I spent Friday through Sunday in Spokane, WA, at the SBL Pacific Northwest Regional Meeting (as I mentioned here). It was hosted by Gonzaga University (who did a wonderful job). I had never been to an SBL gathering prior to this weekend. It may be because I am a rookie, but I sure did enjoy it.

JohnDave Medina presenting at SBL PNW

On Friday I heard Michael Heisner “Jesus’ Quotation of Psalm 82:6 in John 10:34: A Different View of John’s Theological Strategy”. He was very convincing in his argument that Jesus was actually claiming some sort of divinity in this text.

This was followed by our very own JohnDave Medina discussing “The Events of John and Mark: Chronology in the Bi-Optic Gospels”. In this paper he displayed how the Gospel of John may have better preserved some of the historical events than the Gospel of Mark where the two seem to address similar narratives (e.g. John’s earlier temple cleansing making more sense than Mark’s later one).

After this I sat in on Nijay Gupta‘s paper (see Nijay’s report here) on “Door Locks Only Stop Mortals: The Isaianic Key that Unlocks the Mystery of the Johannine Resurrection Appearances to His Disciples (John 20:19-29)”. He argued for intertextuality between Is. 26.16-21 in Jn. 20.19-29. There were a lot of interesting parallels worth considering.

That evening the Regional President, Norm Metzler of Concordia University, gave his very entertaining Plenary Address. He talked about theology and jazz, play the accordion and the piano, and even read some excerpts from Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz (which may be the first time Miller’s work has had a central place at a scholarly meeting)!

Book panel

On Saturday I attended the panel discussing Paul N. Anderson’s Riddles of the Fourth Gospel (Fortress, 2011). The panelist included Jeff Staley of Seattle University, Robert Kugler of Lewis and Clark, and Gupta (from Seattle Pacific University) with a response from Anderson. I enjoyed watching the scholarly, yet very cordial, interchange. It made me want to purchase the book.

Later that afternoon I heard Gary Yamaski’s paper on “‘Mind Games’: A Perspective-Critical Look at the Control of Information by the Biblical Narrator”; Matt Whitehead’s paper on Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in Mark’s gospel; Kyung Baek’s paper on the genealogy on Mt. 1.1-17; and Clayton Bench’s on “The Thematic Unity of John 6”.

On Sunday I caught two more papers. Benjamin Nickodemus presented “The Temporal World as Neutral in the Apocalypse of Adam”. He proposed that earth is “neutral” in the Apocalypse of Adam contra the characterization that all gnostic texts see earth as bad or evil. It was beyond my area of study, but interesting.

Finally, Jennifer J. Johnson Leese presented “A Greener Paul? Going Beyond Romans 8” which covered the chapter that I am addressing in my current ThM thesis (Rom. 8  ) while looking at Paul’s imago Dei language and how that may relate to Christian eco-theology. It was a great paper which was followed by an enjoyable conversation.

Overall, I’d say the highlights include some of these papers, especially JohnDave’s, as well as spending time talking with Paul Anderson (George Fox University), Kent Yinger (George Fox University), Nijay Gupta (Seattle Pacific University), and last, but not least, Jack Levison (Seattle Pacific University). Jack and I, along with one of his students, had a fascinating conversation on pneumatology in Hebrew/Jewish literature and how that relates to Paul, especially in Rom. 8 and 1 Cor. 15. It gave me a lot to ponder.

I hope to present a paper next year when the meeting comes to Concordia University here in Portland. I really, really appreciate the rigor and respect of the SBL meeting and I am exciting about attending the national conference in San Francisco later this year.