Several days ago I attended the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), held this year in Denver. For those who are unfamiliar with these conferences, they (along with a few others that meet at the same time, such as AAR and IBR) are essentially the Comic-Con of the biblical studies world, only without the costumes. I don’t know the numbers for this year, but in years past the ETS meeting has had ~3,000 attendees and SBL ~10,000.
When I was a postgraduate student, these two conferences were primarily a means of networking, which brought with it the scholarly insecurity related to finding a job. But this year, now that I’m happily employed at RTS, the conferences were much more about catching up with old friends and learning a few things along the way (the same was true last year, but this year proved to be even more personally enriching).
Amid various events, lunches, dinners, and long conversations with old pals, I also made three presentations (2 at ETS, 1 at SBL), each of which—consistent with a theme of my research over the past several years—related to the Septuagint, or Greek Old Testament. The run-down of each is below, for those who are interested.
Presentation #1 at ETS
During this presentation, Will Ross and I provided details on how we produced our recent book, Septuaginta: A Reader’s Edition. This was a bit of an unusual presentation in that we focused primarily on the project management, troubleshooting, and workflow behind the scenes as we worked on this 2-volume, 3,300 page project over a four-year period.
We hope it was interesting to those who may find themselves managing a long-term project with multiple participants in multiple countries.
Presentation #2 at ETS
In the late afternoon session on the final day of ETS, I presented the result of some research I did last year on the textual history of the second half of Genesis 3:15, often called a “Protevangelium.” Though there were only a remnant of people in attendance, I hope it was a helpful discussion as to how the peculiar translation of this verse from the Hebrew (which its itself quite difficult) into Greek may shed light not only on the translator’s task (which is still relevant today, when you compare English translations), but also on the interpretation of this verse over time.
The written form of this presentation will actually appear in print in the Journal of Septuagint and Cognate Studies in late 2018 or early 2019, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, the audio of the presentation can be found here.
Finally, during one of the sessions of the International Organization of Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS), Will and I presented some of the statistical and theoretical findings that emerged from our work on the Reader’s Edition. I spoke about (a) how the critically-edited text of the Greek OT has changed (or not changed) during the past several decades as more manuscripts have been factored into the reconstruction; and (b) how we might quantify the differences in vocabulary and syntax across the Septuagint corpus. Will presented on (c) the challenges we faced in providing “glosses” (English equivalents) for certain words in the Greek text.
We are still working out how/whether we will post these findings in some public venue; stay tuned at http://lxxre.wordpress.com/blog.
But in the meantime, the audio can be found here.
The Reader’s Edition Hits the Market
As you can see, two of the presentations dealt with our Reader’s Edition. ETS and SBL were, in a sense, the key milestone for the release of the book. Here are, thus, the obligatory “author-posing-with-book photos” that Hendrickson persuaded us to take. Perhaps not surprisingly, Will and I were never actually at the booth at the same time for a joint photo, which is fitting given that we did nearly the entire project while separated by at least 6 time zones.