Bordering Others: Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity #aarsbl15 Sunday Afternoon Session

The first paper in the TELA session on the theme “Bordering Others: Examining Religious Community in Eastern Late Antiquity” was by Jennifer Hart and focused in using orthopraxy to define “true” Mandaeism. She began with a quote from the work The Thousand and Twelve Questions, which is focused on ritual error and what to do [Read More...]

The Final Blogger Session #AARSBL15

For the last ever Blogger and Online Publication session, we had two papers and a panel lined up. First up was Rick Brannan, who talked about the process of blogging as a stepping stone to producing a book. He invited the audience to take photos and blog and tweet as he spoke, and so I [Read More...]

Gets The Last Word, The Dark Side Does Not

As I was preparing the PowerPoint for my conference paper which I read yesterday, I looked for one that featured the famous quote from Yoda on the left. I didn’t expect to find it paired with a quote from Paul’s letter to the Romans. It was interesting to see these two sets of texts brought into [Read More...]

Metacriticism of Biblical Scholarship at #AARSBL on Saturday Afternoon

This session focused on canon and fan fiction, making comparisons between science fiction and other genres on the one hand, and Biblical studies on the other. Frauke Uhlenbruch presided. My paper was up first, and it turned out there was no projector, and so my slides – which had no point to them other than [Read More...]

Saturday Morning at #SBLAAR15 – John, Jesus, and History

I got to Atlanta last night. This morning I picked up my tote bag which included my name tag holder. Nearby, the book exhibit was soon to open, and so I saw and chatted briefly with several people I know who were waiting there. There is really impressive attendance at the first session I attended, [Read More...]

The Permeability of Scripture

The Bible’s edges blur into the world around it. There is no human encounter with a text that does not involve that person interpreting what they read, which in turn connects with their upbringing, their culture, their language, and many other aspects of the world around them. On the composition end, the Bible also blurs into the [Read More...]

References in “50 Ways to Forge a Gospel”

At some point I’ll post a listener’s guide, if necessary, to the song “50 Ways to Forge a Gospel,” which I shared here recently, the YouTube video of which I’ve embedded above. It is full of references to specific forgeries, pseudepigraphies, novels, and other kinds of Jesus literature both ancient and modern, both canonical and [Read More...]

Nerd Fundamentalism at #AARSBL15

Today I travel to the joint annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature. I will try to blog about the conference as it happens. My conference paper for this year’s SBL conference will be presented in a session of the Metacriticism of Biblical Scholarship program unit on the theme Imaginal [Read More...]

The Fear of Doubt (Truth and Tribalism)

A fantastic point was made recently on the blog Atheist Revolution, defining freethought as above all else a rejection of tribalism. Here’s an excerpt from the post: I find that one of the most important implications of freethought is that it rejects the sort of tribalism that would lead one to accept some ideas and reject others [Read More...]

The Last Blogger Session #AARSBL15

This year’s session of the SBL Blogger and Online Publication program unit will be the last ever, and we will be going out with a bang. This final blogger session will feature a panel of well-known bloggers whose blogs – like their scholarly activity more generally – reflects and represents well the full range of kinds of [Read More...]

50 Ways to Forge a Gospel

As the song lyrics indicate, it genuinely was at the 2015 York Christian Apocrypha Symposium that I got the idea for this song, and mentioned it to Bart Ehrman over a drink after his keynote address, which was the primary inspiration for the song, although the whole range of papers were in mind and there [Read More...]