My fourth day at SBL was by the far the best I had all around. I attended three sessions, one on poetry and pedagogy, another on best practices in teaching Biblical languages (in which my colleague Karyn Traphagen was spot on), and finally one on linguistics and Biblical Hebrew. There were a number of excellent papers in each of these sections, though there were a number of bombs as well.
Yet the best part of the day was the meals. I first shared breakfast with Derek Leman, a messianic Jew from Atlanta. He was interested in the doctoral program that I am in, but his questions were limited to logistics. This allowed us time to talk theology and give a bit of our life stories. We had an excellent breakfast of beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde.
After another session, I had lunch with a good friend, Jeff Audirsch. Jeff is researching Deuteronomistic History for his thesis. We talked a bit of research, but mostly caught up. Jeff and I attended New Oreleans Baptist Theological Seminary together.
Finally, the highlight of the entire conference for me was the Biblioblogger charity dinner at the Deutsches Haus. Thanks to John Hobbins and Brandon Wason for putting the event together. The whole night was a treat, getting to talk with Tim Bulkeley, Chris Brady, and Daniel and Tonya at dinner. Yet the highlight of the evening was a presentation Michael Fox who after a considerable number of years exudes an amazing enthusiasm for the subject matter of the Hebrew Bible. If there are events similar to this one in the future I’ll do everything within my power to clear my schedule and attend.
That sounds fantastic, but things have gotten even better today (Day 5). Karyn Traphagen is a friend and peer in the doctoral program I am in and Christo van der Merwe is our supervisor. I went and picked up Christo and Karyn today, and they will be spending Thanksgiving with my family. We got a few chores out of the way today, all the while enjoying one another’s company. We tried to stay off the topic of research, but we each have an enthusiasm for our research and it was difficult. We had dinner with my mother and father as well as my two children and are currently heading off to bed for the night. I have been looking forward to the next two days for a long time and I’ll keep everyone posted on our time together.