Papers & People

I always of hope that when I’m at the Society of Biblical Literature conference the papers and presentations will spur thoughts that end up being part of the weekend’s blogging.

I could do a bit of that.

The session in which I presented yesterday afternoon had a wonderful paper exploring the book of Daniel in the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink and Ladykillers. I need to do a bit more research and watch Barton Fink another 10 times.

I also got some great suggestions on how to keep building my thesis about Job and Ecclesiastes in A Serious Man and No Country for Old Men, respectively.

But the past two days have been more about people than papers. And this is truly the best part about SBL after developing relationships in the academy since going to seminary fourteen years ago.

It is the nature of this business, and of life in our culture more generally, that we scatter from the people with whom we live and study for a time. The annual gathering is filled with reunions–for me, with people I met as an undergraduate, friends from seminary, professors from seminary and grad school, colleagues I have gotten to know at this meeting over the years, blogsphere connections and Facebook friends that become reincarnate each year the weekend before Thanksgiving.

So yes, I’ve learned a bit about the value of keeping politics in mind while reading Romans or Galatians.

But I’ve learned more, as I often do during this weekend, about the value of friendship.

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