Baker Academic

Monday, May 19, 2014

Jesus' Dance Card at the Evil Conference—Chris Keith

The "Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity" Conference here at St Mary's is this Friday and Saturday.  For readers of the blog, I wanted to highlight those papers that will deal with the historical Jesus or the Gospels.  There are four papers in particular, and I'm looking forward to all four.

The first paper that addresses Jesus will be the keynote address from Loren Stuckenbruck on Friday night:  "How Much Does the Christ Event Solve?: Evil in New Testament Theology and Its Relation to Jewish Theology."  As those familiar with his work can attest, Loren Stuckenbruck has forgotten more about Second Temple Judaism than the rest of us ever learned.  In conversations, he's indicated to me that he would be excited to address the topic of evil from a theological perspective, so we're looking forward to giving him precisely that opportunity.  Honestly, I can't wait.

The second session on Saturday morning will then host the other three papers dealing with Jesus and the Gospels.  James Crossley will present a paper on "Release from Satan in the Healings of Jesus."  James has recently been publishing work on modern receptions of the Bible, but he has also written some incisive work in Jesus studies as well, from his early work on Mark's Gospel to his recent work on the quests for the historical Jesus and the "very Jewish Jesus" phenomenon.  See Anthony's description of one of his works here.  James also has an unheralded quality, that of being a very good and interesting writer.  Remarkably, I've only ever heard one paper from James, so this will be the second time.  The word on the street is that he's just finished a new book on Jesus, so hopefully this will be an early presentation of that work.

Christopher Skinner, whom you may recognize from your local marathon finish line, his famous business cards, his blog Crux Sola, or one of his many books and edited books, will present on "Overcoming Satan, Overcoming the World: Exploring the Cosmologies of Mark and John."  Skinner is one of the leaders among younger narrative critics in Gospels research, and I've also never heard him give a paper, so I'm looking forward to this paper as well.

Finally Jonathan Draper will present on "Darkness as Non-Being and the Origin of Evil in John's Gospel."  Not only does Jonathan clearly have the best goatee in New Testament studies, he is a king among media critics of the New Testament.  He has recently been working deeply in Philo, and I suspect this paper will reflect some of that work.  I have heard Jonathan present before, but not on this topic.  So . . . you guessed it, I'm looking forward to this one, too.  Basically, I'm looking forward to everything, which is appropriate since I organized the conference.

One thing I've been particularly excited about with this conference is its international representation.  Just with these papers we have presenters who teach in Germany (Stuckenbruck), the UK (Crossley), the USA (Skinner), and South Africa (Draper).  We also have scholars coming to the conference from Ireland, Sweden, and Israel, so it will truly be an international dialogue.

You can still register here.


  1. This looks like a great conference!

  2. Is there going to be an online transmission? Or recorded and put online later? Are the papers going to be published later? As you can see I'm interested in getting to know what is going to be said there, but living in Brazil makes it a little difficult to check the conference :).

    1. Unfortunately, there won't be a live feed anywhere. But we do plan to record a few of the lectures and put them on the site for the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at