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Meeting Abstracts

2016 International Meeting in partnership with the Korean Society of Old Testament Studies, The New Testament Society of Korea, and the Society of Asian Biblical Studies

Seoul, South Korea

Meeting Begins: 7/2/2016
Meeting Ends: 7/7/2016

Note that the deadline for paper proposals is 11:59 PM (23:59) Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5) on the day PREVIOUS to the deadline below.


Call For Papers Opens: 10/28/2015
Call For Papers Closes: 2/3/2016
Requirements for Participation

  Meeting Abstracts


Evaluating the Friendship of the Disciples with Jesus: A Comparative Critical Reading of Mathew with Aristotle’s Concept of Friendship
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Ratheesh A. P., India Bible College & Seminary

Intertextual readings are common to Biblical interpretation. Usually, literature contemporary to the Biblical times is used to interpret the Scripture. In this paper the interpreter is trying to do a comparative critical reading on the friendship of the Disciples with Jesus in comparison to Aristotle concept of friendship. Comparative critical reading is an interpretative method which consciously compares literature with the Scripture so that the uniqueness and similarities of the Scripture are highlighted. For Aristotle the friendship is the greatest virtue and absolutely necessary in everyone's life (Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Book VIII, 143). Aristotle believes that there are three different kinds of friendship; friendship of utility, friendship of pleasure, and perfect friendship. To a certain extent these kinds of friendships are depicted in Jesus’ disciples even after they were called to be His perfect friends. Mathew portrays disciples’ friendship with Jesus was a kind of utility which was looking for some utility and pleasure. Some were aspiring to have a better position in the Kingdom of God through Him (Matt 20:21). Others were looking for a comfortable life through him. There was at least one who was expecting to have a financial enhancement (Matt 26:15). Aristotle argues about the highest form of friendship that is a perfect friendship or complete friendship. This type of friendship is based on a person who wishes for good in him without the mind of utility and pleasure. Jesus was the true friend who wished goodness in His disciples and shown the highest virtue of love.


Redemption from the Curse and Abraham’s Blessing (Gal 3:12-14) in Luke 15:3-10
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Bartosz Adamczewski, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw

The bipartite section Lk 15:3-10 is usually regarded as originating from Q and probably also from a Lucan oral or written source. Some scholars see here an example of Luke’s dependence on Matthew and consider the story about the lost drachma (Lk 15:8-10) to be a Lucan expansion of the parable of the lost sheep (Lk 15:4-7; cf. Mt 18:12-14). However, a close intertextual analysis of this bipartite section reveals that it is a result of Luke’s strictly sequential reworking of the Pauline text concerning Christ’s redeeming the Scripture-related Jews from the curse of the law (Gal 3:12-13) and Abraham’s scriptural blessing coming to the Gentiles (Gal 3:14). Luke creatively illustrated these Pauline ideas with the use of the scriptural motifs taken from Ezek 34:4-25; Zech 11:17; Gen 18:18-32 LXX etc., as well as the Marcan text Mk 2:17. Consequently, there is no need to postulate here the existence of the hypothetical ‘Q source’ or Luke’s dependence on Matthew or on some oral or written traditions. The paper suits the sessions 1, 2, and 3.


The Israelite (Northern) Origin of the Pentateuch
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Bartosz Adamczewski, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw

The Israelite (northern) origin of Deuteronomy has already been advocated by several scholars. Likewise, the Israelite (northern) origin of Genesis, with Joseph (and not Judah) presented as its ultimate positive eponymous hero, is rather evident. The question of the tribal-political origin of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers is more complicated. This paper will demonstrate that the differing images of the tribes of Ephraim and Judah in their relationships to the worship of Yahweh, as they are presented in Exodus and Numbers, strongly favour the hypothesis of the Israelite (northern) origin of Exodus-Leviticus-Numbers as well.


"New Creation" in Luke 24:27-35
Program Unit: Allusions in the Gospels and Acts
Bartosz Adamczewski, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw

‘Then their eyes were opened and they knew…’ (Lk 24:31). Some ancient and modern scholars have already noticed the rather evident intertextual link of this sentence to the Genesis story (Gen 3:7 LXX). Moreover, several scholars have noticed the allusive connection of the whole food-recognition-separation scene in the Emmaus story to the scriptural account Gen 3. However, the details of this connection have not been satisfactorily explored. The reasons for creating this allusion have not been explained either. This paper will demonstrate that the Genesis account of creation (Gen 1-3) was used in Lk 24:27-35 in an allusive, highly creative, but also strictly sequential way. Moreover, it will suggest that the disciples’ question, ‘Was not our heart burning while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the Scriptures to us?’ (Lk 24:32) refers not to the Scriptures in general, but to the particular scriptural story, which allusively conveys the Pauline idea of ‘new creation’ (Gal 6:15).


Critical Assessment of the Deliverance Ministries' Interpretation of Jesus' Ministry in the Context of Luke 4:16-21
Program Unit: Society for Pentecostal Studies
Deborah Doyinsola Adegbite, Bethel Institute of Theology & Biblical Research

This paper examines the biblical and historical roots of the theology of liberation in purposively selected Pentecostal Churches (Deliverance Ministries) in contemporary Nigeria. The origin, growth, and phenomenon of liberation theology are investigated while its impact on Nigerians is evaluated. The methodology adopted consists of the critical historical analysis as well as exegesis of Luke 4:18-19, using Reader Response hermeneutical principle to investigate the contextual understanding of the passage. In addition, the participant-observation method is used in gathering first-hand information about doctrinal emphases and practices. Questionnaires are administered to elicit information on six hundred and twenty-five Pentecostals who are members of deliverance churches, at one hundred and twenty five per church. In each church fifty male adults, fifty female adults and twenty-five youths are purposively selected. In the selected Churches, twenty five of the men and twenty five of the women are educated to allow for comparison, while all the youths are regular church attendants. Furthermore, four Pastors and leaders of each of the selected Pentecostal churches are interviewed. Secondary data is gathered from relevant books, church bulletin, magazines commentaries, dictionaries, learned journals and the internet. The data obtained are analysed, using hermeneutical theory. The result shows that the Old Testament focused on the political liberation of the Israeli nation, the New Testament is more interested in the liberation from sin. It reveals that the leaders of the selected Nigerian Pentecostal Churches had abandoned the holistic interpretation of the New Testament meaning of liberation in relation to the Old Testament messianic prophecies. The paper concludes that the leaders of the Nigerian Pentecostal Churches placed greater emphasis on the problems of their members more than biblical injunctions.


Developing a Social Action Agenda for the Poor: A Reading of the Lukan Poverty Parables
Program Unit: Society for Pentecostal Studies
Olubiyi Adewale, National Open University of Nigeria

Nigeria is a very good example of developing countries characterized by mass poverty (usually in the midst of plenty). Coincidentally, the church in Nigeria is stupendously rich. Onuma (2014), quoting a renowned Pentecostal pastor say that the annual revenue of the Nigeria church is over 3 trillion naira. This is very close to the national budget of 4.69 trillion naira for the same year. Acquisition of private jets is another current manner in flaunting the wealth of the church. Some pastors are acquiring private jets with prices ranging from 2.3 billion (Lear Jet) to 6.4 billion (Gulfstream G550) with an estimated cost of 8.4 billion in maintenance and expatriate pilots. In the midst of this “affluent life” there are thousands of members of the church who are poor, unemployed and barely surviving. To this writer, there is the need to look back into the scripture, especially what Christ would have want the church to do with her wealth, as far as the poor are concerned. This paper takes a look at the Lukan parables that concentrates on the rich and the poor from the Yoruba methodology, and on the basis of the derived lessons of the parable comes out with a theology of social action for the poor as a template of the church’s treatment of the poor both those who are members and those who are not even believers.


Adultery, Murder, and Theft
Program Unit: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law
John Ahn, Howard University

The Laws of Ur-Nammu, Laws of Eshnunna, Code of Hammurapi, Middle Assyrian Laws, and Hittite Laws all have some reference to the prohibition against adultery. These laws are generally casuistic and cover a wide range of socio-legal matters. Weinfeld has pointed out that the ‘negative confessions’ in chapter 125 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Mesopotamian incantation “Šurpu” both include adultery (among murder, robbery, false oaths, talebearing, hypocrisy, wrongful acquisition, counterfeit weights and measures, boundary encroachment and failure to clothe the naked). The Hebrew Bible is no exception. This paper examines the prohibition against adultery in the prophets: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea over against the prohibitive or vetative negative commandment in the Decalogue. In Jer 29: 23, adultery is tied to political insurrection and marital infidelity. In Ezek 23:37 adultery is used as judgment against those who offered up their children and thus shed blood. Especially problematic is Hosea 3 (c.f. Jer 5:7-8) if the woman that Hosea is commissioned to go and love is a married woman (not Gomer). Hosea 4:2 echoes the phrase that blood shed or some form of sacrifice is affixed to adultery. Bosman, Philips, McKeating, and others have done careful studies but the prohibition goes beyond religious infidelity against Yahweh. A careful rereading and re-analysis suggest that in prophetic literature, there is often a coupling of adultery with some other infraction. Indeed in the Decalogue, the prohibition against adultery is set between murder and theft, suggesting that family law is of importance and value. But perhaps, even the ordering may suggest that adultery leads to other crimes like bloodshed, perhaps echoing David’s adultery, murder, and theft.


Made in Babylon: Daniel and His Three Friends
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
John Ahn, Howard University

Daniel 1, an introduction to the first half of the book of Daniel (2-6), can be divided into four sections: Part I (vv. 1-2), Part II (vv.3-7), Part III (vv.8-16), and Part IV (7-21). My presentation is not to explore the historical or literary problems but the sociological implications of assimilation or acculturation in Parts II, III, and IV. Especially in Part II vv. 3-7, we have the issues of full integration and assimilation: being made a eunuch, education, food, and a name change. We begin with the basic question of whether Daniel and his three friends were eunuchs. There is rich untapped information on the role and function of eunuchs in ancient Korean imperial court system. Cross cultural studies push the marginalized views on the negative stereotype of being a eunuch. In fact, ancient practices suggest that there were entire classes of eunuchs in high positions. Some were even permitted to be married (e.g. Potiphar) and even adopt children in ancient Korea. This paper re-frames Daniel and his three friends as eunuchs with formidable power.


Cultic Worship with Nokrî according to 1 Kings 8:41-43
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Sam Moleli Alama, Whitley College

1 Kings 8:41-43 describes the nokrî as one who is “not of your people Israel”; “comes from a distant land” (cf. Josh 9:6,9); to “pray toward this house”. They are non-Israelites who travel occasionally or reside abroad. Many scholars have long suggested that this mentioning of nokrî is so unusual within Deuteronomistic literature that this passage may possibly be part of a later redaction during the post-exilic period. But how could this favourable view of non-Israelites sit comfortably within Deuteronomistic theology? I argue that the changing role of the temple in the post-exilic context may have been a factor in the inclusion of this nokrî text. I want to test the hypothesis that the association of King Solomon’s prayer and a temple open to “all” mirrors a strong political movement supporting the inclusion of “others” despite the Deuteronomistic History’s restricted boundaries. As a Samoan, I will conclude this paper with an interpretation of how the coming of Christianity as a foreign tradition to Samoa has over the years redefined the role of the matai (chief) system in Samoan society.


The Gospel of Matthew and/as Rabbinic Literature
Program Unit: Judaica
Tobias Ålöw, University of Gothenburg

In An Introduction to Judaic Though and Rabbinic Literature M. Sicker notes how: “The definition of what constitutes rabbinic literature is not as straightforward as might be imagined at first consideration. Whether it includes everything written by persons acknowledged by the title of ‘rabbi’ or whether it is more or less inclusive in scope is a matter of perspective.” In its traditional sense the designation is restricted to the classical works of the Mishna, the Tosefta, the two Talmudim, and various Midrashim, but is it possible that other works could be counted as rabbinic as well? In discussion with the criteria for definition of rabbinic literature set out by J. Neusner, this paper argues that the Gospel of Matthew – for which a case is made that it was written by a rabbi, about a rabbi, for other rabbis – can be regarded as being, not only close to, but even part of, the category “rabbinic literature”. In turn, this identification suggests that the other rabbinic texts provide the closest literary and ideological context of the first gospel and thus constitute legitimate (if not necessary) comparative material for its interpretation; but also that the Gospel of Matthew, on the narrative level, offers attestation to the development of rabbinic tradition during the first-century through its indirect report of proto-rabbinic discussion, as well as comprising a direct interjection in the discourse itsel, as a document.


Drones Over Sodom: Resisting the Fantasy of Security
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Carolyn Alsen, University of Divinity

Visual perception is one of the main themes of Genesis, particularly in characterisations of the deity, divine messengers and humanity. The problematic nature of mediated, interpreted visual perception is illustrated by Genesis 18.16-19.38; the story of Abraham, Lot, Lot’s wife and her people of Sodom. The representation of others in this text can lead to interpretations which essentialize persons and landscapes. The pursuit of security through seeing and demand for knowledge is a feature of cultural ideology in the text which legitimises violence, much like Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAV’s) use visual technology, particularly within West and Central Asia, controlled by human agency, to determine enemies or excuse ‘collateral damage’. In such texts of violence, how can the desire for security determine guilt and innocence, and the fate of the earth? Lot’s wife is the cipher which calls bible reading communities to stand in solidarity with suffering in the human and earth community caused by the fantasy of ultimate security. The remembrance of Abraham and hospitality causes the deity to express tumult and regret for the general pursuit of epistemological certainty at the cost of the earth and human life. The unspoken sin of Sodom and their outcry are invitations for the reader to wrestle with justice, empathy and the representation of others.


Staring Down the Violence: Surveillance in Genesis
Program Unit: Political Biblical Criticism
Carolyn Alsen, University of Divinity

This paper will advance the hypothesis that surveillance studies can inform a postcolonial reading of Genesis narratives. The method of reading uses an overall metaphor of the omnividence (the ability to see all) of the few acting upon the many. Of particular use in this study are poetics, ethnic and gender profiling, assemblage and data doubles, shame and honour and a reimagining of the ‘omniscient’ third person narrator. Persian and Assyrian period intelligence gathering and surveillance is investigated as an influence on the text. These can assist the claim that the narrators and characters report events after seeing them through a particular ideological lens. In one account of narrative surveillance in the story of Dinah and Shechem in Genesis 34, the narrator demonstrates bias. In another, Genesis 18-19, the story of Sodom, the character Yhwh demonstrates a miscalculation of the data, leading to regret. The desire to look is a mediated and ethical process when representing events in the story world. These narratives use recognition and event representation as a part of this mediated process. However, a destabilisation of this ocular desire is influenced by the narrative world and the gaze of the reader. The narrator or other characters can behave like a bureaucracy that misses information and profiles others. To counterread this, surveillance techniques in the narratives can be understood as not only means of profiling but means of resisting this profiling. Partly using the practical theology of Eric Stoddart, cultural theory and postcolonial thinking, resistance strategies of (in)visibility are imagined for those who are under the eye of powerful forces. Asian groups suffering from U.S. drone strikes and the activism of Ai Weiwei are read contrapuntally with the biblical narrative.


The Case of the Suspected Adulteress (Num 5:11-31) in light of CTH 264
Program Unit: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law
Hannah S. An, Torch Trinity Graduate University

The ritual regulations for a wife suspected of adultery (Num 5:11-31) and the Hittite Instructions for Priests and Temple Officials (CTH 264) are notable in that both texts mention trial by ordeal as a means to resolve an “unknown” case involving an accused suspect. Regrettably, biblical scholarship since Milgrom’s treatise on the Hittite sacrilege has not paid much attention to the nature of the Hittite legal proceedings in CTH 264 in view of the priestly laws. In this paper, I argue that the ritual prescriptions in CTH 264 illuminate a significant aspect of the legal assumptions underlying the case of the Sotah in Numbers 5:11-31, the only full-fledged account of trial by ordeal in the OT. In both the biblical and the Hittite texts, the conceptual overlap of the stated conditions concerning the accuser and the suspect, of the notion of the concealment, and of the priestly mediation through a potion ordeal are noteworthy. On the other hand, the divergence between the Hittite and the biblical instructions may unveil something distinctive about the priestly legal outlook. In particular, I submit that in Numbers 5:31 the phrase “bearing one’s punishment” (tissa’ ’et-‘awônah) is a theologically/ideologically significant term that betrays the priestly legislator’s legal rationale. No mortal will be able to evade the legal liability under the jurisprudence of YHWH. In the Hittite case, by contrast, a suspect who deliberately concealed the case could technically emerge from the ordeal without injury. In the priestly perspective, such a legal outlet conceivable in the polytheistic world is inadmissible: YHWH, the only God, will assure that the culprit be accountable for having perpetrated the divine injunction. Finally, a comparison of the trial by ordeal in both traditions reveals a rather coherent ritual logic in the legal case which entails binary outcomes.


Acceptance and Rejection: Bethsaida and the Birth of the Church
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Mark Appold, Truman State University

Unique to the Fourth Gospel is the connection made between Bethsaida, the small fishing village on the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee, and five of the first followers of Jesus who lived and worked there and who played prominent roles in the emergence of the early Church. Recent archaeological work at the Bethsaida site, whose illustrious yet impoverished past had slipped from historical view for almost two millennia, has now helped to contextualize this part of the Jesus Movement. Two earlier textual traditions, Q and Mark, contain harsh judgement against Bethsaida for its rejection of the deeds of power done in its midst. The aim of this paper is to clarify the tension between the acceptance and rejection motifs associated with Bethsaida as well as to trace the movement of the “Bethsaida Five” who abandoned their homes and work places, with their families, in the move to Jerusalem. There the experience of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection events became central to their two decade-long witness and their interaction with both Hellenistic and traditionalist Jews in Jerusalem. Those pivotal experiences were cut short by renewed persecution under the two Agrippas which led to yet another decisive move into the Diaspora where in new environments they reversed the earlier signs of Bethsaida’s judgement and left indelible marks in the creation and spread of the Jesus Movement and its new kerygma.


“Baptized into One Body”: The Social Significance of Baptism in 1 Corinthians 12:13
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
James Ha Tun Aung, Torch Trinity Graduate University

Direct references to baptism in First Corinthians should not be underestimated. Paul uses the word ßapt??? (baptizõ) eleven times alone in first Corinthians, which included references to the literal rite of baptism and its metaphorical uses (e.g., 1 Cor 6:11). Paul’s use of baptism reflects the importance of the rite among the first Christians in Corinth whose members include Jews and Greeks (also Romans), from different ethnic groups and various religious background, and also slaves and free (rich and poor) from different social levels. With this background, Apostle Paul radically instructs, “we were all baptized into one body.” Hence, this work first of all, attempts to explain why and how a right understanding of baptism was important among the first Christians in Corinth. To accomplish this, I will briefly trace the social significance of washing-initiations/baptism in the Greco-Roman world. Secondly, I will identify the similarities and divergences between washing-initiations/baptism and Christian baptism in Corinth, and briefly discuss baptism in selected passages from First Corinthians. Finally, I will explore the social significance of baptism in 1 Corinthians 12:13 in its first century CE context and today.


Act of Pure Religion in a Pluralistic World: Ministering to the Marginalized Group in James 1:27
Program Unit: Catholic Epistles
James Ha Tun Aung, Torch Trinity Graduate University

Myanmar is a multi-religious country and its citizens are wrestling for decades on religious conflict and rivalry across the nation. Different religions claim that they are “pure” and antipathize others. Religion-based social institutions generally target to look after the same religious person or who likely to convert. Yet, there are unending abuses and human rights violation among women (widows), children (orphans), handicapped and minorities (religions and ethnics). They are in need of care without partiality. Within the context of James 1:27, the first readers were living in religious, pluralistic, and multicultural society in the Mediterranean world. In this text, James encourages the diaspora Jewish Christians to maintain their identity as “pure” by looking after the marginalized in their society especially widows and orphans. Interestingly, James did not limit looking after these marginalized only to Christians; hence, they were responsible to look after insiders and outsiders in the context. He additionally warned not to be stained from the world. In this passage, orphans and widows are the most marginalized and vulnerable group in the society. In particular, the act of ?p?s??pt?µa? (to look upon in order to help or to behefit, have a care for, provide for) to the marginalised is considered as pure and undefiled piety. First, this work will serve to understand the act of looking after orphans and widows in the socio-religious context of the Meditteranean world. Secondly, I will explore ministering to the widows and orphans in the light of the diaspora Jewish context. Finally, I will deal with why James considers looking after the marginalised as an act of pure spirituality, precisely help interpret this text in context and apply this in Myanmar context. Especially, this paper will suggest when and how to minister to the marginalised in our multi-religious contexts.


Act of Pure Religion in a Pluralistic World: Ministering to the Marginalized Group in James 1:27
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
James Ha Tun Aung, Torch Trinity Graduate University

Myanmar is a multi-religious country and its citizens are wrestling for decades on religious conflict and rivalry across the nation. Different religions claim that they are “pure” and antipathize others. Religion-based social institutions generally target to look after the same religious person or who likely to convert. Yet, there are unending abuses and human rights violation among women (widows), children (orphans), handicapped and minorities (religions and ethnics). They are in need of care without partiality. Within the context of James 1:27, the first readers were living in religious, pluralistic, and multicultural society in the Mediterranean world. In this text, James encourages the diaspora Jewish Christians to maintain their identity as “pure” by looking after the marginalized in their society especially widows and orphans. Interestingly, James did not limit looking after these marginalized only to Christians; hence, they were responsible to look after insiders and outsiders in the context. He additionally warned not to be stained from the world. In this passage, orphans and widows are the most marginalized and vulnerable group in the society. In particular, the act of ?p?s??pt?µa? (to look upon in order to help or to benefit, have a care for, provide for) to the marginalized is considered as pure and undefiled piety. First, this work will serve to understand the act of looking after orphans and widows in the socio-religious context of the Mediterranean world. Secondly, I will explore ministering to the widows and orphans in the light of the diaspora Jewish context. Finally, I will deal with why James considers looking after the marginalized as an act of pure spirituality, precisely help interpret this text in context and apply this in Myanmar context. Especially, this paper will suggest when and how to minister to the marginalized in our multi-religious contexts.


Rebekah in Josephus' Writings
Program Unit: Hellenistic Judaism
Michael Avioz, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan Israel

One of the most fascinating female characters in Genesis is that of Rebekah. She is more active than her husband Isaac and makes moves that promote the fulfillment of God's promise in Jacob. Her character has unique features that are not found in the other stories of the Matriarchs. In the post-biblical era, references to Rebekah appear in Philo, the Apocrypha, the writings of Josephus, the New Testament and rabbinic literature. In this paper I will deal with Josephus' rewriting of the biblical stories about Rebekah. I will examine the question of the text was at Josephus' disposal, uncover his interpretive techniques and determine whether he has integrated Hellenistic concepts and ideas into his rewriting of the stories of Rebekah.


Law as Liberation: Reading The Law Collections of the Hebrew Scriptures in 16th-Century Latin America
Program Unit: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law
Gregory A. Banazak, SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary

When the Spaniards entered the so-called New World, they made use of the law collections of the Hebrew Scriptures, especially the Deuteronomic Code (Dt 12-26), the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23), and the Holiness Code (Lev 17-27). Interpreting these collections through a European lens, the Spanish conquistadores and colonizers employed them as a major source for the evaluation and extirpation of those indigenous customs they regarded as evil and the re-organization of post-conquest indigenous societies. In effect, these collections functioned as important tools for conquest and colonization. However, there were other Spaniards who assumed solidarity with the indigenous whom they regarded as oppressed by European conquest and colonization. Influenced by their commitment to the indigenous and by their exposure to pre-Columbian indigenous law (such as the oral and written law of the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas) these Spaniards --- including the lawyer and bishop Vasco de Quiroga (1470? - 1565); the defender of the Indians, Bartolomé de Las Casas (1484-1566); the chronicler and ethnographer Bernardino de Sahagún (1499-1590); and others --- adopted a different view of the law collections of the Hebrew Scriptures. In our paper we will explain this different view and its implications for categorizing these laws into types, understanding the knowledge and observance of the laws by the ancient Jewish people, and above all their liberative potential.


Two Torah Pillars of the Psalter: The Canonical Role of Psalms 19 and 119
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Jeung-Yeoul Bang, Baekseok University

Since the publication of Gerald Wilson’s masterpiece The Editing of the Hebrew Psalter (1985), the canonical understanding of the Psalter has developed at a rapid pace. According to Wilson, the Psalter is structured by two frames: the “royal frame,” consisting of Psalms 2, 72, and 89, and the “wisdom frame,” consisting of Psalms 1, 73, 90, 107, and 145. Because he paid more attention to the former than the latter, focusing on the flow from human kingship to divine kingship, the wisdom frame still needs to be developed further. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the canonical role of Psalms 19 and 119, each of which is intentionally placed in the middle of Book I and Book V, respectively. To this end, while reconsidering the insufficiently developed wisdom frame, the paper will first explore how Psalms 1, 19, 89 and 90, 107, 119 are thematically connected. These psalms are linked to each other in terms of motifs such as Moses, wilderness, and the torah, and this encourages us to read the Psalter from the standpoint of the torah motif. Second, the paper will study, both lexically and thematically, the immediate psalms of Psalm 19 and Psalm 119, and then will clarify the semantic correlation between the torah and God. In particular, the idea that the torah and God in Psalm 119 and its neighboring psalms are used interchangeably will be developed. The central contention of this paper is that Psalms 19 and 119 are placed intentionally. Their canonical role is to support the whole Psalter as two torah “pillars.” By their placement these psalms indicate that the Psalter should be read through the lens of the torah motif and that the torah’s power should be understood to be equivalent to the power of Yahweh.


First Names in the Bible, and Their Changes during the Middle-Ages according to the Genizah Letters
Program Unit: Judaica
Elinoar Bareket, Achva Academic College

In many cases, first names in the Bible appear with a theophoric suffix (Nehemiah and Ishmael, for instance). Biblical names with no theophoric suffix, such as Yaakov and Yitzhak, can be found in Mari (Tell Hariri) scripts, with a theophoric suffix (Yaakovel, Yitzhakel). We can assume that in the Bible they had the theophoric suffix at first, and throughout time the suffix has fallen. There are also names with a social meaning (such as Avraham – "the father of many peoples" ab hamon goyiim[according to the Bible itself], or Zebulun –"This time my husband will treat me with honor yizbeleni, because I have borne him six sons. So she named him Zebulun), and there are names that demonstrate the character of the person (such as Yaakov the Lier – Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob Ya'aqob? He has deceived me yaaqbeni these two times") or explain a certain act ("After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel eqeb so he was named Jacob Ya'aqob"). The Biblical names, which are often names that were common around the ancient east, went through changes and adaptations into a different culture and a different language in the New Testament and the Quran, but basically remained the same names. This lecture will explore the changes of the Biblical names in the Jewish society that lived under Islamic influences in the Middle-Ages, according to the Genizah Letters.


The Divergent Bandit Narratives of Pseudo-Matthew: A Comparative Introduction to New Critical Editions and Translations of CANT 78.2 and 78.3
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Mark Glen Bilby, Claremont School of Theology

Maurits Geerard published diplomatic editions of two interpolations (designated as CANT 78.2 and 78.3 and both placed under the title De bono latrone) found in medieval Latin texts of Pseudo-Matthew. The presenter is preparing new critical editions of these texts: a diplomatic edition of CANT 78.2 based on autoptic analysis of Namur Bib. Sem. Lat. 80, 13v-15v, 17r-v, and the first collated critical edition of CANT 78.3 from BL Harley 3199, f. 104v-106r (14th cent.) and Vat. Lat. 6300, f. 118r-119r (15th cent.). Introductions and translations of these texts are slated to appear in the second volume of the More New Testament Apocrypha series edited by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. This presentation will introduce and compare these two Ps-Matthew interpolations as representations of two divergent narrative traditions about the so-called Good Thief. CANT 78.2 (here assigned the distinct title, The Rebellion of Dismas) is closely related to the story found in Leabhar Breac and Aelred of Rievaulx’s De institutione inclusarum, especially in terms of the bandit’s young age, the demonization of the bandit’s father, Mary’s relative unimportance compared with that of the infant Jesus, and the lack of any reference to hospitality shown the Holy Family. CANT 78.3 (here assigned the distinct title The Hospitality and Perfume of the Bandit), on the other hand, is closely related to the stories found embeded in the Latin Infancy Gospel Arundel form (CANT 78.1) and the Hospitality of Dysmas (BHG 2119y, here proposed as CANT 78.4), especially in terms of their common stress on the bandit’s hospitality to the Holy Family, the description of the bandit’s household, and the production of a healing liquid derived from bathing the infant Jesus.


A Digital Rebirth in Christian Apocrypha Studies: NASSCAL and the eClavis
Program Unit: Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish, and Christian Studies
Mark Glen Bilby, Claremont School of Theology

Digital guides and resources abound for manuscript studies, especially regarding the canonical texts. But this is far less the case with non-canonical texts. Regarding Christian or so-called New Testament apocrypha, a digital rebirth of Geerard’s Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamentum would go a long way to bring awareness to texts and traditions whose popularity in earlier generations has often faded into neglect in modern scholarship. This paper will describe the initial planning and prototyping of such a resource, an e-Clavis for Christian Apocrpha conceived and designed by Mark Bilby, Tony Burke, and Bradley Rice. This resource is now sponsored and hosted on the NASSCAL (North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature) website: http://www.nasscal.com/. The presentation will also explore and explain the structure and maintenance of the eClavis, and also invite session participants to sign up as contributors.


"We Have the Prophets": Athenagoras on Prophetic Inspiration
Program Unit: Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature
D. Jeffrey Bingham, Wheaton College (Illinois)

This study is a response to one basic claim that has governed the reading of two passages (7.3; 9.1) in Athenagoras's Legatio: the apologist’s treatment of the prophets is “Hellenistic,” takes place in “general Hellenistic terms,” and represents a “thoroughly Greek perception.” Our analysis demonstrates a broader background and the need for more nuanced characterizations. There are significant parallels with Philo. His discussions concerning the divine inspiration of the prophets, the state of ecstasy, the role of the Spirit, the effect upon reason, and the musical metaphor find some degree of resonance in our apologist. Yet, there exist significant differences. Clearly, both independence and dependence on other sources is suggested. Furthermore, this study shows that conclusions based on assumed parallels with Plato also require adjustment. Athenagoras does not share the notion of an unconscious, passive, mindless prophet or poet who under inspiration composes flawed, contradictory material. Rather, there are important similarities with early Greek thought on the activity and contribution of the inspired poet as well as the infallibility of the composition. The inspired prophets, in the mind of Athenagoras, are coadjutors with the Spirit and their speech, as well as their books, contains harmonious, true teachings. Finally, this investigation makes one additional claim. In addition to the Philonic parallels as well as those from Plato and Plutarch, there are other sources to consider that are equally informative. Athenagoras’s discussion of the prophets and inspiration manifests alliance and dependence upon the Septuagint, other Jewish sources, the New Testament and second-century Christian sources, especially Ignatius and Justin. Athenagoras is a “Christian philosopher.”


Truly David: Philological Fiction and The Intertextual King
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Chloe Blackshear , University of Chicago

Recent fictional treatments of David reflect the desire (often manifest in scholarly David-biographies) to invoke the true King obscured by the biblical text. Two twentieth-century fictional David “autobiographies,” in particular, present themselves as revelatory tell-alls willing to move beyond the traditional account to present a new,‘real’ David. Yet though Carlo Coccioli’s Mémoires du Roi David (1976) and Joseph Heller’s God Knows (1984) rewrite the story from David’s highly idiosyncratic and blasphemous first-person perspective, they do not attempt to solve the puzzle by taking David out of his text, but rather by actively and productively reinscribing him in the biblical narrative. This paper will explore the ways these novels draw on the biblical material to produce a philological fictional style and to thematize David’s status as a figure caught in his text. Coccioli and Heller’s works balance updated treatments of David’s character (as a mémoirist like Coccioli himself searching for dialogue with his God, and as a parodic version of a post-war Jewish-American writer) with strange, unceasing attention to the ‘original’ text in its Masoretic and KJV manifestations. In both novels, David’s self-exploration is enacted through his own detailed attention to the canonical text that has constituted him: David rewrites David, but he does so with intense philological care. Here, David is at once a palimpsestic body marked by centuries of rewriting and a fraught participant in the activity of adaption. For these novelists, the biblical king and his text provide an opportunity to figure—in a single character--a tense juxtaposition of older models of authorial authority and historical unveiling with postmodern intertextual proliferation and pastiche.


The Medium is the Message: Daniel, Enoch, and Other Mediators of Hidden Knowledge
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Francis Borchardt, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong

Even before the famous Semeia volume first appeared, in which the genre of apocalypse was defined and described, the importance of divine and human mediation to apocalypses was well recognized. It has traditionally been argued that the function of this mediation is to emphasize the remoteness of the divinity, the relative impotence of the audience, and the obscurity of the message communicated. This is all likely to be true. However this paper argues that in addition to these functions the mediation, both through illustrious personages and through text, help to underline the truth of the message by establishing a chain of tradition unbroken from its ostensible heavenly origins into the contemporary life of the audience. In this quality it is not unlike the transmission of Torah or so-called wisdom in he broader Jewish context. This paper will make comparison between various mediators in the literature found at Qumran and elsewhere in the Hellenistic Judean milieu.


The Christology of Ho Amnos tou Theou in the Contextualization of Yohannine Theology: Domba and Ndomba in the History of Translation in Indonesia
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Andrew Scott Brake, Sekolah Tinggi Theologia Jaffray Makassar

How do we translate Ho Amnos tou Theou in a context where there is no concept of a sheep, lamb, or goat? How do we communicate the Christology of the Lamb of God? Is Christianity or christology translatable? If so, has it been translated according to the intention of the writer of the gospel of John? Decisions in translation related to the concept of the Lamb of God have impacted the christological understanding of the Gospel of John and the nature of Jesus over several decades of contextualization and translation in Indonesia. Indonesia is a nation of many people groups, many languages, and many cultures, some of which are very different from others. How the essence of the original Greek is translated demonstrates much about the missiological motives and principles of the translator as well as the christological assumptions understood in the Gospel of John, particularly John 1:29. Should the concept of the Lamb, and all the Old Testament background assumed with that identity, be lost in translation simply because there is no such animal as a lamb in the receiving context? This author thinks not, based on a proper understanding of the Yohannine conception of that term, and his conception of the identity of Jesus as the Ho Amnos tou Theou. Therefore translators must be wary of allowing the context dictate the translation to the detriment of the essential meaning while also seeking to properly contextualize so that the essential meaning is still communicated.


The Quality of Mercy and Beholding the Divine Presence: From the Bible to a Kabbalistic Custom
Program Unit: Judaica
Itzhak Brand, Bar-Ilan University

Many Jewish communities have the custom of reciting the Thirteen Attributes of Divine Mercy (Exod. 34:6–7) when the Ark is opened on the three Pilgrimage Festivals. The custom was introduced by the kabbalist R. Isaac Luria. On the surface, this custom is somewhat astonishing: the Thirteen Attributes are a text of atonement and supplication, both in their original biblical context and their liturgical use. How, then, did they find their way into the service for joyous festivals? A fresh look at their biblical context yields an explanation and meaning for the link between the festivals and the Attributes of Mercy. The attributes first appear, in their full form, in the pericope of the Golden Calf. The Israelites’ transgression has various aspects, one of which is their ouster of the Lord from His leadership of the people. In reaction to his deposition, the Lord renounces His guidance of the people and assigns that role to Moses alone. Moses’ reaction is to ask to be illuminated in the Lord’s ways and to “see his presence” (lit. face) The Lord assents, passes before him, and confides the Attributes of Mercy to him. These serve as a stand-in for beholding the Lord’s face or presence. According to the amended Covenant that follows forgiveness of the sin of the Golden Calf (Exod. 34:20, 23) “seeing the face of the Lord” is the purpose of the thrice-yearly pilgrimage rite. This injunction to see the Divine Presence is part of the halakhah and liturgy codified by the talmudic sages. The recitation of the Thirteen Attributes when the ark in the synagogue is opened can be seen as continuing this ancient Temple tradition. In the absence of the Cherubim, the Thirteen Attributes serve as a substitute for beholding the Divine Presence.


Christology under Deconstruction
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Adam F. Braun, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

This paper will articulate the possibilities of Derridean deconstruction in relating Theology and Scripture. Christology as a case study will be used. This project is twofold. First, we will consider the affective and performative function of onto-theological messianic predictions and fulfillment announcements of scripture, looking for possibilities and gaps in the text where a (Kristevan) symbolic referentiality may no longer be useful. This involves looking at interpretations of messianisms from 'traditional' theologies and recent Narrative Theologies (Green, Rowe). Second, we will use Derrida's concept of a messianism-to-come to consider meaning production within narrative of Luke-Acts, as a microcosm of the New Testament. The main thrust of this project will show that the failure and absence of a messiah is the location for understanding Luke’s ‘Christ.’ As such, the failure of the Christ, part of the point of Luke-Acts, is to create a negative space where the kerygma can be preached. While this may be counter-intuitive, it is precisely this negative space that allows diaspora communities to continue to proclaim Jesus of Nazareth as Christ.


The Sense and Non-sense of Kingdom
Program Unit: Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts
Adam F. Braun, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

This paper will examine the psycho-linguistic function of Kingdom of God in Luke-Acts. Using the Kristevan distinction between the Symbolic and the Semiotic (chora), this paper will show the affective and performative function of Kingdom of God, against recent attempts to attribute symbolic referentiality to the concept. This paper will argue that Kingdom of God re-presents a diasporic desire to turn the world upside down, in favor of those who side with Judea and profess Jesus as Christ. As such, Kingdom of God does not refer to previous or future Kingdoms, but creates a choratic space for resistance and identity formation. As a comparison, this paper will also briefly look at the concept “revolution” in black liberation movements of the 20th Century, from Langston Hughes to the Black Power Movement to Ferguson and #BLM. Just as the black liberation moved further from the Bolshevik revolution and the concept became a marker for the desire for emancipation, so too, Kingdom of God transitioned to an affective sign the further it survived beyond the cross.


Lamentations as a (Public? Cultic?) Performance
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Athalya Brenner-Idan, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Two strands are followed in this presentation: feminist interpretations, for instance by Nancy Lee, Mandolfo and Li Zhe; and a seminar session with graduate students at Tel Aviv University (2013-14). Feminist scholars have found a distinct female voice in Lamentations that is in dialogue with the narrator's voice. In our class, we found that the Scroll can be read as if it contained more than two voices and a silent god. The question that arises is, therefore, can speaking roles within it can be assigned to multiple speakers, reading it as a polyphony rather as a dialogue, or even as a cultic performance, much like some psalms? I believe this is a possibility at least for chapters 1-4, although this would present new problems for defining the place of chapter 5 in the Scroll.


The Persian Imperial Context of the Pentateuch
Program Unit: Bible and Empire
Mark Brett, University of Divinity

According to Ezra 7, King Artaxerxes authorized Ezra to undertake a legal role in the western region of the empire that included both Judah and Samaria. This paper discusses the variety of ways in which the Persian administration may have helped to shape, directly or indirectly, the authority and the content of the Torah as the five books of Moses. Significantly, this framing of the Torah required the excision of Joshua’s story of land possession. An older theory which suggests that the Pentateuch was officially authorized by the Persians will be critically evaluated, along with more recent proposals for understanding Pentateuchal traditions through the lens of postcolonial studies.


Vashti’s “Women’s Banquet” in the Book of Esther and the “Dough Offering Ceremony” in Contemporary Israel
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Ora Brison, Tel Aviv University

Banquets are cross-culture social, ritualistic and religious events. In written and iconographic records of ancient Near East cultures, we find descriptions of banquets as feasting celebrations and religious ceremonies relating mainly to the male sphere. Women were typically excluded from these events. There are, however, descriptions of women participating in public events, such as victory celebrations and mourning ceremonies. There is only scarce evidence of banquets designated only for women, such as the ceremonies portrayed on metal belts from Urartu. The description of Vashti’s women’s banquet in the Book of Esther is a rare account of an organized women’s ceremonial activity. This is a solitary story in the Bible recounting an event intended only for, and celebrated by, women. During the course of Jewish history, no such women’s celebrations are noted with the exception of the “Henna engagement” ceremony celebrated in North African and Yemenite Jewish communities. Over past generations, Jewish women have looked for new ways to create for themselves ceremonies and rituals of religious nature in an answer to the orthodox tendency to exclude and segregate women from a large part of religious ceremonies. The purpose of this paper is to present a totally new contemporary phenomenon of the women’s banquet: the “dough offering ceremony.” This banquet, which has become very popular in recent years, includes communal dough preparation, praying, blessings, eating, singing and dancing. Although very little is known about Vashti’s banquet and other ancient Near Eastern women’s banquets, there are some parallel themes between these banquets and the newly come “dough offering ceremony.” This paper will include a comparative analysis examining these parallel themes.


“Something Better for Us” (Heb 11:40): The Social Categories “Honor/Shame” Applied on the Audience in Hebrews 11 as an Example of Re-Contextualizing Old Testament Figures and Stories
Program Unit: Epistle to the Hebrews
Jaroslav Broz, Charles University in Prague

The author’s positive vision of ancient figures in Hebr 11 calls in question a widely spread opinion that the Epistle to the Hebrews sees the Old Testament as an obsolete religious institution. Different questions can be raised on this topic, e.g. why models of proper Christian faith are not proposed to the readers to be followed instead of the ancient heroes if the writing is predominantly dated from 90ties of the 1 century A.D. The present paper studies Hebr 11 as a witness of the social situation of addressees. In this prospective can be said that the author re-contextualized the OT stories with the aim of their actualization for the readers of the Epistle. Especially the “honor/shame” aspect can explain the importance of the social and eschatological concept of faith which is in the Epistle intimately bound to hope and perseverance and can reveal some features of the historical, social religious situation of the addressees.


It’s not the Girl, It’s the Building: Ghostbusters and the Politics of the American Bible
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Jonathan Cahana, Aarhus University

Right in the middle of the intensive comic action of Ghostbusters (1984), we encounter a relaxed scene, which associate producer Joe Medjuck described as one that “didn’t have any big laughs in it but … offered a possible explanation as to why the city was suddenly plagued by ghosts.” Here, a theological discussion is provoked by Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore asking whether his fellow Ray Stantz believes in God. Zeddemore then proceeds and asks Stantz what the Bible says about the last days. Stantz replies with a rather convincing recitation of Revelation 6:12, but then tries to recap to his “scientist” position by noting that every religion has a myth about the end times. Zeddemore, notably offended by the word “myth,” retorts by asking Stantz “has it ever occurred to you that maybe the reason we‘ve been so busy lately is because the dead have been rising from the graves?” Later in the plot, when NYC mayor has to decide whether to trust the Ghostbusters, the latter quickly understand that they have the support of the New York Archbishop and continue warning the mayor from a catastrophe of “biblical proportion.” It then only takes a discreet nod from the archbishop for the mayor to order that Walter Peck, the hated Environmental Protection Agency’s representative, will be removed immediately from his office, and to offer his full support to the Ghostbusters. This paper will trace the ways the bible is used in this film to create an all too familiar – yet surprising in this context – alliance between the (Republican) private sector and the church vis a vis “big government,” especially when the latter is fueled by environmental concerns. On this reading, the Reaganite movie can be seen as partly prefiguring the climate change debate and its religious implications in 21st century U.S.A.


Apocalyptic Message for Christ-Believers in Corinth: Isaiah in 1 Cor 15:29-34 and 15:50-57
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Rolex M. Cailing, Torch Trinity Graduate University

Although Paul addresses the resurrection head-on as of central importance in 1 Corinthians 15, the hope of resurrection underlies the whole of 1 Corinthians. Some skeptics in Corinth deny the future resurrection, almost certainly on the normal pagan grounds that everyone knows dead people do not rise again. In reply, Paul speaks of Jesus as the firstfruits and of the great harvest still to come when Christ-believers, Gentiles and Jews alike, are raised as he has been. Although the whole chapter echoes and alludes to Genesis 1-3 (a theology of new creation), at the heart of Paul’s exposition of the two types of bodies, the present one and the future, and its rootedness in Christ’s resurrection that it affirms, he cites Isaiah in conjunction with snippets of other prophetic voices, an aspect that is not given due attention in current scholarship. The presence of Isaiah 22:13 in 1 Corinthians 15:29-34 and the confluence of Isaiah and Hosea in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 merits a clear introspection and discussion in order to offer a fair reading of Paul’s scripture-rooted prophetic, eschatological, or apocalyptic stance on the hope of resurrection.


Vulnerability and Vision of Hope: Engaging Creation’s Groaning in Romans 8 and Natural Disasters in the Philippines
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Rolex M. Cailing, Torch Trinity Graduate University

Natural disasters often visit the Philippines and their impact is staggering and traumatic. Disasters bring destruction, displacement, death, pain, and prolonged suffering. Like all other countries hit by disasters, Philippines groans and yet hopes for her deliverance. Reflecting from a socio-psychological perspective, V. Villaroman-Bautista writes, “like all other kinds of extreme human experiences, even disasters have their silver linings. While they bring suffering, they also become catalyst for marshaling the resources and altruistic instincts of Filipinos.” From the perspective of doing ‘everyday theology’, K. J. Vanhoozer rightly remarks that theology and understanding (a grasp of what is going on in ordinary situations and why) are short-circuited if we fail to discern “how our faith is affected by the world we live in” and “how we are to embody our faith in shapes of everyday life.” Indeed, a responsible theology is attained mainly when the Christian faith is interpreted in conscious relationship to the fundamental “groanings” of human life and the rest of creation. Hence, the theological and interpretive task in the Philippine setting lies in the direction of interpreting the human meaning (without ignoring the divine) and social content of the Christian faith. With the series of “groanings” in Romans 8 reconnecting earth, humanity, and the Spirit, Paul constructs a vision of hope that awaits the emergence of a liberator who would conquer the ultimate enemy. The significance of this account will be seen against the background of the Filipinos’ expectation of hope and deliverance which offers the need to embrace certain transcendence over the worst of circumstances. The message of hope is no less essential for communities than it is for individuals and the rest of creation, and it does not ignore the reality of pain and suffering, but confronts them in the light of the … [TRUNCATED]


Biblical Hebrew in Chinese: Fostering the Rethinking of Teaching Method through Language Defamiliarization
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Scott N. Callaham, Baptist Theological Seminary, Singapore

Most teaching of Biblical Hebrew in universities and seminaries proceeds along fairly predictable lines, closely approximating the venerable Grammar-Translation tradition of classical language instruction. A few textbooks have advanced more inductive and communicative approaches that exploit the findings of second language acquisition research. Even so, while Hebraists have long advocated study of Biblical Hebrew on its own terms apart from the grammatical templates of classical Indo-European languages, little research considers the metalinguistic influence of modern Indo-European languages upon teaching Biblical Hebrew within other language contexts. The present study examines the teaching of Biblical Hebrew in Chinese through the lens of language defamiliarization, not only highlighting linguistic and cultural factors that differ markedly from those of the received Euro-American teaching tradition, but also drawing out principles of biblical language teaching that apply in all instructional contexts.


Must Biblical and Systematic Theology Remain Apart? Reflection on Paul van Imschoot
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Scott N. Callaham, Baptist Theological Seminary, Singapore

Biblical and systematic theology stand in tension as fields of study that are constructively related in theory but strictly segregated in practice. In the first place, the nature of biblical theology seems to mandate that the concerns of systematic theology exert no conscious influence upon the work of biblical theologians. Furthermore, as a rule, biblical theologies—especially those firmly grounded in the Old Testament—only tangentially influence the work of systematicians. Thus endures a stubborn, seemingly intractable impasse in academic theology. Those who nonetheless seek a voice for biblical theology in the broader world of theological reflection have an unlikely ally in Paul van Imschoot, a nearly-forgotten pre-Vatican II Catholic biblical theologian. Van Imschoot's productive labors transgress received assumptions regarding the relationship of biblical and systematic theology and beckon present theologians to return to the grounding of Scripture for the formation of doctrine.


The Text and Timing of the Antioch Incident (Gal 2:11–14)
Program Unit: Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)
Stephen C. Carlson, Australian Catholic University

The timing of the Antioch incident (Gal. 2:11–14) has been a matter of dispute for at least fifteen centuries. Some scholars hold that it occurred before the Jerusalem meeting of Gal. 2:1-10, while others take the position that it happened afterwards. Less appreciated in the scholarship, however, is that the passage contains a tiny textual variant with a huge effect on our understanding of the incident. According to the current Nestle-Aland text, this incident was triggered by the arrival of certain people from James, who intimidated Cephas into publicly changing his mind and separating himself from the gentiles (Gal 2:12 "but when they came, he withdrew"). The best and earliest manuscripts, however, tell another story. Instead of reading "they came" (elthen), P46 Sinaiticus B D* F G and 33 read "he came" (elthon). This difference of a single letter in the text—between an omicron and an epsilon—results in a markedly different understanding of the incident. This study reexamines the text of this passage and argues that the best-attested variant reading in Gal. 2:12 resolves this long-standing chronological puzzle.


The Reframing of the Refrain: Reconsidering the Appendices to the Book of Judges
Program Unit: Stylistics and the Hebrew Bible
M. L. Case, The University of Texas at Austin

In the so-called appendices to the book of Judges (ch. 17–18; 19–21), the monarchic refrain (17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) situates the two stories within the domain of the monarchy: "In those days, when there was no king in Israel, every man did what was right in his own eyes." With the addition of this refrain, the stories become stylized histories meant to illustrate to the audience the necessity of a king. I argue, however, that this refrain was not original, but rather an attempt on the part of an editor to reframe the appendices to serve as political propaganda. When we read the stories without the refrain, their primary purposes become clear: the first serves as a foundational story recounting the migration of the Danites, while the second depicts the success of the Israelite society to overcome social problems without the regulating influence of the king. Thus, the monarchic refrain changes both the function and meaning of the narratives, influencing how both lay-readers and scholars have interpreted these unique tales throughout the centuries.


The Concept of “the Holy Seed” as a Coping Strategy in Ezra-Nehemiah
Program Unit: Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts
Ntozakhe Cezula, Stellenbosch University

Describing the difficulties experienced by former political exiles who returned to South Africa since 1990, Zonke Majodina argues that the psychological study of reintegration of refugees or exiles deserves a place in the mainstream psychological research and not remain on the fringes. One of her basic assumptions is that coping plays a central mediating role in the reintegration process. Taking cue from her deliberation, this paper investigate the role played by psychological coping in the return of Judean exiles from Babylon. The paper is aware of the discontinuities between the two contexts but it also reckons that there are paradigms that can help us understand some situations in our own contexts. The investigation will be done by examining the concept of Holy Seed (zerah haqodesh, cf Ezr 9:2) in the Book of Ezra-Nehemiah. By designating themselves the holy seed, the exiles symbolised themselves as the only legitimate remnants of the pre-exilic Israelite community. Furthermore, the concept closely associated them with the temple system, which was the basis of the life of the Israelites in general and God Who is holy. The paper argues that this concept was an expression of an identity-formation process that could help the exiles cope with challenges of their return. This identity-formation process will be explained in terms of Henri Tajfels’ theory of social identity. Underlying this theory is self-esteem and social support which are crucial for psychological well-being in challenging times. The strong elements of this theory are social identity, social comparison and psychological distinctiveness. Identity-formation is a legitimate phenomenon and has much to do with psychological well-being. By this venture, the paper also hopes that the insights that might transpire out of this investigation may be helpful in understanding other situations of social integration that communities might be engaging in.


The Pursuit of Justice in the Torah and Remembering the Poor
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Kilnam Cha, Abilene Christian University

This paper focuses on a theological significance of Paul’s ministry of remembering the poor in Jerusalem and how that is related to the pursuit of justice in the Torah. The first part of this paper traces how remembering the poor was at the center of Paul’s ministry from the beginning to the end of his career and highlights its theological significance as a means to foster the unity between his Gentile converts and Jewish Christians because the latter would consider remembering the poor as the best proof of the Gentile Christians’ covenant faithfulness. The rest of the paper traces the pursuit of justice in the Torah in its cultural, historical milieu and the importance of remembering the poor in the pursuit, and establishes how Paul’s ministry of remembering the poor functioned as the litmus test of covenant faithfulness of his Gentile converts. In so doing, how Deuteronomy’s theological and structural emphasis falls on the “poor tithe” or remembering the poor in Deuteronomy 26:12-15 as Moses’s last instruction and the litmus test of covenant faithfulness will be highlighted.


The Ohn Theological Approach of Inclusion and Recovery as Peace in the Hebrew Bible: From the Perspective of People with Disabilities
Program Unit:
Unha Chai, Hanil University and Presbyterian Theological Seminary

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Ethnography of Biblical Encounter in India: Case Study Reports
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
David J. Chalcraft, Liverpool John Moores University

The session will introduce the aims and objectives of the British Academy funded project (2013-16) which explored the development of ethnographic techniques for researching the role of context for interpretation of the Bible by ordinary readers in various settings in India. Chalcraft (who was the Principal Investigator) will provide an introduction to the project, and also, at the close, draw some generalisations re method and substantive findings. Two members of the team (there were 5 case studies in all) will report on their experiences and findings. One case study concerns the role of the Bible for the identity of auto-rickshaw drivers in Chennai; the other case study reports on Dalit (Madiga) encounters with the Bible in a rural village in Andhra Pradesh, where there are low levels of literacy. The first is presented by Arren Bennet Lawrence (Chennai) and the second by Jeeva Kumar Ravela (UTC Bangalore), who are both members of SABS (and not SBL)


The Use of Photography in the Ethnography of Biblical Encounter: What Is It Good For?
Program Unit: Bible and Visual Culture
David J. Chalcraft, Liverpool John Moores University

The paper arises from reflection on the use of photography during a three year British academy funded project (on which I was the Principal Investigator) that looked at developing ethnographic techniques to understand encounters with the Bible in a variety of settings in India. Field work was conducted, in collaboration with Indian biblical scholars, with Devadasi women and girls in Northern Karnataka; in a rural Madiga village in Andhra Pradesh; with auto-rickshaw drivers in Chennai, and with biblical scholars in parts of Assam and Mizoram. The paper firstly briefly considers the (relative paucity of) representation of Bible reading in western art and in previous projects dealing with 'religion' by leading photographers, before concentrating on a number of examples of visual images produced during the field work. The paper considers the role of the photograph both as a research aid and as interpretative tool, not least as a means of reflexivity for the biblical scholar/researcher using the camera, about the nature of their gaze, and their complex relationships with the subjects. In the attempt to capture and contextualise bible encounter in the field in India, it emerged that the materiality and representation of the Bible was mediated by and intersected with the surrounding diverse and intense visual culture. Research with auto rickshaw drivers required exploration of the manner in which the rickshaws themselves were vehicles of biblical images and messages that circulated in the city and vied for attention alongside the images of other faiths and cultural icons. The latter gives further nuance to what is meant by 'the context' of Bible encounter when considered from a sociological perspective. The paper links with the ethnographic turn in biblical studies and the visual turn in religious studies.


Moving Margins in the Apocalypse of John: Rethinking "Fishball Revolution"
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Chan Lung Pun Common, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Violent clashes, or the so-called "Fishball Revolution", broke out between police and protestors on the streets of Mong Kok, the shopping heart of Hong Kong, at the start (i.e. Feb 8) of Chinese Lunar New Year 2016. Multitudinous young localists went to the wall for unlicensed food stalls, which sold fishballs on skewers. However, the Hong Kong government condemned the ferocious events that unfolded in Mong Kok as "riots" and thus those young activists were further marginalized. Afterwards, there are numerous debates on youth "violence" among Hongkongers. Many Hong Kong churches condemned youth violence uncritically. Was "violence" a taboo in the Urchristentum? This paper is to illuminate different social voices dialoguing with each other within the Apocalypse of John. The approach adopted is a postcolonial contextual interpretation.


Jesus as Moses and Aaron: Hebrews’ Reading of OT Traditions for the Priestly Christology of the New Covenant Era
Program Unit: Korean Biblical Colloquium
Dongshin Chang, Trinity Western University

In this paper I will investigate the way in which the author of Hebrews articulates his arguments about the priestly covenant. My primary interest is in the combination of the two important concepts of “priesthood” and “covenant” in Hebrews. I consider how the two concepts are combined, and for what purpose. Many studies have dealt with the two concepts individually in relation to Jesus’ Christology in Hebrews, yet none of them seems to address how the author of Hebrews uses the two concepts in combination. I suggest that Hebrews contains traceable clues that show the way in which the author combines the two concepts in order to present Jesus as the high priest of the new covenant era for the atonement of sins by means of his blood. First, the author uses Exodus 24 in Hebrews 9 as a connecting bridge for the two concepts of priesthood and covenant. Second, the author articulate his own priestly covenant tradition by developing an oath-taking motif in his use of Melchizedek traditions in Hebrews 7. Redirection or reorientation of the old traditions seems to work in order to explain the meaning of Jesus’ death and blood in Hebrews. The author’s overall use of a cultic setting is also to be noted, not only for the framework involving priesthood, but also for his discourse about covenant.


The Negotiated Concept of the ?erem in the Book of Judges
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Sok-Chung Chang, Catholic Kwandong University

The concept of the ?erem, the total destruction described mostly in Deuteronomy, was never carried out, and this law seems to be a wishful thinking. It has been widely discussed among scholars focusing on the ethical aspect (Hoffman, 1999), on the historical development (Weinfeld, 1993), on 1 Kings 20:42 (Stern, 1990), or on the just war (Good, 1985). In Dtn 7:2, we find a typical ?erem command, “and when YHWH your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy.” According to Hoffman, “the ?erem is a concept typical only of some passages in Deuteronomy and Joshua; it is not a presupposition of the entire Deuteronomistic work” (201). I would like to pursue the concept of the ?erem in the Book of Judges. Although it does not appear literally in Judges, the Dtr shows in Judges why Israel failed to accomplish the law of the ?erem. More precisely, Israel could not expel all the Canaanites from the land and she had to live with them in the land. This coexistence was the beginning of all the evildoing of Israel, that is, worshipping other gods and forsaking YHWH. The reason why Judges 1 records the Canaanites whom Israel did not expel from the land, is to indicate that those remained Canaanites caused Israel to follow other gods. The weakened ?erem command would be removing the people from the land. In my opinion, removing of the people from one place is removing of their gods from there. In other words, if there are some people in a city, there are gods. Getting rid of the indigenous people in Canaan was indispensable for worshipping YHWH alone. [TRUNCATED]


Economic Miracle? Equality in 2 Cor 8:13-15 and in South Korea Today
Program Unit: Early Christianity and the Ancient Economy
Steven Chang, Torch Trinity Graduate University

The "Miracle on the Han River" saw the economy of post-war South Korea rise from being one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest. But the breakneck speed of economic growth has left behind many Koreans in poverty. Inequality on multiple planes reveals the soft underbelly of South Korea's tiger economy. In a world of similar competitiveness and inequality, Paul appeals for an economy of grace and equality in Roman Corinth that challenges the notion of economic miracle then and now.


In Search of a Theoretical Basis for Intercultural Biblical Hermeneutics…
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Gregory Basker Chellappa, Tamilnadu Theological Seminary

It is true that intercultural biblical exegesis has not received due recognition by traditional biblical scholarship, mainly because of its non-theoretical approach to biblical studies. The accusation of certain western scholars, that intercultural interpretations are “creative, but not scientific”, shows how ‘western’ New Testament scholarship, with all its newer approaches, is still reluctant to go beyond the historical-critical method. As a result, biblical hermeneutics remains till this day a domain of European and US-American biblical academy. This paper intends to spearhead the search for a theoretical basis for intercultural biblical hermeneutics in the field of reception history (Wirkungsgeschichte). In the first section, I seek to examine how postcolonial/postmodern thought has influenced studies on reception history. Here, I seek to conceptualize reception history by defining and determining its trajectories, taking into account, the works of relevant postmodern scientists, like, for instance, Derrida, Bhaba, Chakraborty and Spivak, and enquire whether or not their theoretical patterns entail intercultural biblical hermeneutics. Secondly, I wish to engage with a critical analysis of some of the known contextual approaches of the Bible, such as that of Ched Myers, Sugirtharajah, Rensberger, Bonino, Schreiter, etc. Here, I wish to evaluate how these authors perceived ‘western’ scholarship and what alternative hermeneutical models they proposed. Simultaneously, I wish to examine, why these attempts could not succeed in putting an end to “western” monopoly in the field of biblical hermeneutics. Is it because there are not sufficient alternative approaches? Or, are concrete local contexts different from what gets portrayed? Why does the general proclivity of contextual interpretations continue to serve to satisfy the intellectual appetite of the “western” audience? Finally, I wish to conceptualize de facto Asian hermeneutics along with contemporary “western” biblical scholarship. [TRUNCATED]


In Search of a Theoretical Basis for Intercultural Biblical Hermeneutics…
Program Unit: Political Biblical Criticism
Gregory Basker Chellappa, Tamilnadu Theological Seminary

It is true that intercultural biblical exegesis has not received due recognition by traditional biblical scholarship, mainly because of its non-theoretical approach to biblical studies. The accusation of certain western scholars, that intercultural interpretations are “creative, but not scientific”, shows how ‘western’ New Testament scholarship, with all its newer approaches, is still reluctant to go beyond the historical-critical method. As a result, biblical hermeneutics remains till this day a domain of European and US-American biblical academy. This paper intends to spearhead the search for a theoretical basis for intercultural biblical hermeneutics in the field of reception history (Wirkungsgeschichte). In the first section, I seek to examine how postcolonial/postmodern thought has influenced studies on reception history. Here, I seek to conceptualize reception history by defining and determining its trajectories, taking into account, the works of relevant postmodern scientists, like, for instance, Derrida, Bhaba, Chakraborty and Spivak, and enquire whether or not their theoretical patterns entail intercultural biblical hermeneutics. Secondly, I wish to engage with a critical analysis of some of the known contextual approaches of the Bible, such as that of Ched Myers, Sugirtharajah, Rensberger, Bonino, Schreiter, etc. Here, I wish to evaluate how these authors perceived ‘western’ scholarship and what alternative hermeneutical models they proposed. Simultaneously, I wish to examine, why these attempts could not succeed in putting an end to “western” monopoly in the field of biblical hermeneutics. Is it because there are not sufficient alternative approaches? Or, are concrete local contexts different from what gets portrayed? Why does the general proclivity of contextual interpretations continue to serve to satisfy the intellectual appetite of the “western” audience? Finally, I wish to conceptualize de facto Asian hermeneutics along with contemporary “western” biblical scholarship. [TRUNCATED]


The Textual History of the Prayer of Manasseh: Texts and Contexts
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Randall Chesnutt, Pepperdine University

This paper summarizes my contribution to The Textual History of the Bible (eds. Emmanuel Tov, Matthias Henze, and Russell Fuller; 3 vols.; Leiden: Brill, in progress). As area editor for the section on the Prayer of Manasseh in vol. 2, Deutero-Canonical Scriptures (ed. Matthias Henze), I have assembled an international team of nine experts to compile and assess the manuscript witnesses for all extant versions of this ancient penitential psalm. In this paper I synthesize the results of this comprehensive assemblage of textual data. After surveying the current state of scholarly opinion on the origins and affinities of the Prayer, I report on the Greek, Syriac, Latin, Coptic, Armenian, Slavonic, Ethiopic, Hebrew, and Arabic textual traditions, with attention to the sources, character, and text-critical value of each. I conclude by identifying some lingering issues and avenues for further research on the Prayer of Manasseh.


The Image of Paul in Late Qing Dynasty: In Perspective of Reception History of Bible
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
April Cheung, Chinese University of Hong Kong

In late Qing, missionaries wrote many biographies about Biblical character, such as Abraham, David, Paul and so on. All of these writings were mentioned a little in the article “The Chinese Missionary Novels of Nineteenth-Century China” written by Patrick Hanan. This paper will focus on two writings: The Life of Paul (1837) and Life and Teachings of Apostle Paul (1910). Reception History of Bible is one of the most influential methodologies since 2008 in Biblical Studies. With this method, researchers are required to select different historical documents of different times and areas, pay close attention to various reception phenomenon of scripture, eventually, explore the use and influence of the Bible, and find out reception history of texts. In this paper, I will use Reception History of Bible as my research method, analyzing different images of Paul in two writings. The Life of Paul was written by Karl Gützlaff in 1837, and Life and Teachings of Apostle Paul was produced by Mary Andrews in 1910. Both of the two missionaries rewrote the story of Paul, and created different images in their works. I want to discuss some questions in my paper: why did they rewrite the life of Paul? What are the differences between this two biographies? How did the authors balance the conflict between Bible and context in Late Qing Dynasty?


The Influence of Ancient Gnosticism on the Early Christian Theology of God in the Gnostic Text of Nag Hammadi Library and the New Testament
Program Unit:
Jae Hyung Cho, Korea Christian University

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Allusions of Dionysus’ Trial (Bacchae 431–519) to Jesus’ Trial (John 18:28-38)
Program Unit: Allusions in the Gospels and Acts
Jae Hyung Cho, Korea Christian University

This paper investigates literary relationship between the trail of Jesus (John 18:28-38) and the trail of Dionysus (Bacchae 431-519) by showing how John’s trail is resonant with its ante-text. In John’s Gospel, there are marks of Dionysus such as Jesus’ wine miracle (2:1-11), the dialogue between Jesus and Samaritan woman, the eucharistic discourse (6:51-59), and the parable of “Jesus as true vine” (15:1-11). Dionysus described in Bacchae typically shows the suffering son of God. From his birth, Dionysus was persecuted by Hera, Zeus’ wife, his mother was burn to death, and he was almost to be dead. Later, he came to his mother’s hometown, but he was rejected by his aunts in mother’s side and Pentheus the king. In the middle of these persecutions, Dionysus does not show any fear and boldly distributes wine to his followers. In addition, he makes many women who do not accept his cult crazy so that they are forced to worship him. Compared to the synoptic, the Gospel of John omits Jesus’ agony at Gethsemane. Instead, Jesus confronts the soldiers and temple police in stately manner. When he says “I am he,” they go backward and fall to the ground. When Jesus is inquired by Pilate, he is not afraid of that situation. On the other side, with fear, Pilate the investigator asks “what is truth?” In particular, Bacchae 431-519 where Pentheus acts of inquiring on Dionysus alludes to Pilate’s inquisition on Jesus (John 18:28-38). John skillfully modifies some notorious images of Dionysus who cruelly avenges on his opponents into the dignified victim of oppression. Therefore, by using mimesis between Dionysus and Jesus, I present the uniqueness of Jesus’ trail in creative ways. Furthermore, this approach will contribute to understand the New Testament in the humanistic perspective of new religious and ethical values.


Making Sense of the Catastrophe: A Comparative Reading of the Four Jewish Speeches in Josephus’ Jewish War
Program Unit: Hellenistic Judaism
Jaecheon Cho, Torch Trinity Graduate University

Flavius Josephus records the speeches by four Jewish leaders given in the height of the Jewish revolt against Rome: Agrippa II, the Roman client king of Jewish descent, spoke before the agitated crowd in Jerusalem on the eve of the war (JW 2.345-401). His long speech contours around the theme of political theology, examining whether the Roman dominance should be taken to show the divine favor toward Rome and the Jewish resistance to it could amount to rebellion against God. The speech given by Ananus the High Priest (JW 4.162-92) is full of rhetorical drum-beating for standing up against “the impious” Romans. Josephus, now a translator for the Roman army, himself offers a word of counsel to his compatriots who were sieged for a long time (JW 5.362-419). Representing the Roman interests at the moment, Josephus plays the role of appeaser. The rebel leaders Eleazar put the final speech into the ears of the rebels at Masada (JW 7.323-881). Facing a complete loss and submission to the Romans, Eleazar advises the entire community of Jews to die free instead of living in slavery. These four speeches dramatize the various sentiments among Jews at a catastrophic demise of their nation. I will also touch on issue of political theology in the Korean church with a particular attention to the Christian reactions and responses to the incident of Ferry Sewol, a major disaster that ripped the hearts of Koreans in April 16, 2014. After analyzing and comparing both formal and thematic features of them, we will explore the issue of the literary convention of speech in the Hellenistic Jewish historiography.


Gregory of Nyssa on "the Seared Conscience": The Theme of Moderation in the Journey toward God
Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
Jaecheon Cho, Torch Trinity Graduate University

Toward the end of The Life of Moses (2.287-290), Gregory of Nyssa comments on Num 21:22 where the word “the king’s highway”(he basilikes leophoros) appears. Israelites asked a favor of Sihon, king of the Amorites, so that they might walk through the king’s highway, a middle road cutting through the Amorites’ land. Gregory expounds this passage as a lesson on moderation (sophrosyne) and means (mesotes); the pilgrim who is devoted to the upward journey to God is advised to evade extremes on both sides and keep the middle course. Characteristic to Gregory’s biblical exposition is his bold association of the given passage to other biblical passages. One of the several illustrations of moderation comes from 1 Tim 4:2, and Gregory specifically alludes to those who have been “seared in their own conscience.” To the surpise of most modern readers, Gregory presents this type of people with seared conscience as practitioners of excessive abstinence instead of habitual sinners whose conscience has become unable to be pricked. No other church father is known to expound 1 Tim 4:2 this way. This seemingly unique interpretation of Gregory, however, has a sound exegetical and theological ground as far as 1 Timothy is concerned. This paper also argues that the theme of moderation fits well into Gregory’s overall program of upward journey to God in The Life of Moses.


Idol Food and Ancestor Worship in 1 Corinthians 8–10
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Kwang-Yun Cho, Independent Scholar

This study deals with Pauline themes of ‘the strong’ and ‘the weak’ regarding the eating of food sacrificed to idols. The strong were those who insisted that they were free to eat idol-meat. The weak were those who were afraid of eating idol meat because they imagined that this food retained the harmful influence of pagan deities. The claim of the strong was, “We know that we all possess knowledge” (1 Cor 8:1). Paul’s counter-claim was, however, “but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons” (1 Cor 10:20). My project will argue that, contrary to most interpretations, Paul’s intention in 1 Cor 8-10 is for the strong and the weak not to participate in any kind of activities within an idolatrous temple and not to eat any food sacrificed to idols. Even more strikingly, I will also argue that this ‘idolatrous food’ behavior should be read against the backdrop of popular Greco-Roman practices of the cult of the dead. Surprisingly, while 1 Cor 8-10 have been much explored, virtually no one has yet to link the cult of the dead with the concept of pagan sacrifices in 1 Corinthians. By linking the interpretation of this passage to cutting edge research on the cult of the dead in Classics, Anthropology, and Religious Studies, this project will constitute an important step forward in our understanding of the social and religious locations of early Christianity.


Job 2 and 42:7–10 as Narrative Bridge and Theological Pivot
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Paul Kang-Kul Cho, Wesley Theological Seminary

In this presentation, I will reexamine the literary relationship between the prose frame (Job 1–2; 42:7–17) and the poetic core (3:1–42:6) of the Book of Job. Building on previous work that identifies Job 1; 42:11–17 as an older and independent composition, I will argue that the author of the poetic core composed Job 2; 42:7–10 as a narrative bridge and a theological pivot from the prose frame to the poetic core. I will argue that Job 2; 42:7–10 narratively connects the prose frame to the poetic dialogue, principally through the introduction of Job's friends, and broaches pivotal theological themes to prepare for the contentious dialogue to come.


Job's Willingness to Die
Program Unit: Korean Biblical Colloquium
Paul Kang-Kul Cho, Wesley Theological Seminary

The canonical shape of the Book of Job moves from abundant life to abundant life. Prose narratives of Job's blessed life frame the book at the beginning and the end. Death, however, and deep reflection on death occupy the poetic core of the book. Thus the structure of the Book of Job suggests that death somehow functions as a pathway to life. Figuring out exactly how, taking into account the other great binary of piety and sin, is one of the great interpretative challenges of Job. In this presentation, I will examine Job's dialectical relationship with death, focusing primarily on his first (chap. 3) and final (chap. 31) speeches in the poetic core, and argue that, while Job initially wants to have always already been dead, he ultimate articulates a willingness to die as a means of affirming his life—and the possibility of human integrity. He wills, wants to die at the beginning but at the end is willing to die (he places himself under a solemn curse in declaring his innocence) that he might, vindicated before God in a legal encounter, live more fully as a righteous man. In short, Job matures from a potential suicide to a ready martyr. The thesis of the presentation, therefore, disagrees with D. Mathewson's thorough and insightful treatment of "death" in Job (Death and Survival in the Book of Job, 2006), in which Mathewson argues that the movement from chaps. 1 to 31 is one of symbolic centering to decentering and back again. Job does not move toward death, then away, but through it toward life.


The Meaning and Significance of Family Members and Relatives: A Study Based on Relevant Passages in the New Testament
Program Unit:
Jae Duk Choi, Prebyterian University and Theological Seminary (Seoul)

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Turning Water into Wine, or the Story of "A New Cook Pushing His Product”: An Addict’s Interpretation of John 2:1-12
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Johann Choi, Emory University

This paper describes and presents the findings of a Contextual Bible Study (CBS) conducted within a residential rehabilitation unit for American military veterans struggling with addiction. Participants of an existing resident-led bible study were invited to engage in a two-day Contextual Bible Study where they would interpret a biblical text without their usual help from devotional guides or commentaries. The primary purpose of this project was to develop a commentary on John 2:1-12 out of the life experiences and perspectives of recovering addicts, free from scholarly imposition. The resulting project both challenges and builds upon the theories and methods of Gerald O. West, as well as those conversant with West's framework for studying the bible with 'ordinary readers.' Particular attention is placed on how a shift towards a lectio divina form of reading (away from the traditional CBS mode of asking guiding questions and providing a text’s socio-historical background in order to assist the ‘untrained readers’) allowed the veterans to overcome an impasse in trying to understand the difficult passage. This paper not only unpacks the veterans’ readings of the Wedding at Cana, but it reflects on how the practice of lectio divina was able to serve as a useful tool for helping these ‘ordinary readers’ connect with the text, while still achieving West’s aim of empowering and giving voice to the marginalized.


The Use of Hellenistic Metaphors as Interpretive Clues in LXX Psalms
Program Unit: Septuagint Studies
P. Richard Choi, Andrews University

Based on Aristotle's Poetics, 21.1457b 7-15, this paper argues that the translator of LXX Psalms carefully and creatively employs Aristotle's concepts of poetic metaphors to explain difficult poetic expressions in Hebrew Psalms. This paper first offers examples from non-controversial texts of LXX Psalms to illustrate the presence of the three types of Hellenistic metaphors in Hebrew Psalms: (1) genus with species, (2) species with genus, or (3) species with species. Then, this paper moves on to examples taken from more controversial passages to show how by applying these three types of Hellenistic metaphors to the Hebrew Psalms the translator was able to shape their meanings.


Reading Gal 1:12 and 2:16 as an Inclusio
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Phuichun Choi, Andrews University

This paper seeks to clarify the significance of Paul’s personal stories in 1:13-2:16. Following the rubrics in the rhetorical manuals of Quintilian, Han Dieter Betz identified in his monumental commentary this story section as a narratio in a forensic letter. But since the publication of his commentary, this theory has come under heavy attack from various quarters, and it is no longer tenable to see 1:13-2:15 as a narratio. But, setting aside Betz’s theory, there is currently no viable explanation why there is such a long biographical section in the letter. This paper locates the meaning of the biographical section in the inclusio of 1:12 and 2:16. In a narratio proper, 1:12 would have served as the causa for 1:13-2:15, a section that provides the necessary factual proofs for the claim. This paper argues that this approach does not tell the complete story. Forming an inclusio around the story section, Gal 1:12 and 2:16 provide clues on how to understand the stories. Accordingly, Gal 2:16 is not simply a propositio that identifies the causa for the probatio that follows. It serves as the conclusion to the story section, shedding light on its meaning. The intent of this paper is to re-examine 1:13-2:15 in the light of the inclusio of 1:12-2:16 and argue that the stories are illustrations from Paul’s personal experience that clarify the difficult phrases “by faith” and “by the works of the law.”


The Pattern of the Plagues in Exodus
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Sik Ping Choi, Bible Seminary of Hong Kong

There are many discussions on the arrangement of the plagues in Exodus. Obvious, the tenth plague is a very special plague that God had implemented in the land of Egypt. Scholars suggest that the rest nine plagues are arranged according to the triad construction (1st- 4th- 7th, 2nd- 5th- 8th and 3rd- 6th- 9th). Through the study of Psalm 76 and 105, this paper argues that the 3rd, 6th and 9th plagues are the disasters caused by Pharaoh. The rest six plagues are implemented by the Lord and arranged according to the cause–consequence relationship. That means the 1st, 4th and 7th plagues are the causes and the 2nd, 5th and 8th are the consequences of the preceding plagues. They could pair up together to form a unit and eventually we have three units. A triad construction is formed by these three units, which are corresponding to the three spheres of the universe, water, land and heaven. These three spheres make up the whole universe. The plagues are arranged so as to reflect that God had implemented the plagues through the three spheres. It is the intention of God to show that He is the Lord of Almighty who has authority over the three spheres of the creation. It also serves as a response and reply to what the Pharaoh had said to Moses that he did not know who is the Lord.


Bridging the Gap and Creating Mutual Enrichment: Focus on R. S. Sugirtharajah
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Zhang Chun, Zhejiang University

Over the past several decades, there emerges an obvious gap in the field of biblical interpretation: entrenched in the legacy of Enlightenment and Rationalism, the hermeneutical enterprise in Euro-American biblical scholarship of historical criticism in particular has become over obsessed with such concepts as objectivity, neutrality, and universality, which results in an elusive discipline isolated from everyday life; on the other pole, under the influence of poststructuralism, postcolonialism and liberation theories, there arise new hermeneutical trends as vernacular criticism or marginal interpretation mainly from the formerly colonized in the Third World or the marginalized communities in the cosmopolis as resistant counterparts against traditional mainstream hegemonic agendas. The vernacular or marginal trends are largely context-specific, cultural-bound, identity-oriented, which emphasize the reclamation of subjectivity and self-determination. This paper attempts to clarify that contrapuntal reading can be an effective strategy and a first step for both sides in order to bridge the gap and build connections and create mutual enrichment. The first part describe the gap mainly created by historical criticism, liberation hermeneutics and vernacular hermeneutics;t he second part highlights R. S. Sugirtharajah’s contribution in introducing postcolonialism and contrapuntal reading from Said into biblical interpretation, which is followed by the third part with a very brief description of Said’s main points on this reading strategy and a very rough sketch of Sugirtharajah’s application of this new reading method to the birth stories of two religious founders,Siddhartha the Buddha, and Jesus Christ. The paper ends with further emphasis on the constructive traits of this creative hermeneutical approach.


For Whom the Spirit Exists: The Spirit of Yahweh in the Book of Judges
Program Unit: Stylistics and the Hebrew Bible
Il-Seung Chung, Asia LIFE University

The period of the judges is portrayed as a desperate time calling for charismatic leaders. The stories of the heroic characters, who received the Spirit of Yahweh in the book of Judges, provide various portraits of Israelite judges. The Spirit of Yahweh appears 7 times in the book of Judges, and it came upon only four judges: Othniel (Judg. 3:10), Gideon (Judg. 6:34), Jephthah (Judg. 11:29), and Samson (Judg. 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14). Interestingly enough, the book of Judges uses different Hebrew verbs to describe the descent of the Spirit of Yahweh among these judges. Why is it that these four judges are described in a different way when they received the Spirit of Yahweh? What is its implication and stylistic impact on the audience and its perception of the message? The major sections of this paper intend to discuss key passages referring to the Spirit of Yahweh in the book of Judges, investigate their stylistic difference and feature the significance of rûach in the leadership and experience of these charismatic judges. Reviewing the Spirit of Yahweh described in the book of Judges leads to draw several theological implications about how the Spirit of Yahweh worked in a time of spiritual stupor. First of all, as the spiritual darkness becomes more severe, more powerful engagement of the Spirit appears. This is found in the use of stronger Hebrew verbs to describe the activity of the Spirit of Yahweh. Secondly, in spite of stronger engagement of the Spirit, the outcomes of the judge are mostly disappointing. The proposed paper will argue that each of these manifestations of the Spirit of Yahweh shows a unique perspective on its role and how God ultimately preserved Israel by equipping chosen individuals.


Another Weeping Woman in the Asian Context: A Postcolonial Feminist Reading of Luke 7:36-50
Program Unit: Allusions in the Gospels and Acts
YongHan Chung, Hannam University

This paper will read the story of the sinful woman in Luke 7:36–50 from a postcolonial feminist perspective showing the imperial and androcentric aspects embedded in previous interpretations of the story. On the basis of the two-source theory, we notice that the author of Luke used the story of the woman in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 14:3–9) for the purpose of Lukan Jesus’s soteriological lesson, without fully following the direction given by Jesus in Mark 14:9. Both the historical audience including the disciples and the Gospel writers delivered and used her story for their own purpose without deeply understanding her being and doing. Furthermore, the original purpose of her deeds has never been taken into the consideration of readers throughout the history of interpretation, consciously or unconsciously. The stories of the sinful woman in the Gospels commonly reflect the fact that she crossed borders, which challenges the imperial value given a woman. Her crossing borders made the woman nameless, and Luke named her a sinner. In comparison with the versions of Mark and John, the Lukan version more explicitly reflects the context that women were interpreted and remembered only from the androcentric perspective. Such a historical phenomenon also appeared in the globalized context such as Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, where many marriage migrants crossed borders but did not have their own voice. They were objectified, living in countries as a solution in support of government policies regarding population. While not attempting to understand their true identity and the meaning of their tears, we interpret marriage migrants from the perspective imposed by governments and androcentric interest. Marriage migrants need to function as subjects in order to do remembrance of themselves, by standing against every effort to objectify them.


Alleged Female Language about the Deity in the Hebrew Bible
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
David J.A. Clines, University of Sheffield

When the topic of divine masculinity in the Hebrew Bible is broached, attention is often drawn to alleged examples of female language about the deity in our texts as countervailing evidence. There has not been, to my knowledge, a systematic critique of such instances. They include passages where God is said to be described as a human or animal mother, and a range of passages where language that seems appropriate only to women (e.g. of birthing and of female bodily organs) is used in reference to the deity. This paper will assess the claim of Phyllis Trible and others that “recovery of this meaning tempers any assertion that Yahweh is a male deity”.


The Law for the Cities of Refuge in Num 35:9-34: Repetition or Reformulation?
Program Unit: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law
Francesco Cocco, Pontificia Università Urbaniana

My aim is to try to answer this basic question: in what way does Numbers 35:9-34 contribute to the law governing the “cities of refuge”, already present in the pentateuchal traditions of Exodus 21:12-14, Deuteronomy 19:1-13, and Joshua 20:1-9? Is it a mere repetition of the same legislation, perhaps an expansion and enhancement with new details, or rather, is it a reformulation of the previous legislative tradition, marking a real advancement in biblical law? I will try to approach these questions starting from the interpretation of one of the key terms of the pericope – "bishgagah" – and its specific function within the passage, in order to develop some hypotheses concerning the composition of the law in Numbers 35:9-34.


Jesus in the Temple: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas and Luke 2:41-51
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Robert (J.R.C.) Cousland, University of British Columbia

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas (Paidika) is one of the earliest—if not the earliest— retellings and interpretations of Luke’s story of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple. A recent study by Geert van Oyen (2011) has shown that it is textually dependent on Luke and not simply replicated from memory. Despite this textual dependence, the author of the Paidika has made some small but significant changes that help to illuminate how he interpreted Luke’s Gospel and also how he sought to modify his source. This paper plans to focus on these changes. While this task has already been undertaken by a number of scholars, including Burke, Robbins, and van Oyen, I will argue that there are aspects of the Christology of the two works that warrant fuller and further consideration.


Who Had Lunch with Abraham in Genesis 18?
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
David Z. Crookes, Independent Writer

One day the LORD and two angels call with Abraham in the plains of Mamre. Who are the two angels? In the Old Testament Michael has a special responsibility for the nation of Israel (see Daniel 10. 21, Daniel 12. 1), while in the New Testament Gabriel is the angel who announces miraculous births (see Luke 1. 13, Luke 1. 35). Are the two angels of Genesis 18 and Genesis 19 Michael and Gabriel? Anyone who wants to answer that question in a scholarly manner will eschew pious presumption, and engage in the most meticulous possible study of the Hebrew text. If you mean to attend this presentation, please allow me to commit an outrage by setting you two pieces of homework in advance. First, consider the use of pronouns (rather than proper nouns) in Genesis 18. 1-15. Secondly, consider the rôle of the word resh-gimel-lamedh-yodh-kaph-mem ( = your feet) in Genesis 18. 4 and Genesis 19. 2. When the Hebrew alphabet is written out on a single line, and when the six letters resh, gimel, lamedh, yodh, kaph, and mem are highlighted, a palindromic 2-1-6-4-6-1-2 pattern emerges (two letters, GIMEL, six letters, YODH KAPH LAMEDH MEM, six letters, RESH, two letters). Does that pattern represent more than a mere accident? I’ll be very grateful if you help me to explicate the pertinent pieces of text in Seoul.


“Even as the Law Says” (1 Cor 14:34b): An Allusion to Miriam in Numbers 12?
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Kenneth L. Cukrowski, Abilene Christian University

Every interpreter of 1 Cor 14:34 faces the challenge of explaining the phrase “even as the law says.” At first glance, it may seem like a remote possibility that Paul alludes to Miriam with this phrase. In fact, solid evidence supports an allusion to Miriam in Num 12. Regarding the prominence of Miriam, it is significant that Miriam is mentioned in more OT books than any other female character in the OT; she is also the first female prophet mentioned in the OT; and she is an example of a disruptive female prophet in Num 12. Furthermore, Miriam’s popularity in the first century is seen in that there are at least six Marys in the NT named after her. Why is an allusion to Num 12 plausible at this point in Paul’s argument? At least three details stand out. Since Numbers is a book of Torah, Paul’s reference to “the law” in 14:34 makes sense. Also, there is a distinct possibility of an allusion to Num 11:29 earlier in the chapter (14:5). Most significantly, a direct allusion to Num 12:8 in the previous chapter (13:12a)—the phrases “face to face” and “in riddles”—echoes and quotes the wording of Num 12. Finally, an allusion to Num 12 renders coherent sense to the passage; this reading results in the following interpretation of 1 Cor 14:34: “Female [prophets] are not permitted to keep on speaking, but they should be subject to themselves (cf. 14:32), even as the law says [about disruptive female prophets like Miriam in Numbers 12].” These three lines of argument move this proposal from a remote possibility to an interpretation worthy of consideration.


Religious Experience in Ancient Literature
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Istvan Czachesz, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

The aim of this paper is to provide an introduction to the problem of religious experience in ancient sources and examine the possibilities and challenges of studying them, with special attention to the use of cognitive science approaches and theories of embodiment. After a brief discussion of the phenomenology of subjective experience, I will introduce a model of religious experience in the context of cognitive, cultural, and social factors. The second part of the paper will deal with theories of embodied cognition and their potential to shed new light on religious expirences in ancient sources. In the final part of the paper, some aspects of such experiences will be addressed against the backdrop of neuroscientific evidence and embodied cognition.


Royal Autobiography and the Anti-Royal Passages in Qoheleth: Some Observations
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Gnanaraj D., Torch Trinity Graduate University

The recent years in the Qoheleth studies have seen the growing popularity of the Frame-Narrative approach to its interpretation. Its proponents argue that the royal ‘persona’ in its autobiographic sections (1:12-2:26) is adopted to illustrate his initial thesis that all of one’s toil and labor is but habel. Once this goal is achieved, then ‘the royal fiction’ is effectively discarded. The ‘anti-royal passages’ that seem to critique the inefficiency of the aristocracy (4:1-3, 5:7-8 [Eng. 5:8-9], 10:20) are drawn to support such line of reasoning. Thus, a nameless wisdom teacher living during the Ptolemaic period launches striking critique of the aristocracy, besides his defiant take on Israelite wisdom traditions. This plausible disruption of the royal autobiography after chapter 2 is explored in this paper, to see whether such break is either perceivable or warranted in the close reading of the autobiographic materials that extends to 10:7. This paper also explore the question how the ‘anti-royal passages’ fit Qoheleth’s stated ambitious agenda of observing everything under the sun in his historic quest to find the elusive yitrôn.


The Functions of lego Melding and lego Coordination in the New Testament
Program Unit: Hellenistic Greek Language and Linguistics
Paul Danove, Villanova University

This paper investigates the functions of "lego (say) melding" and "lego coordination" in the New Testament and concludes with a proposal concerning their possible historical contribution to the development of Greek verbs of communication. The introductory discussions establish the characteristics of lego melding and coordination and the licensing properties of New Testament verbs of communication. The discussion then resolves the various functions of lego melding and coordination in the New Testament. The concluding discussion uses comparisons to the Septuagint to propose the possible contributions of ???? melding and coordination to the development of Greek verbs of communication.


The Temporal Coordinates of God’s Actions During “This Time” in the Gospel of Mark
Program Unit: Gospel of Mark
Paul Danove, Villanova University

The Gospel of Mark distinguishes between the events of “this time” and those of “the coming age” (10:30) and proposes two complementary frameworks for resolving the temporal coordinates of narrated events into those that occur before, during, and after the story time of the narration. This paper specifies the criteria for identifying references to God and applies these to identify fifty-six occurrences in which God references the semantic agent of verbs within 1:1-16:8, develops the two complementary frameworks for resolving temporal coordinates for God’s actions based on occurrences of phrases employing “beginning" and on the chronology of the Parable of the Vineyard (12:1-9), resolves God’s fifty-six actions into those that occur before, during, and after the story time, and clarifies the temporal and thematic relationships among God’s actions that may be construed to occur in “this time”.


A Comparative Approach to the Qur'an and the Book of Mormon
Program Unit: Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective
D. Morgan Davis, Brigham Young University

The Qur’an and the Book of Mormon are the foundational texts of Islam and Mormonism, respectively. Because they emerged in radically different contexts—the Qur’an in 7th century Arabia, the Book of Mormon in 19th century New England—it is no surprise that they are very different kinds of texts in terms of genre (one is narrative, the other is not), language, and theology. And yet beneath these very significant differences, I will argue, lies a deep commonality that warrants comparative examination. It is that both texts see themselves as extensions of and correctives to the Judeo-Christian tradition and are each self-consciously in dialogue with the Bible. It is this explicit tie that each makes for itself to the biblical tradition that allows us to discern categories that can anchor meaningful comparisons between them. In my paper, I will demonstrate how two such categories—eschatology and the nature and role of Jesus/Isa?— might be investigated comparatively with these two books of scripture. While proper framing is crucial, I will observe that identifying and deploying shared categories is not enough by itself to protect the comparison from becoming hegemonic on one side or the other. With care, however, it is possible to engage in some kinds of comparison that draw challenging and meaningful insights into both traditions without doing violence to either.


The Function of Zephaniah 1:2-3
Program Unit: Prophets
John de Jong, Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology

The book of Zephaniah begins with a threat of global destruction (1.2-3). Scholars have struggled to understand why the book begins like this and have offered three main explanations. First, it is a rhetorical device designed to capture the audience’s attention; second, it is a later addition that does not cohere with the original prophetic oracles of Zephaniah, which concerned only Judah; third, it is a deliberate intertextual allusion to the creation and/or flood account in Genesis 1-9. While the opening oracle does achieve a rhetorical effect, the first suggestion does not explain the continued interaction between the people of God and the peoples of the world that pervades the book of Zephaniah (1.2-3, 18b; 2.4-15; 3.1-8, 9-10, 20). The same criticism can be made of the second redactional explanation. While there may be later additions to an original collection of Zephaniah oracles, scholars often identify such additions on the basis that the universal oracles contradict the original writings. In the final form of Zephaniah, however, the nations constitute an important and integral theme of the book. This paper will develop the third approach, intertextual allusion. Different literary theorists (Bakhtin, Hollander, Ben Porat) explain how allusion brings wider signification from the evoked text into the alluding text. My paper will argue that the allusion of Zeph 1.2-3 to the creation and flood account in Genesis 1-9 brings the theme of representation into the book of Zephaniah. Humanity as a whole carried held a representative function in Genesis 1-11, and their failure resulted in judgment for the entire created order. In Zephaniah it is the people of God, Judah, who are God’s representatives, and their failure is the reason for another global judgment. This theme pervades the book of Zephaniah and enables it to be read as a coherent text.


Rejecting the Biblical Call for Hospitality
Program Unit:
Miguel A. De La Torre, Iliff School of Theology

When Empire constructs roads into other countries to steal, by brute force if necessary, raw materials and cheap labor, why should we be surprised that natives take those same roads following everything that has been stolen from them. To prevent this migration, walls are built to keep them out. Some resist creating borders, calling for the biblical concept of hospitality instead. But hospitality ignores the causes of migration. This paper, using Central America as a case study, will explore how territorial conquest and the expansion of neoliberalism makes the biblical call for hospitality a misguiding approach to the current U.S. immigration crises.


The Virgin Love Goddess: Toward an Ethics of Reconciliation
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Miguel A. De La Torre, Iliff School of Theology

La virgencita Ochún is [n]either the [m]other of all Cubans [n]or the bleached Virgin. She does remain an important icon for Cuba, characterizing the hopes and aspiration of Cubans. To gaze upon the Catholic symbol of La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint, becomes a genuinely Cuban way to transcend the narrow rationalism and doctrinaire empiricism of the secularist mind-set. To reflect on the meaning of the African goddess Ochún, which occupies the same space as the Catholic symbol, is for Cubans to open themselves to the deeper ramifications of Her message, as their minds sort through a system of operations that engender structures of commonalities and divergences represented through language. I suggest that the linguistic terms La Virgen de la Caridad and Ochún cease to simply serve as signs linking their separate images to either a Roman Catholic or Santería concepts. Within the ambiguity of the constructed definitions of the symbols used to signify La Virgen de la Caridad/Ochún, a sacred space reconciling diverse elements of Cuban society can be forged. In short, the so-called reality of La Virgen de la Caridad/Ochún can never be understood in purely secular terms. Recognizing that all language is relative - acknowledging linguistic relativism - we can look beyond any arbitrary verbal structure or conceptual system. This most Cuban symbol, as signifier (image) will connote a unique perspective on the transcendental signified (concept), serving as a sign and representing the liberative mandate of reconciliation. La Virgen de la Caridad/Ochún as signifier is ambiguous, dismantling the binary opposition between culture as oral tradition (literature) and faith as a way of being (philosophy).


Embracing the Hopelessness of Jesús
Program Unit: Political Biblical Criticism
Miguel A. De La Torre, Iliff School of Theology

Jesus may be desirable, but not all Jesuses are beneficial. This paper unapologetically rejects the Eurocentric biblical Jesus for the Hispanic Jesús constructed when the Bible is read with Latino/a eyes. The paper argues that there is no one true Jesus that can be objectively known; there only exists subjective biblical interpretations of Jesus. The social, cultural, political, and global economic power of Euroamericans allows them to impose their subjective interpretation of Jesus as the objective Truth (with a capital “T”) for everyone else, including Latino/as. What would happen if rather than denying that we do indeed create Jesus in our own image, we embrace this methodology? What if we radically employ a hermeneutical suspicion to Christology – not simply to debunk the normative Eurocentric understanding of Jesus, but to construct a new Jesús? All too often, remembering Jesus as articulated within traditional Eurocentric Christian institutions tend to justify, legitimize, and normalize oppression. Hispanics need to be careful about uncritically adopting a Eurocentric biblical understanding of Jesus that might be detrimental to their marginalized social location. For those in power to remain in power, a constructed Jesus is needed that either explicitly or implicitly maintains the status quo. Rejecting Jesus for Jesús requires rooting him within the Hispanic culture, specifically moving away from the concept of hope and embracing what I’m calling a theology of hopelessness. The paper argues hope is a middle-class privilege that prevents radical praxis that could lead toward a more just society. The paper will focus on a forsaken and betrayed Jesús who exists in solidarity with the disenfranchised who live in the midst of Holy Saturday, knowing only the brutality of Good Friday with faint anticipation of a resurrection Sunday. To stand in solidarity with the hopeless creates a critique of salvation history.


Heterogeneous Language in Bible Translation
Program Unit:
Anicia Del Corro, Philippine Bible Society

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No More Itch (2 Tim 4:3)
Program Unit: Catholic Epistles
Matthijs den Dulk, Radboud University Nijmegen

The phrase “itching ears” occurs in the great majority of modern translations of 2 Tim 4:3 and dates back at least as far as the Vulgate. According to this interpretation of the Greek text, (Pseudo-)Paul claims that “the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears (?????µe??? t?? ?????), will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires” (NRSV). In its article on ?????, the lexicon BDAG mentions that another possible translation is “to have one’s ear tickled,” but offers no grounds to adjudicate between these two possible translations. In the same article, BDAG claims that the Greek phrase is a “fig[ure] of curiosity,” a suggestion repeated by many commentators. The present paper demonstrates that “tickling the ears” is an idiom that occurs quite frequently in first- and second-century literature (Seneca, Plutarch, Lucian, etc.). These authors’ use of the idiom suggests, first, that the translation “to have one’s ear tickled” is to be preferred in the case of 2 Tim 4:3, and, second, that the idiom primarily refers to the experience of pleasure rather than curiosity. The paper concludes by arguing that this translation and understanding of ?????µe??? t?? ????? fits the context of Second Timothy better than the alternatives commonly proposed in commentaries and lexicons.


Justin Martyr and the Invention of Heresy, or Who Wrote the First Anti-Heretical Treatise?
Program Unit: Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature
Matthijs den Dulk, Radboud University Nijmegen

Justin Martyr has been identified by a number of leading scholars as the “inventor of heresy.” Central to Justin’s role in this process is his authorship of the earliest known anti-heretical treatise (often called “the Syntagma”) referred to in 1 Apol. 26.8. The treatise itself does not survive, but its contents are reflected in 1 Apol. 26, where Justin attacks Simon, Helen, Menander and Marcion, as well as in Irenaeus’ catalogue of heresies in Adversus Haereses 1.23-27. On this basis we may conclude that the Syntagma is not only the oldest known treatise directed against the “heretics,” but also perhaps the first document that features the doxographical approach that would become characteristic of the heresiological tradition from Irenaeus to Epiphanius and beyond. However, Justin’s authorship of this important document has been disputed. One recent study argues that in 1 Apol. 26, Justin does not actually claim to have written this text, but simply states that he has this document in his possession (the implication being that someone else wrote it). Against such a view, the present paper argues on both grammatical and historical grounds that the traditional view that Justin wrote this document remains the most plausible interpretation, and in so doing offers for the first time a full-scale argument in support of this hypothesis.


A Reappraisal of Three Philological Comparisons between Biblical Hebrew and the Hebrew of Ben Sira: One Accepted (the Verb "mistolel"), One Rejected (the Verb "terassedun"), and of Questionable Status
Program Unit: Judaica
Haim Dihi, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Major dictionaries of Biblical Hebrew (BDB, HALOT, Qaddari) use the book of Ben Sira as supporting evidence for their interpretations of the two verbs mistolel (Exod. 9:17) and terassedun (Ps. 68:17), and of the form leshikhno (Deut. 12:5). In my paper, I shall reexamine the evidence cited from Ben Sira, in order to determine whether or not the book of Ben Sira it does indeed support the interpretation offered for those biblical words. As for the first verb, mistolel, which appears twice in Ben Sira (39:24; 40:28), the meaning of this verb in Ben Sira does indeed support the suggested meaning of this verb in Biblical Hebrew. This comparison also teaches that the diverse nuances of Heb. s-l-l apparently derive from homonymy rather than polysemy as asserted in most dictionaries of Biblical Hebrew. As for the second verb, terassedun, which appears once in Ben Sira (14:22), it seems that the meaning of this verb in Ben Sira does not support the suggested meaning of the word in Biblical Hebrew. Concerning the third form, leshikhno, which the dictionaries analyze either as an infinitive construct of the Qal conjugation with a third person masculine singular pronominal suffix, or as a segholate noun – shekhen it is, maybe, possible to find supporting evidence in Ben Sira for the second suggestion. Indeed, the noun sheken appears once in Ben Sira.


Tobit and the Qumran Aramaic Texts
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Devorah Dimant, University of Haifa

Tobit copies found among the Dead Sea Scrolls and the numerous links Tobit displays to the Aramaic texts discovered there suggest that the origin and setting of the book is the land of Israel and that it belongs with the specific Aramaic corpus found at Qumran. Connections with two types of Aramaic texts are apparent: one type concerns biographies of ancient figures (antediluvian and patriarchal), the other type relates to court-tales. The lecture will explore the connections of Tobit with court-tales.


Samson and Dalila: Conceptions and Presentations of the Biblical Seductress in Literatur and Illumination in Medieval Times and Early Modern Time
Program Unit: Bible and Visual Culture
Maria E. Dorninger, Universität Salzburg

Reading the Book of Judges the role of Dalila seems to be clear as an astute seductress. Samson’s fall by a weak woman always provoked debates about its causes. Her role and even her cunnings had been discussed by Church fathers and Rabbis. As there seems to be no discussion about her negative character in the Bible, different hermeneutic methods present a diverse image of her. As to Gottfried of Admont (12th century), abbot in the monastery of Admont, Austria, the sensus allegoricus and moralis allow to apply a different concept of Dalila. Other amazing views of Dalila can be found in profane German Literature, presenting a Dalila that arouses sympathy and understanding as shown in the short-novel-like story in the chronicle of Jans Enikel (or Jans of Wien) in the 13th century. The paper focuses on Latin, High German and Early New High German literature and will explore different conceptions of Dalila by presenting reflections of this discussion in bible or chronicle illuminations of medieval and early modern times.


Gabriel Rising: A Postcolonial & Performance Criticism Analysis of the Gabriel Figure in Daniel
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Jerome Douglas, University of Valley Forge

The figure Gabriel appears in Daniel 8:16 and 9:21. What is the relationship between the appearance and function of this figure and the larger struggle for power evident in Daniel? Given the interaction between the margins (the colonized) and the center (the imperial power), what would be the impact of reading the text and particularly the use of the Gabriel figure from the perspective of the marginalized seeking to maintain their distinct social and spiritual domain under the rule of a colonial power, a reading from “below” rather than “above”? What would be the fruits of giving a robust consideration to the impact of subjugation by an imperial power upon a (now) colonized people, in terms of its displacement, dislocation, and decentralization and the response from the colonized (or powerless)? A postcolonial reading offers the opportunity for such a reading. Additionally, the discussion concerning the use of the Gabriel-figure in these two texts has yet to explore fully this employment through the lens of the oral/ aural nature of this text. With the emphasis on reading texts as resulting from oral-aural events, performance criticism intersects with historical, genre, rhetorical, orality, and ideological criticisms—to name a few. This paper will also seek to consider the Gabriel-figure engagement, in these texts, from the standpoint of oral/ aural performance events and evaluate the rhetorical impact, thereof. Marshalling these two complementing lens, this paper will present a postcolonial -performance criticism analysis of how the use of Gabriel communicates power to/ for its audience.


Therapeutic Demonology: Narrative Therapy and the Psychological Exegesis of Evagrius of Pontus
Program Unit: Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts
Daniel Eastman, Yale University

Among ancient Christian writers, perhaps no figure was as prolific, or as influential, as Evagrius of Pontus on the topic of the inner struggle of the Christian against sinful thoughts. While earlier Christians had already written of the demonic sources of lust, gluttony, greed, and other sinful thoughts, Evagrius both expanded and elaborated this account, describing the dangers of listlessness, anger, and even grief – all of which he linked to demonic forces. Evagrius was deeply concerned with how the Christian, especially the monk, could combat these forces by employing a psychological approach that at once externalized the sources of evil thoughts and used Scripture as a tool to combat them. This paper focuses on Evagrius’ description of grief and its remedies. I read Evagrius’ advice regarding the treatment of grief alongside modern theories of clinical psychology, especially in the area of narrative therapy pioneered by Michael White and David Epston. I argue that Evagrius’ techniques, which help the Christian overcome grief by situating him or her within triumphal biblical narratives, function as a specifically Christian application of narrative therapy, and as such are still valuable today as a way to find healing in biblical texts.


Do Psalms Tell Stories? Chances and Limits of a Narrative Psalm Analysis – Shown Exemplarily in Psalm 64
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Sigrid Eder, Catholic Private University Linz

Storytelling in the psalter usually is attested to those psalms, which relate stories of the history of Israel, e.g. Ps. 78, 105, 106, 135 and 136. Narratology, the theory and procedure of studying narrative representations, is usually applied to narratives. However, are there certain features in the psalms, which allow us to define them as narrative texts and therefore examine them by means of narratology? Following Wolf Schmid’s description of narrativity, which implies the existence of a narrative voice and a chain of events, and Peter Hühn’s definition of narration as a communicative act in which a chain of happenings is meaningfully structured and transmitted in a particular medium and from a particular point of view, we can conclude that the application of narratology to lyric poetry is, in fact, possible with the lyrical subject as the narrative voice and the existence of narrative sequences, so called short stories within the psalms. Furthermore, Robert Alter speaks about a narrative impulse in the psalms, mainly within the synthetic parallelism, which is the most used parallelism in Ps. 64. By applying the narratological categories narrator/narrative voice, plot/build-up of tension, characters and characterization, as well as time and space to Ps. 64, the paper aims to contribute to a transgeneric approach towards poetry by means of opening the way to showing the benefits, as well as limitations of narratology applied to poetical texts.


Galatians and Paul's Witness to? Formative Early Christian Instruction
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Benjamin Edsall, Australian Catholic University

Building on my previous work concerning Paul’s witness to formative early Christian instruction in 1 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians and Romans (in my Paul’s Witness to Formative Early Christian Instruction [WUNT II/365]), in this paper I examine Galatians for the information it yields about Paul’s initial instruction among the Galatian believers. Methodologically, the investigation proceeds by attending to three types of appeal to presumed knowledge among his readers: (1) Explicit reminders about his teaching, (2) direct appeals to knowledge, and (3) implicit appeals to knowledge. This typology provides a firm framework with explicit references that can be then filled out by the other appeals to knowledge, constituting a reconstruction of Paul’s teaching (insofar as the information of Galatians permits it) which can be correlated with my previous work. It includes information on the identity of God and his relation to other gods, the person of Jesus, the activity of the Spirit, angels and a concern for moral transformation (among other things). Moreover, the analysis of Galatians pushes beyond reconstructing Paul’s initial teaching and engages the question of how his teaching related to that of other early Christian missionaries.


This Is Not the End? Reading Mark’s Eschatology without a Narrative of Decline
Program Unit: Gospel of Mark
Benjamin Edsall, Australian Catholic University

The eschatological discourse in Mark 13 is often read – on both scholarly and popular levels – as detailing a narrative of decline from that point until the final cosmic intervention of God signaled by the presence of the “abomination of desolation.” A narrative of decline – which is identifiable by the disciples as such and in which persecutions and upheavals become steadily worse – is undermined however at two points within the discourse: (1) Jesus’ statement that the troubles listed are “not yet the end” (13:7) and (2) that no one knows the “day or the hour” (13:32). Moreover, Mark’s Jesus notes that “this time” is characterized generally by persecution but also that this persecution does not preclude a flourishing of sorts (10:28–30) and that the disciples can expect to have all obstacles removed by faithful prayer (11:24). I argue, therefore, that Mark 13:1–31 should be read as describing eschaton without a narrative of decline. Living in this age is, rather, a period of both suffering and abundance and, according to Mark, it is only with the surprising erection of the abomination of desolation that any eschatological temporal bearing can be gained.


Michael, Gabriel, Melchizedek, and The Son of Man in the Three Traditions
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
J. Harold Ellens, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

A study on Daniel 7 - 10, I Enoch 37-71, the Synoptics in the light of John, 11Q13Mel, and Qur'an 2:97-8 and 66:4. J. J. Collins telescopes into each other Michael and the Son of Man in Daniel. John’s Gospel critiques the Synoptics as wrong about the Son of Man, and the Qur’anic memory has an innovative perspective. The DSS do not name the Son of Man but allude to a Virtual Son of Man. This concept has a long and crucial role in the Judaism, culminating in Messianic ideations in Second Temple Judaism. Thus, as is true of so many other aspects of the Hebrew Bible narrative, it echoes in Qur’an. This paper intends to demonstrate the unity and diversity of the concept, and its role in the three traditions.


Un/doing Injustice: Bible Translators and Their Texts
Program Unit:
Dorothea Erbele-Kuester, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

In-justice in (biblical) texts poses an ethical challenge for readers and translators. However, not translate texts promoting injustice would mean to annihilate them and to silence the injustice. The paper will highlight how recent bible translations have dealt with this issue.


Who Is the True Leader in the Story of 1 Kings 13; 2 Kgs 23, 15-17 (If There Is Any)?
Program Unit: Authority and Influence in Ancient Times
Erik Eynikel, Universität Regensburg

The story in 1 Kings 13 tells us about a man of God who criticises King Jeroboam I but is later punished himself with death for disobeying God’s orders on instigation of a lying prophet. This lying prophet is the only person, beside the man of God, who’s grave is not desecrated much later by the pious king Josiah, as we are told in the report of that king’s cultic reform in 2 Kings 23,15-17. When I study these two chapters with my students they are stupefied: how can such a story be part of the Bible, a story that rewards lying, that goes so far that it even causes death to a very respected man of God? This paper will explore the dynamics in these chapters focusing on who has authority and who has not, and who looses his authority as the story develops, and why that is (necessary) so? Finally, the paper will try to identify who the true leader (if any) there is in the story of 1 Kings 13; 2 Kings 23,15-17.


Since When Were Amalekites a Wilderness People?
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Zev I. Farber, Project TABS - TheTorah.com

A number of places in the Bible (Genesis, Numbers, Judges, Samuel) describe Amalekites as dwellers in Canaan, either on Mount Ephraim or southern Judah (or both). Yet, Exodus 17 and Deuteronomy 25 describe a primordial wilderness battle with Amalek, which ends with them being the enemies of Israel and YHWH forever. What were Amalekites doing in the wilderness? The Exodus version of this story is particularly problematic, since the general who defeats the enemy (Joshua) appears with no introduction, and the division of responsibility between him and Moses is hard to understand. I will suggest in this paper that the Amalek vs. Israel story does not originally belong in a Pentateuchal context, but that once the Amalekite conflict took on "theological" significance, it had to be moved back to ancient times and given to Moses, either by the Deuteronomist or slightly earlier in tradition history. I will further argue that the core of the Exodus version was moved into Exodus from a different location, and that it was redacted based on the version in Deuteronomy.


When Hannah and Samuel Met Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, John, Jesus, Simeon, and Anna, or Sub-Versions of Luke’s Annunciations
Program Unit: Families and Children in the Ancient World
Danna Nolan Fewell, Drew University

Luke’s dependency on 1 Samuel 1-3 for its opening annunciation episodes has long been observed. Noted, too, is the gospel’s general thrust to portray the early Christian movement as divinely initiated and driven and as compatible with the values of the Roman Empire. What is the affect/effect, however, when the story of women and men overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit is patterned upon a story of determined human initiative and revolutionary political vision? How is meaning produced when readers and listeners (ancient and modern) are called upon to hold two stories in their heads simultaneously—a dominant narrative in which characters are caught up in events beyond their control and an underlying “sub-version” in which human agency and defiant insight are paramount? How does such double-scoped narrative function to form, bolster, protect, question, and open up the social identity of the listening community?


Platonic and Stoic Dialectic in Philo
Program Unit: Judaica
Elad Filler, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

In this paper, dealing with Platonic and Stoic dialectic in Philo, I wish to make a proposal that may offer some solution to the problem of the surprising absence of a proper use of the dialectic of the late Platonic dialogues dialectic in Philo's works. Philonic scholars have not, to the best of my knowledge, raised this question. The minimal presence of later Platonic and Stoic dialectic in Philo may point to an ideological approach. It should not be expected that Philo himself would clarify the reasons for his attitude towards this part of the Platonic dialogues, since it is not his method to expose his various sources or explicate his attitude towards them. A possible explanation of Philo's avoidance of the use of logical models of any type – indicating a shying away from dialectic – might be associated with the connection between logic and the activity of the Sophists of his time. In adopting philosophical concepts as ancillary to his exposition of the Torah, Philo is not prepared to accept the merely technical and formal aspects of philosophy, and especially those of dialectic, since logic - Stoic as well as Platonic - as used by the 'sophists' of Philo's age, is likely to lead some of its practitioners to pervert the truth, both philosophical and scriptural. Philo, who is inclined towards adopting ideas popular in the philosophies known at his time as a means to presenting his own view - namely that it is the task of science to serve the law of Moses - could have easily forgone unpopular dialogues which would not cater to his ambition of glorifying the Torah of Israel among his fellow Jews, thereby serving as an alternative to the pseudo-philosophical wares sold by the Sophists.


Bryson's Management of the Estate: An Introduction and Analysis
Program Unit: Early Christianity and the Ancient Economy
John T. Fitzgerald, University of Notre Dame

Bryson was a Neopythagorean philosopher who wrote a work in Greek on household management titled Oikonomikos Logos (Management of the Estate). Stobaeus preserves two extracts of this treatise, which was used by Musonius Rufus and probably also by both Dio Chrysostom and Clement of Alexandria. Although H. Thesleff dated Bryson to the early Hellenistic period (third century BCE), S. Swain has argued convincingly that Bryson was much more likely active in the mid first century CE. The treatise remains almost entirely unknown to both classicists and New Testament scholars because it survives chiefly in an Arabic translation, though there are also a Hebrew version and a Latin epitome. The work, which focuses on the economy and the family, has four main parts: property, slaves, the wife, and children. Attention in the paper will be given to all four parts, but especially to the first part (property and its preservation). (For Project 1: The Ancient Economy)


A Useful Apocalypse: Domesticating and Repurposing Revelation in the Second Century
Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
Steve Friesen, University of Texas at Austin

Revelation’s early reception history is normally described in terms of ideas, and especially in terms of competing ideas about expectations of an earthly or a spiritual millennium. In this paper, I look not at the history of ideas but rather at the history of deployment, asking how Revelation functioned in second century interpretation. Using David Chidester’s concept of “wild religion” I argue that second century references to Revelation manifest a complex dynamic of domestication and repurposing. Writers like Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria domesticated the systemic imperial critique of Revelation and repurposed that wildness to accomplish other goals. Those goals included defining social boundaries with “Christian” competitors; fighting for territory in the borderlands with Judaism; controlling insiders through promises and threats in the afterlife; and transforming John the Seer into a model for bishops and churchmen.


Mesopotamian Lore in Jewish Aramaic Tradition
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Ida Fröhlich, Pázmány Péter Catholic University

Earliest pieces of the Aramaic part of the book of Daniel (chs. 2, 4, and 5) as well as Qumran Enochic writings – Aramaic fragments of the Ethiopic book of Enoch (1 Enoch) and further Aramaic fragments containing traditions related with this book - reflect a familiarity of the authors with Mesopotamian lore, religious beliefs, literary themes, and scientific methods. However, hermeneutics of these texts are different from their Mesopotamian examples, and reflect a deep thought of Mesopotamian culture. The paper aims at presenting selected examples of motifs with a Mesopotamian background (e.g. the figures of the Watchers, revelatory forms and techniques), and scrutinizing the means of cultural transfer, and the role of Aramaic as a vehicle of transmission.


Tobit – A Halakhic Tale
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Ida Fröhlich, Pázmány Péter Catholic University

The Qumran library provided four Aramaic and one Hebrew copies of the book of Tobit (4Q196-199, 4Q200), the Hebrew text being, to all probability, the translation of an Aramaic version. The reason for the translation of this fascinating fabric of tales, wisdom sayings, and reports on demons and magical healing is not known. The book has an overall teaching purpose, and serves as an example for lifestyle in the diaspora. The narrative takes account of the endogamic marriage of Tobias, son of Tobit. Endogamy in Tobit is endorsed by the binding force of the Mosaic Law (Tob 6:13) as a combination of the law of the inheritance of daughters (Num 27:8) and that of the levirate (Deut 25:5-10). The heiress Sarah will marry her next kin Tobias according to an eternal law, for she is „appointed (etiomasmene) for Tobias” from eternity (Tob 6:18; cf. 4Q197 4 ii:2, w?lyk dyn qš?’ gzr lm[sbh], „a right decision has been determined on your behalf”). The Qumran text of the Damascus Document encompasses several halakhic cases concerning marriage and sexuality. The decisions were written probably for members living in families (cf. Josephus, War § 119-16). Qumran halakhic texts debar a father from marrying his daugther to a man „who is unfit to her / who is not ordained for her” (l’ hwkn) (4Q269 frg. 9:2; 4Q270 5:16; 4Q271 3:9). The book of Tobit substantiates the halakhic justification of the marriage of persons who are „fitting” to each other. It is this halakhic content that might have served as an explanation for the production of the Hebrew translation.


Death in the Qur’an: A Physical or Spiritual Reality
Program Unit: Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective
Abdulla Galadari, Masdar Institute / Al Maktoum College of Higher Education

In this paper, I will look into the meaning of “nafs” (self) linguistically comparing its usage between the Bible and the Qur’an. I will also look at the meaning of death and life in Sufi exegesis of the Qur’an. I argue that a Sufi interpretation does not necessarily reflect a symbolic or metaphoric understanding of death and life, but can also be understood literally, if the “nafs” is understood as a soul and not necessarily as a joined single entity of soul and body. When discussing death, the Qur’an specifically states that every “nafs” (soul) tastes death. Nonetheless, the term “nafs” is sometimes understood physically. This is not unique to the Qur’an, as the same term “nephesh” is also used in the Hebrew Bible. James Barr, in The Semantics of Biblical Language, compares the difference of the Greek usage of diverse words for person, body, and soul, while Hebrew uses a single word to describe them all as “nephesh.” Barr suggests that the Hebrews did not always consider “nephesh” as a soul separate from the body, but as both together acting as a joined living being. The Qur’an sometimes refers to a metaphoric understanding of spiritual death (e.g. Q. 16:21, 35:22). In Q. 35:22, the Qur’an refers to those who do not accept its message as dead in their graves. The interpretation of Q. 16:21 is disputed as whether the Qur’an is describing idols as dead and would be resurrected, or the unbelievers are “spiritually” dead and would be resurrected. The Qur’an refers to martyrs as living (Q. 2:154, 3:169), though obviously cannot be bodily alive. Hence, one must infer that the “life” the Qur’an is describing is spiritual in nature, and perhaps also death is, therefore, understood spiritually.


Origen on the Shepherd of Hermas
Program Unit: Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature
Edmon Gallagher, Heritage Christian University

The popularity of the Shepherd of Hermas within early Christianity is attested by the many early manuscripts preserving its text, by the translations produced in a variety of languages, and by the patristic citations of the work. Scholars of the canon often classify the Shepherd as one of the documents that nearly entered the biblical canon. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian (early), Origen, and Didymus the Blind, among others, all revered the Shepherd, in some cases quite profoundly. Origen, for instance, early in his career cited the Shepherd as having the “authority of the Scriptures” (Princ. 2.1.5; citing Mandates 1:1, along with 2 Macc 7:28 and Psa 148:5), and near the end of his life he still asserted his own belief in the divine inspiration of the Shepherd (Comm. Rom. 10.31). It remains unclear whether such sentiments imply that Origen would have included the Shepherd within a bounded collection of apostolic writings, that is, a canon of Christian Scripture. In fact, though Origen died a century before the proliferation of canon lists, he himself did provide something very much like a canon list of New Testament books at Homilies on Joshua 7.1. Scholars have long doubted the authenticity of this passage because it survives only in Latin, but recently its genuineness has received strong support. The omission of the Shepherd from the list at Hom. Josh. 7.1, along with other indications in Origen’s corpus, suggest that Origen regarded the Shepherd as Scripture of a secondary rank. Such a category becomes codified in the fourth century with Athanasius (the books “to be read”), Rufinus (the “ecclesiastical” books), and other authors. This paper will argue that Origen was already working with such a distinction, though not as firmly worked out as it would be a century later.


Jerome on the Septuagint
Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
Edmon Gallagher, Heritage Christian University

Jerome cultivated a complex relationship with the Septuagint. He strove to move the Church away from the LXX, attacking the traditional arguments establishing the authority of the Greek text, such as its use by the apostles. Jerome insisted that the apostles rather used the Hebrew text. However, Jerome continued to make use of the LXX until the end of his life, citing it even in his very last biblical commentaries and sometimes siding with its text against the Hebrew. Though he insisted that his translation iuxta Hebraeos revealed the Christian sense of the Old Testament better than did the LXX, because, unlike the Seventy, he lived after Christ and thus saw the fulfillment of the prophecies, nevertheless he often based his spiritual interpretation of the Hebrew prophets on the Greek translation. He also frequently equivocated on his contention that the apostles did not use the LXX. Scholars have often been concerned with understanding Jerome’s magnification of the Hebraica veritas and the uniqueness of this position within the fourth-century church. The present paper turns the tables, seeking to understand how the LXX features in Jerome’s developing thoughts about the best text of the Old Testament. We will find that Jerome argued forcefully for the primacy of the Hebrew text for Christians, but he allowed the LXX an important role in God’s economy of salvation and sometimes found in it a preferable text.


Secrecy and Horizons of Knowledge in Ben Sira and Apocalyptic Literature
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Matthew Goff, Florida State University

The vibrant debate that has taken place in the wake of von Rad’s claim that apocalypticism originated out of the wisdom tradition, while successfully encouraging people to discern affinities between these bodies of literature, can reductively constrict scholarly assessment of wisdom and apocalypticism solely in terms of these two genres themselves—one influencing the other, or one polemically responding to the other. The parallels between these two corpora often require looking at wider ranges of evidence. In this paper I examine this issue by looking at the well-known passage in Ben Sira in which he dismisses the study of esoteric knowledge (3:21-24). While scholarship used to interpret the chapter as polemic against Greek learning, opinion has in more recent years shifted to the view that Ben Sira 3 is written against Enochic tradition. Drawing on the recent work of Moshe Habertal, I examine the pervasive theme of esoteric knowledge in Second Temple literature and how endowing knowledge with claims that it is secret or from a heavenly source can transform it into an intellectual commodity that can be exploited by various social actors. Ben Sira himself claims to provide esoteric knowledge to his own students. Chapter 3 of Ben Sira, while critical of making claims to secret knowledge of the sort one finds in apocalypses, does not inveigh against such knowledge because it is apocalyptic, or Enochic—it is more likely that he delegitimizes revealed knowledge that he does not possess or control.


Giants in Ancient Jewish Literature
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Matthew Goff, Florida State University

This paper provides a synthetic overview of the main conclusions of my current research project on giants in ancient Jewish literature. I am preparing to write the final chapter of a book on this topic. Writing this paper will help me do that. The paper will examine the problem of defining a giant and it will identify major motifs of the giants tradition, such as antediluvian violence, exegesis of Genesis 6, and the destruction of the giants in the flood. The essay will also explore the diversity of accounts regarding the giants. Some texts, for example, assert that at least some giants survived the flood (e.g., Pseudo-Eupolemus). The Qumran Book of Giants, a text that remains relatively unexplored, offers an account of the giants that develops that of the Book of the Watchers while being nevertheless quite different from it. The Book of Giants, for example, focuses much more on the giants’ receiving visions than their violent activities in comparison to Watchers. The paper will also speculate on reasons for the popularity of stories involving the giants in the late Second Temple period. This is a complex issue that involves topics such as an increased interest in primordial history during the Hellenistic age, the ability of the giants to serve as a historical example of God’s punishment of the wicked, and the cross-cultural ability of ‘monsters’ to help establish cultural norms by providing shocking portraits of creatures who transgress these boundaries. I have not submitted this proposal to any other group.


Ecclesiastes 1:4-8 and Qoheleth’s Contradictions
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature in the Bible and in the Ancient Near East
T. S. Goh, Singapore Bible College

Biblical scholars have offered various opinions regarding the contradictions in Ecclesiastes. This paper will draw attention to two important scholarly arguments which have yet to be developed and integrated. Firstly, some scholars point out that the circular polarity hightlighted in Ecc 1:4-8 represents Qoheleth’s worldview, and the worldview in turn influences the style of his discourse. Nevertheless they have not examined if the same worldview has also resulted in the contradictions in Qoheleth’s discourse. Secondly, J. A. Loader speaks of Qoheleth’s contradictions in terms of poles and counter poles. Some scholars have pointed out the weaknesses of Loader’s theory, but have not explored the potential it deserves. Building on these two arguments, this paper argues if Qoheleth’s worldview as expressed in Ecc 1:4-8 influences his style of discourse, it may also explain why Qoheleth often speaks in terms of opposite poles. The circular movement between opposite poles in 1:4-8 offers a framework in which humans’ experience can be understood. Like the movement in nature, humans’ experience with wisdom, wealth, pleasure and even religion moves from one pole to another (between pole and counter pole). Depending on the circumstances, at times they are of advantage (producing yitrôn), at other times they are not (producing no yitrôn), resulting inconsistencies and contradictions.


Some Thoughts on Compilation Lists and Anthologies as Bible Exegesis in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Shira Golani, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and KU Leuven

This paper takes a new look at 4Q339, the “List of False Prophets”, as an example of a compilation list: a list created by gathering information from various places in scripture on a specific subject. The “List of False Prophets” will serve as a starting point for re-examining the issue of compilation by lists and the function of compilation as a form of Biblical exegesis. Building upon studies of lists and anthologies of Biblical scripture in the Dead Sea Scrolls (e.g. Shaye J.D. Cohen [2000; 2001], Armin Lange [2010] and Shani Tzoref [2012]), this paper will compare and contrast examples from the Dead Sea Scrolls, along with other selected texts contemporary to them. Thus 4Q339 will be investigated and placed within its immediate context and the larger literary world of Jewish writing of the Hellenistic era.


Angels in the Apocalypses of 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Lydia Gore-Jones, Macquarie University

Whereas in earlier periods angels played the roles of heavenly hosts and God’s messengers, from the Second Temple period they developed a new role, that of an angelus interpres. The precursor of this role can perhaps be traced to the visions of Ezekiel, but particularly to the visions of Zechariah. However, it was in the apocalyptic literature of the Second Temple period that these angeli interpretes began to take on their individual personality by adopting names and specific offices. Earliest evidence is found in the Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1-36) dated to the mid- or late third century BCE. The Book of Daniel of the second century BCE , which is considered the only apocalyptic book in the Hebrew Bible, is also the only biblical book that names the two archangels, Michael and Gabriel. The two Jewish apocalypses, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, also feature an angelus interpres, Uriel and Remiel, respectively. Both apocalypses are regarded as pseudepigrapha written towards the end of the first century in response to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. Although it is impossible to establish direct textual relationship between the two, they have been seen as sister works, sharing many common themes and features. Why, then, did the authors choose a different angel for the revelations received by their respective protagonists? Do the angels, despite their different names, play identical roles in the two apocalypses? How are the roles of Uriel and Remiel similar to or different from Gabriel, the angelus interpres in Daniel, on the one hand, and the unnamed angeli interpretes in the Apocalypse of John, on the other?


“The Lord Heard Our Voice and Saw Our Affliction, Turmoil, and Our Oppression” (Deut 26:5): The Optimism of Hope in the Deuteronomic Creed and Its Relevance for the Refugees in Today’s Context
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Varaprasad Gosala, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College

The major challenge that the world encounters today is the increasing amount of refugees. As per the recent report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, released in 2014 there are almost 60 million refugees around the globe. That is to say one in every 122 people has become a refugee in one way or the other (www.theatlantic.com). Nations across the globe have witnessed a sudden increase in the number of refugees – some are welcomed while some are despised, some are forced to move out while some move away with the hope of better opportunities, safety and security. The increase in the number of refugees in recent times has been an area of huge debate that requires serious consideration and deliberation. A search for biblical context and perspective on the issue of refugees points out to the prominence it secured in the entirety of the Old and New Testaments as the journey of refugees appears to be a never ending phenomena. The Deuteronomic creed is one such example in which the Israelites affirmed their identity as aliens, elaborately illustrating the harsh, demanding and depriving experiences that were an integral part of refugees. A. P. Nirmal while explaining the Deuteronomic Creed from dalit perspectives elucidates a parallel to the Dalits where a people who were “no people” were called out and made “God’s people.” This essay deals with a comparative study that attempts to point out to the similarities that are innate in the biblical context and the contemporary refugee crisis surging across the nations. A contextual interpretation will be brought in which the Dalit interpretative method has added great significance and relevance to the study. This is a reader response method in which the meaning emerges in the process of a dialogue between the text and the reader. TRUNCATED


Models of Oral Tradition and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Thomas E. Goud, University of New Brunswick, Saint John

Recent approaches to orality, memory, and literacy have significant implications for the dating of the synoptic gospels. Of particular importance is whether written gospels follow or coexist with oral tradition, how those modes interact, and the time needed for the various models to develop. This paper examines the consequences of the models of oral tradition used by Richard Bauckham (Jesus and the Eyewitnesses [2006]), James D.G. Dunn (Christianity in the Making 1-3 [2003, 2009, 2015]), Francis Watson (Gospel Writing [2013]), and Bart Ehrman (Jesus Before the Gospels [2016]) for the dating of the synoptic gospels as we have them.


Burial Rites in the Qur’an and Its Influence on Contemporary Egyptian
Program Unit: Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective
Youssry Guirguis, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies

Funerary rituals were incredibly significant to various well-defined cultures and religions. They are very important to Pre-Islamic Arabians, to Christians, as well as to the Muslims. Related to this, Egyptian Christian/Muslim (ECM) burial rituals are notably unique. The questions need to be asked: What are the beliefs regarding death and burial can be traced from these societies, (Pre-Islamic Arabia, the Qur?anic time, and ECM)? To what extent has the burial ceremony of the Pre-Islamic period impacted that of the Qur?anic eon? Also, to what level has the Qur?an especially the Life of Muhammad or to the period instantaneously after his death have had a great significant on the ECM burial rituals? Do contemporary Egyptian burial rites trace its roots to ancient Egyptian and Pre-Islamic burial customs or to Qur’anic and Hadithic sources?


The Three Stages of Grief: Paul's Performance as a Moral Philosopher in 2 Corinthians
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Jaimie Gunderson, University of Texas at Austin

This paper examines Paul’s rhetorical deployment of one of the most dominant affective images in 2 Corinthians – grief. Taking the five letter hypothesis as a starting point for my analysis of 2 Corinthians, I assess the varying ways in which Paul uses grief in 2:14-7:4, 10-13:10, and 1:1-2:13; 7:5-16; 13:11-13. Given the changing circumstances of his relationship with the Corinthians, the way in which Paul speaks about grief, grieves the Corinthians, and is aggrieved (or not) is markedly different in each of the three letter fragments. I argue that Paul, participating in the discourses of moral philosophy, utilizes three models of grief in his communication with the Corinthians. In 2:14-7:4 Paul proffers the Stoic model of absence of the passions, in which he holds himself up as the exemplar of self-mastery. In 10-13:10, Paul’s tone shifts dramatically and grief is used as a rhetorical barb, as a form of rebuke. In 1:1-2:13; 7:5-16; 13:11-13, Paul assumes a consoling tone and aligns himself with the Platonic-Aristotelian moderation of the passions. Given Paul’s inconsistency with discourses of grief, his goal is not to offer a systematic medical philosophy. He is not a medical philosopher. Rather, situated on the leading edge of the so-called Second Sophistic, he is a rhetor performing as one. Paul’s interest in grief is purely rhetorical – to align the Corinthians with his gospel. But in true sophistic fashion, Paul’s rhetoric extends beyond simple persuasion to include a performance of his own self-presentation. Thus, in service of his own self-fashioning, Paul manipulates his rhetorical deployment of grief to subtly shift the way the Corinthians apprehend their relationship with him.


Gabriel in the Qur’an and Muslim Tradition
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Zohar Hadromi-Allouche, University of Aberdeen

Angel Gabriel (Jibril) is a highly significant figure in Islam. He is mentioned three times in the Qur’an, and is identified in the tradition as the agent through whom the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad. Gabriel is also mentioned as taking an active role in other events in the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the emerging Muslim community, such as the opening of Muhammad’s breast, the first revelation, the night journey and ascent to heaven, and the battle of Badr. He is also mentioned as interacting with other prophetic figures, such as Eve and Adam; and also as defeating Satan on a number of occasions. It is thus interesting to note the form of interaction that Gabriel has with prophetic figures, according to the Muslim tradition, is some times rather similar to his interactions with Satan. He is often described as being quite violent (e.g., kicking Muhammad or shaking him to point of suffocation). Thus, while being God’s emissary to humans, and prophets in particular, Gabriel is also portrayed as a figure to be afraid of — not just by God’s enemy, but also by God’s chosen ones. This paper will examine Gabriel’s interactions with humans and spiritual beings, and will ponder upon the reasoning of his portrayal in such a complex manner.


"The Sons of Zadok" in the Qumran Texts: A Re-Appraisal
Program Unit:
David Hamidovic, Université de Lausanne

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Commemoration and Audience Formation in the Yhwh malak Psalms
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Mark W. Hamilton, Abilene Christian University

Psalms 93-100 (as well as Ps 47) represent a web of ritual texts announcing Yhwh’s universal kingship. These psalms expatiate on two themes that seem contradictory, the commemoration of key events of Israel’s past (in both “mythic” and “real” time) as touchstones for future events, and the expectation of universal human praise of Yhwh’s wondrous deeds. That is, both the particulars of Israel’s culture of memory and the attitudes of those outside that culture concern the psalmists as they construct a liturgical world in which Yhwh’s kingship is enacted. This essay moves from a philological analysis of the psalms to interaction with Paul Ricoeur’s discussion of memory and forgetting as habits. Divine kingship is a performative act on the part of both Yhwh and Yhwh’s human and nonhuman subjects. The simultaneous cultivation of memory and imagination (fueled by “forgetting” counter-narratives of the nations’ hostility) in these liturgical texts contributes to their meaning in a liturgical setting and in the literary one of the Psalter itself.


Jacob’s Experience of God at Bethel
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Dong-Gu Han, Pyeongtaek University

There are two major characteristics in Korean Church and Korean Theology. First, the Korean, traditionally, have read their scriptures for the sake of practice. Second, the Korean, traditionally, have had pious mind born out of their deep experiences of divinity or transcendent beings. As ever they have sought encounter with God by means of prayer; and it has made variety of traditions of “experience of God”. To apply the Korean religions traditions to the interpretation of the Bible, I would like to suggest “Eastern Ways and Western Frames”. We may find the answers to the questions raised with the problems in the Korean traditional culture and spirit, and also in the current Korean society and church, when we have recourse to the Western Hermeneutics of the Bible. In a word, it is an encounter between the Korean (Asian) questions and the biblical answers. Particularly, in this paper, I study the experiences of God in the Old Testament such as Jacob’s at Bethel (Gen 28:10-19). Jacob is less capable man compared to his brother Esau. However, as he went through the experiences of God in his life, he was becoming more religious, and could have found in his eyes the others (=neighbors) becoming more matured in his personality. Though he was insecure and distorted in person, he had a burning heart to cry out to God for help. Since the depth of his life, God came to help him. Jacob’s experience of God changed him as a totally different person. The divine experience makes a man humble and completely changed. The experience of the sacredness makes one go against the world and resist against injustice. Against the fear of living alone without God, God came to Jacob first and overturn his mind.


"That'll Preach": Rhetorical Features in Lukan Parables for Their Oral Performance
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
John Harrison, Oklahoma Christian University

To tell a story well, storytellers in the ancient Mediterranean employed rhetorical features to enhance its oral performance and its impact upon the intended audience. Those who wrote stories often structured the written form of the narrative so that it could be delivered orally more effectively. As Joanna Dewey has put it, ancient rhetors “wrote for the ears”. If it is accurate to say that many stories were composed during this period for an oral performance, did the author of Luke’s Gospel adopt this strategy when he wrote parables? It is frequently recognized that speeches attributed to Peter, Stephen, and Paul in Luke-Acts are presented as rhetorically sophisticated. But are Jesus’s parables in Luke’s Gospel employing common rhetorical devices which Luke intended to assist in their effective oral delivery within the church? In other words, do Lukan parables show that the author was attuned to the potential for Jesus’ stories to be heard, remembered, and repeated as an effective oral experience? Several recent works on Jesus’s parables have challenged readers to hear Jesus’s parables as a first century audience would have, but few commentaries address whether these parables contain rhetorical patterning or features that would have directed their subsequent oral performance. This paper will argue that parables in Luke do have commonly expected rhetorical patterns and show the effect Christian rhetors would have had while performing those parables for ancient ears.


The Reception of Biblical "Child" Imagery in Clement of Alexandria
Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
Paul A. Hartog, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary

Throughout Clement of Alexandria’s discussion of pa?de?a (as found in the first book of his Paidagogos), tensions surface in his use of “children” (pa?de?) and “fear” (f?ß??). This study will examine Clement’s creative interpretation of the biblical imagery of “children” and “fear”, describe the inherent tensions surrounding the two concepts, and investigate why Clement chose never to outgrow the “child” metaphor. Clement emerges as an early Christian indebted to (and devoted to) the biblical imagery of Christians as “children”, yet pressured by a complex socio-cultural environment that commonly misconstrued and even resisted the “child-like” representation. If Clement’s discussions of “children” (pa?de?) and “fear” (f?ß??) seem somewhat disjointed, one must remember that he felt pressure from several quarters. His tactics were formed and transformed within a gauntlet of varying and competing forces, including Gnostic and Marcionite opposition, Greek philosophical influence, and perhaps even the criticisms of Celsus. Therefore, Clement was caught between the Christian tradition and the Greek intellectual heritage, while concurrently opposing rival religio-philosophical teachers. Moreover, the tensions arose partly because of socio-missional concerns. While scholars have focused upon the religio-philosophical rivals (in an attempt to identify specific opponents), they have tended to overlook the socio-cultural pressures arising from missional demands—more specifically, the impact of social attitudes toward children in the wider culture.


The Words and Oracles of God in 1 Clement: A Functional Approach
Program Unit: Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature
Paul A. Hartog, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary

1 Clement repeatedly associates the Spirit with the “scriptures,” which are true and holy, since they are given through the Holy Spirit (13.4; 45.2; 56.3). Nevertheless, in 1 Clement, the Spirit’s confluence with sacred texts is more variegated than simply the divine origination of the Hebrew Scriptures. First, the Spirit’s association extends beyond the point of writing, since he continues to speak and work through “that which is written” (13.1; 22.1; 42.3). Second, the Spirit’s ministry is also associated with texts beyond the Hebrew Scriptures, as similar language and formulae are used of 1 Corinthians, unknown texts, and 1 Clement itself (47.1-3; 59.1; 63.2; cf. 42.4-5). Third, the Spirit’s ministry is associated with nascent trinitarian language that contextually leads into an elevation of "the words of our Lord Jesus" (46.6-8; 58.2; cf. 22.1). The proper responses to the words of God include diligent study, remembrance, and obedience (13.1; 19.1; 45.2; 46.7; 53.1; 62.3). These relevant data provide a new framework for gleaning exegetical and theological insights from 1 Clement 13.1-14.1, which merges together “this commandment” from the Hebrew Scriptures with “these precepts” remembered from the Lord Jesus, describing them all as “holy words” to be followed in “obedience to God.” This functional equivalence is important for investigations of early Christian theology, particularly for understanding the trajectories of authoritative texts.


Who Killed the Sons of Zedekiah (Jer 52:9-11; 2 Kgs 25:6-7)?
Program Unit: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible
Shuichi Hasegawa, Rikkyo University

Jeremiah 52:9-11 depicts a scene in which the king of Babylon himself held the execution of the sons of Zedekiah, the king of Judah who rebelled against Babylonia in the last days of Jerusalem. 2 Kgs 25:6-7 (MT) describes the same event, but there the executioner is not the king but anonymous “they”. It has been proposed that the executioner in 2 Kgs 26:6-7 should be identified as the Babylonian king as attested in the LXX, and accordingly the MT has been often emended. This paper, by comparing the two texts with other biblical texts and some Assyrian royal inscriptions and iconography, will take up this issue again to identify the executioner(s) of Zedekiah's sons both in literature and in reality. The Assyrian palace relief of Ashurbanipal depicting the scenes of the battle against Elamites demonstrates salient differences concerning the king’s actions from what the text relates, which will throw light both on the identification and on an aspect of the ancient Near Eastern royal ideology.


Take Pleasure in Your Toil: Reading Eccl 3:9-13 after Genesis 3 and in the Face of West Papua
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Jione Havea, Charles Sturt University

What does the celebration of “toil/labor” entail for people under occupation? and for people facing climate injustice? This presentation offers a reading of Eccl. 3:9-13 in response to Genesis 3 and in the interest of West Papua, located at the meeting point of the Asia-Pasifika.


Paul's Cursus Pudorum: Shameful Death and Honorable Resurrection
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Kei Hiramatsu, Asbury Theological Seminary

In his work, Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi: Carmen Christi as Cursus Pudorum, Joseph H. Hellerman argues that the Roman ideology of honor and shame sheds light on the better understanding of the Christ hymn; the author of the letter presents the Christ hymn (2:6-11) in such a way that Christ proceeded on cursus pudorum (shame race) in contrast with Philippi’s cultural preoccupation with honor, cursus honorum (honor race). The purpose of this paper is to complement the work of Hellerman and consider the Roman ideology of honor and shame in light of the literary context of Paul’s exhortation in 1:27–3:21. Particularly, I am interested in the relationship between Paul’s presentation of death and resurrection and the cultural perception of honor and shame in Roman world. Paul often employs contradictory ideas as a framework to develop his argument (e.g., weakness and strength in 2 Cor 12:9). In Phil 1:27–3:21 Paul presents another antithetical truth of death and resurrection, and he seems to interrelate death and resurrection with shame and honor in his exhortation. Particularly, it is important to look at how Philippians embody shame in their culture because honor is closely connected with shame. Therefore, in this work I will propose that Paul presents himself as an example who joins in Christ’s cursus pudorum by interrelating his portrayal of death and resurrection with shame and honor so that he could invite Philippian believers to join in following his example (3:17).


Identity Changes of the hekatontarchas through the Voyage: the Message of Great Commission in Acts 27 to the First Readers
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Sin-pan Daniel Ho, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong

Among various stories narrated in the book of Acts, hekatontarchas appears most in the story of the voyage in Acts 27 (vv.1, 6, 11, 31, 43). It characterizes the identity of Julius the Augustan Cohort. In this paper, I will argue that Luke intends to delineate the changes of the identity of hekatontarchas throughout the voyage. The changes of the space and time in each incident whenever hekatontarchas is mentioned will be thoroughly studied, with the comparison of the changes of the identity hekatontarchas in relation to Paul and the whole people group in the crew. As a result, it is shown that space, place and character change simultaneously so that the social identity of the hekatontarchas moves from outsiders of “we” towards this group in the narrative. In addition to the consideration of the social network and values of the first readers of the book of Acts, it is argued that Luke intends to teach the readers, who are properly social superiors, how to witness Christ to the Roman officials. This is not a story telling the end of the world has been reached by the gospel. On the contrary, it is a demonstration which teaches the first readers to take up the baton of being Christ’s witness and continue this mission. While the ending of the Gospel of Luke is Jesus’ commission to the disciples, the voyage is Luke’s commission of preaching the gospel to the first readers.


In search of the Old Greek in the Septuagint Psalter: A Case Study of Psalm 50(49)
Program Unit: Septuagint Studies
Jonathan Hong, Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel

The Septuagint Psalter is transmitted in more than 1000 manuscripts, and thus the most preserved book of the Old Testament. About 100 of these manuscripts date back to the 5th century and earlier and the Psalms are the most frequently cited book by New Testament authors. However for the reconstruction of the textual history a new reconstruction of the Old Greek text is necessary. The last extensive eclectic edition (Rahlfs, Psalmi cum Odis, 1931) is 85 years old. Since then not only have methodological questions concerning Rahlf’s edition arisen, but there are important manuscripts have also been discovered and published. In this paper, using Psalm 50 (49) as a test case, I explore the characteristics of the Old Greek text and the early textual history. In addition to the edition of Rahlfs (1931), the paper examines all subsequently published Greek and Hebrew manuscripts which date in the 5th century or earlier, among which I will especially focus on the extensive and important Papyrus Bodmer XXIV (Ra 2110) as well as the currently oldest Greek Psalter manuscript, Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 5101 (Ra 2227).


The Prophet of the Empire: Re-reading Jeremiah’s call for Submission to Babylon against Korean Colonial Experience
Program Unit: Bible and Empire
Koog-Pyoung Hong, Yonsei University

Jeremiah is a troubling figure for Koreans. His call for submission to Babylon, regardless of its theological orientation, reminds a strikingly familiar rhetoric in the time of Japanese colonial era. Several Christian leaders found their ways to take the side of the empire. Frequently featuring in pro-Japanese propaganda, they seduced people in the name of God, and one of the dominant rhetoric was that to submit to Japan is the will of God. Against this backdrop, a distressing question is inevitable: was Jeremiah among traitors? The pro-Japanese collaborators, or traitors, posed a major internal obstacle to Korean resistance against Japanese colonialism, and the failure to purge them in the post-colonial era left serious grudge in Korean people. Many of the pro-Japanese collaborators are believed to return to power or retain their status and possession. The trauma continues even today, as Koreans take extremely emotional stance to the suspected pro-Japanese collaborators and their descendants. To be accused as such borders a societal death sentence. Biblical scholars have frequently noted Jeremiah’s “pro-Babylonian” attitudes. However, they failed to reckon with the serious implications such notion may entail. What does it really mean for God’s prophet to be bear such a stigma? How did Jeremiah overcome it? This paper attempts to clarify the complex nature of Jeremiah’s mission by rereading it in the context of Korean colonial experience. It will also discuss broader issues of how to read a religious text when it conflicts with national interests.


Politics of Commemorating and Forgetting: On Competing Strategies to Domesticate Bethel
Program Unit:
Koog-Pyoung Hong, Yonsei University

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Please Stop Misusing the Term Intertextuality: Reading the Title “King of the Jews” with Kristeva
Program Unit: Allusions in the Gospels and Acts
Sung Soo Hong, University of Texas at Austin

The widespread misuse of the term intertextuality in “the banal sense of ‘study of sources’” has led Julia Kristeva to disfavor the very term she had coined. Given the overwhelming misuse of it in biblical studies despite the repeated cautions and criticisms since the 1990s (Semeia 69/70; Philips; Snyman; Hatina), another plea to stop the misuse is required. This study’s criticisms highlight, first, the violent grafting of the postmodern concept of intertextuality onto the modern conception of exegesis (cf. Moore and Sherwood); second, the mistreatment of intertextuality as a prescriptive concept rather than descriptive; and third, the limited conception of text as written material. This paper further critiques the attempts to appropriate the concept of intertextuality by modernizing it (Moyise; Alkier; Gheorghita). The present study then explores the benefits of employing Kristeva’s concept of intertextuality: it expands the scope of intertextual inquiry; it facilitates a more nuanced and holistic approach to a term within a work and between works; by extension, it enables to map out a term’s non-linear history in relation to other terms, overcoming the binary conception of texts as either connected or disconnected to one another. As a test case, the title “the King of the Jews” in the Gospel of Mark and its transpositions in other Gospels and modern scholarly commentaries are examined. Although there is no exact “intertext” of that title in the pre-Markan Jewish writings, Kristeva’s concept of intertextuality bids us consider history and society as part of the title’s intertextuality. It is precisely its socio-political context that constitutes the unique semantic space of the title in Mark. The transpositions of the title in other Gospels are clearly observable. For example, the Fourth Gospel’s infamous condemnation of “the Jews” can affect the semantic space of the title in this Gospel.


The Syriac Martyrdom of the Mimes and the Power of Biblical Recitation
Program Unit: Bible and Syriac Studies in Context
Cornelia Horn, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Syriac literature preserves exceptionally important evidence for a genre of martyrdom texts that is to be classified as martyrdom accounts of actors. For this subgenre, the present paper presents and analyzes the evidence for the performative use of Scripture in contexts of public recitation. This material is of relevance, among other aspects, for aesthetics and liturgical studies, as it offers the opportunity to observe the performance and impact of sacred Scriptures at the intersections of the aural and visual realms. Moreover, especially for studies that focus on the analysis of interreligious contexts, such as, for example, Islamic and Christian settings, in which the sacred Scriptures are made present through specific forms of recitation during publically accessible liturgies, this material provides important comparative data.


Refining the Contours of the Apostle Peter: Apocryphal Perspectives from Unedited and Less Well-Known West Asian Sources
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Cornelia Horn, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

In order to discern the development of the reception history of ideas about the apostle Peter in the Eastern Mediterranean world, this paper examines several Syriac, Arabic, Georgian, and Armenian apocryphal texts as well as apocryphal traditions embedded in manuscripts that support canonical and more traditional ecclesial interests. While some of the material has been edited, but is accessible only with difficulty, other parts of the dossier that is being assembled for this study consist of heretofore unedited texts in ancient manuscripts. In these witnesses, the head of Jesus’ apostles emerges as having been endowed with ascetic and priestly authority, the power to lead, as well as superior spiritual power in the service of society and family life.


Puzzling the Jesus of the Parables: A Response to Ruben Zimmermann
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Llewellyn Howes, University of Johannesburg

Ruben Zimmermann’s new book, "Puzzling the Parables of Jesus: Methods and Interpretation" (2015), summarises much of his earlier research on the parables of Jesus. This is one of the most thought-provoking and original books on the parables of Jesus to appear in the last few decades. It not only challenges archaic ideas and methods, but also proposes an integrative process of parable interpretation that combines historical, literary and reader-oriented approaches. There is, however, one aspect of his proposal that I find troubling. Zimmermann argues that the respective literary contexts of the individual parables should be given precedence over considerations of the pre-Easter situation in which they were first received when determining their range of possible meanings. In my view, it is both unnecessary and unwise to force a choice between these two options. Investigating the parables within their literary Gospel contexts is just as legitimate as investigating them in the socio-economic and politico-religious context of the historical Jesus and his audiences. (The latter should not be confused with investigating elements in the parable that require socio-historical and politico-religious understanding, which Zimmermann does do.) Although there is some degree of continuity between the parables’ range of meanings in the Gospels and their range of meanings for the historical Jesus, there is certainly also some degree of discontinuity between the two. As part of the third session of the “Synoptic Gospels” program unit, this paper not only challenges Zimmermann’s tendency to discount the pre-Easter context when interpreting the parables, but also proposes an avenue of parable interpretation that takes both literary Gospel contexts and historical Jesus contexts into consideration; drawing to some extent on the recent work of Stephen I. Wright, "Jesus the Storyteller" (2014).


God's Love for Women in the Maternity Law (Lev 12:1-8)
Program Unit: Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS)
Yang Hwaja, Pastor of All People Church

Since a long time theologians have interpreted the maternity law from a viewpoint of discriminatory against women. The purpose of my paper is to change this point of view. Lev. 12:1-8 is the maternity law about woman's bleeding after childbirth. I will interpret this law from a feminist perspective. In the maternity law, we can find the love of God to protect a woman in childbirth. Lev. 12:2-5: 2 "A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. In Lev. 12:1-8, despite using the term "unclean", the "maternity law" has consideration for a woman in childbirth to recover her condition from childbirth so that she can return to everyday life with a healthy body. The fact that a woman giving birth to a daughter is designated as unclean for a longer time 80 days than 40 days after giving birth to a son does not come from a discriminatory viewpoint, but from God"s love to give her longer time to recover her health. Because a woman giving birth to a daughter in a patriarchal society has more stress than giving birth to a son and needs more time to recover her health as v.5 says.


Jesus’ Galilean Mission Seen in the Light of the Book of Isaiah
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Jin Ki Hwang, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena)

The Book of Isaiah is one of the most frequently cited Old Testament books in Matthew and Luke. For instance, Matthew views Jesus’ Galilean mission in general as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy concerning “a great light” shone to the people dwelling in darkness (Matt 4:12-17 [Isa 8:23-9:1]). And he presents Jesus’ healing ministry as what Isaiah's Servant of the Lord would do (Matt 8:16-17 [Isa 53:17]; cf. Matt 11:5 [Isa 42:18, etc]; Luke 4:16-21 [Isa 61:1-2]). Matthew also makes an appeal to Isaiah 42 when he explains why Jesus healed the sick people and yet asked them not to make him known (Matt 12:18-21 [Isa 42:1-4]). Luke similarly makes an appeal to Isaiah 42 in defining Jesus’ identity but, unlike Matthew, goes further to identify him with “a light to the nations” (Luke 2:32 [Isa 42:6]; cf. Acts 26:23). This paper will attempt to explicate how similarly or differently Matthew and Luke use Isaiah to define Jesus’ identity and to characterize his mission in Galilee.


The Spirit and Christian Formation in Philippians
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Jin Ki Hwang, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena)

Philippians is one of the important Pauline letters that reveal Paul’s understanding of and practices for Christian formation. In this letter Paul presents God as the one who initiates and continues to work for the Christian formation process of Christ-believers in Philippi (1:6; 2:13) and Jesus Christ as the paradigm of their Christian formation (2:6-11; cf. also 3:10, 20-21). Paul mentions the Spirit three times in the letter (1:19; 2:1; 3:3). It is, however, not so clear what the Spirit does for Christian formation. This paper will examine Paul’s references to the Spirit in Philippians and attempt to explicate the role of the Spirit in the Christian formation process as Paul understands.


Formation of Christian Self-Identity in Corinth
Program Unit: Korean Biblical Colloquium
Jin Ki Hwang, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena)

In his letters Paul often called his gentile converts “(the) believers” (Gal 3:22; 1 Thess 1:7; 1 Cor 1:21; 2 Cor 6:14-15). Particularly in 2 Corinthians 6:15, he used this designation to distinguish his Corinthian converts from those outsiders, namely, “unbelievers” (cf. also 1 Cor 7:13-15; 14:22-23). It is not explicitly mentioned how and why Paul chose to use this self-designation here. But the antitheses Paul introduces (light vs. darkness; Christ vs. Beliar; the temple of God vs. idols) and scriptural passages cited (Lev 26:12; Jer 32:38; Ezech 37:27) in the immediate context seem to indicate the influences of the Jesus tradition and of the Scripture. The present paper aims to understand the formation of Christian self-identity in the Corinthian church, as well as in other Pauline churches.


The Post-Exilic Period in Chronicles in light of Shalom
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Sunwoo Hwang, Chongshin University

Considering that the original meaning of Shalom is “wholeness,” the peace of Shalom comes from this “wholeness.” In this paper, I will investigate the Chronicler’s post-exilic period in light of Shalom. That is, I will explore the wholeness of the Chronicler’s post-exilic era. For this purpose, I will first examine the twelve occurrences of Shalom to see if they shed some light on the wholeness of the time period. Then I will investigate the composition of Chronicles, because the Chronicler’s composition reflects the post-exilic atmosphere. The two major subjects in the composition of Chronicles are the temple and the Davidic kingdom. It is revealed in Chronicles that post-exilic Israel was a temple-centered community through the following factors: the central place and the detailed genealogy of Levi; the description of David and Solomon as the preparer and the completer of the temple construction respectively; and the emphasis on the temple in the Chronicler’s own record (Sondergut). However, the Davidic kingdom was not re-established in the Chronicler’s time. It will be shown that the Chronicler’s aspiration for the restoration of the Davidic kingdom is betrayed through the following elements: the place and the length of Judah’s genealogy; the Chronicler’s jumping into the David narrative via a short Saul narrative omitting the important subjects such as the Exodus, the Sinai Covenant and the Conquest; and the unfolding of the history of Israel through the kingdom of Judah. If the temple is prominent because of the temple-centered Israelite society, then the Davidic kingdom is emphasized because of its absence in the post-exilic Israel. In this vein, the post-exilic Israelite community, which fulfilled the first half of shalom by rebuilding the temple, longed for the fulfilling of the other half of shalom by a restoration of the Davidic dynasty.


Textual Evolution in Acts 5:38-39 of D and the Effect of Social-Historical Context
Program Unit: Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)
Pasi Hyytiäinen, University of Helsinki

Several textual critics have seen the Acts of the Apostles as represented in Codex Bezae (D) as a result of one editorial process, or work of one single author. Whether D is seen as the prominent witness of the Western text or containing the original text, it is maintained that the text of D represents one tradition. But, what if we abandon the idea that the Acts in D was written or copied at one single point in time and think the possibility that we are dealing here with an evolving text? According to this idea, Codex Bezae is a product of a process. We can see traces of different stages of textual evolution in D. The Gamaliel tradition in Acts 5:38-39 is used in this occasion to demonstrate this point of view. Consequently, we are not dealing here with one editorial or textual layer but several. By applying the methodological tools of Coherence-Based Genealogical Method, which uses electronic database in order to evaluate the relationships between manuscripts, we can prove that certain readings in Acts 5:38-39 of D seem to be older than those in B03, while others are clearly later scribal alterations. However, these textual changes do not bring any new theological tendencies but underline the existing ones. Later textual layers supplemented the previous ones. It seems that the Gamaliel tradition grew in the course of textual transmission while the esteem for Gamaliel increased within the Christian communities which led to the Gospel According to Gamaliel and ultimately to his canonization. This process, on the other hand, emphasizes that the texts of New Testament were not isolated from the surrounding social-historical context but they interacted with one another.