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SBL Day Two

November 19, 2007

After a short night of little sleep, Sunday at SBL was fun in a surreal, Kubrick-like sense. Sunday always seems to be the tensest day of the conference, with the highest percentage of suits and ties; and this year was no exception. Heavily caffeinated, here are my highlights from day two:

  • S18-52 Assyriology and the Bible: This session focussed on the culmination of the CAD, with papers by Martha Roth, David Clines, Stephen Kaufman, Baruch Levine and Edward Greenstein. It will probably be the geekiest session I will go to this year, but it was great fun. Lexicography has a place near and dear to my heart, and I enjoyed technical discussions on different methodologies in Akkadian, Hebrew and Aramaic. I was slightly sad that Ugaritic was not represented, but it was probably inevitable since Del Olmo Lete and Sanmartín are the only ones doing this work at the moment.
  • S18-107 Bible, Myth, and Myth Theory: This session focused on myth and history and featured a wide range of papers from ancient Greek demythologizing to Rabbinic mythological additions to biblical texts. After having attended this session in its infancy last year and its more robust form this year, I see a common problematic thread: everyone comes to the table (or, more accurately, podium) with a different definition of myth. As a consequence, each speaker must take three-to-five minutes to explain what definition of myth the presenter is using. However, at least no one used the word “liminal.”
  • By far, the highpoint of the day was the biblioblog lunch. It was an interesting mix of Ph.D.’s, students (in various fazes) , and lay folk. We numbered around twenty, with several notable bibliobloggers at the conference not even in attendance (e.g. Daniel Kirk and James Spinti). There was much erudite discussion and exchanging of technological gadgetry. Targuman has pictures and audio of the event.

On a final note, tomorrow I give my first paper at national at an extended session (1-5PM) in which I am the last presenter. Any wishing to come and see me crash and burn are welcomed to attend: S19-86 Ugaritic Studies and Northwest Semitic Epigraphy GH-Molly B.

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