Archive for December, 2012

SBL Reflections

I could say many things about my experience at SBL. For one, Chicago was an excellent “host” city. This trip was my first time in Chicago. I’ve driven around the city many times as a kid as my family would make the trip up to Minnesota every year or two. Being in Chicago is much better than driving around it. The slight change in culture (from the South to the North), the big city feel, the food (I still long for another Kuma Burger and another slice of Lou’s pizza) and the lodging was all invigorating and helped me to take a slight break from the fast pace of school and work.

Having Jacob Cerone, who lived in Chicago for a while, as my trip companion made the trip much more enjoyable. Jacob’s conversation about different sessions we attended, school, and life uplifted me in a way that going by myself couldn’t have.

The sessions I went to were challenging and informative. I attended sessions on textual criticism on Samuel, translation theory, reading Law (Torah), LXX, and Composition of the OT. Not all sessions are created equal. I did a lot of jumping around because I didn’t go with a focused objective (I will heed Jacob’s advice on attending sessions next time). I went to be refreshed. I just needed to hear something different, so I went eclectic. More often than not, these sessions raised the bar for me. I saw good scholarship at work. I became eager to do more research in my field and explore the world of the Bible.

I also had the opportunity to eat dinner with professors and students from different places of the world. This experience probably made the trip for me. One professor encouraged us not to let the fear of making mistakes paralyze us.  We do our work for Jesus. We must honor him with the gifts he has given us. We must rely on him to give us the ability to do the work has given us to do. When we do make mistakes, his grace overcomes our mistakes.

At the beginning of the trip, another professor, as she walked out of the train advised me not to generalize SBL. Not all conferences are equal. I am thankful that this one gave me a new outlook on my studies. I look forward to the next one – not to relive old memories but hopefully to make new memories as God continues to widen my understanding of him and his Word.


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I realize I have been absent for the last few months. To be honest, I have written several posts that I still feel are unworthy of public eyes. As focused as I have been on finishing school and the business at my job, I have not had a chance to fix them. So now, I write to you to give an update and several goals I have for the last few weeks of the year.

This semester has had its ups and downs. Dr. Thomas’s Pre-Reformation Interpretation of the Old Testament was very good. The reading was challenging, the lectures were often stimulating, and the end of semester project was enlightening. That project probably made the semester for me. We had to choose an interpreter or period and cover early influences, distinctiveness, methodology, and later impact of that interpreter or period. I chose Nicholas of Lyra and spent the next 2 months pouring over material related to the points mentioned above. I learned two things. First, studying earlier interpreters guides introspection and circumspection. This study has impacted the way I think through my own interpretive practices and caused me to ask the question of why I do what I do. Second, studying earlier interpreters has underscored the importance of learning other languages. Since Nicholas wrote in Latin, I would have had access to so much more material if I had only been strong enough in my Latin.

I also took Syriac this semester. I feel like the language has opened new doors for textual criticism. I’m excited about reading the Book of Joshua in the Peshitta.

Finally, as to goals, I would like to give some reflections on my recent trip to Chicago for the SBL meeting one month removed from the trip. Also, I have been reading several books that I purchased from SBL and would also like to give you a taste of them. Finally, I would like to finish an ever-evolving post on how I study for Sunday School lessons. This last post is more of a reflection (then again, I suppose all of my posts are reflections on something) on my method of study.

I know I said finally in the last paragraph, so let’s call this P.S. If you are looking for something to do, feel free to read my paper. Here’s the thesis:

In terms of his contribution to the interpretation of the Old Testament, Nicholas developed a more robust view of the literal sense, which he established by utilizing Jewish interpretation while standing upon the philosophical advances of earlier Christian interpreters.


And here is the paper: NicholasOfLyra

Until next time!

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