The annual conference of the Society of Biblical Literature is winding down. I have had a great time, but I am ready to move on. In the wee hours of the morning I will fly back to Kansas City and spend some time with my grandchildren before driving down to Arkansas to spend the Thanksgiving Holiday with Sonja and her mother. It seems like it would be more efficient if they would just give me a parachute and drop me off as we fly over.
One of the first sessions I attended featured Robert Jewett, who in addition to writing a book on Captain America is a leading student of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. He spoke on the wrath of God in Romans 1:18 and concluded that we are all under the wrath of God–and all under his mercy. God judges us for the way we spurn his will, frustrate his purposes, hurt each other, and damage ourselves–because he loves us. Professor Jewett said Paul was convinced that ultimately God’s love will win out over his judgment–but not until we respond to his love as he manifested it by sending his Son for us.
That is a brief summary of twenty years of work.
I also attended several sessions dealing with hard-core philology, the study of ancient writings from the laws of Hammurabi to amulets consisting of verses from the Bible that people wore for good luck.
It has been a challenging and rewarding time. I have enough new ideas to ponder and leads to follow up on to keep me busy for at least the next year.
I also enjoyed meeting some old and new friends from exotic places like Australia, South Africa, London, Germany, Kentucky, and New Orleans itself.
I came a day early and spent some time with my friend Archie England, Professor of OT and Hebrew at New Orleans Baptist Seminary. Archie and his colleagues survived Katrina and it took a toll on them. He should me some of the damaged areas that still have not been rebuilt. Last night I also saw a very moving film about Katrina called Trouble the Water–it was about the world’s neglect and one woman’s faith and work to help herself and others recover.