Blogging SBL: Saturday, November 21, 2009

This was my insane day.  At 9:30 am I had a recording session with Chris Heard for Pepperdine’s iTunesU/SBL, giving a 5-6 minute talk on Jacob the Blessed Trickster.  It was great to meet Chris; I very much respect and appreciate his work (though we disagree on several matters of interpretation regarding Genesis).  In fact, it was reading his volume, Dynamics of Diselection, that really began to cement my interest in Genesis, so I suppose Chris deserves some credit there.  I am especially thankful for his patience; he has a tremendous amount (ok, I exaggerate a little, right Chris?) of outtake material that had better never see the light of day!!  Ha!  Actually, he was very good and patient, and I was thankful for his willingness to ask and include me in the project.  I am hopeful I gave him something worthwhile as well.  At the end of the session, I did something Chris said was “geeky” . . . I asked him to sign my copy of Dynamics of Diselection.  Which he did.  Good stuff!

From there I had a job interview at 11 am, off-site.  It went well, I think.  I feel good about it, and I haven’t lost any sleep over it.  Let’s hope that is a good sign.

At 11:30 I had lunch with Psalms scholar and Baylor grad Nancy deClaisse-Walford and her husband, Steve (click HERE for my interview with her).  It was great conversation, and they were a delight.  It was fun to talk about how Baylor was and how it is now.  A very fine time, and I hope they enjoyed themselves as well.

Next, at 2, I had another job interview.  This one was in the career center.  I still feel good about the interview, but the career center is an entirely different atmosphere.  It is essentially a giant auditorium sized room with a small space quartered off only by thin black sheets.  You can see and hear those next to you quite easily.  But again, I feel good about it, and I hope and pray I hear good news about it.

After the interview was my first time to hit the book exhibit.  I tend to live in the book exhibit at the meeting.  I ran in to a few other bloggers, namely Pat McCullough (who is actually a very tall man; I didn’t expect that), Chris Tilling, and I think I spotted Brandon Wason.  Tilling recognized me as the “Old Testament blog” to which I responded, in jest, “Hebrew Bible.”  He then made some crack about an inferior testament, and I quickly responded by calling him Marcion.  It was all in good fun!  I also ran in to Jim West talking with some other bloggers.  Let me say this . . . Jim is a very kind, gentle, unassuming man in person.  He is nothing like the dilletante-bashing, git-calling person you read on his blog.  I actually think I made him a bit nervous.  Anytime I tried to razz him he didn’t say much back.  I was glad to meet him though.  He snapped this picture:

Me, Chris Tilling, Kevin Scull, and Brandon Wason

From there I met with Walter Brueggemann (picture coming in a later post, once I actually get those uploaded) to discuss some matters of common interest.  It was kind of funny as we walked around the hotel trying to find a place to sit.  We noticed one free chair in one place and another around the corner, so Brueggemann and I went over and began to drag the one, big chair over to the other.  There was someone sitting next to the chair we were dragging, and he was kind enough, though–recognizing Brueggemann–to give up his seat!  Later when Brueggemann went to find someone to take a picture of he and I together, the person he asked responded by saying “It would be an honor, Dr. Brueggemann.”  Very cool.  Readers may recall that Brueggemann read my article and responded very favorably to it.  We discussed how to handle those who want to challenge the textual existence of such problematic portrayals of God; Brueggemann’s response was simple: “keep showing them texts.”  It was a very fine, enjoyable meeting, and Brueggemann is a delightful ball of energy with a tremendous sense of humor.  He was kind enough to sign my copy of his newest volume, An Unsettling God: The Heart of the Hebrew Bible with some very kind words, concluding his written message by saying “I am glad we are at the same task.”  Very cool.

From there I went to hear Norman Gottwald’s paper 4:00 . . . my first of the conference.  Unfortunately, the room had no mic, and it was quite hard to hear and follow him for the full 30 minutes.  Ishare a brief, funny story about Gottwald and getting to this paper in THIS POST.  After his paper it was off to the book exhibit.  Saturday was a long day, and the morning and early afternoon’s activities had drained me.

After supper I headed, alone, to the Fortress Press reception, where I ran in to Rob Kashow and his posse of folk, including Dan Wallace of Greek grammar fame.  I joined them for a bit of the evening, though I trust Rob and others were well aware of my fatigue by this point.  Back to the room to crash . . . and I wore  a breathe-right strip this time.  My roomies said it made some difference.

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