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Research Reports at the 2012 Annual Meeting

Twenty-six "Research Reports" were presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the CBA.

Here are the name of the presenters, the paper titles, and content summaries:

Klaus-Peter Adam, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
“Private Long-Term Enmity as a Social Status in Biblical Law”

Neutral relationships between long term neighbors or companions were fragile and could easily turn into ongoing hostility. A literary-historical reading of selected laws of the Covenant Code, of Deuteronomic and of Priestly Law points out specifics of a social status of private enmity between two individuals in everyday conflicts in communal life, such as theft, accidents, injuries, homicide. In a sideways glance at enmity, hatred and friendship in Psalms, Proverbs and legal sources from neighboring cultures, I elucidate why and when private long term adversary became a relevant criterion to judge cases in Biblical Law.

Leslie A. Baynes, Missouri State University
“C. S. Lewis’s ‘Mad, Bad, or God’ Argument: A Response from Biblical Studies”

C. S. Lewis’s infamous “Mad, Bad, or God” argument has been excoriated by philosophers but virtually ignored by biblical scholars. Nevertheless, it elicits important questions about the historical Jesus and scriptural interpretation that need addressing, not least because of the immense popularity of the argument in some Christian circles. The point of this paper is not to attempt to disprove Jesus’ divinity, but rather to demonstrate that Lewis’ argument is insufficient to prove it. This observation, of course, is no surprise to critical scholars, who immediately grasp the inherent flaws in his use of the gospels. This paper, however, shows that even without recourse to historical-critical methods, but relying only on the ipsissima verba of scripture, Lewis’ claims fall flat.

Vincent P. Branick, University of Dayton
“Universal Salvation in the Letters of Paul”

Twice in Romans Paul declares a salvation that is unconditioned on the justice or sinfulness of people. “A dying person is absolved from sin” (6:7). “Thus all of Israel will be saved” (11:26). The unconditional character of these statements is usually explained away by commentators in the light of Paul’s other statements that seem to exclude some from salvation (e.g. 1 Cor 6:9-10), but are best understood by Paul’s statement about “universal exclusion” (1 Cor 15:50). Taking the positive statements in Romans with their full force explains why Paul had to defend himself against being soft on sin (Rom 6:1) as well as his emphasis on the “anger” of God in this same letter.

David A. Bosworth, The Catholic University of America
“The Weeping Prophet: Tears in the Book of Jeremiah”

The instances of weeping in the Book of Jeremiah are so vivid that Jeremiah is known as “the weeping prophet.” The book shows a relatively high frequency of weeping compared to other biblical books, and it uses unusual and sometimes unique vocabulary to describe weeping. It also includes the only Hebrew text that (probably) depicts God as weeping (Jer 9:9). The paper will articulate the function of weeping in Jeremiah with attention to who weeps, why, and the actual or expected reaction to the weeping.

Zeba A. Crook, Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada)
“Manufacturing Memory: Redaction Criticism in Light of Collective Memory Theory”

The introduction of Halbwachs’ collective memory theory into the study of Jesus and the Gospels is sometimes heralded as the death of redaction criticism: narrative inconsistencies result not from literary redaction but from competing memories, all of which derive from collective memories concerning Jesus. There is no doubt that memory theory contributes to our study of the transmission of Jesus material, but it is too often used uncritically to buttress the general reliability of the Gospels. Such an approach ignores an important facet of memory theory, namely, memory distortion. This paper investigates the relationship between redactional activity and memory distortion.

Andrew R. Davis, Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry
“Job 14:17 in Its Archaeological Context”

The reference to a sealed bag in Job 14:17 has puzzled scholars. Some compare it to an accounting device in Mesopotamia, while others interpret the bag and seal as a sealed document. I will argue that Job 14:17 more likely refers to the practice of collecting scrap metal in a cloth bag, which would then be placed in a jug, sealed with plaster and buried. This practice is attested throughout ancient Israel and offers a new context for understanding this particular verse and its contribution to the prayer in which it is embedded.

David L. Eastman, Ohio Wesleyan University
“The Deaths of the Apostles: Ancient Accounts of the Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul”

The traditions linking the deaths of Peter and Paul with Rome are well-known through the famous accounts contained in the Acts of Peter and Acts of Paul. However, these represent only two of more than a dozen ancient martyrdom accounts in Latin, Greek, and Syriac. My current book project (forthcoming in 2013) is a volume of translations with introductions and commentary and will make available to scholars a number of texts currently unknown or largely ignored. This report will summarize the goals of the project and highlight some of the notable elements in these various texts.

Brigid Curtin Frein, University of Scranton
“Jesus as Provocateur in Luke’s Gospel”

More frequently than either Mark’s or Matthew’s Gospel, the Gospel of Luke portrays Jesus as provoking conflict with various individuals and groups of people, including those who seem to be favorably disposed toward him. This report will discuss how this element of Luke’s portrayal of Jesus functions in overall narrative rhetoric of the Gospel. It will examine the frequency of such conflict scenes, show that they are distinctive to Luke’s Gospel and discuss how this aspect of Luke’s characterization of Jesus contributes to his narrative theology.

Garrett M. Galvin, O.F.M., Franciscan School of Theology
“Joseph as Wisdom Literature”

Although The Story of Joseph (Genesis 37, 39-50) is set in the Late Bronze Age, I would like to investigate the Egyptian setting of this story in order to argue for a new understanding of the story. Joseph may reflect the concerns of many Jews after the Babylonian Exile who were living in the diaspora as reflected in the two women found in the story. I will argue that it shares many characteristics of Wisdom Literature, and it has the vocabulary and syntax more often seen in Late Biblical Hebrew rather than the Classical Biblical Hebrew.

Gregory Y. Glazov, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, Seton Hall University
“In Defense of the Pneumatological Version of the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11:2-4”

Four ancient and two medieval mss. of St. Luke11:2-4 preserve a version of the Lord’s Prayer which replaces the petition for the Kingdom with a petition for the Holy Spirit. This paper evaluates the relevance of this version to: Marcion and Montanus, second century liturgy, the immediate and broad literary Gospel setting, the figure of John the Baptist, and the version of the prayer at Matthew 6. The review sides with Leaney, Finkel, and Philonenko, contra Davies, Allison, and Fitzmyer in defending this version’s originality. Intertextual connections with John 12 suggest that Jesus taught this prayer at Bethany while contemplating the approach of His hour and praying as described at John 12:22-30.

Andrew T. Glicksman, University of Dallas
“Divine Filiation in the Wisdom of Solomon”

This paper investigates the topic of divine sonship in the Wisdom of Solomon. It examines how Pseudo-Solomon borrows from and develops the theme of sonship in other OT texts and how his work compares to that of Philo (his near contemporary and a fellow-Alexandrian). No extensive treatment of this issue in the Wisdom of Solomon has been conducted. This study will provide further background for understanding the theologically-rich sonship theme as it appears in the Second Temple literature and the NT.

Deena E. Grant, Barry University
“Divine Anger and Covenant Kinship in Deuteronomy”

In Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic history, YHWH’s anger arises over Israel’s breach of covenant but anger’s consequences are mitigated by the presence of the covenant. When the covenant between Yhwh and Israel is recognized as modeled off of kin relations, and a proxy for kinship, the deuteronomist’s portrait of divine anger becomes clear. Just as human kinship, unbroken by provocation, tempers anger, the covenant that establishes Yhwh and Israel as quasi-kin mitigates the consequences of his anger at Israel. Yhwh is compelled to temperance by an interest to preserve his authority over his covenant-kin and by his affection for her.

Harry Hagan, O.S.B., Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology
“The Traditional Roles of Foreigners in Biblical Narrative”

Foreigners play some significant roles in the Bible, and not just as enemies. This presentation will establish a framework for tradition and mimetic characters and then survey their traditional roles of foreigners, drawn mainly from OT narrative. The presentation will use these observations to consider the NT counterparts and the ways in which these traditional roles are continued or changed.

Angela Kim Harkins, Fairfield University
“The Phenomenal Experience of Transformation in the Odes of Solomon 11”

Joseph Kroll in Die christliche Hymnodik bis zu Klemens von Alexandreia (1921, p. 47, n. 2) proposed that the early Christian Odes of Solomon were used to assist the hymnist in entering into a state of ecstasy. This paper examines Kroll’s proposal by looking closely at the rhetorical elements in Ode 11. In this Ode, phenomenal spatial experiences of transformation are described with vivid language of the body in the first person voice. Theoretical understandings of space are used to consider how rhetorical elements of the Ode function during a ritualized reenactment of the text to generate a religious experience for the hymnist.

Henry Ansgar Kelly, University of California at Los Angeles
“Reclaiming the Middle English Bible from the Wycliffites”

It is a doctrine of modern scholarly faith that the two versions of the complete English Bible translated in the later fourteenth century were done by the followers of John Wycliffe, and it is always referred to as “the Wycliffite Bible.” It is also claimed that this Bible was prohibited by the English Church authorities in 1407-09. These claims were first denied by Francis Gasquet, O.S.B., in 1894 (he later headed the Vulgate Revision Commission and was Cardinal Librarian of the Vatican). I take up and confirm Gasquet’s case, showing that both versions are completely orthodox and were accepted as such from the beginning and not prohibited.

Mark Kiley, St. John’s University, Staten Island, NY
‘Ayin and Entrance in Luke 1 and 2”

Consensus holds that Luke is not translating a Hebrew document in the opening chapters of the Gospel. I agree. I am suggesting, however, that the Evangelist has indeed incorporated more than three dozen words beginning with ‘ayin into his account of eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. I further explore the presence of themes in Psalms 15–24 as they appear in the infancy narratives, in such a way that seeking God’s face is seen in tandem with seeking Jesus.

Ralph W. Klein, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
“The Fit of the Prayer of Azariah in Daniel 3 and in Our Contexts”

The Prayer of Azariah (vv. 24-45) is a poor fit since the three Jews who are about to be roasted alive confess their grievous sins and their “proper judgment.” But there are words against the most wicked king in the world, and a petition that their oppressors be deprived of all power. At the end, the three faithful Jews sing a hymn of thanksgiving that blesses God and calls on all creation to join their praises for the God whose mercy endures forever. This paper will suggest ways in which this prayer was made to fit its literary and sociological context, and the ways it provides resources for care for creation today.

Stephen J. Lampe, Cardinal Stritch University
“Connecting ‘kairotic’ sēmeron with Lucan sōtēria

Noting that “today” (sēmeron) is used in a chronological manner in Greek literature, this paper will examine “today’s” use in Luke’s Gospel, noting its predominantly “kairotic” nuance. While such nuance does not appear in Matthew or Mark, it is found in the LXX. Furthermore, sēmeron appears to play a role in the development of the Lucan Gospel’s proclamation of salvation (sōtēria), a role that disappears when sēmeron is used in Acts of the Apostles.

Francis M. Macatangay, University of St. Thomas School of Theology
“Acts of Mercy as Acts of Remembrance in Tobit”

The research looks at “acts of mercy” as acts of remembering God in light of exile in the Book of Tobit. In other words, “acts of mercy” are a re-interpretation of a deteuronomic command. This it does by examining Tobit’s description of his religious piety when he lived in the land of Israel as a member of the tribe of Naphtali in Tobit 1-3 and at Tobit’s wisdom instructions in Tobit 4.

William S. Morrow, Queen’s School of Religion
“Legal Ambiguities”

Differing analyses of connections between the Covenant Code (CC) in Exod 20:19–23:19 and Codex Hammurabi (CH) have appeared in the past decade. There are perceptions of an indirect relationship mediated by a third party, direct dependence of the CC on CH, or that this issue is unimportant in accounting for the CC’s origins. How is it possible to obtain such different results? The problem lies in the ambiguous nature of the evidence, which requires assumptions about the historical context of the CC, the status of CH in ancient Mesopotamian scribal culture, and what counts as proof of literary dependency.

Robert L. Mowery, Illinois Wesleyan University
“Fishers, Initiates, and Roman Christians”

Paul referred in Gal 3:28 to Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female. Although he was pointing beyond these six categories, it is likely that the Christians named in Rom 16:3-15 included representatives of all of these categories. The membership of various other first century groups also included ethnic, status, and gender diversity. This study will compare the Christians named in Rom 16:3-15 with the people found in two other first century groups, a fishing cartel at Ephesus and the initiates into the Samothracian mysteries.

Paul Niskanen, University of St. Thomas
“Prophecy and Covenant: The Meaning and Function of Isa 59:21 in the Book of Isaiah”
[cancelled]

Thomas P. Osborne, Grand Séminaire de Luxembourg
“Recurring Patterns and the Search for the Structure of Matthew’s Gospel”

Many attempts have been made to identify the structure of the first Gospel, taking into account particular elements like the alternation of discourse material and narratives, the repetition of particular formulae, etc. The present proposition attempts to identify these recurring patterns more comprehensively and integrate them into an overall outline which pays homage to Matthew’s great literary capacity which has gone beyond a mere repetition of a few school literary devices. Briefly, the Gospel may be divided into the following major sections: 1:1-4:16; 4:17-11:1; 12:2-16:20; 16:21-20:34; 21:1-25:46; 26:1-28:16-20.

David Penchansky, University of St. Thomas
“How Do the Jinn Function in the Qur’an”

The Jinn are part of ancient Arabic folk mythology, and they also appear in the Qur’an. Satan is identified as Jinn, and the whisperer elsewhere in the Qur’an seems to victimize Jinn as well as humans. An entire Sura named “the Jinn” has these elusive creatures as its subject. In it some Jinn convert and become Muslims. Who are the Jinn? Do they have any similarities with the mythological creatures of the Bible and other ancient Near Eastern religions? The Jinn, I suspect are gods and goddesses of pre-Islamic religion, reduced to subservience. This makes them similar to the biblical Elohim, although the Elohim suffered a different fate. An examination of the Jinn provides a good example of how a new religious notion both displaces and assimilates previous religious ideas.

Deborah Furlan Taylor, Independent Researcher
“The Historical and Theological Horizons of Daniel 7”

Scholars mistakenly assume the four beasts in Daniel 7 reflect the same division of history as the statue in Daniel 2. The author of Daniel 7 understood Daniel 2, but chose to view history through a wider lens and different angle. Details in the text, such as the wings and heads, are vital clues that identify the first (lion-like) beast as David’s kingdom, the second as Babylon’s, the third as the Mede-Persian Empire, and the fourth as Alexander’s. Its eschatological denouement makes Daniel 7 the earliest “canonical” apocalyptic text promising a Davidic restoration.

Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo, Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corners, WI
“Psalm 126 and the Prophecy of Zephaniah: A Comparative Study”

Consensus has grown among scholars that the Psalter, wisdom literature and prophetic speeches, including Zephaniah, are all forms of poetry. We have noticed in Zeph 3:14:a-b linguistic features found in Ps 126:1-2b,5b, 6c,”rejoice daughter of Zion” (rinnâ bat-siyyôn); “restore/fortunes,” (šûb/šebût, in Zeph 2:7; 3:20e occurs in Ps 126:1a and 4a , and haggâdôl, in Zeph 1:14 resurfaces in Ps 126:2d–3a. With these examples, this work answers relevant questions and examines comparatively the relationship, or seeming interdependency, between Psalm 126 and Zephaniah’s prophecy in terms of their socio-historical context, structure, language, and the relevance of their shared thematic and theological themes.

John T. Willis, Abilene Christian University
“Protection in a Context of Wickedness and Righteousness, Hate and Love—A Study of Psalm 5”

The composer of Psalm 5 addresses YHWH directly as his Lord, King, God, Protection and Shield. He approaches YHWH as a plaintiff appearing in the morning to make his case. His accusations are that his enemies are boastful, bloodthirsty, deceitful, liars, flatters, and rebels. His plea is that YHWH will lead him in righteousness, make YHWH’s way straight, make his enemies fall, and give the psalmist and his associates refuge, protection, and a shield. The worshipper advances challenging questions about YHWH’s hatred, YHWH’s function in conflicts, divine and human love, and the internal attitude of opponents. This paper attempts to discuss these issues.