The Society of Biblical Literature–the world’s foremost academic society for biblical scholars–is holding its annual meeting in Chicago Saturday through Tuesday. Many of my friends are already there; I’ll fly tomorrow, Saturday.
SBL (and especially the concurrent meeting of the AAR, the American Academy of Religion) can be something of a hoot. You have hundreds of people, from lowly but gifted divinity students to world-league rock stars, giving papers and lectures. Given the Bible has been the most well-read corpus of texts in human history, one wonders what one can find to say that’s new and interesting. The result is some “derivative drivel” and “nonsense on stilts” amidst a lot of really good and intriguing stuff.
In any event, the two papers I’m giving, both on Monday:
Reconsidering Redaction Criticism in light of Narrative Christology and Triadic Semiotics
Semiotics and Exegesis • 11/19/2012 • 9:00 AM • Room: N133 – McCormick Place
Redaction critics assert that Gospel interpretation must be disciplined, objective and determinative, that such interpretation necessitates the recovery of authorial intention, and that authorial intention is best recovered by paying attention to perceived changes to prior sources. They thus largely eschew literary approaches to the Gospels, regarding them as undisciplined, subjective and ahistorical. By exploring the narrative structures of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark and engaging in a fresh examination of their respective Christological presentations along narrative lines, this paper will contend that redaction criticism, in neglecting the form of a Gospel in aiming for its purported propositional content, is fundamentally incoherent, and present a critically objective, concretely historical, hermeneutically fruitful, disciplined literary method rooted in the triadic semiotics of C.S. Peirce, which with the concepts of the Representamen, Object, and Interpretant, takes full account of the possibilities afforded by the dynamic interaction of text, contexts, and readers.
St. Hildegard of Bingen’s Premodern and Postmodern Paul
Recovering Female Interpreters of the Bible • 11/19/2012 • 1:00 PM • Room: N136 – McCormick Place
Hildegard of Bingen’s rich and textured works have led many to envision her in their own image. Later medievals saw her as a mystic when viewed through the lens of her disciple Elisabeth of Schönau. Humanists like Jacob Faber Stapulensis saw her as a woman of letters. Reformers like Andreas Osiander found a Protestant, and in the present day filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta sees a proto-feminist. Hildegard was of course also a conservative medieval Catholic, among many other things, a defender of hierarchy in Church and society and an opponent of those regarded as heretics, while her visions were in essence doctrinal expositions of Scripture in accord with the beliefs of the times. When one examines Hildegard’s appropriation of St. Paul in her monumental Scivias, one sees traces of all these versions of Hildegard. Drawing on historical receptions of both Hildegard and Paul, this paper will argue that Hildegard presents an authentic Paul long lost to modernity, a Paul at home both in the premodern world of traditional Catholicism and the postmodern worlds of today.