I always look forward to SBL. Most of all, I'm anxious to reunite with old friends. Then there's meeting with editors and working groups, interesting presentations, and the famous book exhibit -- some publishers discount as deeply as 50%, though things are getting tighter every year. This year there will be a panel review of Sinners on Saturday morning, I'm meeting with a prospective editor concerning a secret project (really, it's secret), and the Rhetoric and the New Testament Section has lots of business to conduct. I've already booked up my calendar with sessions, meetings, and socializing.
But there are also the papers I'll miss.
- For example, there's a retrospective session on Wayne Meeks' The First Urban Christians. Steve Friesen is speaking there, and I'm particularly interested in Steve's work on the economic resources of the first Christians (extremely bleak, says Steve).
- Thomas Blanton has a paper on 2 Corinthians 3 and the New Perspective on Paul (available online -- it's a very strong paper).
- There's a session on the value of (or otherwise) religious experience as a category for the study of early Christianity -- I'd be especially keen to hear Jim Crossley's remarks.
- Shawn Kelley has a paper that challenges many of our cherished assumptions concerning parables.
- There's a session on reclining (at meals) -- Jennifer Glancy has some thoughts on how early Christians reacted to this custom.
- Paul Middleton has a paper on how Revelation's hymns relate to violence. (I've written on this myself.)