John, John, and more John!

In the morning, I went to sessions on meals in the ancient world. Jodi Magness looked at archeological finds that help tell us how people ate meat (when they did). She read us recipes from the ancient world, too. It turns out that Romans served meat on the side accompanied by heavy sauces, whereas Persians, Babylonians, and later Islamic peoples ate meat boiled with spices—more like stews. Steven Friesen shared studies on bones that give information on what kinds of proteins people were eating. Ma. Marilou S. Ibita made some very interesting proposals about understanding 1 Cor 11 in light of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ and proposed that verse 34 be translated as a direction that hungry people should eat, not in their own homes, but in the home in which the early Christians were meeting, in other words at the common table. Gregg E. Gardner told us about “Food for the Poor in Early Rabbinic Judaism.”

In the afternoon, I first went to a session that presented four papers giving different approaches to the study of the way John’s gospel references Scripture. Jaime Clark-Soles looks at topic from a sociological framework, looking at the way sects function. Ruth Sheridan brings in intertextualities from Deuteronomy and Numbers. Alicia Myers showed the way imitation worked in Greco-Roman rhetoric and applied that to quotations. And Bruce Schuchard analyzed the quotations from the perspective of language and proposes that John quoted from an early Greek Septuagint.

Finally, in the last session, scholars from Dutch-speaking Europe (Gilbert Van Belle), South Africa (Jan G. van der Watt), East Asia (Yak-Hwee Tan), and Germany (Udo Schnelle) gave their perspectives on the state of Johannine scholarship in their area of the world.

So, what did I come away with after all of this?

  • Watching the women present is especially helpful for me—I don’t have any models for women scholars in my everyday life. Jaime Clark-Soles especially presented herself and her material in such a gracious way—plus she has fun hair!

  • It was fun to see Jan van der Watt, too. I used one of his books for a class I taught recently.

  • As far as information—several presentations were very helpful and I hope to get  copies of the papers to further my own work. But most of all, I think, hearing all of these conversations gets my neurons firing, too!