For those of you who don’t know, I just attended the joint annual Academy of Academic Religion and Society of Biblical Literature meeting. It consisted of four days of paper presentations by a large variety of scholars about practically anything relevant to either organization and meetings between scholars. Though I did not present any papers or meet with an editor to have a book published, two things which I will not do for quite a while, I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere of people who approach the Bible and religion critically. Allow me to explain what I enjoyed more specifically.
Beyond all else, I most enjoyed the opportunity to meet and speak with many friends and scholars, including people like Brad Embry, Isaac Lund, Bob Stallman, and David Hymes. Beyond them, I also had the chance to meet many fellow bloggers, whether current, such as James McGrath, or those who have shut down the blog for the time being, such as Daniel Gullota . Of course, I also had the moments of spotting favorites like John Collins, Debra Scoggins Ballentine, and Michael Fishbane.
In addition to the people, the direction I want to move in my studies was further refined. I noticed that sessions purely focused on biblical exegesis were not extremely exciting to myself. What I enjoyed more than anything else were sessions that relayed some sort of historical conclusions, conclusions which presented a unique and exciting area of history. For myself this means that I need to brush up, or perhaps introduce myself to, Neo-Babylonian, Neo-Assyrian, Persian, and Hellenistic history. Perhaps it may even mean a 1-on-1 meeting with Xenophon or Herodotus.
Last, but surely not least, I simply enjoyed being able to attend the various presentations. Most notably, I enjoyed Jefferey Stackert’s presentation on Deuteronomy because it did not merely deconstruct the text; rather, it provided means by which religious communities could potentially utilize the text for their own betterment. In other words, it had long-term value, not just critical value.
To conclude, I have one thing to say: I look forward to next years conference.