The last breakfast was a leisurely one. It was Tuesday morning and there was no need to rush off to the SBL. The first plane didn’t leave until 3PM. So we had waffles. I cooked the first set and kept them warm in the oven. Then, as they worked their way through those that I had kept warm, I cooked another round. And as I moved back and forth between the table and the stove, I thought about the weekend.
There had been a lot of back and forth all weekend. Back and forth to various area airports on Friday. Back and forth to the metro station and the conference areas on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. But the best of the back and forth was the back and forth conversation that took place well into the wee hours of the morning. I hadn’t seen 2AM in a long while, but I saw it three times last weekend.
What do LDS grad students in scripture, ancient history, and dead languages talk about at 2 AM? Geez. What don’t they talk about? But some things stand out. Labels like “liberal” and “conservative” no longer adequately capture the various positions that LDS scholars will take on the intersection of LDS thought and ancient scripture. With eighty LDS grad students in these fields, I expect the next decade will be interesting.
Abysmal LDS books – what’s the worst book ever published by Deseret Books? That’ll spark some debate and the wide-open field of contenders makes it very difficult to come to a consensus. Then there’s the fact that grad students don’t actually read books published by DB. And what did the word “interest” (D&C 119:4) mean when JS used it? Do we use it with the same meaning now? Who did JS think “Jehovah” to be when he read his OT?
Polygamy, polyandry, priesthood, baptism, the second anointing, child apostles, Paul, the Prince bio of President McKay, baptism, the bloggernacle, the passive voice in Greek, dispensationalism, football, war, slaves in the ancient Near East, politics, baptism, Emma Smith, torture, the growth of the church, various church leaders, Rough Stone Rolling, and baptism. (It’s David J.’s mission to write on baptism, so you’ll just have to wait until he gets back from his T-day celebrations to hear the deal on that one…)And then I brought a new waffle over to LXXLuthor. He’d just maneuvered HP into eating the last one of the first batch, now cool and slightly soggy, so he could get the last warm, crisp one.
LXXLuthor started the weekend as something of the odd man out. He’s actually a senior at a large denominationally affiliated school in the Intermountain West with a religious education department. I’m not sure that the weekend’s conversation was exactly new, but I’m quite certain that the candor and detail in which various points were argued was an eye-opener. Our articulation of certain positions moved him on more than one occasion to ask why we actually still go to church.
But as you can see from his handle, LXXLuthor is interested in the LXX (Septuagint) and God willing he’s headed off next autumn to grad school in the same. When we meet for the SBL in San Diego next year, he’ll be dominating the conversation with his four new and original proofs of the Documentary Hypothesis, discussing why there’s only one hishtaphel left in Hebrew, and extolling the benefits of Historical Jesus research. When I handed him that waffle it was, in fact, the last waffle of innocence.
And although he started the weekend as the odd man out, you can see from the sidebar that he ended it as one of us. We might harass him a bit now and then, just for being a newbie, but you better not or you’ll have to deal with us. He’s our newbie!
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome LXXLuthor to FPR. He’s promised us a post on the vessels of wrath and mercy in Romans 9. When he gets done with finals, of course.