First Day at SBL

As the sun rises over the buildings outside the window of my 15th floor room in the Sheraton I am still trying to decide what papers to see today. I only went to one paper yesterday, but it was a good one. Heath Thomas gave a paper:

Reading Lamentations with Daniel Berrigan, S.J.Controversial peace activist, poet, and Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan writes: “In 2001, I turned eighty. That same year, the twin towers fell in Manhattan, and another American saga of revenge opened. The state mobilized mightily, the Church fell in line” (Berrigan, Lamentations, 71). To this vision, Berrigan offers a distinctive counter-vision enabled through the discordant voice of the Book of Lamentations. The present study reads Lamentations with Daniel Berrigan and teases out his interpretation of the ancient book that assesses both ancient Judah’s place in God’s economy, as well as presents a lamenter’s view of modern US foreign policy and war. The present study concludes with a summary of theological distinctives of Lamentations and their impact on modern politics. Moreover, it will be shown that Berrigan’s reading of Lamentations offers a fresh, if not contrary, approach to modern analysis of Lamentations.

Heath had some discussion about how to categorize Berrigan’s commentary, “autobiographical commentary” seems to be a new category (aparently SBL even published a volume on it). Without having read Berrigan’s work it sound from Heath’s description that he was preaching, which is not a bad thing. Berrigan, it appears takes his own personal experience and convictions and uses the biblical text as the springboard from which to convey his Christ-centered message. We may not agree with his opinions, but it sounds like a powerful sermon to me. I will have to get Berrigan’s volume.

The rest of the day was spent finishing off my paper interspersed with seeing some very good old friends and meeting new ones. So far then SBL has been a great success for me! (I even found out that Baker has taken some articles from their Dictionary for the Theological Interpretation of the Bible, including mine on Lamentations, and made it into a new introduction to the Bible. Nice!)

Best of all? PENN STATE WON! We are now Big Ten champions and headed to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. I am hoping to spank USC (who needs a rematch with Oregon State?). I was frustrated, however, because ABC felt it necessary to show the BC-Wake Forest game instead of the PSU-MSU game. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but what was galling was that it meant that ESPN and ABC BOTH had the BC game on! Great… But I was able to listen to it over the interwebs. And finish my paper. All in all a good day.

Now to get ready for the morning. My family are on their way here and the day is gorgeous. This is the day that the Lord has made!

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