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Meeting Abstracts

2005 International Meeting

Singapore, Malaysia

Meeting Begins: 6/26/2005
Meeting Ends: 7/1/2005

Call For Papers Opens: 9/14/2004
Call For Papers Closes: 2/15/2005
Requirements for Participation

  Meeting Abstracts


The Method of Elisha's Healing Miracles in African Context
Program Unit: Prophets
David Tuesday Adamo, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria

To many Africans, particularly members of African Indigenous Churches, there are sicknesses and diseases that are not curable by Western orthodox medicine. They call these type of diseases "the diseases that do not belong to the hospital." African Christians have devised several methods of healing such diseases, despite the western missionary condemnation of these methods. The purpose of this paper is to exmamine critically the methods of Elisha's healing miracle in African context.


Outcry, Question and Silence -The Dialogue Concerning the Akedah within Israeli Literature
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Irit Aharony, Harvard University

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Socio-Economic Backgrounds of Roman-Palestine of the Epistle of James
Program Unit: Hebrews
Jeen Ho Ahn, Chongshin Theological Seminary

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The “Empty Indicative”: To What is Paul Contrasting sofia in 1 Corinthians 1-3?
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Matthew R. Anderson, Concordia University

Rhetorical flourish, Second Sophistic wisdom, pneumatic teaching – all have been variously credited as the sophia Paul speaks against in 1 Corinthians. But in the considerable literature treating the background for and possible contexts behind chapters 1-3, there is markedly less discussion of the “word of the cross” to which Paul contrasts sophia. The purpose of this paper is to examine the antitheses Paul sets up in 1 Cor 1-3 with an eye to explicating the troublesome phrase found in 1:28: ta` µ?` ??ta. The paper will examine Paul’s use of apophasis and antithesis in constructing a “participatory nothingness” as his self-embodied message of the cross, a message that addresses the Corinthians’ status divisions, their confusion over Paul’s authority, and the apostle’s own ethical instruction.


The Indicative-Imperative Atonement in Paul's Letters
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Matthew R. Anderson, Concordia University, Dept of Theology

Especially since Anselm, New Testament interpreters have identified – and falsely contrasted – different Pauline terms to describe the soteriological process by which Jesus’ death and resurrection were portrayed as taking effect. This paper maintains that Paul’s undisputed letters contain no dominant paradigm for the so-called “mechanics of forgiveness”. Rather, the letters contain a number of different allusions, often combined with each other within the same unit of text. Attempts throughout history to promote one or another metaphor to dominance skew the textual evidence. By carefully analyzing several transitional formulae in Romans and in the Corinthian letters, the paper demonstrates the artificial polarity of the Kasemann-Sanders positions, questions the conclusions of more recent protagonists, and proposes a link to the Pauline indicative-imperative schema.


Philip Remembered: A Study in Christian Origins
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Mark Appold, Truman State University

The Fourth Gospel is home to a range of early traditions that are strikingly unique in both canonical and apocryphal texts. Roles are assigned to disciples and place names cited which appear nowhere else in the Gospel accounts. The purpose of this study is to rethink the multi-faceted story of Philip of Bethsaida, a marginalized person in the Synoptic tradition yet a primary figure in the Johannine church, and to examine the related traditions in Luke/Acts as well as in the pertinent Gnostic texts. Also central to this study will be the application of new archaeological data gained from the rediscovery of Bethsaida, a city on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, cited only by the Fourth Evangelist as the home of Philip.


Andrew of Bethsaida
Program Unit: Bethsaida Excavations Project
Mark Appold, Truman State University

Material finds from more than fifteen years of excavations at Bethsaida, a city once lost but now found, have progressively shed light on one of the most enigmatic biblical locations tightly connected to the ministry of Jesus and his first followers. Independently attested by four separate traditions, Q, John, Josephus, and Pliny, Bethsaida appears most prominently in the Johannine tradition where new questions of Christian origins have again emerged. The purpose of this study is to explore those relationships primarily in terms of the disciple Andrew, relegated to obscurity in the Synoptics but elevated to prominence in John Formerly a disciple of John the Baptist, he is the first to be called by Jesus and a leading figure to be memorialized in subsequent apocryphal literature. The fact that his home was in Bethsaida creates an opening for archaeology in conjunction with textual studies to define more clearly the environment and socio-religious setting potentially formative for the uniquenes of this first disciple of Jesus.


The Framing of the Gospel of Thomas: Logion 2
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Jon Ma. Asgeirsson, University of Iceland

The Gospel of Thomas is commonly characterized as a random collection of sayings. While this contention has more recently been challenged by means of rhetorical analysis of the text, each of the two approaches to the gospel reckon redactional features in the very framing of the Gospel of Thomas. In particular, the motif of the twin and the persona of Thomas (incipit and logion 13) have been noticed in this regard. This paper argues that the framing of the text may be traced through at least three redactional stages, each characteristic for a certain ideological tradition: kingdom (logia 3, 113); skepticism (logion 2); twinship (incipit et al. loci). It is being argued that through the redactional framing of the Gospel of Thomas a glimpse may be gained into the direction of its original audience. Special emphasis is paid to logion 2 in which traces of skeptical ethos may be traced in the idea of balance as a modification of the kingdom motif.


Epic Becomes History: A Skeptical Support for a Long Lasting Christian Claim
Program Unit: Greco-Roman World
Jon Ma. Asgeirsson, University of Iceland

One of the most long lasting illusions of the Christian heritage is its presentation of itself as historically true religion. An early challenge to this very Lukan impression in his double work on "Christian beginnings" is Celsus' treatease TRUE DOCTRINE refuted a generation later by Origen of Alexandria. This paper places the Celsus-Origen debate (Contra Celsum) within the emerging criteria of Sextus Empiricus on fiction, history and myth and his very identification of truth with the middle category.


Johannine Christians: A Distinct Type?
Program Unit:
Harold Attridge, Yale University

Attempts to find the "social location" of the Fourth Gospel have abounded in modern scholarship. This kind of analysis has generally sought for concrete indications of social relations. This paper explores what inferences about social location might be made on the basis of the distinctive literary and conceptual moves made in the Gospel.


Safekeeping, Borrowing, and Rental in Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Law
Program Unit: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law
David L. Baker, Tyndale House

In general, a person who is entrusted with someone else's property - whether for safekeeping, borrowing, rental, or in the course of employment - is expected to take good care of it. The fact that this expectation is not always fulfilled, as when I lend someone a book and it is returned damaged, or not at all, does not detract from my assumption that others should look after my property as I would myself. The same assumption is reflected in several ancient Near Eastern law collections, and also the Book of the Covenant. This paper will examine the laws on care of other people's property in the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible, especially Exodus 22:6-14 (EVV 7-15), showing that they have much in common but there are also significant differences. One particular feature of biblical law which distinguishes it from other ancient (and modern) laws is its emphasis on borrowing, without payment, rather than rental.


Oral and Written Traditions: Beyond a Search for an `Original' Old Testament Text
Program Unit: Methods in Hebrew Bible Studies
Ephraim Baloyi, North-West University

The study of orality in the Graeco-Roman world has been very influential on the study of orality in relation to biblical literature. None of the essays published in that regard relate specifically to the Bible, but a number of them dismiss relevant general points about oral tradition and a number of opinions about orality that have become commonplace. There is inter alia arguments against a hard-and-fast dichotomy between written and oral. This argument suggests that there may be no hard-and-fast dichotomy between the written and oral in the formation of the Old Testament. This suggestion together with the suggestion that there is no `final' text of the Old Testament, but final texts raises questions on inter alia canonicity, inspiration, textual criticism and interpretation of the `Old Testament', which have either not answered or convincingly answered : If there is no hard-and-fast dichotomy between written and oral and prophecy came into being through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, what then is inspired and canonical, the written or the oral or both? Are our interpretations and textual criticism aimed only at the written without an oral `ghost text' or so-called `original' text? If there is no hard-and-fast dichotomy between the written and the oral, can we really talk of a `final text' or `final texts' ? Under these circumstances, the aim of this paper is therefore to enter into a critical debate on the suggestion that there is no hard-and-fast dichotomy between the written and the oral with special reference to inspiration, canonicity and textual criticism of the Old Testament. It will be suggested that to retort the above questions convincingly it is necessary to go beyond the so-called `original' or `final' text of the Old Testament.


Marks of Oppression: A Postcolonial Reading of Paul's Stigmata in Galatians 6:17
Program Unit: Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Jeremy W Barrier, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University

Within this essay, I re-investigate Galatians 6.17 for the purpose of providing an interpretation of Paul’s stigmata (“marks”) that illuminates his self-identity as a slave. I argue my case by (1) evaluating contemporary historical and social-scientific interpretations of stigmata while arguing for the importance of understanding these “marks” in light of ancient Rhetoric, (2) situating this essay within a postcolonial paradigm by offering a specific definition of Postcolonialism that investigates domination/subordination relationships within the text, (3) reconsidering Paul’s stigmata in light of the slavery metaphor by comparing Paul’s stigmata to the ancient slave concept of basanos, and (4) offering a new interpretation for the stigmata as they reveal Paul’s suppressed status as a colonized Jew looking for an alternative language to express his deep need for a master worthy of his loyalty. Paul’s ideology restricts him to the slave paradigm, thus whenever he makes any declarations of freedom, they must be interpreted through his meta-narrative of suppression and subordination to Jesus Christ. In this paradigm, Paul transfers his allegiance as a slave from Caesar to Christ. The ramifications of this paradigm for Christian communities in the 21st century are less than desirable. This forces present Christian communities to seek other alternatives and better metaphors in which to interpret the Christians’ identity with Christ. As for determining the “alternatives and better metaphors,” that remains for Christian communities to define and redefine as ideological frameworks continue to shift and demand better and more appropriate interpretations.


Allusions and Quotations to Deuteronomy 27 and 28 in Selected Pre-Exilic Prophets
Program Unit: Prophets
Mona P. Bias, International School of Theology-Asia

The Pre-exilic Prophets often alluded to and sometimes quoted the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 27 and 28 in their writings. They did so to describe the current situation, express hope and appeal to God's mercy, identify the people's crime and punishment, and bridge the present to the eschaton. Moreover, these allusions and quotations either fulfilled, re-predicted, or reversed a blessing or a curse in Deuteronomy 27 and 28.


Socio-Cultural Dimension of the Reception of the Bible among South-West Chinese Minorities
Program Unit:
You Bin, Central University for Nationalities in China

Scholars have paid much attention to the cultural reception of the Bible among the Asian major literary traditions, like Confucianism, Buddhism, or Hinduism, whereas societies with oral traditions have largely been ignored. Based on the historical research and field work among some minority communities in South-Western China, this paper aims at investigating into the socio-cultural dimensions of both the formal, namely the Bible as a written “Book” itself, and the substantive, namely the theological, aspects of reception of the Bible among people of oral cultures.


The Apocalypse of John in the Polemic of Irenaeus
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
D. Jeffrey Bingham, Dallas Theological Seminary

Some have narrowly described Irenaeus's reading of John's Apocalypse as an exercise which ends either in arguing for Gnostic perdition or millennialism. Certainly these topics arise from the bishop's use of Revelation, but his reading of this text toward the latter part of the second century is far more involved. It is important that already around 180 CE we witness John's Apocalypse receiving such significant attention in the development and presentation of orthodox perspectives. Within the bishop's polemic, the Apocalypse informs many theses from the unity of God to the unity of the different economies to the integrity of creation. He finds in John's text a sensitivity to previous and future history, to the culmination and renovation of creation rather than its dismissal, and to the historical nature of evil. For the chief theologian of Lyons Revelation serves as a paradigm and capstone for interpreting the Old Testament prophetic material as well as some teachings of the Apostles and Jesus. Missing from Irenaeus's understanding of apocalyptic is the notion of a radical eschatological rupture in history. Neither does he fixate upon present salvation. The present is always in tension and in harmony with the past and the future.


Is Scriptural Communciation Guided by Speech Acts and/or Relevance?
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Regina Blass, Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology

A number of scholars such as Alsten, Wolterstorff, Tsisleton and Vanhoozer have seen the solution within the present hermeneutical crisis in the adoption of Speech Act Theory. In spite of the great trust in the powers of speech acts Vanhoozer (2002) also makes use of Sperber and Wilson's Relevance Theory because it explains communication and the comprehension process in a way that Speech Act Theory fails to do. Are two theories really necessary for Biblical interpretation? In this paper I will challenge the usefulness of Speech Act Theory altogether for Biblical interpretation. Sperber and Wilson (1995) show that positing a level of locutionary and illocutionary acts is superfluous. They identify three natural speech acts, one of which has to be assigned by the addressee to every utterance. They recognise institutional speech acts but see them as not part of communication proper, thus refusing to accept the many differing proposals of speech act categories proposed in the literature. I will argue that Speech Act Theory fails to provide an explanatory account of context, implicature, explicature, primary and secondary communication, standards in communication and comprehension, thus falling short of providing the essential means for an explanatory account of Biblical interpretation which Relevance Theory adequately provides.


Marxist Feminist Criticism of the Bible, or, Reclaiming Kristeva
Program Unit: Whence and Whither?: Methodology and the Future of Biblical Studies
Roland Boer, Monash University

Although there has been a great deal of feminist criticism of the Bible, and a reasonable amount of Marxist criticism, the combination of the two has been sparse. What I propose to do here is reclaim one of a number of Marxist feminist literary critics, namely Julia Kristeva. Too often Kristeva has been connected with psychoanalysis, and indeed all of her writings on the Bible have this touch. But there is also a Marxist Kristeva, the Kristeva of Tel Quel and Psych et Po, of texts such Revolution in Poetic language and this is the one that interests me. In order to indicate how such a reading may operate, I will take one of the biblical texts Kristeva has interpreted, namely her response to Mary Douglas on Leviticus 11 and reread it in the light of Kristeva's Marxist inclinations. This reading is part of a larger project that I am editing on Marxist feminist criticism of the Bible. It will include theorists such as Rosa Luxemburg, Simone de Beauvoir, Toril Moi, Julia Kristeva, Juliett Mitchell, Rosemary Hennessy, Hannah Arendt, and Gayatri Spivak.


Faith Crisis Resolution in the Babylonian Exile
Program Unit: Prophets
Jerome Boone, Lee University

The Babylonian exile precipitated a major faith crisis for Israel's faith. The sixth century, BCE literature of the Hebrew Bible indicates that Israel was devestated by the experience of the exile. It also witnesses to the fact that Israel resolved the crisis and continued to engage in a viable faith in Second Temple Judaism. How did this happen? The paper will explore the polyphonic voices of the sixth century in Israel in order to better understand how Israel resolved the faith crisis. Israel's experience of the exile will be correlated to the "conflict resolution" paradigm of James Loder. The paper will seek to explore both the historical and the constructive tasks of biblical scholarship.


Retrieving Ancestral Religion in Postcolonial Perspective
Program Unit: Whence and Whither?: Methodology and the Future of Biblical Studies
Mark G. Brett, Whitley College, University of Melbourne

The paper explores the extent to which the ancestral Testaments of Indigenous Australia may be interpreted within postcolonial Christianities. Genesis presents an ancient analogy for pressing questions in the Australian context insofar as the canonical shape of this biblical book presents a hybrid mixture of ancestral religion and Yahwism. The paper also examines, in historical terms, the biblical presentations of landrights after Yahwism displaced ancestral cults in the seventh century BCE. No single method will suffice if biblical studies is to engage in political theology and cultural contestation.


Online Hebrew Vocabulary Project
Program Unit: Biblical Studies and Technology
Tim Bulkeley, University of Aukland

With technical and funding support from the University of Auckland Centre for Distance and Flexible Learning we are developing an interactive tool for students of Hebrew to develop and test their vocabulary. The data will be entered online, so the project can be opened both to international collaboration in preparing and using the resource. This paper will describe the project and demonstrate its current possibilities. The goal is to provide students with a learning tool which provides a richer environment than traditional flash cards, while also offering ease of use and availability.


Amos 7:1-8:3 Cohesion and the Concept of Prophecy.
Program Unit: Concept Analysis and the Hebrew Bible
Tim Bulkeley, University of Auckland

This paper forms part of an attempt to discern larger scale rhetorical and theological structures within the book of Amos. The unit presents a message concerning Amos as divine spokesperson, and his message of destruction for Israel. The paper will describe linguistic and literary features of the text that promote cohesion between the vision accounts (vv.1-9) and the narrative (vv.10-17). The coherence and development of the series of visions will also be described. Finally the cohesion between dissonant genres, together with this progression, will be used to suggest ways in which the redactor of Amos promotes a coherent concept of prophecy in this section of the book.


The Politics of Translation: A Glimpse inside the Jerusalem CHamber
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Alan H. Cadwallader, Flinders University

Contemporary discourse of the processes involved in the translation of texts have highlighted the multiple levels of negotiation that occur siimply to secure the new rendering. Recent analyses, such as Eco's 'Mouse or Rat' are brought into engagement with the translation that broke the hold of the Authorised Version. Brooke Foss Westcott, one of the members of the committee charged with the revision of the authorised English version, was known to have kept detailed notes of the proceedings and decision-making of the committee. Two newly discovered note-books provide an insight into the private workings of the committee, as well as offering a substantial clue to the interests and commitments of one of the most eminent New Testament scholars of the nineteenth century.


Graduate Biblical Studies in Asia in the Light of the Critical Asian Principle of the South East Asia Graduate School of Theology: The Philippine Experience
Program Unit: Graduate Biblical Studies: Ethos and Discipline
Noriel Capulong, Divinity School of Silliman University

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The Ulahingan Creation Story of the Manobos
Program Unit:
Noriel Capulong and Muriel Montenegro, Divinity School, Silliman University

The Ulahingan is a recently unearthed, collated , transcribed and translated and then partly published collection of the epic story of one particular indigenous tribe in the island of Mindanao, the Manobos. The late Dr. Elena Maquiso, an ethnomusicologist who became very interested in the study and publication of the oral tradition of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao, was able to publish 6 volumes of the material before she died in 1995. This collaborative project aims at revisiting the material and using it as a framework in discerning new areas of interpretation in our own biblical creation story. We hope to discern something through this cultural artifact of an indigenous community that can be used in critically examining the prevailing culture of lowland Filipinos and their modern day apprehension and application of the Scripture.


The Identity of the "Eklekte Kuria" in 2 John: Evidence from the Ancient Writings
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Lee Chee Chiew, Singapore Bible College

Throughout church history, there have always been two interpretations of the "eklekte kuria". One is literal, referring to an individual lady. The other is metaphorical, referring to the church. Traditionally, scholars have cited patristic works to support their interpretation (whether it be literal or metaphorical). This paper seeks to re-examine the patristic works, the Old Testament, the early Christian writings as well as the papyri for evidence with regard to the identity of the "eklekte kuria". Some traditional interpretation of patristic evidence will be challenged.


Priestly Christology in the Cleansing of the Leper (Mark 1:40-45)
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Mark Cheeseman, Whitley College

It has been suggested that Jesus cleansing of a leper in Mark 1:40-45 contains a priestly Christology. However this thesis has generally failed to receive significant attention or support. I will argue that factors of previously underrated importance support this passage as portraying a functional priestly Christology. First, the dynamics of holiness within the gospel's restorational theological context suggest a certain movement of holiness in the story. Second, the dynamics of holiness as portrayed in the gospel's unfolding narrative, with particular attention to the opening exorcism (Mark 1:21-28) establish a movement of holiness within the gospel commensurate with its theological context. Third, the specific details of the purification process for lepers has been an issue largely unattended to in this passage, with previous work usually remaining at the general observation that the priest declared people clean. However, when the entire process of purification for lepers is examined in more detail (Leviticus 14), a more persuasive case can be made for Jesus performing a priestly act of purification. When this is combined with our earlier observations regarding the dynamics of holiness in the theological and narrative contexts, there is a strong case to be made for Jesus appropriating the entirety of the priestly function for himself in cleansing the leper, and reinterpreting the existing cultic purification process as testifying to the legitimacy of his mission, incorporating his priestly function.


Biblical Studies and Public Interest: hermeneutical and pedagogical consideration in light of the ethos of the Great China Region (GCR)
Program Unit: Graduate Biblical Studies: Ethos and Discipline
Philip Chia, Hong Kong

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Pistis in Galatians 5:5-6: Neglected Evidence for the Faithfulness of Christ
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Hung-Sik Choi, Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology

***The aim of this article is to investigate the meaning of the pistis references in Gal 5:5-6 and the significance of Gal 5:5-6 for the pistis Christou debate. Pauline scholars have either overlooked or undervalued the importance of Gal 5:5-6 for the pistis Christou debate. With regard to the meaning of evk pi,stewj in 5:5, nearly all commentators have understood pi,stij in 5:5 as the Christian’s act of faith. Surprisingly, most exegetes who argue for “the subjective genitive” interpretation do not explicitly interpret evk pi,stewj as “through the faith(fulness) of Christ.” As far as pi,stij in 5:6 is concerned, virtually all interpreters of Paul have taken it to refer to the Christian’s act of faith. Having understood it as an ethical principle of Christian behavior, they have interpreted pi,stij diV avga,phj evnergoume,nh as “the Christian’s faith expressing itself through love.” The contextual and exegetical study of 5:5-6 leads us to conclude that the pistis references in 5:5 and 5:6 refer to the faithfulness of Christ, not to the Christian’s act of faith in Christ. In light of that the unqualified pi,stij references in 3:23-25 and 5:5-6 probably refer to “the faithfulness of Christ,” all the pi,stij occurrences in Galatians (pi,stij VIhsou/ Cristou/ and its equivalents and the noun pi,stij) which emerge in the context of justification probably denote “the faithfulness of Christ.” I would suggest that Gal 5:5-6 (and Gal 3:23-26) can be seen as determinative of Paul’s usage of pi,stij Cristou/ in the rhetorical context of the justification issue. The pi,stij references in Gal 5:5-6 are neglected evidence for the interpretation of pi,stij Cristou/ as “the faithfulness of Christ” in the history of the pi,stij Cristou/ debate.


The Bridegroom of Blood - An Examination of Coherence in Exodus 4:23-26
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Choi, Sik Ping, The South East Asia Graduate School of Theology

Exodus 4:23-26 is known as one of the most problematic texts in the Old Testament. Ambiguity arises when one reads the text. It is difficult to answer the question like “Whom did God seek to kill?” The text does not give exact clue for determination. Scholars have offered different solutions. The most possible solution is either Moses or his son. If it is Moses, the reason is illogical. It is hard to explain why God sends Moses to deliver His people at first and seeks to kill him afterwards. If it is Moses’ son, it seems to be more logical in the flow of thought. I am quite agreeable to this suggestion. However, in order to prove that the suggestion is correct, an investigation of the term “bridegroom of blood” and the coherence of the text are necessary. Moses’ wife Zipporah performs the circumcision in order to resolve the risk. Afterward, she calls the patient as my “bridegroom of blood”. It seems obvious that Zipporah’s bridegroom is Moses. How can we explain that the “bridegroom of blood” is not Moses but his son? I suggest that the problem can be solved through a study of the semantic meaning of the word “bridegroom”. In fact, the Hebrew word can be understood as “protection”. Therefore, the term “bridegroom of blood” should be understood as “protection by blood”. It helps to explain that Moses’ son can also be the one who has been circumcised by his mother and is protected by blood. Moreover, I would like to argue that one could still find coherence in the text with Moses’ son as the one whom God seeks to kill. Meanwhile, the tagmemic theory would be employed as a means of closely examining the story in order to find out whether this argument is valid.


Christian Studies in the Chinese Academia: A Unique Phenomenon and Its Implications
Program Unit: There and Back Again: Hermeneutical and Cultural Effects of Overseas Biblical/Theological Education
Choong Chee Pang, Peking University

Christianity first came to China in AD635 through the Nestorians. But it is still not deeply rooted in its cultural soils. For more than thirty years, from around 1952 to the early 1980s, Christian studies in the Chinese academia were virtually extinct with the exception of a few tightly controlled government institutions. However, following the "open door" policy inaugurated by China's former paramount leader Deng Xiao-ping, Christian studies in the Chinese academia have been given a new lease of life since the mid-1980s. After about twenty years of uninterrupted development, Christian studies in China have now become a phenomenon which is unprecedented, not only in China, but also in the entire Asian church history. One of the unique features of this phenomenon is that the great majority of the academics who are involved in Christian studies are outside the organized Chinese church (extra ecclesiam). Both quantitatively and qualitatively they far outweigh those in the church. The published works of these academics in the last ten years have also been very impressive, and they are widely read not only in China but also among the Chinese diaspora as well as those who can handle the Chinese language, especially the educated Koreans and Japanese. Some of the scholars are also well versed in English and German. In about ten years' time, these Chinese scholars are most likely to form a strong contingent to occupy a rightful place in the international community in Biblical and Theological Studies. Such a possibility must also take into consideration the simple reality that the Chinese church is already the largest in Asia and one of the most numerous in the world. The proposed paper aims at informing SBL's 2005 International Meeting about the origin, development and future prospect of this unique phenomenon.


Job's God: A Surfeit of Theologies
Program Unit:
David Clines, University of Sheffield

Unlike some religious traditions in which the deity is unknowable or virtually so, in the Book of Job it is not that nothing about God can be known. It is rather that too much about God is known, too many conflicting theologies are presenting themselves for acceptance. Is he a cosmic deity, far removed from the concerns of humans, or is he intimately involved with the lives and destinies of individual humans? Is he a compassionate god or a cruel monster? Does he govern the world according to the dictates of justice, or is he negligent of human affairs? All these positions are affirmed by the Book of Job, or at least by one of the speakers within its dialogues. This paper will offer a sympathetic critique of each theology in the Book of Job in turn, asking finally whether the author is ultimately persuading us to a vision of human existence that is surfeited with theology and finds meaning rather in the mundane and the domestic.


The Lord is My Shepherd in Southeast Asia
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
David Clines, University of Sheffield

In celebration of the meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in South East Asia for the first time, I will consider how Psalm 23 has been translated in various Bible versions of the region (not excluding English). I will examine the following ten issues in translation, among others: (1) Does the first verse mean "It is my shepherd that Yahweh is" rather than "It is Yahweh that is my shepherd"? (2) Does he "make" me lie down, which could suggest compulsion? Or does he "cause" or "allow" me to lie down? (3) Does he lead me "beside" still waters or "to"still waters? (4) Is it my "soul" that is "restored" or my "life" that is "revived"? Can the phrase refer to a sheep as well as to a human? (5) Are they "paths of righteousness" or "right, level, smooth paths", which could also apply to a sheep? (6) Is "for the sake of his name" translated literally, is it "for love of his name", or something else? (7) Is it (literally) "the valley of the shadow of death" or "valley of deep darkness"? (8) Do the staff and crook (or whatever they are) "comfort", in the sense of soothe, console, or "encourage", "strengthen"? (9) Shall I "dwell" or "return" to the house of Yahweh? (10) "For ever" or "for a long time"?


Tsunami Disaster, Mental Illness and Post Traumatic Disorder in Theology and Religion
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Daniel Cochavy, Jerusalem, Israel

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Silence, Ye Women! God is at Work in the Womb. Psalm 139 as Illustration of Israel's Embodied Patriarchal Theology of Containment
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Johan Coetzee, University of Johannesburg

For Israel the socially constructed ideal body was symbolized as the whole and pure body, especially the male body. The event of birth was ritually impure not only because blood was involved but also because of the breaking of boundaries when a female body broke open in order to give birth to another body. Pregnancy did not only belong to the woman herself. It was a state of the developing fetus, for which the woman was a container that needed to be socially contained and controlled. In Psalm 139 a glimpse into the womb is given. Yahweh is depicted as skilfully dedicating himself to the creation of a male body deep inside this exclusive workplace of his. The pregnant woman is silenced by the glorification of the male embryo/baby and his male creator. This paper looks into the way Psalm 139 reflects on the body-politics of silencing the women in Israel’s theology.


In Anticipation of A New Edition of the Yeho'ash Royal Building Inscription: Philological Aspects
Program Unit: Language and Linguistics
Chaim (Harold R.) Cohen, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

In continuation of my lecture at the SBL 2004 International Meeting in Groningen,where I dealt with three issues of BH philology in the light of my research on the Yeho'ash Inscription (=YI) and at the same time distributed a handout presenting my full translation (and partial reconstruction of lines 1-3) of the YI, I wish to now justify the main points concerning which my translation and philological understanding differ from that of my colleagues (mainly Cross, Eph`al, Hurowitz, and Talshir). My lecture will be divided into two parts (especially in light of the general consensus that the YI is definitely a forgery, a position to which I am adamantly opposed): 1) Philological Evidence against those points which have been raised in favor of forgery; 2) Positive philological evidence supporting authenticity.


Figurative Heads and Coverings in 1Corinthians 11:2-16
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Peter Crickitt, Emmaus Bible College Australia

In 1Cor11:2-16 most commentators refer to either having long hair or the placing of a veil on the head. These interpretations ignore the definition of "head" Paul gives at the introduction of his argument. The term "head" in v.3 means the exercising of authority. In vs4-7 the covering of a man or woman's head means to exercise their ministry of prophecy and prayer with their authority covered. [Paul uses "covering" in this figurative way in 2Cor3-4.] There is no reason to suggest that the ministry of leaders in either church or family is inconsistent with the church and family members also exercising their ministries. Paul expects wives to publicly pray and prophesy in a way that supports their husbands duties of servant leadership rather than to take the leadership for themselves, which would be as shameful as having her head publicly shaved. Both men and women are made in the image of God (v7) and their behavior will either glorify or dishonor God. Similalry a wife's behavior will do the same for her husband. Paul refers to the creation story in which women were made from and for man (v8-9) which leads him to ask the rhetorical question (v10) "therefore ought a wife have authority over her head (husband)?" Paul expects a negative answer. A clue to the cause of the problem Paul is addressing is given at the end of v10. It appears that some corinthians deduced from their eschatological destiny of being unmarried like the angels (Lk20:35f) that the distinctions between the genders did not apply in this age. Lest his readers misunderstand the gender relationship as superior to inferior Paul reminds them of their interdependence (v11) and they all come from God (v12).He then again uses a rhetorical question to make them decide the matter (v13).


Canoe Noses and Coconut Feet: Embodied Theology and the Construction of the Samoan Male Body
Program Unit:
Philip Culbertson, Auckland University

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Paul's Salvation: Re-working Soteriological Categories in the Pauline corpus
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Keith Dyer, Whitley College

The language of 'salvation' in the Pauline corpus is far richer than the dominant category 'soteriology' allows. I propose to re-work Gerd Theissen's categories of soteriological symbolism (1974, ET 1991) in order to challenge the traditional dominance of salvation language to describe what God is doing in Christ, and in particular, the use of 'atonement' as the means by which salvation is made possible. I will argue that for Paul, cosmic reconciliation (or 'at-one-ment') is the logically prior category within which salvation, justification and redemption find their relative meanings.


Scribal Habits in the Singular Readings of P46
Program Unit: Language and Linguistics
Edgar Ebojo, Trinity Theological College, Singapore

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‘Paper People’: Rethinking the Contemporary Imagination of ‘Characters’ in the Gospels and Ancient Narrative
Program Unit: Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Scott S. Elliott, Drew University

My paper develops a critique of narrative criticism in biblical studies, carefully integrated with a reading of the Gospel of Mark, vis-à-vis ancient novels, that models a different approach to Hellenistic and biblical narrative. The point of entry for this critique will be characters and characterization, which has been a central category of analysis in narratology since its inception, and which often serves as the primary point where dominant ideologies are most clearly reflected. I formulate my criticism on two fronts: one theoretical and the other historical, with the former framing and informing the latter. On the one hand, I argue that biblical narrative critics do not go far enough theoretically. On the other hand, I contend (somewhat ironically perhaps) that biblical scholars are anachronistic in their approach to gospel narratives. Thus, the first aspect asks how the Gospel of Mark would be conceived differently if considered within a poststructuralist narratological framework, and what changes would be effected if biblical narrative criticism were pushed beyond its current configurations. Then, by examining the dissimilarity between ancient and present-day approaches to novelistic literature, the second aspect will demonstrate how even those who resist, on historical grounds, the use of poststructuralist literary methodologies when treating ancient texts continue to produce readings of these texts that are no less anachronistic. Taken together, these two aspects will problematize both notions of literary characters as autonomous agents or subjects, and treatments of literary characters as historical referents. Arguing primarily from a New Historicist theoretical perspective, I ask two questions throughout the paper: First, what is at work in interpretations of characters like those just mentioned? And second, how might we read these narratives in a manner that does not resort to concerns about a character’s thoughts, feelings, or motivations?


Earth as Intertext: "...the Stones Would Shout Out ..." (Luke 19:40)
Program Unit: Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Anne Elvey, Monash University-Victoria Australia

In a paper “Earth, World, Text: On the (Im)possibility of Ecopoiesis”, Kate Rigby identifies a founding tension in the field of ecocriticism, namely the impossibility of bringing to presence in the act of writing about nature, Earth, or matter, that which one desires to ‘save’. Can writing convey the ‘thinginess’ of the thing? Can any hermeneutic ‘hear’ or uncover the materiality which underlies a text and on which all texts depend? Rigby writes of two ecopoietic moments in writing and reading: the (im)possible ecopoiesis that endeavours to convey, hear, recover and respond to both the thinginess of matter and grief for its loss. A third ecopoietic moment in writing and reading also needs to be accounted for, namely the ecopoiesis of resistance. Extending the notion of intertextuality articulated by Julia Kristeva to understand Earth as acting intertextually on the biblical text, this paper listens for the intertextual materiality of stone in Luke 19:28-20:19, by attending to the three ecopoietic moments of matter, grief and resistance, in relation to the destruction of the Second Temple.


Narrative Meaning and Inferred Meaning
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
J Barrie Evans, European Training Program, SIL

The paper considers recent hermeneutical approaches, particularly that of Stephen Fowl, which Foutz (Quodlibet 1:6) claims to be incompatible with the hermeneutical proposals of Kevin Vanhoozer, and proposes how an inferential theory of utterance interpretation known as Relevance Theory, which recognises underdeterminacy in a text, can be used to clarify and possibly mediate between these approaches. The paper considers issues in narrative meaning as a context for examining these questions.


Deborah's Song or Barak's?
Program Unit: Whence and Whither?: Methodology and the Future of Biblical Studies
J. Cheryl Exum, University of Sheffield

The biblical story of Deborah, Jael, and Barak and their victory over the forces of Sisera contains the seeds for undermining the two female deliverers it celebrates. The paper examines the process of foregrounding Barak’s role at the women’s expense not only in the arts (e.g. in painting and in Handel’s oratorio Deborah) but also in the history of biblical interpretation.


Making Connections in the Past: Relevance Theory as a Method for Using Background Materials in Biblical Studies: Lord Jesus against Lord Caesar in1 Corinthians 8:5-6
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Joseph D. Fantin, Dallas Theological Seminary

It is proposed in this paper that in some cases, when an exegete has discovered background material that may potentially illuminate a biblical text but given our present state of knowledge this connection may be dubious, relevance theory can be used to help determine whether or not a connection is likely. This paper will illustrate this use of relevance theory by briefly exploring the living Caesar’s role as KYRIOS (lord) in the Roman empire during the 50s CE and using principles from relevance theory (namely, the second principle of relevance and efficiency), examine whether Paul’s use of KYRIOS for Christ may be a polemic against the living Caesar in 1 Cor 8:5-6.


The Chronotope in the Gospel of Luke as an Indication of Genre
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Bettina Fischer, University of Stellenbosch

The view of the canonical Gospels as ancient biographies or bioi has gained currency in recent years. However, a closer examination of the model that has been applied to reach this conclusion shows some serious flaws. First, the latter is not specific enough to distinguish satisfactorily between a bios and an ancient novel. Secondly, it does not address the overwhelming involvement of the supernatural in these narratives. Thirdly, it makes no allowance for the carnivalistic inversions in the texts, an element that is inextricably linked to their discourse. This paper shows how Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory can be used as an alternative tool to shed light on the genre of the Gospel of Luke. The chronotope of this text supports and is evocative of the primary discourse in question, a discourse more radical than the bios hypothesis allows for. A view of the time space arrangement in the light of Bakhtin’s adventure time (rather than as biographical time with topical insertions, as claimed by the proponents of the bios hypothesis), addresses those features in the text that are not satisfactorily accommodated in the bios model. It draws attention to its dialogic nature, both in terms of intertextual activity and in the battle between two carnivalistic versions of its world.


The Topos of the "Binding of Isaac" (the Aqedah) in Modern Hebrew Poetry
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Tova Forti, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

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Gender Studies and Ancient Magic
Program Unit: Greco-Roman World
Marco Frenschkowski, University of Duisburg

Ancient magical papyri to an overwhelming degree have been written by men for male practitioners and clients of magic, as can be seen e.g. from an analysis of love spells. But ancient literary texts, especially novels, give many images of female magic. Did female practitioners of magic not write down their magic, or is the picture of the witch in literature (as in Lucan and Apuleius) so completely fictitious as to yield no information whatsoever on female magic in antiquity? Questions such as these receive a further impetus when we look into the large number of magical texts that have a Christian background. The paper also discusses questions of re-defining ancient magic when taking account of the point of view of gender studies and sociological perspectives. What can gender studies and sociology contribute to the subject? We know how theologians of the emerging church saw magic, but how did practitioners of magic see Christianity? The paper also gives a short overview on the earliest sources about magic in Christianity. The paper is an abstract of some ideas to be published in the author´s forthcoming study on ancient magic in the Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum.


Jewish Monotheism and Middle Platonic Philosophy: A Note on the Concept of God in Philo and Paul
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Peter Frick, University of Waterloo

Philo of Alexandria and Paul the Apostle are both deeply embedded in the monotheist understanding of God that they inherited from their Jewish traditions and scriptures. I this study I will (1) briefly discuss Philo’s concept of God (divine simplicity, transcendence, ineffability, the Middle Platonist distinction between divine existence and divine essence) and (2) examine how Philo’s philosophical nuances in his concept of monotheism have echoes in Paul’s articulation of his understanding of God. Our main Pauline text is Romans 1:18-21.


Of Waves and Wisdom
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Agustinus Gianto, Pontifical Biblical Institute

The destruction of civilizations by flooding and raging waves is a well-known topos in Ancient Near Eastern literary texts, including the Hebrew Bible. At first glance they seem to suggest a correlation between human guilt and divine punishment, hence the idea of causality. To be sure, there are elements within the stories themselves that point in that direction. Yet, despite its appeal, causality is not the core message, especially if the thematic structure of the texts is taken into consideration. The theme of destruction mentioned above is deeply rooted in the ancient myths about combat between the god with the evil forces which are symbolized by the sea or sea-monsters. This myth has given rise to creation stories in which order emerges out of chaos by virtue of the wisdom of the creator. The same myth also provides a basis for stories of the return of chaos when this wisdom is being contested. But there is also a third strand that comes out of the myth; it develops the theme of the human condition as part of the creation which remains vulnerable to the evil forces. The theme of suffering and its meaning developed in the Book of Job and Daniel represent this strand. These texts are about the human condition which, despite its imperfections, is worth living, rather than a statement on guilt and punishment or divine failure to protect the created world.


First Things First - An Interpretation of Genesis 1
Program Unit: Language and Linguistics
Claire Gottlieb, Bridgewater, NJ

The first verse of Genesis 1 has been a subject for Biblical exegesis by practically every major Bible scholar throughout the ages. There have been many interpretations of the meaning of the first two words, the most prominent being "in the beginning" or "when", but up to the present there is no consensus among scholars as to a definitive meaning. The balance of the chapter has also been the subject of much conjecture as to meaning and format. This paper will examine the grammar and vocabulary of various verses of the chapter and, using classical Hebrew, Babylonian and Egyptian sources, will propose another interpretation of the chapter.


Lexical Pragmatics and Biblical Interpretation
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Gene L. Green, Wheaton College

A central focus of current biblical exegesis is the interpretation of words in semantic structures. The literature witnesses the considerable attention given to lexical semantics in the discipline (Barr, 1961, 1962/1969; Sawyer, 1972; Caird, 1980; Gibson, 1981; Louw, 1982; Silva, 1983/1995; Cotterell and Turner, 1989; Nida and Louw, 1992; Carson, 1996). However, research has not adequately explored the importance of lexical pragmatics which does not stop at the relationship between words and encoded concepts but discusses the way the concepts suggested by a word broaden or narrow in use. Some current discussions of Relevance Theory (RT) forward the notion of ad hoc concept formation, suggesting that words are “pointers to a conceptual space” (Carston, 2002) and that the concepts themselves must be pragmatically inferred in the process of interpretation. This essay will explore this RT approach to lexical pragmatics in relation to biblical interpretation, focusing upon the Pauline use of kurios (Lord) as a title for Christ Jesus.


Christian Interpetations of the Aqedat Itzhag
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
John T. Greene, Michigan State University

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Josephus and the Homeless of Julias: A Tale of Two Cities
Program Unit: Bethsaida Excavations Project
John T. Greene, Michigan State University

The question of "What happened to the inhabitants of the polis Julias during the First Jewish Revolt (66-70/3 C.E.)?" still plagues researchers at the Bethsaida Research Project. Archaeological evidence is quite clear concerning settlement at et-Tell (Tzer/Bethsaida/Julias) prior to this revolt. Convincing arguments have also been advanced for continued settlement after the Revolt through the Rabbinic and Early Byzantine periods. It is this 66-70/3 C.E. lacuna that is troubling. Combining material cultural evidence from et-Tell with accounts contained in Flavius Josephus' Jewish Wars and Life, this paper offers a possible response to the question posed above.


Digital Preservation and Access: State of the Question
Program Unit: Biblical Studies and Technology
Carl Griffin, Brigham Young University

The digitization of documents is vital to the democratization of information and one of the fundamental activities of the information revolution. Government, the academy, and the private sector are all pouring enormous resources into such initiatives. Perhaps the largest single project has recently been announced by Google, which is partnering with a number of prominent academic libraries to digitize their collections. This is just one of a number of initiatives to provide electronic access to the book and manuscript holdings of major collections. This paper will survey recent developments in the arena of digital access and preservation, with particular focus on that of importance to the study of the Bible and antiquity. This will include a survey of some major initiatives and how they may impact future scholarship. More particularly it will examine recent technical advances in digital imaging and archiving as well as the technical challenges yet to be overcome. This paper will also provide practical advice to those who may be interested in pursuing a digital preservation initiative.


Jewish Women's Voices: Written out of History
Program Unit: Judaica
Mayer Gruber, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

One of the principal exponents of the mainstreaming of Judaic Studies in American higher education, David Weinstein, the author of Hebrew Through Pictures, often explained what motivated him to mainstream Judaic Studies. It was his perception in reading the history of Western Civilization in public school that he, as a Jew, simply did not exist. Recently, I found that I too did not exist. In vol. 2 (2003) Kenishta: Studies of the Synagogue World published by Bar-Ilan University there is an article by Yael Levine, "Women Who Composed Prayers for the Public: An Historical Study." She states, "Our survey showed that in the course of the generations only three [Jewish] prayers [for use by both men and women] were with certainty composed by women." Suddenly, I who had grown up celebrating Passover by singing "Behold it is the Springtide of the Year" by Alice Lucas and Hannukah by singing "In the Candles Rays I See" by Elma Ehrlich Levinger found that my American Jewish heritage did not exist. Indeed, the 21 Jewish poetesses of the 19th and 20th centuries whose works were found in the Union Hymnal for Jewish Worship,with which I had grown up, had been thrown into the dustbin of history. I determined to set the record straight especially with respect to the most prolific American Jewish hymnwriter, Penina Moise, who produced 180 hymns. In the proposed paper several of her religious poems and hymns will be analyzed with special reference to the influence upon them of biblical and Judaic heritage. This paper will serve as the fitting introduction to Max Stern's paper, which will discuss and illustrate the musical background of the hymns of Penina Moise.


Love Conquers Anger: The Akedah in the Rabbinic Liturgy
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Mayer Gruber, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

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'Is the Christ the Son of David?' - A Garden Path Question? (Applying Cognitive Criteria to Biblical Interpretation)
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Ernst-August Gutt, Sil International

One fairly common interpretation of Jesus' question of the Davidic sonship of the Christ (Lk 20:41-44), is that its basic intent is to draw attention to his divine nature. However, looked at more closely, the way Jesus is reported to express himself in the synoptic gospels is not the most straightforward one leading to this interpretation. The most direct way would have been to reverse the focus of the question: the Christ is called the son of David - how then can David call him his lord? - as has indeed been pointed out by some scholars. Instead, as actually expressed, the question appears to focus on the Davidic descent, not the acclamation as lord. Is this just an infelicitous way of expression, a 'garden path' utterance, or can it be shown to be entirely adequate to its purpose? Using the conceptual tools of the cognition-based relevance theory of communication, this paper surveys a range of interpretations proposed by different scholars. The thrust of this exercise is intended to be bidirectional: on the one hand, to explore the usefulness of relevance theory for matters of biblical hermeneutics and, on the other hand, to examine the validity of biblical interpretations from a cognitive point of view.


Let us Go Beyond the Binding of Isaac
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Herbert Hain, Los Angeles, CA

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Job and 4QInstruction: Two Approaches to Epistemology within Israel’s Wisdom Tradition
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature
James Harding, University of Otago

This paper compares and contrasts Job with 4QInstruction, with reference to the acquisition of supernatural knowledge. This relates to the connections between wisdom and apocalyptic, building on links between Job and apocalyptic works such as 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, and on the apocalyptic framework for the instructional material in 4QInstruction. The book of Job presents the reader with a fundamental paradox: the speeches of Yhwh seem to affirm the possibility of divine revelation as a basis for unravelling problems otherwise impossible for humans to deal with, yet with the crucial exception of his own radical ignorance (cf. 40:3-5; 42:1-6), nothing directly pertaining to such problems is imparted to Job. Daniel’s resolution to this paradoxical attitude to epistemology, whereby the possibility of attaining knowledge by divine revelation is strongly affirmed, but only for those chosen to understand heavenly mysteries (e.g. 2:20-23), is shared by Qumran texts such as 4QInstruction. In 4QInstruction formal and thematic elements associated with Proverbs appear in a context concerned with the revelation of heavenly mysteries. It is possible for the mevin to live in the world in accordance with wisdom, but only by virtue of meditating on heavenly mysteries, such as “the mystery of what shall be.” Thus Job and 4QInstruction represent two parallel but contradictory developments in Israel’s wisdom tradition: Job’s scepticism about the possibility of attaining wisdom stands in stark contrast with 4QInstruction, where wisdom may indeed be attained, through the mevin meditating on heavenly mysteries. The scarcity of “biblical” wisdom texts at Qumran suggests that 4QInstruction represents a manifestation of wisdom revered by the Qumran group in preference to the not-yet-canonical sapiential works that found their way into the Tanakh.


"I Sought Him but Did Not Find Him": The Elusive Lover in the Song of Songs
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Kathryn Harding, University of Sheffield

Despite the tendency in much Song of Songs scholarship to view the relationship of the lovers in the poem as harmonious, egalitarian and unproblematic, the repeated absence of the male protagonist in parts of the woman's speeches (most notably in chapters 3 and 5 of the Song) might be seen as a challenge to such interpretations. This paper will foreground the theme of absence in the woman's speeches in the Song of Songs, exploring the implications of this theme for the characterisation of the female protagonist, and for the relationship of the lovers in the poem.


The Destruction of Jerusalem: Guilt and Hope in the Baruch Tradition and Josephus
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Mark Harding, Australian College of Theology

This paper considers the responses to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 CE in the works of the Baruch tradition (BT) (1–4 Baruch) and in Josephus. To a major degree the writers standing in the BT contend that the destruction of the city can be explained in terms of the failure of the people to be the people of God and God’s punishment of them. Such punishment was foreshadowed in Deuteronomy, Jeremiah and early Jewish works in their debt. The Deuteronomic nexus between sin and disaster is consistently invoked in the BT as the reason why catastrophe has overtaken the people of God. Josephus affirms this analysis. Yet, as consistently expected in Deuteronomic formulations, the BT claims that God remains bound to his exiled people that they might one day live securely in the land promised to their forefathers. God will restore a penitent remnant to the land, rebuild Israel’s national fortunes, and overthrow its enemies. For his part Josephus holds out a muted hope of a national renaissance. It is the turn of the Romans to become the divinely appointed rulers of the world. They will continue to enjoy divine patronage for the foreseeable future. Consequently the Jews ought to strive to be faithful clients both of God and the Romans as the condition for the realisation of Jewish national aspirations. osephus’ counsel is profoundly influenced by cold political realities. He himself is a model of such a life and sign of its possibilities. However, in contrast to Josephus’ sober assessment, the BT holds out the hope of swift, everlasting vengeance visited upon the Romans and the actualisation of Israel’s fondest national aspirations after a time of divine chastening.


“Lest Ye Perish in the Way”: Magic and Kinship in Exodus 4:24-26
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Christopher B. Hays, Emory University

As long as the Hebrew Bible has been read, the LORD’s attack on Moses and his family has been a source of discomfiture, fascination and puzzlement. To judge from the modern commentaries, it does not seem to be licit any longer to begin a discussion of Exodus 4:24-26 without an initial disclaimer concerning the sheer difficulty of the passage. The pericope is “terribly mysterious,” “very obscure,” “enigmatic,” “notoriously difficult” and the cause of “much brain-racking.” Without claiming to "solve" the passage, I develop a pair of ideas in new ways. The first is the relationship of Zipporah’s action to ancient practices of apotropaic magic and sacrifice. The second is the possibility of re-reading her statement—“Surely you are a 'hatan-damim' to me”—in light of Divine Kinsman theology. In this passage, the circumcision should be understood by analogy with apotropaic sacrifice (ANE parallels are adduced). Thus her words represent a sort of cultic rubric or performative utterance. Furthermore, Zipporah should be understood to touch the bloody foreskin to the feet of YHWH, by analogy with the ritual of the Passover and especially the temple sacrifices. Both Israelite onomatica and the Targums' translation of 'hatan-damim' point to a different understanding of the consonantal Hebrew from the MT -- one which supports my reading. Zipporah's utterance should be translated, "Surely you are a blood relative to me." Thus the phrase is reminiscent of Ruth’s oath to her mother-in-law that “your people will be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).


The Book of Jeremiah MT and the Early Second Temple Era
Program Unit: Prophets
John Hill, Yarra Theological Union

In my paper I explore how one might read Jeremiah MT against the backdrop of the early second temple period. The differences between the Hebrew and Greek recensions provide the starting point for the exploration. In the paper I take up a) Jer 33:14-26 MT, a passage not found in the Greek, b) the different representations of the relationship between Jeremiah and Baruch in the two recensions, and c) the MT's heightened focus on the figure of Babylon. My study shows that the views of Jeremiah MT about important issues are quite distinctive, and were different from the Jerusalem leadership. Jeremiah MT’s vision of a restored Davidic ruler would have caused difficulties for a leadership which had to deal with their Persian occupiers. Jeremiah MT is ambivalent about the Jerusalem temple, and its understanding of who constitutes the priesthood is different to that found in Ezekiel 43-44. It elevates the figure of Jeremiah over that of Baruch because it does not accept that the era of the prophet is finished. In this respect it differs significantly from a text like Zech 13:2-6. Its heightened emphasis on Babylon is connected to Jeremiah MT’s understanding of the exile as unended. In this respect it differs from the view found in 2 Chron 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1-4.


He Who Loves You is Your Neighbour: The Key to the Lawyer’s Puzzle in Luke 10:25-37
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Craig Y.S. Ho, Hong Kong Baptist University

A diamond ring is locked in an unbreakable box and is mailed to you. The problem for you now is to open it. You may communicate with the sender by mail but all mail transactions have to be secure, i.e. locked in an unbreakable box. Unless you’ve been told about this puzzle, otherwise it will take you quite a while to solve it. In my opinion, a proper interpretation of the famous parable of the Good Samaritan is not easier. Yet most interpreters think they can open the box without the key or with a strange key! In the dialogue between Jesus and the lawyer, a Who question is asked by the lawyer and after telling him the famous parable, Jesus returns another Who question. Yet most interpreters do not seem to take the question of the lawyer seriously or just concentrate on the parable itself. They tackle the parable as if Jesus is addressing a How question: e.g. about how to love someone you do not naturally love, or about how to break religious and racial barriers, or about love in action and not just in knowledge, or about selfless love etc. etc. Some interpreters even accuse the lawyer of asking a wrong question! I find most existing interpretations unsatisfactory – they do not give enough weight to the genuine difficulty of the lawyer’s question, which is a simple question of identification: Who? Interpretations that do not properly answer the Who questions have missed the point of the parable. In this paper I shall analyze the dialogue anew as the Lawyer’s Puzzle and interpret the parable as Jesus’ answer encoded in yet another puzzle. In all likelihood the lawyer has solved Jesus’ puzzle and got a surprising but correct answer for his own question.


Jesus as the Holy One of God: The Healing of the Zavah in Mark 5:24b-34
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Horace Jeffery Hodges, Korea University

Mark 5:24b-34 presents the miracle story of the woman healed of an incessant flow of blood. According to Leviticus, she would be in a state of impurity. Jesus, by contrast, is in a state of holiness due to the power within him. The impure and the holy are dynamic forces in hostile opposition, so one might expect some tension here. Indeed, Mark 1:24 presents Jesus as "The Holy One of God," a title that finds its prechristian parallel only in the expression "The Holy Place of God." Mark would thus appear to be characterizing Jesus in terms otherwise applied to the temple. This would serve to increase the dynamic tension between the woman's impurity and Jesus's holiness since all impurity should be kept distant from the center of holiness. So, why can this woman in a state of impurity approach Jesus, who is in a state of holiness, without endangering herself? The paper will conclude that Mark's gospel presents Jesus as the holy one of God--a source of inexhaustible power--and yet approachable even by those in a state of impurity. Such would fit with the interpretation of Mark's portrayal of Jesus's mission as a mission motivated primarily by the politics of compassion rather than the politics of purity. This also signifies an increased emphasis in Mark upon the very personal nature of the divine. Destruction no longer occurs automatically when the impure comes into close proximity or even into contact with the holy despite the fact that the impure and the holy remain antithetical forces characterized by their dynamic opposition.


Earthly Versus Heavenly Nourishment in John's Gospel
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Horace Jeffery Hodges, Korea University

This paper will analyze the dualism of nourishment in John's Gospel, using anthropological insights on gift-giving to explain how the offer of nourishment is used to draw borders between the Johannine community and the world. Marcel Mauss's views on gift-giving will be applied to close reading of the text, and some comparative work looking at the similarities and differences between Johannine and Gnostic texts will be performed. Despite the hostility between community and world in John, we will see that borders are drawn not just to exclude but also to be crossed.


The Implications of the Ancient Near Eastern Law Codes for our understanding of Biblical Law
Program Unit: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law
Huiping Hu, University of Durham

Studies of the content, form and function of cuneiform law-codes have given rise to two distinct viewpoints since the significant discovery of Hammurabi's laws in 1902. The earlier view, that the law collections were supposed to be enacted as laws in a judicial context has been strongly challenged by a later one, namely that the collections constituted a type of ancient literature, perhaps used for education in scribal schools rather than forensically. This provides an interesting context for understanding the original purpose of the laws in the Torah, which seem to imitate the other ancient codes. Far from being just legal fossils preserved within the framework of historiographical texts, they contribute directly to the purposes of those works in shaping or re-shaping an ideal Israel.


Dreams, Visions and Oracles
Program Unit: Prophets
Herbert B Huffmon, Drew University

Primary and secondary sources often seek to make a sharp differentiation between dreams, visions, and oracular revelations. However, there is considerable evidence that these designations, dependent on self-testimony (or "redactor" testimony), do not indicate significant experiential differences. The paper addresses these issues and seeks to chart a path for interpretation. The exemplars come from ancient Israel and Mesopotamia, especially the Mari and Neo-Assyrian texts.


The Messiah's Expiatory Death in the Fourth Vision of IV Ezra (9:26 - 10:59)
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Edna Israeli, Tel Aviv, Israel

Scholars unanimously agree that although the questions and allegations addressed to God throughout the first three visions of IV Ezra remain unresolved, there nonetheless occurs a dramatic change in "Ezra", and without any intelligible reason he accepts the Angel's standpoint and becomes God's emissary. Subsequently the author goes into a series of visions which, to my estimate, deal with the Messiah. Contrary to prevailing opinion, I claim that the Messiah plays a central role in the fourth vision, where "Ezra" encounters a woman lamenting the loss of her only son who died on his wedding day. He admonishes her private grief and promises that she will receive her son back in return for justifying God's judgment. The woman suddenly disappears and heavenly Jerusalem appears in her place. This vision is preceded by episodes in which "Ezra" portrays a Pauline reality: mankind and the world are destined to perdition as a result of the Sin of the "first Adam". The Messiah's death in Paul's theology is the means to redeem mankind from its hopeless predicament, assuring the believer eternal life in a new world. The same solution is implied in the fourth vision. The death of the son, like the death of Christ, is a direct response to the state of things described. This answers the question for which scholarship has failed to find a solution, namely what brought about the abrupt change which some have called: Religious conversion. In all its details this vision conforms to the world of Christological ideas, symbols and images. It includes an expiatory death of the Messiah and also alludes to his return.


Use of *gar* in Paul's flow of arguments
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Akio Ito, Tokyo Christian University

The particle *gar* has been understood as the conjunction to introduce a reason or inference. Recently emphatic usage is proposed. I should like to explore the possibility and appropriateness of that proposal. I will probably conclude that these usage should be understood as speaker-oriented usage rather than an emphatic use, and explore some rheotorical significance.


The Woman at the Well--Historical, Aetiological, or Entertainment?
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Glenna S. Jackson, Otterbein College

While spending part of a fall 2004 sabbatical at the Evangelical Seminary of Cairo (Egypt), I visited St. Simon the Tanner Coptic Church and was intrigued at the importance of the story of the woman at the well. While most historical Jesus scholars render the story as "scarcely history," this study takes a look at the importance of the story in Coptic Christianity and the possibility of its historical reliability.


Coptic Christianity and Women in the Synoptic Gospels
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Glenna S. Jackson, Otterbein College

While in Cairo, Egypt, during my fall 2004 sabbatical, I was intrigued by paintings based on stories about Jesus and women at St. Simon the Tanner Coptic Church. This study focuses on the influence of women from the gospel stories on that early Christian tradition.


Reforming History: The Hermeneutical Significance of the Books of Chronicles.
Program Unit: Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Louis Jonker, University of Stellenbosch

Different views have been expressed in past scholarship about the nature of the Books of Chronicles. Some regard the Chronicler to be an exegete (cf. Willi / Smend), others see the Chronicler as theologian (cf. Ackroyd / Coggins), and still others see the Chronicler as a historian (cf. Kalimi / Hoglund). The opinion expressed in this paper (closely related to Japhet's view) is that Chronicles could be characterized as "reforming history". The ambiguity of this designation is intentional. The Books of Chronicles are an attempt to reformulate and sanitize the past. It is, however, simultaneously an attempt to reformulate the identity of God's people during the Second Temple period. Such a "reforming history" forms an unique bridge between past and present. The focus of this paper will not be on the nature of Chronicles as such, but will rather examine the hermeneutical significance of these books for present-day hermeneutical debates, particularly in post-apartheid South Africa.


Did Ezekiel Experience an Ascent to Heaven?
Program Unit: Prophets
Paul M. Joyce, University of Oxford

In 573 BCE (Ezek. 40.1), at the half-way point of the Exile as he perceives it, Ezekiel anticipates that twenty-five years later an end to Exile will be accomplished. He expresses this hope through a remarkable vision of the Temple (Ezekiel 40-48). The Temple of this vision is both a heavenly one and an earthly one. God’s return in 43.1-5 relates to the actual sanctuary in Jerusalem; this has to be rebuilt and so that same chapter appropriately speaks of the rebuilding (43.10-11), according to the heavenly model seen in chs. 40-42. The neglected view that chs. 40-42 represent a report of an ascent to the heavenly Temple should be taken seriously and this forms the central issue of this paper. It is generally assumed that 1 Enoch 14 is the first account of an ascent to the heavenly Temple. But could it be that Ezekiel 40-48 represents an earlier version of such account, indeed the very first? What do we mean by of an account of an ascent to the heavenly Temple, and importantly what are the criteria for recognizing such an account? The paper will also briefly consider several fascinating cultural analogies to what is found in Ezekiel 40-48: the realm of the ideas of Plato’s system, the icon of the eastern Christian tradition, and the mandala of Tibetan Buddhism. Whether Ezekiel 40-42 indeed constitutes an account of an ascent or simply of a vision of the heavenly Temple, it is no exaggeration to speak of a continuity of Merkabah-like mystical tradition going back all the way to the visionary prophet Ezekiel himself.


The Interpretation of Sentences in 1 John 3:6 and 3:9
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Chang-Wook Jung, Chongshin University

Two sentences in 1 John 3:6 and 3:9 have raised problems: 6.v ‘no one who abides in him sins’ (NRSV); v.9 ‘no one born of God commits sin; for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God’ (RSV). These statements seem to contradict with those in 1:8ff, where John the Elder warns his readers not to deceive themselves by saying that they have no sin. In addition, the content of these sentences requires a proper explanation, since it appears to claim that the Christians not only should not sin but also cannot sin. The purpose of this paper is to investigate two sentences in 1 John 3:6 and v.9 and clarify their meanings. Various aspects will be considered and especially a detailed grammatical analysis will be undertaken to determine how these sentences are to be best interpreted.


The Parable of the Unjust Steward in Lk 16:1-8
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Chang-Wook Jung, Chongshin University

The parable of the unjust steward in Lk 16:1-8 is regarded as the most difficult passage to understand in the Gospel of Luke. Many different interpretations have been suggested by scholars concerning the parable. It is overlooked, however, that a proper interpretation of this parable may hinge on how the center section of chapter 16 (vv. 14-18) is to be interpreted. As far as we recognize the unity of this chapter, which was composed by one author Luke, we have to pay more attention to the unit in vv. 14-18 which bridges two parables- the parable of the unrighteous steward and the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the thrust of the parable of the unjust steward mainly by clarifying the function and meaning of the short unit in Lk 16: 14-18. The structure of the whole chapter and the parable of the unjust steward will be analyzed and investigation for some important Greek words will be also undertaken.


The Place of the Aqedah in the Abrahamic Tradition
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Isaac Kalimi, Case Western Reserve University

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The Story of Isaac and Jacob: Insights from Contemporary Analytic Philosophy
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Charlotte Katzoff, Bar Ilan University

Jacob's obtaining a divine blessing from his father by deceit raises questions about God's involvement in human affairs and particularly in the patriarchal saga. By enlisting contemporary philosophical theories of self-deception and revelation, I offer an explanation of Isaac's behavior and weave this episode into a broader pattern of divine control evinced throughout the Genesis narrative.


I Corinthians 7:12-14-Haverut
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Ranon Katzoff, Bar Ilan University

I Corinthians 7:12-14 is a famous crux. Paul, in response to questioners, asserts that a couple one of whose members is Christian and one is not, need not divorce. The unbelieving spouse, he argues, is "sanctified" by the believing spouse; otherwise children would not be holy. How does an unbelieving spouse become "sanctified" by a believing spouse? What role does the reference to children have in the argument? Commentators have struggled with the passage, some proposing far-reaching theological propositions or elaborate historical and legal reconstructions. If, however, we may suppose that the unbelieving spouse is not pagan, but that the couple in question is Jewish, especially with Pharisaic background, one of whom has become a Christian believer, the crux admits of a simple solution in terms of the Pharisaic haverut. This Pharisaic institution of the first centuries of this era involved religiously devout individuals joining groups devoted to particularly scrupulous observance of certain ritual laws, especially related to food-hence the term 'eating fellowships'-often neglected by common people. Rules of membership in these fellowships addressed, inter alia, the matter of uncommitted spouses and children of members. These rules would have been familiar to Paul, and to his Jewish addressees, and, as Tal Ilan has already suggested, could well have served as the model for his response.


Standing Helpless at the Roar and Surging of the Sea
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Thomas Kazen, Stockholm School of Theology

Disasters have always caused trouble for theology. This is evident from a number of biblical texts. As monotheism gained ground in ancient Israel, it was no longer possible to refer military losses to the superior strength of neighbouring gods; faults must rather be sought with the people, as deuteronomic history clearly shows. However, developing dualistic world-views repeatedly necessitate new solutions. While the book of Job moves on several levels simultaneously, contrasting old paradigms with newer ones, even glancing at the divine world behind the screen, wisdom literature at times refers to after-life and apocalyptic texts present disasters as parts of an end-time scheme. Traces of all of these attitudes are found in the New Testament. When such texts are read within our contemporary evolutionary world-view, the inherent paradigms clash not only with each other, but risk turning these texts meaningless to us. We know that life as it has evolved, including organized society and human love, is dependent on a glowing globe with a thin crust floating on its surface, occasionally cracking up. Asking for something different is tantamount to looking for a non-physical world. Nevertheless, this is little comfort for those victimized by natural disasters. This paper focuses on a number of Lukan texts, asking whether they are still meaningful after the tsunami, and whether it is possible to read such text without resorting to apocalyptic or moralizing interpretations.


The Good Samaritan and a Presumptive Corpse
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Thomas Kazen, Stockholm School of Theology

The story of the Good Samaritan is utilized by the author of the third gospel in order to draw general moralizing conclusions, probably including a tinge of “anti-clericalism”. In a Jewish setting, however, the tension between the retainers of the Jerusalem cult and the despised Samaritan would be obvious. Recently, the possibility of a purity issue in this narrative has been revived, but also denied. Such an interpretation could, but should not necessarily, be given an anti-Jewish flavour. It must, however, assume a critical legal discussion at a level reasonably prior to “Luke”. This paper examines the arguments for situating the story within an early Jewish Palestinian setting, arguing for the issue of possible corpse-impurity being inherent in the original story. The narrative is compared to and contrasted with another Hellenistic story, found in Joseph and Aseneth, as well as the Rabbinic met mitzvah as expressed in mNaz 7:1. It is suggested that Jacob Mann’s old suggestion be reconsidered, regarding the story of the Good Samaritan as representing an anti-Sadducean stance. It would in any case have addressed Jewish first-century purity concerns.


Defining the Heavenly Council in its Type-scene
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Min Suc Kee, Cheonan University

In ancient Near Eastern literature, the ‘heavenly council’ represents the most authoritative decision-making agent in the universe and history. Admittedly this concept is extensively attested in many passages of the Hebrew Bible, however, I would like to argue in this paper that some passages should be differentiated as ‘major scenes’ from others. The argument is drawn from my examination of the heavenly council in the ancient Near Eastern literature and its employment in the Hebrew Bible, and a conclusion that the heavenly council is depicted by means of its typical visual-scenery description and very often by its type-scene, in which the high God is at the centre of the council, surrounded by its members. As a result 1 Kings 22.19-23, Isaiah 6, Job 1&2, Psalm 82, Zechariah 3 and Daniel 7.9-14 are categorised as the major scene of the heavenly council in the Hebrew Bible. On the other hand, Isaiah 40 and Ezekiel 1-3.15, which have been taken for granted as describing ‘heavenly council’, should be at least understood as standing out of mainstream.


The Socio-economic Limits of the Literary Genre (Rabbinic) Midrash
Program Unit: Judaica
Rivka Ulmer, Bucknell University

This paper focuses on the limits of midrash. In my view, midrash is limited to a certain group and to a certain time period; additionally, midrash is self-limiting in its reliance upon hermeneutic rules, therefore, there is no midrash in the Bible or in our post-modern world. A literary genre—and for the lack of a better understanding, I consider midrash as a literary genre—is defined by the social group that creates and uses it. A literary genre may be defined as a group of texts that exhibit a coherent and recurring configuration of literary features involving structure, content, and function. Additionally, the determination of the genre midrash in its social function offers a particular mode of expression, and it provides the basis for midrash to become ethicizing and theologizing. Literary genres and forms are not simply neutral receptacles used as convenient ways to bundle various types of written or oral communication. Rather, they represent social conventions that provide contextual meaning for the texts they enclose. The original significance that a literary text had for both authors (rabbis, exegetes) and recipients is tied to the genre of that text, so that the meaning of the parts of the text, midrash, is dependent upon the meaning of the whole. This would exclude any midrash in the Hebrew bible and in the New Testament. Midrash may be a performatory literary genre which was established for teaching and transmission purposes. When the socio-economic basis of the literary genre midrash was lost in the Land of Israel and when midrashic activity was transferred to the Diaspora, the genre and the activities of the social group that maintained midrash changed.


Was John Influenced Directly by Qumran?: A Sociological Approach
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Dongsoo Kim, Pyongtaek University

This is a comparative study between Qumran and John by introducing Mary Douglas' theory of social structure. This paper will concern James Charlesworth’s claim that Johannine community was formed by being contacted directly by Qumran community. This paper compares the Qumran literature with the Gospel of John in two categories: 1) the idea of community as the people of God: how it functions for each sectary's fellowship with God (or Jesus); 2) the nature of community order: hierarchic or democratic? This study will show that Johannine understanding of community is strongly individualistic with regard to each sectary's fellowship with the founder of the community (Jesus), whereas Qumran understanding of the community is strongly collective. Following that, this paper will show that Johannine community order was democratic; in contrast, community order reflected in Qumran literature was characterized by hierarchy. On the basis of the above observations, this paper will try to show whether or not Johannine community was influenced directly by Qumran. It will be concluded that it is hard to claim that there was a direct influence of Qumran on John or vice versa, if there were some indirect influences. One of the contributions of this paper is that there has been few scholars who has attempted to solve the issue of Qumran and John from a sociological perspective.


Paul's Conflicting Attitude to Tongues in 1 Cor. 12:30b and 14:5a?
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Dongsoo Kim, Pyongtaek University

This paper attempts to investigate Paul's attitude to tongues reflected in 1 Corinthians 12-14. At the outset one might suppose that Paul was not consistent in his attitude to tongues in that he made seemingly conflicting remarks. He expressed: in 12:30b, "Do all speak in tongues?"; in 14:5a, "I would like everyone of you to speak in tongues." In addtion to these verses, there are many other verses which can be a basis for the claim that Paul was not consistent in his attitude to tongues in 1 Corinthians 12-14. Here one can find not olny active roles (14:18, 39) but also secondary roles of tongues (13:8; 14:2, 5b). Then, how can we make clear Paul's exact attitude to tongues here? There are not many scholars who claim that Paul expressed confliting attitude with regard to the issue. Rather, there are general- not unanimous, though-consensus among scholars that tongue was not so highly regarded by Paul. Then, this claim has a defect in that it does not explain Paul's positive remarks convincingly. This paper challenges the general consensus among the scholars. It will show that Paul's attitude to tongues was more positive than was usually assumed. This paper will explain the verses which show seeminly secondary roles of tongues both in its literary and historical context. To prove the thesis, analysis of historical context of Corinthian church and of literary contexts of the above two verses are indispensible. As a result, it will argue that Paul was generally positive in his attitude towards tongues, although he worried the misuse of it.


The Key Signifier of "Forever" in Psalms of Solomon 11
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Heerak Christian Kim, University of Cambridge

A key signifier is defined as a term or phrase that triggers a collective memory or a community value that is over-arching and all-encompassing. A key signifier functions aggressively in the literary context to spur audience to action – in general, toward deeper religious devotion in the context of apocryphal literature. In the specific case of Psalms of Solomon 11, the composer uses the key signifier of “forever” to elicit devotion to the redemptive value of the covenant and solicit deeper religious devotion to traditional Jewish piety. Historically, the key signifier of “forever” has continued in elevation as a key signifier of prime import throughout the Old Testament, and the poet’s use of the key signifier in the Psalms of Solomon represents continuity with the received tradition. But the use of the key signifier of “forever” should not be seen merely as a literary abstraction. The key signifier was used strategically at a time of great religious ambiguity of differing Jewish sectarian movements and deep social upheavals where traditional Jewish mores conflicted with the popularizing Hellenistic value system.


Genesis 17, P, and the Lasting Impact of the Covenantal Seal of "Olam"
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Heerak Christian Kim, University of Cambridge

Genesis 17 is an important document for understanding the Abrahamic covenant and its import for Isaelite history. Central to the whole narrative is the Hebrew word for “forever, everlasting,” found in Genesis 17:7, 8, 13, and 19. Despite its clear import for the whole covenant narrative in Genesis 17, not much research has been done on the word or its historical import. Most of the commentaries barely mention anything on the word and some ignore its import altogether. In my paper, I discuss the import of “olam” and argue that it was a strategic word intentionally used by P as a seal of the covenant. I argue that the idea of “forever, everlasting” is not only important in P but was generally associated with the covenantal idea in the exilic period. However, it was P who attributed the value of a covenantal seal to “olam.” P’s particular influence in the use of “forever, everlasting” as a covenantal seal is keenly felt in post-exilic Jewish writings.


A Close Look at Hierarchy Between Leaders in the Pauline Churches
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Hong Bom Kim, Holy People University

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Koreans' Understanding of "Enlightenment"
Program Unit:
Jongmyung Kim, Youngsan University

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Rupturing the Empire: Reading the poor widow as the postcolonial female subject(Mark12:41-44)
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Seong Hee Kim, Drew University

In this paper, I read the poor widow’s offering (Mark 12:41-44) from the perspective of the postcolonial female subjects in general, and the Korean women in particular, who are among the representative postcolonial female subjects that inherited the deeply rooted patriarchal tradition of Confucianism, Japanese colonialism, historical urgency of national unification, and neocolonialism. Generally, women in the Markan community represent the subalterns who are nameless, marginalized, hybrid, ambiguous, outsiders and without a language of their own. They are anonymous and invisible due to the structures of patriarchy and colonialism. Like today’s Two-Third World women who suffer under neocolonialism and patriarchy, they are also doubly colonized. These women in Mark are like a reflecting mirror that shows how unstable the system of Empire is and enables us to look at the self as the other, rupturing the fixed identity and culture. Their multiple identities are also threatening the colonizer/patriarchal authority in their mimicking roles, and their hybrid subjects who live in-between the worldly Empire and God’s Empire bring hope to create a new society for liberating one another. The poor widow is a representative of the colonized subalterns in the Markan period. She throws out all the money to reveal how the imperial temple system exploited the poor widows as victims and signals the disruption of the Roman Empire. The poor widow’s action reflects her situation as an imperial victim and the unstable colonial system itself. By exploring the issues of Empire and gender in the Gospel of Mark, this study will reinterpret the poor widow as subversive, hybrid, and threatening subjects in colonial/postcolonial situations, who function as an example of empowerment for contemporary women in the postcolonial world.


New Exposition on Jeroboam's Reform in 1 Kings 12:31-33
Program Unit: Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Young Jin Kim, Yonsei University

This study has suggested a possibility that the incident in 1 Kings 12:31-33 was in fact the occasion when Jeroboam decreed an intercalary month. If the Feast of Tabernacle was observed in the eighth month as a result of Jeroboam's decree of an intercalary month, 1 Kings 12:32 reveals the negative view of Dtr. over the northern kingdom.


Numerical Structure of Genesis One
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Yoshitaka Kobayashi, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies

The story of Genesis one is well divided into six days with some ambiguity of the beginning of the first day. I found out that the numbers 7 and 69 are the base of the structure of the creation epic of Genesis one. From this basic observation I assume that the original creaton story of Genesis one was written in one page with 63 lines.


Sexual Imagery in Ecclesiastes 12:6
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature
Yoshitaka Kobayashi, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies

In the context of Eccl 12:3-6 "pitcher," "spring-well," "wheel" and "cistern" are utensils for drawing water from a spring-well. Drawing water is sexual intercourse in Prov 5:15-18. Thus the broken pitcher and wheel may be understood as disused sexual organs after death.


Where is Aphek of 1 Kings 20 and 2 Kings 13?
Program Unit: Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Moshe Kochavi, Tel-Aviv University

The Aramaic stronghold of Aphek is mentioned twice as the place where Israel won a great battle over Aram-Damascus. The victory is attributed both to Ahab and to Joash. Ahab's battle is depicted in detail while Joash's victory is only prophesised by Elisha. The ancient name of Aphek was preserved east of the Sea of Galilee as Talmudic Afiqa, Arabic Fiq and Moden Hebrew Afiq, but no remains from Old Testament times were found at the site. Located downstream on the same riverbed, an impressive fortified town of the 9th-8th centuries BC has been uncovered by a Japanese team at Qibbutz 'En-Gev. It is suggested that this was Old Testament Aphek, its name carried uphill by its sucssesor.


The Royal Voice of Qoheleth
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature
Yee-Von Koh, University of Cambridge

This paper offers a fresh approach to the interpretation of Qoheleth by focusing on the royal voice of Qoheleth in the work. Contrary to widespread consensus, the royal voice is not merely a temporary literary artifice limited to the first two chapters of the book. Instead, the royal voice pervades the main body of the work, and is integral to its meaning and artistry. This is demonstrated through a two-part analysis: first, the paper examines the main evidence for the royal voice; secondly, it investigates seven passages which are commonly regarded as bearing an ‘anti-royal’ message and sentiment. These passages (Eccl. 3:16-17; 4:1, 13-16; 5:7-8 [ET vv.8-9]; 8:1-5; 10:5-7, 16-17; 10:20) comprise general musings of injustice and exhortations concerning kingly rule, which commentators often attribute either to the voice of the powerless or the voice of the oppressed. Closer examination reveals that these texts are not decisvely 'anti-royal'; instead, they are compatible with a royal voice and clearly imply a court context as well. This evidence provides a good case supporting the unity and pervasiveness of the royal voice in the book of Qoheleth.


Reading the Scripture with Multiple Lenses: A Reflection on the Multi-Religious Context
Program Unit: There and Back Again: Hermeneutical and Cultural Effects of Overseas Biblical/Theological Education
Ezra Hon-Seng Kok, Seminari Theoloji Malaysia

Using Romans 13:1-7 as an example, the text is read with multiple lenses. We will begin by analysing the text as a literary unit, and then passing it through a social-historical reading of the first century Greco-Roman world. As a theological seminary setting with different denominational background, we would also try to read the text from a church historical perspective. With Malaysia, a multi-religious society as the background, we want to imagine how a Muslim may understand the text through his/her Islamic lens. At the end of the process, we would like to suggest that more care and responsibility in our reading of Scripture so as to avoid mis-reading by others.


Folk Etymology in Explanation of Biblical Proper Names in the Original and in Translations
Program Unit: Methods in Hebrew Bible Studies
Jože Krašovec, University of Ljubljana

The scope of this paper is conditioned by the kind of etymological explanation of some proper names in the Hebrew Bible and by the way of translating them in various Bible translations in the span from antiquity to the present time. Etymological explanation of names is very noticeable in the early traditions of biblical narratives, especially in Genesis. For the explanation of some proper names, the Hebrew Bible provides a folk (popular) etymology. Many of these names are elucidated aetiologically: first came the name, then a story was built up imaginatively to explain how the name came about. In this operation of the etymological explanation of proper names etymological interest merges with plays on sound correspondences, assonances, word-similarities, poetic exploitation of homonymy and other linguistic and literary associations. The history of Bible translations shows that only a few translators were concerned with all these literary features. All the more it is manifest that many circumstances played a role in the decision of how to translate or to transliterate biblical proper names in Bible translations.The analysis of the forms of a selected number of etymologically explained proper names shows firstly that ancient translations tended to translate many names, while after the Middle Ages the tendency was to transliterate them. Another relevant issue of the analysis is to establish the relative importance of Bible translations on the basis of their impact on later translators. The impact of key translations (LXX, Targums, Luther, KJV, etc.) on later translations is limited due to the important role of the living tradition in transmission of biblical proper names and to orthographic rules in individual European languages. Concern with the original text is in constant polar tension with the growing force of tradition and linguistic, cultural, and religious determinants in various periods and individual national and/or religious cultures. Due to the continual interdependence within the common European and American linguistic and cultural heritage, the majority of biblical proper names have the same or similar forms in most Christian and Jewish Bible translations. The continual interdependence of cultural heritage explains why only a few translators intentionally rethought about the Hebrew text in their translation activity in a strikingly innovative or revolutionary way.


On the Idea of "Otherness" in the Ancient Near Eastern and Hebrew Bible World
Program Unit: Methods in Hebrew Bible Studies
Paul A Kruger, University of Stellenbosch

The idea of "otherness" is a universal human phenomenon with a long history. The first examples are already evident in the ancient Near Eastern world. The first part of this paper examines the psychological and cultural factors underlying the idea of "otherness" (in anthropology and psychology also known as "stereotyping"). The second part applies this framework to the relevant evidence from the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible. Examples of ethnic, social and religious stereotyping are discussed.


The Two-front Battle in Revelation
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Tertius Lantigimo, Trinity Theological College, Singapore

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Probing the Syncretic Process: Cross-Textual Reading in Multi-Scriptural Context
Program Unit: Graduate Biblical Studies: Ethos and Discipline
Archie Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong

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God's Asian Names: Rendering God in Asian Contexts
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Archie Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong

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The Johannine Community, A Multiethnic and Multicultural People
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Hyo Joong Lee, Vanderbilt University

A survey of Johannine scholarship with regard to the issue of the community reveals that we are still under the strong influence of Martyn’s church-and-synagogue conflict model. While this theory has contributed to a view of the community as marginalized and persecuted, Johannine scholarship has ignored another significant aspect of the community, i.e., it was not only marginalized and persecuted but also multiethnic and multicultural. The paper argues that the coming of the Samaritans in 4:1-44 along with the reference to Jesus’ stay with the Samaritans for two days suggest that the Johannine community included foreigners like the Samaritans, with intimate table fellowship (in the sense of having utensils common). Given their presence and number in the community, the paper argues, the Samaritans contributed to the high christology of John with the notion of Jesus as the Savior of the World. The paper also argues that 12:20ff. and 7:35 point to the inclusion of Greeks, representative of Gentiles of non-Jewish birth. Thus, the paper claims that the Greeks made a contribution to the Son of Man high Christology of John. The paper further contends that various titles, names, and universal concepts of the Gospel suggest that the community was made up of a mixed group of people--Jews, Samaritans, and Greeks. Thus, the paper proposes that the Johannine community was composed of Jewish Christians as well as a good number of Gentile Christians, who actively participated in the development of its universalistic theology.


The Usage of Hapax Legomena in Targumic Studies
Program Unit: Judaica
Kyong-Jin Lee, Yale University

Hapax legomena in the biblical text provide a direct window into the relationships among Targumic traditions in Palestine and Babylonia, since common renderings suggest, more readily than in other contexts, a genetic connection. This collection of rare terms across the Pentateuch is a quantitative indicator of the degree of shared and distinctive interpretive traditions in handling difficult words in the Scripture between the Eastern and Western traditions in Antiquity. In the present paper, a cross-analysis of the Palestinian Targums alongside Targum Onkelos will be utilized to establish how Aramaic-speaking interpreters/translators maintained common exegetical traditions while continuing to enrich them with contemporary erudition. The extent of similarities and differences amongst the Aramaic variants provide critical information to determine Onqelos’ interpretive genius, which originated in the West, and later was augmented by exegetical elements from the Eastern tradition. The Aramaic treatment of the hapax legomena serves to diagnose the extent of makeover the ‘Proto-Onqelos’—seen by some scholars as the common genetic relationship amongst the Targums—underwent until the Babylonian Rabbis referred to it as ‘our Targum.’


Biblical Education in Korea in the 21st Century
Program Unit: Graduate Biblical Studies: Ethos and Discipline
Kyung Sook Lee, Ewha Women's University

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The Organizational Concept of Deuteronomy 1:6-3:29
Program Unit: Concept Analysis and the Hebrew Bible
Won Lee, Calvin College

Deuteronomy 1:6-3:29 reports Moses’ historical review of the Exodus generation’s wandering in the wilderness for the new generation at the verge of entering the promised land. The text has been analyzed in terms of its literary relationship to materials found in Numbers, redactional and compositional history, stylistic peculiarities, theological themes, and Deuteronomist’s perception of historiography. Although these works contribute in understanding various dimensions of the text, they play a limited role in reconstruction of its structure, the conceptual system located underneath of its surface. Structure is responsible for the organization of the extant text in its linguistic-semantic aspects, and without it the extant text in its present form and content would not exist. By reconstructing the structure of the chosen text, the paper seeks to explain the locations and arrangements of its individual units and the reason of what it does on the surface. In so doing, the paper does more than restating the explicit meaning of the text and understands it better both its parts and the whole.


A Political Reception of the Bible: Korean Minjung Theological Interpretation of the Bible
Program Unit:
Yeong Mee Lee, Hanshin University

Korean Minjung Theology has been formed out of the political struggle against the oppression of military dictatorship during the 1960-70s in Korea. While there were quite a number of studies on Minjung Theology in general, few called for a special attention to the method(s) of biblical interpretation of Minjung biblical scholars. The proposed study, therefore, will examine how Korean Minjung theologians receive the Bible and interpret it within their own context and discuss their methodological and hermeneutical characteristics. At the end, this paper will suggest from a Korean woman’s perspective that Minjung biblical interpretation needs to seek life-affirming theological metaphors that would empower minjung and reconstruct their faith and life rather than highlighting killing metaphors such as war.


Rethinking the Historic Present: Phenomenal Support for its Structural and Ultimate Semantic Function in Gospel of Mark
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Siang Nuan Leong, Singapore Bible College

The phenomenon of the Greek historic present in biblical narratives has invited various speculations on its role and function in narratives. A study on the historic present in the Gospel of Mark has revealed a narrative-structuring function that ultimately serves a semantic function. This paper is based on the presenter's Th.M. thesis entitled "Macro-structure of Mark in Light of the Historic Present and Other Structural Indicators." Given the limited time, it will not be possible to present a full set of support for the proposal, but only present the possibility of the case through examples of the inter-workings of historic presents in Mark, paying particular attention to "episode-initial" historic presents.


Character Valence and Reader Empathy in the Portrayal of Three Disciples in the Fourth Gospel
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Donald Chung-Yiu Leung, Singapore Bible College

Of the three major disciples in the Fourth Gospel, Peter, the Beloved Disciple and Judas, Peter is the only dynamic character in the story. Judas and the Beloved Disciple appear as static (or flat) characters. Judas is an unqualifiedly evil person, an absolutely negative character. Opposite to Judas in character valence, the Beloved Disciple is an unqualifiedly good figure. He represents the best of Jesus’ followers. Unlike these two disciples, Peter appears as a developing or round character in the story. His character valence undergoes changes and development as the story unfolds. By tracing the appearances of these three disciples in the Fourth Gospel, especially in light of their character valence and the reader’s identification and empathy towards them, this paper suggests that Judas and the Beloved Disciple serve as boundary characters who limit the dramatic changes of Peter’s character valence from either extreme. While the reader maintains steady and extreme feelings toward Judas and the Beloved Disciple, the reader develops a diverse and realistic identification and empathy with Peter throughout the course of reading the Fourth Gospel.


Silent Screams: The Binding of Isaac Reconsidered
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Richard Libowitz, Merion Station, PA

Long before Singmund Freud, the Aqedat Yitzhak presented a case study in psychological trauma. The Isaac story cycle does not compare to those of Abraham and Jacob/Israel, either in length or nature of the experiences recounted. Isaac's quiescent lifestyle is often explained as the inherent inability of a quiet son to measure up to an active and vigorous father. This study seeks to understand the passivity of the second patriarch, including an evaluation of the effects of the Aqedah not only upon Isaac himself, but also upon his family and beyond. This paper will examine a number of interpretations including a modern midrash, recounting those effects.


‘The Sufferings of Christ are Abundant for Us’ (2 Cor 1:5a): Paul’s Suffering in 2 Corinthians
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Kar-Yong Lim, University of Wales, Lampeter

The phrase “the sufferings of Christ” (2 Cor 1:5a) has not been fully explored in relation to the overall argument of 2 Corinthians. It has also received little attention in studies on Pauline suffering. While the idea of “sufferings of Christ” has generated much debate and several interpretations have been proposed, this paper argues that the concept of “the sufferings of Christ” cannot be understood for itself. It can only be fully understood when interpreted in relation to Paul’s narrative of the story of Jesus in his suffering in 2 Corinthians and in the wider context of his mission theology.


Interpretation of “karpos (Rm.1:13)" and Paul's Purpose in Writing Romans
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Lung-Kwong Lo, Chinese University of Hong Kong

The debate on Paul's purpose in writing Romans has not reached strong consensus. One of the hard issues is how to interpret the word "karpos”(fruit)in l:13. It has been a long tradition to interpret karpos as missionary language (Zeller (1973:55 n.70; Wilckens(1978 I:79 n.85). Barrett(1962)suggest that "fruit" is the result of apostolic labour--the winning of new converts (p.26; also Leenhardt(1957:45); Dodd(1959:35); Cranfielld (1975, I:82); Michel(1978:84); Kaesemann (1980: 20)).This interpretation of “karpos” has caused two serious questions about Paul's consistencies in the "frame" of the letter: whether (1) Paul's plan to make new converts in Rome contradicts his missionary principle revealed in 15:2O and (2) Paul is inconsistent in that on the one hand in l:10.15 he wants to make Rome his mission field, but on the other hand in 15:22.29 he wants to make Rome his stepping stone for his mission to Spain. Our detailed study on "karpos" in Paul's undisputed letters indicates that Paul's use of the word could denote appropriate result or return of one’s action, specifically the quality of Christian living, material supplies, but never new converts. In Rm.1:13, the phrase “tina karpon schw kui en humin" denotes "reaping of fruits" rather than “bearing of fruits”. In the contexts of l:8-15 and 15:14-32,the meaning of "karpos" would more probable to be interpreted as: the fruits Paul expects in return for his imparting of spiritual gifts to the Roman Christians would include (1)the resulting good quality of Christian living, and (2)some material support given to him for his mission to Spain. The above interpretation of “karpos” could lead to solve one of the most important inconsistencies in the frame of Romans and a better understanding of Paul's purpose in writing Romans.


A Review of the Critical Asian Principles in the Theological Education Circle of South East Asia
Program Unit: There and Back Again: Hermeneutical and Cultural Effects of Overseas Biblical/Theological Education
Lung-Kwong Lo, Chinese University of Hong Kong

The phrase "Critical Asian Principle" was adopted in 1972 as the basic perspective for establishing and operating the doctoral studies program of the South East Asia Graduate School of Theology (SEAGST) which is the graduate school of Association for Theological Education of South East Asia (ATESEA), the largest similar organization outside North America. In 1975,there was general consensus that he whole graduate school program of ATESEA be carried out in the light of the Principle. The then Executive Director of ATESEA and the Dean of SEAGST, Dr. Nacpil, a Philipino theologian become Bishop of Manila Area, the Methodist Church of Philipines, written down his personal interpretation as the essential meaning and function of the phrase. This personal interpretation has been printed in the Handbook of SEAGST since then without big challenges from other theologians, seminaries and churches. As a matter of fact, Asia has been changed dramastically since the Principle was interpreted and recorded in the Handbook since 1975. The colonial staus of most countries had been a history since then, women issues, the Asian understanding of Human Right, the financial crisis in the last few years etc.. It is time to review the Principle and to see how far it it still relevant to the new challenges of Asia and also theological education in the area..


A Survey and Analysis of the Doctoral Biblical Studies in South East Asia----The Case of The South East Asia Graduate School of Theology
Program Unit: Graduate Biblical Studies: Ethos and Discipline
Lung-Kwong Lo, Chinese University of Hong Kong

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Conspiracy, Sign or Silence? Some Islamic Responses in the Aftermath of the Asian Tsunami
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Anthony Loke, Seminari Theoloji Malaysia

The recent tsunami evoked different responses from the adherents of the various faiths represented in the region, namely, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. This paper will only focus on some of the Islamic responses. The usual conspiracy theories that arose in the aftermath put the blame on America, Israel and India for testing nuclear devices underground and hence disturbing the earth’s tectonic plates. The second response ranged from interpreting the natural disaster as ‘an act of God’, a ‘sign of the impending Judgment Day’, or a ‘punishment from God for the sins of humanity’. The Islamic response from the countries directly affected, like Indonesia and Malaysia, was more sympathetic when compared with the vitriol rhetoric and the convoluted logic of some Muslim imams in recent sermons from Saudi Arabia to the Palestinian territories commenting on the tsunami. Instead of casting stones, the customary Islamic response from Indonesia and Malaysia was to interpret the disaster as an act of God which was then understood as a call to self-searching and repentance. There is a third Islamic response from some quarters, especially Islamic extremist groups like Al Qaeda and others, which was a strange, restrained and muted silence. This paper will explore some of the reasons for the differing responses from Islam. Focus will be placed on the Malaysian Islamic response which attempts to give a balanced view of interpreting the natural disaster. A reading of selected Koranic texts quoted by various Malaysian Islamic groups and individuals will be done. The paper will conclude with a brief comparison with the Malaysian Christian response by a reading of selected Bible texts.


Hebrews and the Progymnasmata: A Praise and Censure of Law
Program Unit: Hebrews
C. Shaun Longstreet, Texas A&M University

Several recent commentaries have explored the rhetorical nature of the Epistle to the Hebrews. This study points to an overlooked rhetorical form, the praise and censure of law exercise found in Greek progymnastic handbooks. Upon review, one finds striking similarities between Hebrews 5:11-10:18 and the progymnastic exercises of refutation and confirmation, comparison, and the practical-political thesis. This paper demonstrates that Hebrews 5:11-10:18 is a deliberative pistis on the praise and censure of law. The author of Hebrews exhorts readers to follow the new law under Jesus, representing an attempt to define the Christian community not through kinship, as is common in the Pauline corpus, but through a covenant. This may once again indicate that Hebrews was in a more direct confrontation with Judaism and not a summons to Gentile Christians for a more spiritualized conception of faith.


A Scarab Seal and an Amulet of an Israelite Family
Program Unit: Language and Linguistics
Meir Lubetski, City University of New York Bernard M. Baruch College

There are few small objects of antiquity which are as enigmatic as the little seals, carved in various forms and engraved on their base, or around their circumference, with an ornamental device or brief hieroglyphic inscription. I intend to analyze two such seals in the form of silver signet rings. One carries a name and the other displays the famous Egyptian icon Horus of Gold.


Notions of Death and Afterlife in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Jared W. Ludlow, Brigham Young University Hawaii Campus

This paper will explore some of the notions of death and the afterlife in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. These notions will also be compared with other contemporary Jewish and Christian texts in order to hopefully better understand their background. The first part of this presentation will examine the opening and closing formulas of the Testaments where most of the description of the deaths of the patriarchs is found, and the second part will look at concepts related to death and afterlife found in the bodies of the Testaments. So what might we learn from all this? First, although the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs certainly revolve around death because of their deathbed settings, they actually say remarkably little about their thoughts on the actual process of death. The phrases describing death in the introductory and concluding sections seem very formulaic and highly dependent on the testament account of Jacob in Genesis. We do see in these texts, however, more discussion on their thoughts of the afterlife. These notions of the afterlife consisted of resurrection, immortality, glorification of certain figures, and service in God’s presence in the heavens. Here we see more of the typical features of later Judaism as they develop more notions of post-mortal existence which varied depending on the righteous or wicked status of one’s mortal life. However, no single picture of post-mortal existence emerges which may mean either a composite text and/or it may be an indication of both Christian and Jewish influence in the thoughts and descriptions of the afterlife. This later possibility seems very likely even though it goes against our desire to say it is either one or the other.


Elephantine and Post-Exilic Jerusalem: Reconstituting Religious Community in New Circumstances
Program Unit: Judaica
Jared W. Ludlow, Brigham Young University Hawaii Campus

This paper compares the two Jewish communities of Elephantine and Post-Exilic Jerusalem (as mostly discussed in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles) to examine what issues they faced in reconstituting the religious life of their communities in their new circumstances. Although there are obviously similarities between these two communities, mostly as a result of their shared roots, this paper will primarily focus on their differences. Some of the questions that will be addressed include: What types of ceremonies and rituals were significant for the respective communities? What was the role of the temple and sacred relics in the community life? What was the relationship of the political leadership with the religious leadership? What religious interaction occurred between their communities and the existing local communities? What were some of the key religious issues that these two communities faced? What were some of the aspects of daily religious life in these communities? Part of the impetus for this paper is in response to Shemaryahu Talmon’s work, “The Emergence of Jewish Sectarianism in the Early Second Temple Period.” Within this article, Talmon discusses how the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem’s fall affected the Jews. With the return of some exiles, but others consciously not returning, we begin to see the rise of distinct communities. Although the Elephantine community is mentioned briefly, there needs to be more in-depth comparison done with the re-emerging Jerusalem community. Temple worship continued to be important for both groups, but obviously the nature of such worship differed. There were certainly changes in the internal structure of Israelite society and thus, consequently, changes in how Jews in exile interacted with Jerusalem. (In sum, there seems to be a tale of two cities to tell).


The Brothers of whom? "His Brothers" in the Gospel of Matthew.
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Edmondo Lupieri, University of Udine

Why does Matthew insert two groups of brothers ("Judas and his brothers" and "Jechonias and his brothers") in the genealogy of Jesus, even if they do not - quite obviously - have any direct involvement in Jesus' origin? An analysis of the Matthean use of the expression "his brothers" throughout the Gospel, and particularly of the double order given to the women after the Lord's resurrection to go to "his disciples" and to his "brothers", shows a deep and polemical reflection concerning groups of "brothers" characterized by negative attributes and may shed some light on the mysterious group of "those others who doubted" even on the Mount of Galilee.


Confession of the Son of God in Hebrews
Program Unit: Hebrews
Scott D. Mackie, Fuller Theological Seminary

Though the high priest Christology of the Epistle to the Hebrews has attracted more interpretive interest, the author’s Son of God Christology is also of inestimable import to his hortatory effort. Central to this Son of God Christology is the author’s dramatic portrayal of the Father’s conferral of sonship upon Jesus, an event occurring in the beginning of his rendering of the Son’s exaltation in the Heavenly Sanctuary (1:5). Though generally escaping the notice of most interpreters, the enactment of Jesus’ reciprocal confession of the fatherhood of God, presented shortly thereafter in 2:12-13, corresponds to and should be considered inseparable from the divine declaration of 1:5. That these familial confessions acquire paradigmatic significance in two strategic points in the hortatory address (4:14-16; 10:19-25) is additional proof of their mutuality and importance. Thus the author’s “word of exhortation” is directed at a family of believers (the “siblings” of the Son, 2:11-14, 17), exhorting them to enter into the heavenly sanctuary and participate in the exaltation drama by making a sacral confession commensurate with the Son’s declarations of their familial relationship (4:14-16; 10:19-25). The author brings his drama to a climax and stakes his entire presentation on the power inherent within this symbolic act of confession to actualize the recipients’ sense of familial relatedness. This liminal experience should serve to solidify their resolve to publicly confess and identify with the Son of God and his family (3:1-6; 10:26-31; 12:1-11; 13:13-16).


Levi and Mary Magdalene: Stereotypical Toll Collector and Prostitute?
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Mary J. Marshall, Murdoch University

Recent studies on Mary Magdalene, focusing primarily on her portrayal in the apocryphal gospels, have been instrumental in establishing her rightful position in the early church as apostle, visionary, prophet, and leader. The Gospel of Mary, especially, is frequently cited as demonstrating her prominence among the apostles. It is gratifying that the erroneous image of penitent whore, built on conflated gospel texts, and long-held in the Western church, is at last being dispelled. Yet the new image of Mary may be an over-correction. It is my contention that the portrayals of her as leading apostle and reformed prostitute are not mutually exclusive. So much scholarly attention has been given to Mary Magdalene that the role of Levi the toll collector in the Gospel of Mary has been largely overlooked. The association of Levi with Mary Magdalene in that text is intriguing in that it brings to mind the remarkable logion in Matt 21:31b, in which Jesus proclaims that the toll collectors and prostitutes will go into the kingdom ahead of the Pharisees.In this paper, I will argue for the authenticity of that saying, and that Mary Magdalene may indeed have been a reformed prostitute. My focus will be particularly upon the salvific value of repentance, and on a reading of Luke 7:36–50 that depicts the woman involved in a new and favorable light.


Limping, yet You Make it Climb the Mountain! The Bible, African Women and HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Program Unit: Whence and Whither?: Methodology and the Future of Biblical Studies
Madipoane Masenya, University of South Africa

The negative use of the Bible by Western missionaries during the colonial era in Africa has been well documented. In South Africa, colonial imperial tendencies revealed on the use of the Bible among other factors, with a deliberate alienation of African contexts in Bible interpretation,were reinforced by apartheid theology.The latter, rooted in the perceived "chosen-ness" of the Afrikaner nation,further alienated African peoples by using the Bible to support the policy of racial segregation. Given the historical marginalization of women not only in South Africa,but also on the rest of the globe,mainstram biblical hermeneutics and theology were basically geared at serving white male interests. In the HIV/AIDS post-apartheid South Africa, the situation of African women has been aggravated also by problematic interpretations of the same Bible. A situation which brings to light the truth embedded in the following African proverb: Wa re e hlotsa, wa e nametsa thaba (While limping, you let it climb the mountain!). This proverbial saying simply means that a particular situation is being aggravated by an external factor. The present text will use this proverb as a lens through which to analyse the reception of the Bible by African women in the HIV/AIDS contexts of South Africa.


The Problem of Methodology for Old Testament Ethics
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Walter McConnell, Singapore Bible College

In 1970 Brevard Childs asserted that there is "no clear-cut answer in respect to the use of the Bible" in doing ethics and further blamed biblical scholars for not providing biblical material which ethicists could use. In the years since, biblical scholars have produced an ever growing volume of literature on the subject of biblical and Old Testament ethics. Even so, it remains true that there is no clear-cut answer about how the text of the Old Testament should be used as a source for ethics. The reasons for this run somewhat parallel to the reasons scholars do not agree on one approach for doing Old Testament theology. This paper will examine a number of contemporary approaches to using the Old Testament for ethical reflection and action, commenting on what are perceived to be both strengths and weaknesses of the various views. It will also provide another approach to using the Old Testament in ethics.


Three Biblical Narratives That Confront Listeners with their Prejudices
Program Unit: Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Heather A. McKay, Edge Hill College, UK

This paper discusses three biblical passages that try to effect changes in the, values, attitudes and prejudices of the listeners or readers: The Parable of the Trees in Judges 9, the Song of the Vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-7, and the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. The stories show increasing complexity in the rhetorical manoeuvres adopted and in what they seek to accomplish. The stories 'work' by manipulating sequences of images that confirm the listeners' positive (self-satisfied) acceptance of their personal beliefs, opinions and prejudices and by thereafter confronting the listeners/readers with a sudden vision of how ugly, untenable or unacceptable their own perspectives are, such that they will be willing to reject those previously held stances and effect a change in themselves.The role of the contextual discourse of each story as a means of controlling and perpetuating the power inequalities of the societal groups, working through themes such as 'knowing one's place', 'having appropriate attitudes and expectations', etc., will be explored for these three texts.


Tsunami in the Lands of the Potent Dead
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Robert McKinley, Michigan State University

Throughout Southeast Asia, the indigenous religions are centered on the souls of the dead. This point has been made in a recent volume edited by the acclaimed regional historian Anthony Reid. Reid's collection is titled "The Potent Dead." Throughout the region the journeys of the dead to the after world and their periodic returns to dispense blessings and knowledge in this world are elaborated in long chants narrating their arrivals and departures. The sudden deaths produced by disasters disrupt this master narrative and throw into danger the ideal relations between the living and the dead. Unhappy souls wonder in suspension between this world and the next. Islamic and Buddhist rites and texts offer a partial remedy, but lost and troubled souls are believe to linger still in the wake of massive death. Three differing cosmologies frame the meaning of the recent disaster in Southeast Asia. The first is indigenous and draws on what I call the romance of the aftermath. The texts for this are multi-night chants aimed at renewing a sense of hauntingly beautiful and potent relations between the living and the ancestral dead. The second is judgemental and rests on teachings regarding a final day in the monotheistic faiths and on the doctrine of karmic outcomes in Hinduism and Buddhism. The third is the absolute abhorrence of death in Chinese religions. Here the reverence of the living for some of the dead is the only compensation for leaving this world. Compared to the after world, this world is clearly and boldly marked as more desirable, This is the view that some fear will delay the return of Chinese tourists to once favored spots in Thailand, sites now known as places of death, misfortune, and strange people's ghosts.


God and Human Tragedy: Post-Tsunami Reflections from South India
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Monica Melanchthon, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College

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Graduate Biblical Studies in India--Problems and Possibilities
Program Unit: Graduate Biblical Studies: Ethos and Discipline
Monica Melanchthon, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College

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Dalits, Bible and Method
Program Unit:
Monica Melanchthon, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College

That the Bible is an extremely important source that fuels the Dalit struggle for liberation and provides meaning for the oppressed woman is beyond doubt. The starting point is the Bible as Scripture and the notion that the Bible is the revealed Word of God. Yet, Dalit scholars have not yet defined “scripture,” or “word of God” and these two concepts are generally considered identical. What is the Dalit understanding of Scripture or what constitutes the “word of God?” The Bible as talisman, an icon with sacred power contributes to the notion that the Word of God is found in the letter of Scripture. Does Scripture in its status as “Word of God” seem to inhibit the reader from reading the Bible as a historical document open to critical inquiry? Is reading the text from the perspective of Dalits more than identifying commonalities in the experiences of Dalits and the oppressed in the Bible without sufficient attention being paid to the inherent and varied ideologies and agendas of the text. The result is that many Dalit women are comfortable with traditional renderings and interpretations of the text, which do not investigate the socio-historic foundations of the text. The paper seeks to critically analyze bible studies written by Dalit theologians to discern the hermeneutical principals applied and the methodology employed and to determine the extent to which the socio historic foundations and the varied ideologies and agendas of the text are considered in Dalit interpretations of the text and offer suggestions for the development of Dalit methodology


The Heritage of the Aqedah in A. B. Yehashua, Mr. Mani
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Gilead Morahg, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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God's Statement in Gen 3:22---An Ironical Text?
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Jiri Moskala, Andrews University

An exegetical and theological study of the meaning of the phrase: hen ha'adam hayah ke'achad mimmennu lada'at tob vara' (Gen 3:22a). Problems related to the translation of the sentence are discussed, and the expression is explored in the context of the serpent's proposal to Eve that after eating of the forbidden fruit they "will be like God knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5). The scenario is studied on the background of the Ancient Near Eastern literature. It is not easy to detect irony in the biblical text. The present paper proposes to understand the above phrase as a divine ironical statement. This suggest conclusion is reached on the basis of exegetical, contextual, conceptual, and theological observations.


Intertextuality: John 1 and Exodus 34
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Norm Mundhenk, United Bible Societies

In Jonah 4.2, Jonah complains, “you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” (NRSV) Jonah here quotes a key Old Testament passage, Exodus 34.6-7. In view of the rhetorical power of this Exodus passage, and the fact that it is quoted in a number of Old Testament books besides Jonah, this passage seems to have been widely viewed as God's definitive self-revelation. In the New Testament, James 5.11 is said to quote Exodus 34.6. But it is also quoted in another passage not usually included in lists of Old Testament quotations. This is John 1.14. This quotation is often not recognized because John has apparently translated the key words of Exodus 34.6 for himself. John’s p????? ????t?? ?a? ????e?a? in 1.14 is his translation of "rab hesed we'emeth” in Exodus 34.6. John chapter 1 refers to two key Old Testament passages where God speaks. First is Genesis 1, God's speaking in the creation (e.g., John 1.1-4 and 1.10-11). Second, in 1.14-18, God’s well-known words from Exodus are connected with an even more definitive self-revelation, in Jesus Christ. But the content of the self-revelation is still the same: God is indeed a God "abounding in steadfast love." Other phrases of John 1.14-18 can also be understood as influenced by Exodus 34.6-7 and its wider context (Exodus 33-34). If John 1.14 is indeed a quotation, then there is the question of how this can be made clear in modern Bible translations.


The Conversion of Izates as a Propaedeutic for Understanding Galatians 2.11–14
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Kang Na, Westminster College

Just as there was a rich variety of Judaisms in the first century, there were also various Jewish positions and prescriptions about how a Gentile became a Jew. In the Antiquities of the Jews (20.2.1–5) Josephus relates an interesting story of a young king of Adiabene named Izates and his queen mother Helena, both of whom were Gentiles that embraced Judaism and became great benefactors for Jews in Jerusalem. The boon for researchers of early Judaism and Pauline letters is that Josephus’s narrative provides a significant insight into the Jewry of Paul’s time with respect to its variety of responses to the larger Greco-Roman environment. For Ananias, the Jew who led Izates to convert to Judaism, circumcision was not an absolute necessity. But for Eleazer, another Jew who counseled Izates, Ananias’s lenient stance towards circumcision was untenable. The story of Izates provides a glimpse of two different attitudes among Jews towards converted Gentiles. It can thereby shed much light on the dynamics of the controversy Paul describes in Gal 2.11–14, through which we get a glimpse of two divergent views about table fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ at Antioch. Although circumcision does not appear to have been the explicit issue in the Antioch incident, the two accounts do echo shared features that resonate with realities of Jewry in Paul’s time. Both Josephus and Paul add to our understanding of an intra-Jewish debate about how to relate to Gentiles, a debate over Gentile Torah observance that involves the issues of circumcision and commensality.


Anawims and the Tsunamis
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Jonadab Nathaniel, The Bible Society of India

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God is a Shepherd: A Cognitive Linguistic Analysis of the Metaphor in Ps 23
Program Unit: Concept Analysis and the Hebrew Bible
Philip J. Nel, University of the Free State

In Western hermeneutics, words, phrases and metaphors have been interpreted without due recognition of the undelying perceptual experiences, the conceptual framework of the author, and the typical metaphorical thought structure. It is therefore important to distinguish between the linguistic expression and the underlying abstract cognitive mechanism giving rise to linguistic expressions. The cognitive linguistic model of metaphor analysis is employed here to determine the experiential domain(s) of the shepherd metaphor and how these experiential dimensions are mapped onto the abstract metaphor of GOD IS A SHEPHERD in the Psalms, and in particular Ps 23. The evidence shows that two entirely different experience domains underly the mentioned conceptual metaphor, i.e. sheep-keeping and royal judicial rule. The tradition of interpretation has highlighted primarily the former experiential domain of the shepherd metaphor at the expense of hiding the second. The duality as well as the pivotal role of the metaphor is explored in this paper.


Moral Vision and Eschatology in Mark: Coherence or Conflict?
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
David Neville, St Mark's National Theological Centre

Various NT writings interpret the mission and message of Jesus in a peacemaking way, both theologically and ethically. One expression of this understanding of Jesus' mission and message is Mark's (re)interpretation of the nature, quality or dynamic of messiahship by identifying Jesus' service and suffering as God's way of ruling and of dealing with evil in the world. This (re)interpretation of God's rule and power is presented dramatically in Mk 8:22-10:52, where Jesus' 'model of messiahship' serves as the pattern for authentic discipleship (see especially Mk 10:42-45), and in Mark's crucifixion narrative (15:1-41). Mark's purpose is often understood to have been to strengthen hope among distressed readers by assuring them that the one who was crucified will soon return as 'son of man' in judgment to overpower the forces of evil. Yet if the hope Mark expressed was that when the son of man comes, he will dominate or overpower evil forces in the same way - only definitively - as these evil forces had dominated or overpowered him, this stands in tension with Mark's conviction that it is precisely in and through Jesus' suffering and death that God defeats or undoes evil. On this interpretation, Mark's nonviolent christology and ethic of discipleship are undermined by his eschatology. In this paper, my concern is to explore this apparent tension between Mark's christologically shaped 'ethic of discipleship' and his eschatology.


Spirituality as a Context for Biblical Interpretation
Program Unit: There and Back Again: Hermeneutical and Cultural Effects of Overseas Biblical/Theological Education
Ng Wai-Yee, China Graduate School of Theology

The goals of this paper are: 1. to present the motivation for the theological education in Hong Kong, 2. the preactice of interpretation in this context, and 3. the value of sustaining historical studies and doing biblical theology in this respect. Examples of this approach will also be provided.


The Westernization of Scripture in Recent Asian Bible Translations
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Anthony Nichols, Trinity College

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The Struggle Between "The Image of God" and Satan in the GLAE (10-12)
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Rivka Nir, Open University of Israel

On their way to Paradise, Seth and his mother came face to face with a wild beast that attacked Seth. Eve rebuked the beast wondering how it could attack the “image of God” and not remember its former subjugation to the “image of God”. Seth commanded it to stay away from the “image of God until the day of judgment” and the beast obeyed, admitting publicly that it would not attack the “image of God” and fled to its dwelling. Although the Latin and the Armenian versions identify the beast with Satan, it is generally agreed that the beast in GLAE represents a conventional animal and that the story is based on biblical ideas rooted in a Jewish background. I will attempt to show that the battle between Seth and the beast should be understood as a struggle between the image of God and Satan, and that this tradition should be viewed against a Christian background. I base my claim on three aspects of the story: how the beast is described, why it attacked Seth and only he could control it, and why the beast had to wait in its dwelling until the day of judgment. The struggle between Seth and the beast/Satan should be seen as a link in the chain of struggle between the image of God and Satan. This struggle began in Paradise, between Adam and Satan, as is recounted in the story about the fall of Satan from heaven. It continued on earth between Seth and Satan and it will end with the final victory of Jesus, the ultimate image of God, over Satan at the end of time. The beast has to wait in its dwelling until the “day of judgment” when “God will make it reappear” to be defeated forever by the Messiah.


OpenText.org - Introducing a New Syntactically-Tagged Greek New Testament
Program Unit: Biblical Studies and Technology
Matthew Brook O'Donnell, OpenText.org

Morphologically-tagged texts of the Greek New Testament have been available for over 30 years, through the pioneering work of projects such as CCAT and Gramcord. However, further developments in the computational analysis of Hellenistic Greek have lagged behind those in the field of computational linguistics with application to other languages (both ancient and modern). Syntactical analysis, for instance, is common in the creation of 'treebanks' to capture (through manual and automatic annotation) phrasal and clausal structure. The availability of these higher level features in machine readable texts opens up a new range of possible applications and analyses. Although a number of new morphologically tagged texts of the Greek New Testament and also the LXX have been developed, there have been no complete or successful attempts at higher levels of annotation. The OpenText.org project is a web-based initiative that draws upon the theory and method of corpus-based linguistics, with the aim of creating a representative corpus of Hellenistic Greek centered on the New Testament. Making use of XML technologies, we have implemented a model for linguistic annotation that moves beyond the morphological/word level of analysis to the word group (or phrase), clause, and paragraph levels. The initial syntactical annotation of the New Testament has recently been completed.This paper provides an overview of the OpenText.org project, discusses the challenges--of both a linguistic and technical nature--encountered in the project and introduced the annotated corpus that has just been made available. We include some samples of the annotation and a demonstration of some of the initial applications that have been built to make use of the new annotation.


“Who has Resisted His Will?” Paul’s Rhetorical Question and the Evasive Reply (Romans 9:19)
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
B. J. Oropeza, Azusa Pacific University

Romans 9-11 has long been a controversial passage dealing with the theological problems related to free-will, determinism, predestination, and the election of Jew and Gentile. When Paul mentions the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart as something independent of human effort and desire, he anticipates the rhetorical response of his antagonist interlocutor who might say that God should not hold wrong-doers such as Pharoah responsible for their actions (Rom. 9:19), for “Who has resisted his [God’s] will?” Paul does not automatically answer the question, but responds, “Who are you, o man, who answers back to God?” His immediate reply does not appear to be very satisfying. While the interlocutor may have been silenced by the apostle’s apparent rebuke, the question remains unanswered and present-day scholasticism must now wrestle with Paul’s evasive response. Is Paul really answering the question in Romans 9:19 with 9:20-24 or is he making educated guesses? If there is an answer to the question, what is it? If God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, and loves Jacob yet hates Esau, should the wrong-doers be blamed for their actions or not, and why? Third, if Paul is not giving an answer in this passage, what does the pericope affirm and not affirm about free-will, election, and predestination? This paper will focus on these questions as it addresses the rhetoric of Paul in Romans 9:19-24.


The Temple Scroll: A Sixth Book of the Torah? Part One: A Book Information Report Using WordCruncher™ 7.0
Program Unit:
Donald Parry, Brigham Young University

The Temple Scroll is enigmatic and controversial—is it a sixth book of the Torah, a new Torah, a harmonization of the texts of the Pentateuch, or does it belong to the category called Reworked Pentateuch? This study will compare and contrast the Temple Scroll (11Q19) with the books of the Pentateuch (esp. Exodus and Deuteronomy) using DSSEL (Brill, 2005). I will direct the computer to gather the following information: a) Book information report—provides general statistics on the book; b) Vocabulary dispersion report—the words in a book are shown with four dispersion states; c) Vocabulary frequency distribution report—words and their frequencies are shown for the entire book and also by user defined sections of the book (each section can be made up of ‘n’ pieces) The chief aim of study is to determine if the author-specific word-use rate of the Temple Scroll corresponds with the Pentateuchal texts (versus other non-biblical DSS texts or versus other biblical texts). The tools to conduct this type of study have not been available previously. While the final, collective results of the study may prove to be inconclusive, each of the items above (“a–c”) will generate significant data that will add to our understanding of the Temple Scroll.


"Make Haste, My Beloved": The Song of Song as an Eschatological Vision of the Future?
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Hector Patmore, University of Durham

This paper briefly reviews the arguments made in my article, ' "The plain and literal sense": Criticism of M.V. Fox's The Song of Songs and the Ancient Egyptian Love Songs and contemporary assumptions about the Song of Songs', which exposes a number of inconsistencies in approach and the general methodological fragility of Fox's almost universally accepted thesis. Following this I am able to dismiss the assumptions that a secular-sexual meaning is the 'plain and literal sense' of the Song of Songs. To establish an alternative reading of the Song of Songs a detailed study of the book's language and themes is conducted. The paper examines the following: words and word-phrases that appear only in the Song of Songs and one other biblical book (e.g. s?mh 'veil'; h?bs?lth 'crocus'; s?l 'shadow' + ysb 'to dwell' etc.); common words that appear throughout the Hebrew Bible but that are of significance to, or appear prominently in, both the prophetic corpus of texts and the Song of Songs (e.g. nmr 'leopards', 'sysh 'raisin-cakes' etc.), paying particular attention to the places names ; finally, I explore three key themes that are common to both the prophetic corpus and the Song of Songs (i.e. vine-vineyard-wine; shepherd-flock; and bride-relationship). I argue that the Song of Songs alludes to Isaiah and Hosea, and in the majority of cases the text to which the Song of Songs alludes presents a positive prediction of the future restoration for Israel. On this basis I concluded that the Song of Songs can legitimately be read as an allegory concerning future eschatological hope for Israel, and observe that there is no evidence that Canticles was read in a mode other than allegory before Theodore (A.D. 350-428).


Is There a Fish in this Cognitive Environment? Relevance Theory, Interpretive Communities and the Bible.
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Stephen Pattemore, United Bible Societies

Relevance Theory (RT) has an interesting dialectic relationship with the critical theory of Stanley Fish (represented here by his influential series of essays, Is there a text in this class?). On the one hand it undergirds some of his arguments with a plausible cognitive explanation, especially with respect to the importance of context for meaning and interpretation. But on the other hand it calls into question his unwillingness to give priority to the author’s meaning, or the meaning optimally relevant in the original context. RT provides a way of understanding the process of interpretation and the fact that it is context- and convention- dependent, and thus explains the multivalent nature of meaning. But being a pragmatic theory, it also locates the text within a communication event which assumes an author and hence an “author-ity” about the meaning of the text. Thus RT provides a via media between the determinists and the relativists. By accounting for the pragmatics of real communication it successfully explains the power of interpretive communities while acknowledging the historical and hermeneutic priority of the original communication act. This paper explores the interaction between Fish’s position and RT, and suggests applications to the interpretation of the Bible.


Abraham and Moses go Arctic
Program Unit: Whence and Whither?: Methodology and the Future of Biblical Studies
Christina Petterson, Copenhagen University

How does one explain the tension between the immense popularity of Christianity in Greenland and at the same time acknowledge the colonizing totalitarian scope of Christianity? By comparing the efforts in John’s Gospel to create a certain privileged identity for the reader vis a vis the jewish population in the text and the efforts of Manguaq Berthelsen, a shaman and healer who sees it as her mission to liberate her country from Danish control I wish to explore the gospel’s de-colonizing potential. It seems that both the gospel and Manguaq Berthelsen employ the same interpretative strategy: Putting what you have to a different use, and thereby controlling it instead of being controlled by it.


Authority and Example: I Corinthians in the Context of Debates on Idolatry
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Richard Phua, Trinity Theological College, Singapore

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Benefits and Obligations: 1 Corinthians 8:6 in Context
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Howard Nicholson Pilgrim, University of Otago/Parish of Gisborne NZ

A long tradition reads this verse as an early Christological formula imported by the author into its present textual context, but theological preoccupations have prejudiced our exegesis. Syntactic and semantic features indicate that this key sentence was composed by Paul as a rhetorical thesis indicating the fundamental basis for his subsequent argument concerning idol-foods.


Pauline Rhetoric - Arguing with Christians in Corinth
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Howard Nicholson Pilgrim, University of Otago/Parish of Gisborne NZ

Much rhetorical analysis of Paul's letters seems preoccupied with identifying formal structures, rather than recognizing that on some matters the apostle really had to argue for his convictions (as opposed to simply asserting his authority). A survey of 1 Corinthians suggests that rhetoric is more present in some sections than in others.


Exploring Some Intersections: Postcolonial Theory, Queer Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Program Unit: Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Jeremy Punt, University of Stellenbosch

Queer Theory is generally believed to be inspired by Michael Foucault and often associated with the work done by philosophers and sociologists like Gayle Rubin, Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick, Judith Butler and Jeffrey Weeks. A basic premise for Queer Theory is the denunciation that sexuality is a universal and eternal drive, and the affirmation that sexuality is best viewed from a social constructionist position. Moving beyond the insider/outsider rhetoric so common in patriarchal identity and power, Queer Theory allows for a critical approach not only to social identity and location but also to social systems and institutions. In this sense, but also because Queer Theory destabilises the self-evidence of power and marginality, center and periphery, it intersects with postcolonial studies. The value of Queer Theory itself, but more particularly, in its interaction with postcolonial studies, for biblical interpretation is briefly explored.


Mourning Babylon: The Ambiguity of Empire and Postcolonial Biblical Studies
Program Unit: Methods in Hebrew Bible Studies
Hugh S. Pyper, University of Sheffield

This paper is a preliminary effort to examine the complex ambiguities of the biblical response to Babylon as the archetypal empire and how this relates to the later use of Babylon as a symbol in postcolonial discourse. How far are contemporary ideological construals of empire influenced by this biblical model, and how far do contemporary analyses of the literature of postcolonialism illuminate the variety of literary responses to Babylon in the Hebrew Scriptures? These large questions will be exemplified by relating the blend of hostility, envy and nostalgia towards Babylon in the biblical texts to Sam Durrant's recent study 'Postcolonial Narrative and the Work of Mourning' and the usefulness of his analysis for biblical scholars will be examined. The paper can only introduce the subject, but seeks to provoke discussion of the reciprocal influence of biblical and postcolonial studies.


The Davidssohnfrage in Mark 12.35-37: Another Look
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Quek, Tze-Ming, University of Cambridge

In the compressed and enigmatic Davidssohnfrage in Mark 12.35-37, Jesus queries the appropriateness of calling the Messiah “David’s Son” by citing Ps 110.1. The implicit logic is that no father refers to his progeny as “my Lord,” and therefore it is less than completely correct to speak of the Messiah as David’s Son. But what exactly is Jesus’ point in doing this? Through examinations of: 1) the historical and literary context of the Markan passage; 2) the historical and literary context of Ps 110; 3) how Ps 110 was understood in the first century C.E.; this paper argues that the use of Ps 110.1 in Mark 12.35-37 is contextual, and says something about Jesus’ identity. The Markan Jesus cites Ps 110.1 not just as a clever (if slightly smug?) debating move, whether it is “beating the rabbis with their own stick” (Lindars), or challenging the scriptural accuracy of a scribal designation (Gundry); nor to distance himself, as Messiah, from Davidic lineage (Achtemeier and Bultmann); nor to distance himself, as genealogical scion of David and Solomonic healer, from Messiahship (Chilton). Instead, Mark’s Jesus is setting up a dispute of haggadic nature to show that his interlocutors’ understanding of the title “Son of David” was inadequate, for it had gathered up narrow ethno-nationalistic overtones. The claim to be the “my Lord” of Ps 110 involved the corollary claim that the enemies in Ps 110 were being defeated in battle before one who was greater-than-David and greater than the Levitical priesthood (Ps 110.4). This was not the battle and nor the enemies that Israel expected, for the Markan Messiah’s true enemies are Israel-the-vineyard’s rebellious tenants and their demonic puppet-masters. What we have is an ironic fulfilment of Davidic typology, in which Jesus reinterprets the characters in Israel’s story of the Messiah.


"The Horses and Chariot of Fire" of Elisha
Program Unit: Prophets
George Ramey, University of the Cumberlands

The Elisha cycle contains several unique features. Elisha had two visions of heavenly "horses of fire and chariot of fire" (II Kings 2:11 and 6:17). This paper is an interpretation of these stories about the prophet and the influences upon him. The feature which stands out in the visions of Elisha is the word "fire." Fire is often associated with the theophanies of Yahweh in the Old Testament and also with the gods of other ancient religions. The most obvious inter- pretation of the "fire" of Elisha's visions is that it was an indication of the presence of deity. It is hereby proposed that during the ninth century B. C. E. the Rechub'el cult which was found in the pantheon at Zinjirli came out of the desert regions and became a part of the Yahweh cult in Israelite religion. This religious syncretism came about in the same manner as syndretism of the Genesis traditions of Yahweh and Elohim.


"... for here is something greater than the temple" (Mt 12:6)
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Boris Repschinski, Leopold Franzens Universität, Innsbruck

Like many other Jewish writings of the time, Matthew's gospel is concerned with the handing on of the Jewish tradition after the destruction of the temple. The paper looks at the role of the temple within the narrative of the gospel and the explanation Matthew gives for its destruction. Matthew does not have a negative attitude to the temple itself, but views it as the place that is intimately connected with the opposition of the Jewish leaders to Jesus. Therefore, he constructs a christology that describes Jesus as an alternative to the temple, but also as a fulfillment of the temple's functions and promises. The destruction of the temple is finally brought about as a consequence of the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish leaders. In order to substantiate this thesis, the appearance of the temple in various pericopes of the gospel are examined. Key among them are the cleansing of the temple and Matthew's re-imagining the Marcan source, as well as 24:1-2. Particularly 24:1-2 plays a major role in imagining the destruction of the temple as a consequence to the rejection of Jesus. Thus the gospel fleshes out the statement of 12:6 that with Jesus something greater than the temple is present.


Closing the Gap Between the Literal and Non-literal in New Testament Metaphors: A Relevance Theoretic perspective
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Luis Carlos Reyes, None

Traditionally, in most of the past literature dealing with New Testament (NT) interpretation of metaphors there have been several assumptions that have contributed to understanding how metaphors work. One of the underlying assumptions has been that there is a clear cut-off point between literal and non-literal utterances. This study will highlight recent insights from Relevance Theory (RT) suggesting that there is actually no clear cut-off point between literal utterances, approximations, hyperbole and metaphor, and that metaphor is simply a more radical case of meaning broadening. I will argue that instead of a dichotomy between literal and non-literal utterances, there is more of a continuum, with a range of borderline cases. This observation could have a significant impact on how we approach the interpretation of NT metaphors. More generally, I will argue that for the most part biblical hermeneutics has based its approach to interpretation largely on the code model of communication. This may have had an influence on why biblical interpreters sometimes insist on making clear-cut distinctions between literal and non-literal utterances. It may have also led some to tacitly assign a priority to literal interpretation over non-literal or figurative interpretation, as reflected, for example, in the prevalent notion in biblical hermeneutics that non-literal or figurative meaning is processed only after the literal meaning has first been processed. The study concludes by proposing a Relevance Theoretic approach to the interpretation of NT metaphors.


Towards and Ethic of Disruption: The Decalogue as an Interruption of Honor and Shame
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Charles M. Rix, Drew University

Refracted through both Emmanuel Levinas’s ethic of responsibility to the Other, and the Ancient Near Eastern ideological complex of honor and shame, I suggest that the elements of the Decalogue function to disrupt hegemonic structures embedded in Ancient Israel’s social narratives. My paper foregrounds the Sabbath as the focal point for observing how the Decalogue interrupts the rubric of honor and shame in order to create an ethical climate of responsibility to the Other. In this respect, I draw from the philosophical work of Emmanuel Levinas, which reveals the Sabbath as a revelatory moment in time, enabling the face of the Other to be seen. In remembering the Sabbath, the “face to face” encounter emerges not an abstraction, but as a real interaction with the Other who lives in proximity—one’s son, one’s daughter, one’s male and female servant, one’s work-cattle, and the foreigner living among the Israelites. Ethical actions towards the Other are thus expressed in the remaining commandments. With YHWH as the centerpiece for remembrance, the Sabbath intermittently suspends the male prestige structure which “totalizes”, or erases the otherness of the Other, through master-slave, father-child, or male-female relationships. As such, I suggest that the ethic, which emerges from the disruption of the honor and shame ideology, transcends male and female gender narratives, and creates the possibility of a community that speaks and acts in responsbility to the Other, like YHWH without a recognizable form.


Shades of Masculinity: Gendering Sheol and the Rephaim
Program Unit: Prophets
Charles M. Rix, Drew University, Caspersen Graduate School

In the Hebrew Bible, the Rephaim in Sheol are sketched as men who have been stripped of their masculinity, their bodies being reduced to shades or shadows of their former selves; the most vivid descriptions of the Rephaim being found in prophetic taunts against Israel’s enemies. My analysis refracts Sheol and its Rephaim through a combined lens of colonial discourse and a feminist critique of masculinity, which reveals Sheol as an imperial power that receives, and then emasculates those it colonizes, yielding the Rephaim. Engaging prophetic passages with Daniel 12:1-2, we can then understand the Rephaim as being held in a womb like suspension in Sheol, poised for birth. As such, the gendered relationship between Rephaim and the Sheol is one of male-female, but with both prophetic and psalmic texts exposing a male preoccupation and anxiety with emasculation. Given that the Rephaim in Sheol particularly in the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 14), are portrayed as exclusively masculine, my analysis suggest that the Rephaim in Sheol ultimately function as a rhetorical strategy to enable the Hebrew audience to experience a psychological victory in the midst of their own captivity thereby bolstering their own eroded masculine identities. Like the rhetoric of emasculation in the prophets, the Psalmists’ dread of Sheol is rooted in a vulnerability to being stripped of those attributes intrinsic to their own masculinity. In this respect, my analysis of the Rephaim engages David Clines’ essays on the construction of masculinity in the Hebrew Bible and sketches and writings from the Warsaw Ghetto depicting the erosion of one's masculine identity.


Coping with Catastrophe: Questions and Protests from the Ancient Near East and Biblical Israel
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Warren Robertson, Drew University

In a report from Banda Aceh, one helping to organize relief to the tsunami’s victims there states that an often repeated question of the survivor’s is “why does this kind of death happen to some of our beloved families members and not to others?” This question seems to be a common initial response among survivors of catastrophe as they adjust emotionally, intellectually and theologically to a new reality. This paper will consider such coping responses as expressed, or at least reflected in, the literature of the ancient Near East. To begin, we shall consider myths of the great flood, the communal catastrophe sine qua non of the ancient Near East. While many comparisons and contrasts have been made among these myths, little attention has been given to comparing the virtue, if any, by which the survivors in the story survive, an issue potentially implied in the above question from Banda Aceh. The arbitrary loss brought on by natural catastrophes often leads to the questioning of divine justice in the matter, and protests to the gods about the suffering of the innocent. We shall consider this angle of response to catastrophe through select Hittite prayers and the Book of Job.


Wives, Warriors and Leaders: Burmese Christian Women's Cultural Reception of the Bible
Program Unit:
Anna May Sa Pa, Myanmar Institute of Theology

Christianity and the Bible were introduced into Burma by missionaries in the 18th Century. The world of the Bible was an alien and yet familiar to the Burmese women. The lives of Biblical wives and mothers were reflected in their Buddhist, Burmese and ethnic minorities' folk tales and cultural experiences. In some instances the Bible continued to legitimate their own subordinate position in the family and society. However, certain texts challenged them to go beyond the traditional and customary roles of women. Biblical women like Miriam, Deborah, Ruth, Joel, Esther, Mary Magdalene, Phoebe, Priscilla, to name some, appears again and again in women's sermons, Bible studies and stories of women who challenged the norm. I will therefore attempt to show the Bible as a liberating word for Burmese Women.


When Israel Became a Woman
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
John J Schmitt, Marquette University

Jeremiah 3:6-13 has been treated in a variety of ways. Part of the reason for such variety is its uniqueness. This is the only passage where the RSV (within the whole tradition of English translation) clearly uses the pronoun “she” for, presumably, Israel. This paper discusses the MT of the phrase in question, and studies the treatment in the Targum, the LXX, and the Syriac. Interpreters using those versions are recorded. The Vulgate and its influence are reviewed, especially in the later writers. The role of Jerome in this transformation is stressed.


Resident Aliens: Feminist Scholars in Biblical Studies
Program Unit: Status of Women in the Profession
Elisabeth Schuessler Fiorenza, Harvard University

This paper will elaborate on the notion of women's "alien status" focussing particularly on it as a source of strength in utilising different ideas and approaches and at the same time recognizing the obstacles women scholars face and the contributions of those "alien residents" who have shaped and shape the field.


The Language of Barkhi Nafshi (4Q434-438) and Citation and Allusion to the Bible
Program Unit:
David Seely, Brigham Young University

Much of the poetry at Qumran is created with biblical language and includes citation, paraphrase, and allusion to biblical passages. This reliance on biblical language raises many interesting questions including which passages are most often cited and in what contexts, possible variant texts preserved in citations, and the nature of the authorship of the hymns and prayers. Using the search capacity of the DSS Database to collect data, this paper will examine and analyze the Barkhi Nafshi hymns (4Q434-438) in regards to the following issues: 1) the form and function of quotation of biblical passages; 2) various types of allusion and paraphrase of biblical passages; 3) the vocabulary of Barkhi Nafshi compared with biblical texts; 4) the vocabulary of the hymns compared with known sectarian texts; 5) the citations and allusions to biblical passages compared with sectarian texts.


Job's Curse
Program Unit:
C. L. Seow, Princeton Theological Seminary

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The Power of Apocalyptic Fantacy in the Text of Daniel 7
Program Unit: There and Back Again: Hermeneutical and Cultural Effects of Overseas Biblical/Theological Education
Robert Setio, Duta Wacana Christian University, Indonesia

This paper is a response to the recent topic of terrorism. It is assumed that terrorists engage in acts of terrorism from the idea of apocalypticism. The relationship between apocalypticism and terrorism is not a simple one. Many factors are involved. However, it is still necessary to study apocalypticism in order to understand not only the theological cradle of the terrorists but also the power that results in the people doing bold actions. The apocalyptic text of Daniel 7 will be used as a case in point. This text is full of eschatological depictions. But the power of these depictions will be better captured when they are treated not merely as verbal expression but as fantacy. To be precise, the text is not representing a reality or a history inasmuch as posing a power of fantacy. It is the fantacy that moves people, including those who are engaged in terrorism. To relate the issue with the theological education in Asia ans for Asians, I think the emphasis on fantacy will get support for two reasons: first, the influence of positivis in theology has separated theology from fantacy. In biblical studies, much of our works have been very mechanical and dry. Second, Asian mythologies, stories, wisdom, beliefs, indeed, life, are never departed from fantacy. So, to engage with Asianization of biblical studies, it is logical that we put so much effort on the use of fantacy.


Aqedah
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in the Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Richard Sherwin, Bar Ilan University

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The Crucifixion of Jesus and “Noble Death”, with Special Reference to the Death of Socrates and the Maccabean Martyrdom
Program Unit: Greco-Roman World
Wen Hua Shi, University of Durham, England

The apostle Paul readily acknowledged that “Christ crucified” was “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1.23). This paper will begin by looking at the origin and practice of crucifixion in antiquity, with special reference to the writings of Plato, Philo, Josephus, Cicero, Seneca and others. The survey will clearly show that crucifixion in the ancient world was commonly regarded as a capital punishment of utmost cruelty that was beyond human description, and that the cross was a readily recognizable symbol of human degradation and humiliation. As such, death on the cross was obviously most ignoble in antiquity. The paper will next deal with the concept of “noble death” in both Greco-Roman and Jewish traditions. In Greco-Roman tradition, the classic example is most probably the death of Socrates, and among the Jews, the sacrifice of the Maccabean martyrs may be one of the best examples. This aspect of the paper will be done with reference to some of the studies on the subject by modern scholars such as David Seeley, Arthur Droge, Jan Willem van Henten, David deSilva, H. Anderson and John Barclay. A comparison/contrast will finally be made between the ignoble death of Jesus and the “noble death” of Socrates and the Maccabean martyrs, with special reference to Paul’s “message about the cross”.


Harmony and Sectarianism in the Construction of 'Buddhist Humanism': The Case of Murakami Senshô
Program Unit:
James Mark Shields, Lakeland College, Japan

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Who Dares Wins: Ascribing Attitudes and Intentions to YHWH
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Ronald J Sim, NEGST / SIL

The paper looks at some work of ‘the Deuteronomist’, focusing on a startling assertion in Ch. 4, and weighing up two interpretations. The paper shows how the Deuteronomist ascribes some rather daring attitudes and intentions to YHWH, in both readings uncovers some underlying assumptions, and poses the question: Which assumptions, attitudes and intentions would have been more accessible to the implied audience?


The Socio-Cultural Context of Indonesia and the Bible: Graduate Biblical Studies at Duta Wacana
Program Unit: Graduate Biblical Studies: Ethos and Discipline
Gerrit Singgih, Duta Wacana Christian University

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Reflections on the Flood
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Gerrit Singgih, Duta Wacana Christian University

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Obstacles Confronting Women Biblical Scholars
Program Unit: Status of Women in the Profession
Alice M Sinnott, University of Auckland, University of Auckland

Women scholars undertaking academic research and teaching in Biblical Studies, especially after working in other disciplines or pursuing careers in non-related fields, frequently experience obstacles in pursuing research in Biblical studies. In addition to personal experience, I am drawing on experiences of a number of New Zealand women students who have or are involved in supervised research for masters and Doctoral research. All agree about the need for: Presence: The art of being present by giving sustained attention to students/colleagues during meetings and discussions. Transparency of Practice: Setting up clearly defined mutually agreed upon contracts regarding meeting times, places, systematic feedback, ways of contact, drafts of work, progress reporting etc. Issues and problems experienced by women in Biblical Studies: Unrealistic expectations of students, researchers, or supervisors. Even with watertight contracts, these can become unmanageable. Unrealistic demands and expectations placed on women students/researchers/ lecturers by Biblical Studies departments or sponsoring agencies, for committee work, tutoring, advising students, and other tasks. Dos: Ask these questions: Do I have the time? Can I make time? Can I (financially) afford this now? What has my experience of study and research taught me? Can I cope with the loneliness and solitariness? Can I cope with the idea that I cannot predict the process in detail? Is the suggested supervisor or my chosen supervisor interested in my research? willing and capable of enabling me to carry out my research? Use everything the university offers, e.g. courses, support, advice. Build links with others in the process who can contribute. Retain direction of your research Regularly review progress and direction, ask for honest and constructive feedback Identify gaps in the argument and review parts languishing in the too hard basket.


Interpretations of Personified Wisdom in Art
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature
Alice M Sinnott, University of Auckland, University of Auckland

Wisdom writers, by using the rhetorical technique of personification in poetic passages in Proverbs, Job, Sirach, Wisdom and Baruch, developed the figure of Wisdom as a major character, a central teaching figure and a unique expression of wisdom. Many paintings of the Wisdom figure suggest intentional ambiguity in the intertwining of divine, human, and female identities. The pictorial realm is the explicit focus of attention in this paper, particularly those paintings and icons connected with the figure of Wisdom in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. By considering, for example, Creation, Michelangelo; Sophia Icon, Moscow; Book of Wisdom, Winchester Bible; Sapientia, Elshoecht; Sophia, Hagia Sophia; Saint Sophia, Russian Icon, I reflect on interpretations of biblical texts in which artists intentionally illustrate, interpret, extend, and layer biblical texts relating to the Wisdom figure beyond the edges of the written text. Secondly, I discuss how such works can embody relatively straightforward approaches to biblical understandings and more complex forms of textual interpretation. Artists reveal significant aspects of human situations in which they are working and on which the viewer can reflect. They may present texts boldly, attractively, and evocatively, thus giving viewers vivid and unique readings of texts as lived, thought, imagined, and felt. Contemporary biblical studies explicitly advert to different literary forms in the bible and are increasingly involved in dialogues with aesthetic as well as historical and critical study of biblical texts. While an emphasis on the verbal and written word has generally dominated biblical studies, paintings and icons have much to offer as they reveal not only textual content but also attitudes, ideals and emotional reactions associated with texts. Primarily they supplement and correct a purely conceptual approach to biblical studies.


Aramaic Loanwords in Akkadian - A Reappraisal of the Proposals
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Michael Sokoloff, Bar Ilan University

In an article published in the 1960's, W. von Soden proposed Aramaic etymologies for several hundred words occurring in Neo Asssyrian and Neo Babylonian texts. Due to the author's prestige as a llexicographer and the inclusion of these etymologies in his Akkadisches Handwoerterbuch, these suggestions have become canonical. The great advances over the last forty years in Akkadian and West Semitic lexicography, the republication of many Neo Assyrian and Neo Babylonian texts, as well as the publication of many new texts and studies on the texts from these periods demand a re-evaluation of this pioneering article. The purpose of this paper is to critically revies von Soden's proposals and to show that the majority of them should either now be rejected for a variety of reasons (e.g. the word does not actually exist in either Akkadian or Aramaic; the meaning of the word is different from what is claimed; the word was most likely borrowed from another Semitic language).


An Investigation into the Relationship of 1 Chronicles 1 and the Genealogies of Genesis
Program Unit: Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Jim Sparks, Murdoch University

In investigations of the genealogical prologue in 1 Chronicles it has often been assumed that the author, whether the Chronicler himself or a later editor, utilized a variety of sources in compiling the lists of names. This is particularly so regarding 1 Chronicles 1, where it has been assumed that the Chronicler made use of the genealogies contained in the text of Genesis when compiling this material. However, no objective criteria has been put forward to justify this assumption. In a recent article on the relationship of the Synoptic Gospels McKiver and Carroll have developed criteria for determining the type of literary relationship between two documents. (JBL 121:4 2002, 667-687) In this paper I apply their criteria to the relationship between 1 Chronicles 1 and the genealogies of Genesis in order to investigate the claim that the Chronicler made use of Genesis. The goal is to place on a surer footing through the use of objective criteria the assumptions of a literary relationship between the two works. As a consequence of this investigation, further conclusions regarding the Chronicler's use of sources are also developed which may be further utilized in the investigation of the Chronicler's work as a whole. This is the third revision of this paper. It was first presented to my Ph.D. supervisor, Dr. Jim Trotter at Murdoch University. It was revised and presented at a post-graduate student seminar to fellow students at Murdoch University in mid 2004. It has also been sharpened through the response to McIver & Carrol by John C. Poirier which has helped to point out certain potential limitations to McIver and Carrol's original hypothesis (JBL 123:2, 2004, 315-322).


The End of Creation: A Non-annihilationist Reading of the Apocalypse of John
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Mark Stephens, Macquarie University

Apocalyptic literature is typically regarded as being thoroughly pessimistic towards all facets of the present age, including the created order. This tends to lead towards 'annihilationist' readings, in which the present creation is utterly destroyed, and an entirely new creation replaces the old. In this paper, I seek to argue that such a reading considerably underestimates the value that the Apocalypse of John places on the present created order. More to the point, I seek to explore significant motifs of continuity between the present and the new creation, and to demonstrate how the presence of such 'continuity motifs' contributes towards the broader rhetorical strategies of the document.


The Hymn in Jewish Worship and Penina Moise
Program Unit: Judaica
Max Stern, College of Judea and Samaria

The hymn as a song of praise to God appears already in embryonic form in Psalm 118:1-4 in the Hallel Psalms chanted on Festivals in the Temple at Jerusalem. This simple structure permits a large body of untrained people to function within the divine service as a congregation: Give thanks to the Lord; for he is good: for His mercy endureth forever. So let Israel now say, that His mercy endureth forever. So let the house of Aaron say, that his mercy endureth forever. So let them that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth forever. When the Christian Church became the ‘New Israel’ it placed psalmody and hymn singing at the center of its worship. Likewise, a number of hymns constitute a respected element in synagogue worship. These include Ein Keyloheynu, Adon Olam, Yigdal and the Hannukah hymn Maoz Tzur. Similarly, the German Lutheran Chorale is congregational music selected from popular and folk songs as well as original hymns such as “Ein Feste Burg”. Jewish and Protestant practice met in modern Germany. The Reform Synagogue founded in Hamburg in the early 19th century adopted from the Lutherans organ accompaniment, four-voice settings of chorale tunes, syllabic singing, and diatonic tonality. The Hamburg Temple inspired the establishment in Charleston, South Carolina of the “Reform Society of Israelites” in 1824. Later when the Reform and Orthodox factions reunited and dedicated their new sanctuary, Penina Moise (1797-1880) produced the first American Jewish hymnal. The sources of the music for her hymns included classical music as well as Christian hymn tunes


Christianity as a Religion of Wisdom and Kamma: A Thai Buddhist Interpretation of Selected Passages from the Gospels
Program Unit: Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Kari Storstein Haug, School of Mission and Theology

The late Buddhadasa Bhikku (1906-1993) is regarded as one of the most important interpreters of Buddhism in modern Thailand. His aim was to show the relevance of Buddhism for a modern time, and he consequently interpreted Thai Buddhist tradition in new ways, relating especially to the role of religion in society. In this regard he developed an interpretative approach, which he called “two kinds of language”, which he used as a hermeneutical key in interpretation of the Buddhist scriptures. In short, he contended that the texts must be investigated both in terms of Dhamma language (presupposing an insight into the Truth, Dhamma) and everyday language (the language of people not knowing Dhamma). But Buddhadasa did not confine this method only to the Buddhist scriptures. In his dialogue with people of other faiths he argued for using the method also in the interpretation of other religious scriptures. Hence, in his Sinclaire Thompson Memorial Lecture (Chiang Mai, Thailand) from 1967, titled “Christianity and Buddhism”, he actively employed the method in the interpretation of the Bible, proceeding to show that Christianity may be interpreted as a religion of Kamma and Wisdom. In this paper I will present his “two-language” approach and discuss how he utilises it in the interpretation of selected Gospel passages. Further, I will compare his method of interpretation with some commonly employed methodological approaches in Western scholarship. Finally, I will ask what is his contribution to the issue of biblical interpretation in a Thai context.


When A Biblical Scholar Meets Delthey's Hermeneutics of Life
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Myung Soo Suh, Hyupsung University

During the last two decades biblical criticism has experienced a remarkable change: from diachronic to synchronic. Basically while a dichronic approach as 'traditional' biblical criticism is committed to the quest for the original author's meaning and intention; to studying texts in their historical contexts; to revealing traces of previous versions or of later redaction, a synchronic approach tends to put more weight on the literary art on the part of the writer and the text itself. For this reason, at first glance, it seems that the relationship between a diachronic and synchronic study has been a tension in biblical studies. The paradigm is changing. Yet a diachronic approach is still meaningful. Thus, it is necessary to relate a new approach to the older one. For this task, this presentation will attempt to elicit a connective point or common basis between them from Dilthey's hermeneutics of life as the structural nexus of lived experience, expression, and understanding.


On the Road to Emmaus: Biblical Foundation of Spiritual Direction
Program Unit:
Ekman P. C. Tam, Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre

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Exorcism and Empire in Mark
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Kim Huat Tan, Trinity Theological College-Singapore

This paper proposes to look at the neglected themes of exorcism and empire in Mark. It will argue that they are intended by Mark to be juxtaposed, and at the same time, related to the thematic message of the kingdom of God. In so doing, Mark intends his readers to see that the kingdom message is a form of exorcism which sets subjects free from tyranny, especially that of the imperial form. It will further argue that the clustering of key themes such as gospel, kingdom and exorcism presents a united front against the Empire's propaganda, and thus, offering us a key to unlocking the primary intention of Mark. Critical passages such as 1.21-8 and 5.1-20 will be treated.


Where is ‘Foreign Wisdom’ to be Found? A Study of the Translation of ??? ??? and ????? in Septuagint Proverbs 1-9
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature
Nancy Tan, University of Durham

The recent publications on Septuagint Proverbs seem to have agreed that the ??? ??? and ????? of Hebrew Proverbs 1-9 has been interpreted as the symbol for Hellenistic and/or foreign wisdom. This paper examines the corresponding Septuagint texts of ??? ??? and ????? in Proverbs 1-9, and attempts to understand the vocabularies used for the woman. It argues primarily that the Septuagint translator of Proverbs 1-9 does not have the concept of ‘foreign’ in mind, and consequently, ‘foreign wisdom’ is not intended. This paper also studies how the Septuagint translator changes the figure of the ??? ??? and ?????, and finally proposes the probable reasons for the translation.


The Pauline Lexicon - Developing a Lexical Profile of Paul's Vocabulary
Program Unit: Language and Linguistics
Randall Tan, Kentucky Christian University

Word studies play an important role in New Testament interpretation. However, apart from the theological dictionaries (where the focus is less upon linguistic patterns and functions and more upon historical and theological aspects), this method has not received systematic application to the New Testament corpus or its sub-corpora (e.g. the Pauline epistles). The discipline of corpus linguistics, which makes use of computational analysis to discover patterns of usage in language, has developed theory and method for the systematic analysis of lexis. OpenText.org is an initiative that seeks to apply the methods of corpus-based linguistics to the analysis of Hellenistic Greek and specifically the Greek of the New Testament. This paper demonstrates the concept of a 'lexical profile' and provides illustration from some keywords in Pauline vocabulary. A lexical profile provides a comprehensive summary of all the occurrences of a word at a range of linguistic levels (i.e. morphological, word, word group or phrase, and clause). For example, at the word group level, the profile would show that the word NOMOS (‘law’) can be used both as a 'head term' and as a 'modifier' and list the words with which it occurs in these structures (i.e. ‘law of sin’, ‘law of God’, ‘works of law’, etc.). Similarly, the profile would show that NOMOS occurs in a range slots or components in a clause, including both 'subject' and 'complement' (or object) slots. In its role as a clausal subject, the profile shows which verbal processes are linked to the word using the semantic domain categories from the Louw-Nida lexicon (domains 13 ‘Existence’ and 33 ‘Communication’, i.e. ‘the law is…’ and ‘the law says…’). This new method for lexical analysis offers considerable promise for the study of New Testament vocabulary.


Engendering the Johannine Community
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Yak-Hwee Tan, Trinity Theological College-Singapore

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Social Location: Dis-ease and/or Dis-cover(y)
Program Unit: Graduate Biblical Studies: Ethos and Discipline
Yak-Hwee Tan, Trinity Theological College-Singapore

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Jesus as 'New Moses' in Matthew 8-9
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Michael Theophilos, Oxford University (Graduate Student)

The primary research question that will be investigated in this paper concerns the literary and narrative structure of Matthew 8-9. I will argue that the author presents Jesus as the ‘New-Moses’ (and at points a greater than Moses) leading his people out of Exile. This is based on several lines of evidence. Firstly, Matthew’s structural arrangement of material on both the macro-level (ch 1-28) and on the micro-level (8-9) display ‘Mosaic’ influence. Secondly, this schema is strengthened by the historical recollection of Moses, in which his mighty deeds and the part he plays in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt forms the basis for Israel’s future hopes, and thirdly, there are several significant echoes within the text itself including Jesus and Moses’ shared roles, imagery and explicit OT citation.


Die griechische Bibelübersetzung als Zeugnis der kulturellen Begegnung
Program Unit: Greco-Roman World
Michael Tilly, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Die Übersetzer der griechischen Bibel lasen ihre hebräischen Vorlagen mit dem Wissensstand und vor dem kulturellen und religiösen Hintergrund ihrer Epoche. Die Septuaginta enthält wertvolle Informationen darüber, wie die heiligen Schriften des Judentums insb. in der alexandrinischen Diaspora verstanden und seine normativen, narrativen und poetischen Inhalte mit der eigenen Weltdeutung und der eigenen Lebensgestaltung in Beziehung gesetzt wurden, insbesondere vor dem Hintergrund der kulturellen Begegnung von Judentum und Hellenismus. In den griechischen Bibelübersetzungen kommt das Bedürfnis ihres jüdischen Lesepublikums nach aktualisierenden Übertragungen der hebräischen Vorlagen zum Ausdruck. Ebenso begegnet in der Tiefenstruktur dieser Texte durchgängig das Problem der Vermittlung zwischen dem Streben nach Bewahrung der kulturellen und religiösen Eigenheit durch Festhalten an der jüdischen Tradition und dem Streben nach Annäherung an den Hellenismus durch Übertragung der Bibel in die zeitgenössische Kultur.


An Intertextual Reading of the Gospel Passion Narratives
Program Unit: Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Michael Trainor, Theology School, Flinders University, S. Australia

The gospel narratives of Jesus’ death were intended for first century CE Christians living around the Mediterranean. It is obvious that the narratives were not intended for a Western third millennium CE English-speaking audience. This linguistic, cultural and chronological gap, between the original addressees of the gospels and ourselves, creates the primary interpretative challenge: How can these ancient documents be relevant for us today, particularly in the light the our concerns never envisaged by their writers? How can we read these gospels, for example, to understand and respond to the issue of sexual abuse? This paper explores the voice of the 'other' and 'intertextuality' as ways of addressing these questions.


On the Role of Top-down Interpretive Frames in Isaiah 5:1-7: Some Implications for Exegesis and Hermeneutics
Program Unit: Relevance Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Christoph Unger, Sil International

This paper focuses on the application of recent insights in pragmatic theory to the interpretation of Biblical texts. It is nowadays widely accepted in pragmatics that utterance comprehension is largely based on inference. It is also widely believed that in comprehending texts, people need to bring "top-down" controls to bear on interpretation to narrow down the inferential possibilities. Such "top-down" controls are suggested to be exercised by global coherence, discourse type or genre, speech acts, ideologies, and other notions. Isaiah 5:1-7 is a text where this tension is particular prominent. In this paper I apply Sperber & Wilson's (1995) relevance theory of cognition and communication to the interpretation of this text. I argue that this theory provides some central insights that allow to resolve the tension arising by the need to ballance interpretive possibilities against top-down interpretive frames in a unique and interesting way. The insights are: First, interpretation is driven by more or less specific expectations of relevance that are raised on the basis of a general presumption of relevance that is communicated by every instance of ostensive communication. Second, these expectations of relevance are fine-tuned in online processing of the ostensive stimulus. Third, expectations of relevance raised by ostensive stimuli in general: These stimuli may be complex such as in the case of texts, and in the case of complex ostensive stimuli expectations of relevance can affect the kind of complexity as well as the level or kind of relevance to be expected.


Masculist Interpretation: Promises, Pitfalls and Application
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
HJM (Hans) van Deventer, North-West University, South Africa

In a paper presented at the Edinburgh meeting of the Society for Old Testament Study in 1994, John Goldingay proposed the “birthing” of what was labelled “masculist interpretation”. At the time he expressed the reservation that his creation might be “premature”. A decade later it seems that he may have been correct in expressing this reservation. Since its introduction to the scholarly world “masculist interpretation” has hardly received any attention in the broader field of gender related studies of the Bible. This paper revisits the initial question of what might become visible in texts when they are read in conscious awareness of (African) maleness. It proposes what masculist interpretation entails, how it relates to the ethics of interpretation, and also suggests an application to the book of Daniel.


John and Sophia, Evidence for a Resurrection Dialogue Behind John 13-17?
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Bas van Os, University of Groningen

The resurrection dialogue is a specific variant of the redeemer dialogues. The risen or spiritual Christ teaches his followers between crucifixion and ascension. The Sophia of Jesus Christ (Nag Hammadi) shows a literary relationship specifically with the Gospel of John. A Johannine resurrection dialogue can explain the editorial interventions in Sophia and some of the apparent inconcistencies in John.


A Persian Messiah in Psalm 2?
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Bas van Os, University of Groningen

Psalm 2 is generally regarded as a royal Psalm for a Davidic king. Comparison with the language used in deutero Isaiah suggests another messiah: Kores.


Cutting Edges and Loose Ends. Kristeva’s Re-Membering of John the Baptist
Program Unit: Whence and Whither?: Methodology and the Future of Biblical Studies
Caroline Vander Stichele, University of Amsterdam

In this paper I will analyse Julia Kristeva’s reading of the stories about the beheading of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14-29; Matt 14:1-12) as presented in 'Visions capitales', the catalogue of a special exhibition, which took place in the Louvre at Paris in 1998. Kristeva’s reading is mostly a reconstruction of John’s death, based on information gained from Josephus and the biblical stories, but secondary sources also inform her interpretation of John’s death. This is most explicitly the case where gap-filling takes place in ascribing particular motives to the characters in the biblical story. As I will argue, the result thereof is that her own reading reproduces the culturally dominant reading, she engages elsewhere in the same volume. This is all the more striking since Kristeva in fact possesses the critical-analytical tools to question and deconstruct that interpretation.


The Matthean Community According to the Beginning to this Gospel.
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Francois P. Viljoen, North-west University, Republic of South Africa

The social setting of the Gospel according to Matthew remains a much discussed question. The theory of a gentile setting with historical roots within Judaism is met by much opposition in recent times. The expression “the parting of the ways” as introduced by D.G. Dunn and popularized by G. Stanton effectively marks this discussion. However the relation between the Christian community of Matthews and Judaism remains a much debated issue. Some studies have argued that the Matthean community was sectarian in nature being in conflict with a larger Jewish social context. From the gospel it is clear that there was a struggle between the Matthean community and local Jewish communities and leaders. This indicates a distance between a Jewish background and a gentile presence within the community. Matthew views the new People of God as distinct from the nation which rejected Jesus as their Messiah. Within the discussion with regard to the Matthean community, the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20) is often seen as the key to understanding the whole book and particularly the community. However, the importance of the beginning of the gospel is often neglected in this discussion. In this paper I attempt to show the importance of the opening narrative in defining this community. The following portions of the opening narrative are taken into consideration: The genealogy of Jesus (1:1-17); the account of how Joseph takes Mary to be his wife after the appearance of an angel to him in a dream (1:18-25); the Gentile astrologers from the east (2:1-12), the fury of King Herod, the move to Egypt and the murdering or the children (2:13-18) and the return from Egipt back to Nazareth (2:19-23).


The 'Body' and Lady Wisdom (Proverbs 1-9)
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature
Hendrik Viviers, Rand Afrikaans University

The personification of wisdom as Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 1-9, evokes quite juxtaposed appreciations. Some believe she is good news for women. She occupies an elevated position close to Yahweh which is rather unheard of in patriarchal Israelite culture. Others are convinced that she ultimately serves mainly male hegemony and interests being so closely aligned with the (male) divinity. Even though personified as ‘she’, does she really do ‘she’-things or predominantly ‘he’-things? Is serving Yahweh also serving the feminine cause? The cultural construct of wisdom as Lady Wisdom needs to be looked at again. Utilizing body criticism Lady Wisdom is analyzed. Body constructs expose a society’s deepest convictions and values. It is especially the ‘regulatory body’ (ideal, normative, paradigmatic) that becomes a society’s cultural script or ‘corporeal code’, determining all others. Onto and ‘into’ this body-‘text’ is written a society’s values, often hidden. The regulatory body emerges from culture, and in turn shapes and replicates culture. As ‘text’ the regulatory body begets symbolical or rhetorical value to inform, persuade and construe the adherents of a particular society into the proper bodies they ought to be. It offers them representations of cultural-specific subjectivities or self-understandings. How did the regulatory body of the time shape Lady Wisdom, determining her subjectivity, her true agency?


Some Women who were Cured of Evil Spirits and Infirmities: Lucan Women Healed
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Elaine Wainwright, University of Aukland

A study of gender and healing in the synoptic gospels reveals that both the Matthean and Markan storytellers use similar stories of women healed but each gospel constructs gendered healing differently. The Lucan construction of gendered healing likewise differs but much more markedly and a number of different stories contribute to this construction. Against the backdrop of the Markan and Matthean similarities and differences in relation to the gendering of healing, this paper will explore in more detail the significantly different Lucan construction. The interpretation will be informed by a multi-dimensional hermeneutic which combines feminist, ecological and postcolonial perspectives. The biblical methodology will be socio-rhetorical combining literary analyses with a medical anthropological approach. One particular aspect which requires particular investigation in the context of this paper is the significance of the Lucan women being demon possessed. This will, however, be set in the context of a study which seeks to uncover the total Lucan construction of gender and healing.


From Mono- to Multi- Culture: Reflections on a Journey
Program Unit: Graduate Biblical Studies: Ethos and Discipline
Elaine Wainwright, University of Aukland

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Paul and Predestination: The Rhetoric of Impersonation in Romans 9:11-33
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Kenneth L. Waters, Sr., Azusa Pacific University

We misread Paul when we assume that Rom 9:11-33 is a presentation of his own predestinarian position. Actually, Paul in these verses evokes a rhetorical persona with whom he disagrees; that is to say, he executes a rhetorical maneuver described in the writings of Quintilian and Aelius Theon as prosopopoeia or impersonation. Paul's purpose is to discredit the radical predestinarian view by role-playing a rigid proponent of that position. Paul hopes to elicit agreement from his predominantly Gentile audience that the idea of prenatal predestination is untenable; and that the idea that God has prenatally predestined some Jews to destruction is especially objectionable.


Bakhtin's Poetics and the Gospels: Genre-memory and its Possible Application to Mark
Program Unit: Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Geoff Webb, Melbourne College of Divinity

Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of genre-memory provides an alternative that creates a new framework for understanding in relation to Gospel genre studies, and has also been considered by some scholars to be the solution to the opposition between synchronic and diachronic poetics. The applicability of genre-memory will be considered especially in relation to Mark as the most primitive of the canonical Gospels.


Bakhtin and the SyroPhoenecian Woman: Carnivalesque Elements in a Controversial Encounter
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Geoff Webb, Melbourne College of Divinity

Using strategies derived from Bakhtin's insights, the paper explores elements of the carnivalesque in the meeting between Jesus and the SyroPhoenecian woman (Mark 7:24-30). Multiple-level dialogue provides opportunity to reflect on the strong sexual connotations observable in their threshold encounter, the apparently harsh saying on Jesus' lips, and the re-establishment of her "otherness", before her challenge to Jesus (and the hearing-reader) concerning his mission to the Gentiles.


Divine Transcendence, the Psalter and the Wave
Program Unit: Reading Texts in the Shadow of the Wave: Theodicy and Natural Disasters
Harlan J. Wechsler, Jewish Theological Seminary of America

While many have made use of the Biblical notions of the imminent God in reacting to crisis, divine transcendence is frequently seen as inimical to the possibility of deriving comfort and consolation. Therefore, after the tsunami, for example, it was frequently said that God is to be found in the response to the tsunami, in the love and altruism that is generated by a crisis of untold proportions. This paper will present a different view, a view that looks at notions of divine transcendence found in the Book of Psalms, in order to develop a theology that incorporates, but goes beyond theodicy.


What God Knows When the Spirit Intercedes
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Timothy Wiarda, Singapore Bible College

Paul's brief reference in Romans 8:26-27 to the Spirit's ministry of intercession comes as a word of encouragement to Christians in their weakness. While interpreters debate Paul's meaning at a number of points, certain aspects of his encouragement have not received the full attention they deserve. I will try to show that Paul's teaching includes the following elements: (1) the Spirit's intercession is something that takes place between the Spirit and God; (2) the Spirit brings believers' needs to God in a way the especially includes communicating their experience of weakness; (3) the Spirit is able to communicate believers' feelings because the Spirit indwells them and is thus in touch with their inward experience; (4) as a result of the Spirit's intercession God knows believers, especially those things that pertain to their experience of weakness, in a way that would not otherwise be possible. This study will include reflection on the way pictures of divine activity function in Paul's letters. I will also briefly consider what these verses imply about Paul's understanding of the Spirit and his view of God.


Peripheralization and ‘Presence’ in the Apocalypse of John
Program Unit: Critical Theory and Biblical Interpretation
Marvin Williams, Vanderbilt University

Biblical critics studying the Book of Revelation gloss over or ignore the “presence” of doulos (slave) as a means of identity formation. Since the event of Jesus’ death and resurrection reconfigured the identity of the early Christian community, the notion of Christian identity permeates nearly every chapter of the Apocalypse. As such, John utilizes identity construction as a strategy of resistance for community liberation and consolation. Although evidence of this strategy is generally exhibited throughout the Apocalypse, John’s construction reaches its fulcrum in the climatic presentation of the New Jerusalem, Rev. 21:1-22:5. Charged with the mandate to promote Jesus' message, John, therefore, inscribes the formation of self-identity to foment maximum participation in the process of salvation; thus, engendering a particular aspect of world transformation. To explore the tenets and ramifications of John's strategy, this essay seeks to employ a cultural studies approach to reading Rev. 21:1-22:5. Embodying the theoretical orientation of ideological criticism as well as social- and literary-critical studies, I wish to enlist Toni Morrison’s (1992) construct of “presence” in American literature and James C. Scott’s (1990) delineation of resistance and power in discourse. For identity construction, whether in ancient or modern texts, is a matter of both “presence” and power. Nowhere is this more evident than in John’s discourse of the New Jerusalem and the formation of identity to resist domination while obtaining liberation.


Power and Powerlessness in the Apocalypse of John
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Marvin Williams, Vanderbilt University

It is indeed a rare occasion, in the book of Revelation, to witness the voice of the powerless speaking or representing a cause. Usually John assumes the role of “representative” or utilizes other heavenly characters to forward his prophetic message. Among biblical critics such occasional points virtually go unnoticed; however, a closer inspection reveals the complex nature of power relations at work throughout the Apocalypse. While the voice of the powerless is an underestimated feature as well as a neglected aspect of John’s discourse, it nonetheless reflects a hidden transcript etched in the lining of John’s strategic aim and finds full voice in the overall proclamation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it can be argued John’s message emerges from the canticles of prophecy as a form of criticism of the powerless to subvert the discourse of the powerful. As such, John’s Apocalypse is considered as a collective cultural product on behalf of the marginalized community. Exploring this hidden transcript is essential to understanding the dynamics of power relations in the book of Revelation. This essay seeks to examine power relations in the Apocalypse by employing the socio-ideological construct of James C. Scott (1990) in reading Revelation 7:1-13. In so doing, the study will reveal how John engenders power as a strategy for liberation for the powerless in the Apocalypse.


Emperor, King and Rabbi: Competing Claims on Religious Practice during the Life of Jesus
Program Unit: Bethsaida Excavations Project
Paul Williams, University of Nebraska, Omaha

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Amos 9, the Essene Interpretation, and the Apostolic Decree
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Mikael Winninge, Umea University

Amos 9:11f is quoted twice in the Dead Sea Scrolls and once in the New Testament. Yet, the quotation occurs in texts and passages that are of crucial significance concerning the beliefs, the self-understanding and the eschatological meaning of the Essenes and the early Christians. At first glance the interpretations are very different, but at second thought they do not seem to be of completely unrelated species. This investigation has been chronological to a certain extent, beginning with Amos 9:11f in its Hebrew Bible setting, and continuing also with a discussion of the translation of the passage into Greek. It was necessary with a brief excursus on Amos 5:25–27, since this text is combined with Amos 9:11f in CD 7:14–18 and also appears in an important quotation in Acts 7:42f. The main focus of this paper has been twofold. First, I carefully examined the reference to the restoration of the fallen booth of David in CD 7:16 and the use of Amos 9:11f in 4Q174 1:12f. Second, I made a close reading of Luke’s interpretation of the rebuilding of David’s fallen booth in Acts 15:15–18, both in perspective of the apostolic council and Luke’s theology. Whereas the main emphasis in the Essene understanding of the text is the appearance of the Messiah, the interpreter of the Torah and a law-abiding Jewish community, the speech of James in Acts centres around the inclusion of the Gentiles without their being obliged to obey the entire Jewish Torah. In spite of different emphases the common denominators of Essene and Christian interpretations are important: salvation, community and practical rules.


Does a Canonical Reading of Scriptures Undermines the Need for Historical Critical Studies?
Program Unit: There and Back Again: Hermeneutical and Cultural Effects of Overseas Biblical/Theological Education
Wong, Fook Kong, Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary

This paper is written from the perspective of a teacher training ministers in a seminary setting in an East Asian context. Like most of the colleagues I know, historical critical issues form the backbone of my courses. However, it is increasingly clear that these are not the concerns of most of my students. Indeed some even consider these issues interferences they need to endure in their ministerial training. I am not talking about students who resist historical critical studies for theological reasons, but those who simply do not think historical critical studies are important. A main reason for this apathy is a lack of time to master the necessary languages and information. The number of courses per semester and involvement in churches of students here tend to be higher than their counterparts in the US. Furthermore, historical critical issues are rarely raised in their ministry. Lastly, most of my students read the Bible from a canonical perspective, as an act of choice or from habit. Thus they do not feel the need to consider the history of formation of the Pentateuch. Again, why consider the real historical circumstances of the Davidic dynasty when they will finally preach and teach only from the perspective of the Bible? In this paper I will argue that a canonical reading of Scriptures should not be a substitute for historical critical studies. However, I do think that their importance is reduced for students training for the ministry. Instead more time should be spent on fields like New Criticism , social critical hermeneutics (e.g., feminist hermeneutics) and contextualization since these are more immediately relevant to the ministry. The choice should not be an either or but, rather, of maintaining a fine balance between resources and need.


Rhetorical Force of The Marzeah Institution in Amos 6:1-7
Program Unit: Prophets
Taek Joo Woo, Korea Baptist Theological University/Seminary

Amos 6:1-7 is one of the two classic loci to confirm the existence of the marzeah institution in Ancient Israel. Experts have paid much attention to elaborate how to define this institution and how to elaborate its function in the Israelite society. Though three representative views have been currently suggested, any interpretation of this Amos passage in realtion to one of them is not facilitated any further. According to my own work on the definition and function of the marzeah institution, it was closely related to the rites for the dead in the society. Based on this concept, this paper will attempt to show that main ingredients of rites for the dead reflected by this socio-religious institution could have certain concrete rhetorical forces in the message of Amos 6:1-7, which is never noticed by any interpreters.


"Worthy Art Thou": The New Song in Rev 5:9-10
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Peter Jung-chu Wu, Singapore Bible College

In this paper, I propose that the Song of the Sea in Exod 15:1-18 has intertextual influences on the new song in Rev 5:9-10. The influences of the Song of the Sea on the new song of Rev 5:9-10 are both explicit and implicit. The explicit influences are demonstrated in the verbal, thematic, and structural parallels of the texts; while the implicit ones are found by using the Jewish interpretative rule of gezerâ sawâ. John's contemporaries used the Song of the Sea in the Targums, Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, and rabbinic writings. However, John has his own exegetical perspective and goal. Thus, his use of the Song of the Sea contains identifiable theological notions that reveal his own theological development in his work.


Identity and Characterization of 'hoi par' autou' (Mk 3:21)
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Jayhoon Yang, Hyupsung University

It has been debated among scholars to whom the Greek phrase 'hoi par' autou' (Mk 3:21) refers. While the majority prefers identifying them as Jesus' relatives, some scholars have cautiously challenged this traditional identification, arguing that it refers to 'disciples', 'neighbours' or 'crowds'. This paper will discuss the Markan narrator's characterization of 'hoi par' autou', and will illuminate their identity through a literary critical examination of two consecutive pericopae, 'the Beelzebul Debate' (Mk 3:20-30) and 'True Family' (Mk 3:31-35).


Divine Violence and the Symbolic Order of Zechariah
Program Unit: Concept Analysis and the Hebrew Bible
Chan Yew Ming, Trinity Theological College-Singapore

While the interpretation of the visions and oracles of Zechariah remains as a puzzle, the analysis of the social context in recent years recognises the presence of independent groups and their voices in this prophetic work. In this paper, I will argue that there is a language of violence that pointed to a duality, and not a dualism between various social groups. By appropriating the structuration theory of Anthony Giddens, I will further demonstrate that divine violence in this book is a social critique of the social context as well as a necessary outcome that is responsible for the continuity and reproduction of rules and resources that governed the running of the social systems.


Shared Stylistic Patterns in the Aramaic Proverbs of Ahiqar and Hebrew Wisdom
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature
Shamir Yona, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Since the publication by Eduard Sachau of the Aramaic version of Ahiqar from 5th century B.C.E. Elephantine in 1911 numerous important studies have been published concerning this text. Among the scholars who made important contributions to our understanding this text are Cowley, Ginsberg, Grelot, Furayha, Lindenberger, and, most recently, the new edition by Porten and Yardeni. Various questions still remain to be answered concerning the source of the Aramaic Ahiqar, the time and place of its composition, the nature of the specific kind of Wisdom reflected in it, and the relationship between the Aramaic Ahiqar and the various other versions in a variety of languages. However, I plan to deal with a very specific subject, which is the stylistic patterns of a number of the proverbs in Ahiqar. Many of these stylistic patterns are shared specifically by Israelite and Jewish Wisdom in the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew version of Sirach and the proverbs scattered throughout Ancient Rabbinic Literature. I will discuss a number of proverbs in the Aramaic Ahiqar which belong to the subcategory of "Didactic Wisdom," and show how they and their structural parallels in Hebrew Scripture, Sirach and Rabbinic Literature illumine each other with respect to both content and formal features.


Function of Wisdom Poem (17:5-11) in the Book of Jeremiah
Program Unit: Prophets
Yoon Jong Yoo, Pyongtaek University

Jeremiah 17:5-11 has many parallels with a Psalms 1 which is called a wisdom poem. Our text is a wisdom poem. Though it is from wisdom genre, its interpretation should be pursued at the present location. Why is it placed in the book of Jeremiah? Jeremiah's mission is decalred in Jeremiah 1:10. In short, his first mission is "to break down," and the second is "to rebuild." What should he "break down" and what should he "rebuild"? Jeremiah's mission is reiterated when Yahweh was about to make a new covenant(31:27-28). Then what did Jeremiah "destroy and overthrow"? Jeremiah declared that Judah would be destroyed. What was the problem of the message? The problem lies in that it contradicts with established ideology so called "Davidic covenant". Jeremiah delivered the message of overthrowing established Jerusalem-royal theology, because people in Judah committed sins. In the turmoil of national destiny, what kind of form will be established for the salvation? This question is related to Jeremiah's mission "to plant." It is described in Jeremiah 17:1-4. II Kings ascribed the destruction as sin of Manasseh (II Kings 24:2-3). If Judah's destruction is sin committed in the period of Manasseh, what can descendants do? If the destruction is unavoidable because of their ancestors' sin, what kind of action can they take? To these questions, Jeremiah suggested the first choice. It was Shuv (3:14). But Jeremiah delivered the message that salvation will depend on individuals. This message constitutes one part of new covenant (31:29-30). Under the light of Jeremiah's theology in general, the message of our text became clear. Israel's destruction would be national disaster, but they should not have disappointed and lamented. For that Jeremiah borrowed the wisdom poem and delivered message that God's judgment will be made individually.


The GER (Resident Alien) in Deuteronomy - and Beyond
Program Unit: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law
Markus Zehnder, University of Basel

In the recent discussion, the term ger in the Deuteronomic legislation is often understood as referring not to foreigners, but to a group of mainly ”Israelite” people forming a lower social stratum within the society of the kingdom of Judah (see especially Christoph Bultmann’s 1992 thesis ”Der Fremde im antiken Juda”). This paper, which is based on a wider research project on the dealing with foreigners in Israel and Assyria, will show that a purely social interpretation of the term ger is untenable. It will also compare the specific nuances of Deuteronomic laws dealing with foreigners with those of the other law corpora in the Hebrew Bible. Finally questions relating to the dating of the law corpora with a view on the laws pertaining to foreigners will also be addressed.

 
 
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