This year was my third time attending the AAR/SBL Annual Meeting. In this post I’ll provide a few “big picture” reflections. In subsequent posts I’ll discuss more in-depth some of the things to which I’ll allude here.
(1) Baltimore was wonderful. It was very cold a day or two, but overall the weather was fine. The city reminds me a bit of my beloved San Francisco. Unlike Chicago this convention center we used this year was part of the city. It was easy to walk to meetings and I didn’t have to take a taxi or train, except from the airport. I’d happily return to Baltimore again.
(2) This year I spent more time socializing than previous years, probably because I know more people now. Some obvious highlights would include seeing long time friend and co-blogger JohnDave Medina, friend and co-blogger Daniel James Levy, my Ph.D. program director Justin Stratis, my doctoral supervisor Craig A. Evans and his wife Ginny, fellow doctoral student and friend Greg Monette, friends Jesse and Carissa Richards, former Th.M. program director and friend Marc Cortez, good friend and mentor Jack Levison, and many others.
(3) The Biblioblogger’s Gathering was quite successful. I think we had about forty people make an appearance. I saw more friends there than I can name without offending someone for leaving them off the list. Also, related to blogging: several of us bloggers were invited to meet with N.T. Wright to discuss his new book on Paul, amongst other things. Kimberly Majeski has a nice summary here.
(4) I presented for the first time and it went quite well. My paper was on “The Dangers of Blogging as a Student” for the Blogging and Online Publication Section. This is the second or third time the question of “why are there not more women bibliobloggers” was raised. I think it should be the subject of next year’s session. I recommend the title, “Gender Representation and Public Scholarship”. What do you think?
(5) I didn’t attend many sessions, but the ones I did attend were good. I went to an IBR Session on Friday evening where Jesus is Lord, Caesar is Not was being discussed by a panel. I went to most of one on the Gospel of Luke were I heard papers on social memory and social identity, both insightful. I caught a few other papers here and there, but by far the best session—actually, the best I’ve attended in my three short years—has to be the one discussing the intersection (or lack thereof) between historical Jesus studies and social memory. Tyler Stewart has already been summarizing it here and here so I won’t do that, but I will have some things to say about it later this week. Also, Chris Keith (one of the participants) has been sharing some reflections here, here, and here.
(6) After the conference I spent a few days in Michigan with some of my wife’s family near Grand Rapids and some of my family near Detroit. That was fantastic and I experienced my first snowy Thanksgiving.
(7) On the flight home I lost my new Macbook Air. (Sad face) Still no word on if its been found. I presume someone might be making a wonderful Christmas gift of it to themself by now.