy and how it reflects both their geographical location and a specialty (oral tradition, postcolonial, narrative, digital media, etc.). I got to ask Malbon how she dealt with the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech and incorporated that terrible reality into her course on how to read Mark’s Gospel from a narrative perspective. Also, Mark Goodacre addressed how digital-immigrant teachers must shift to the expectations and abilities of digital-native students. He observed that college students today can’t usually remember when there wasn’t an internet. I hadn’t thought of it that way and felt much older than I typically do!
In due course, I’ll aim to give some highlights of the Peter Conference in Edinburgh, too, and also other highlights of international SBL, including Loren Stuckenbruck’s excellent keynote on oppression and justice in the Pseudepigrapha and another paper that was one of the more . . . hmm, should we say...“stretched” theories I’ve ever heard.