In just under two weeks thousands of theologians, biblical scholars, historians, and many other academics from across the Humanities and the globe will convene the 2009 SBL conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is also a huge event for publishers as they parade their newest releases in biblically related scholarship for the world to see, read, and critique.
During the next few days, christianbook.com’s Academic blog “The Academia Nut” will be showcasing specific sessions from the conference, and highlighting, if any, the books related to them. Today, The Academia Nut takes a look back at SBL 2007, and highlights Pauline Scholar Douglas Campbell’s role in SBL 2009.
At SBL 2007, a panel presentation on the phrase pistis christou engendered one of the most lively, entertaining, and challenging debates in recent memory. Hendrickson Publishers, inspired by that debate, will be releasing The Faith of Jesus Christ: Exegetical, Biblical and Theological Studies on 1/15/10 (approximate date) and contains a Foreword by Jimmy Dunn, and essays by prominent Pauline scholars including, Stanley Porter, Francis Watson, Douglas Campbell, Bruce Lowe, Benjamin Myers, and many others.
Wrestling with new exegetical, historical, and theological insights on an ancient, but still very hot topic, these scholars will seek to bring clarity to the grammatically enigmatic and theologically loaded phrase “pistis christou” (faith of Christ). This book is available for pre-order now at christianbook.com, and will be released from Hendrickson Publishers on 1/15/10.
Standard Bibliography: pistis christou
Dunn, James D.G.The New Perspective on Paul, rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
Hays, Richard B. The Faith of Jesus Christ: An Investigation of the Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3:1-4:11. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.
Perhaps one of the biggest “stars” at SBL this year (at least in Evangelical circles) is Pauline Studies expert Douglas Campbell. Already a contributor to aforementioned The Faith of Jesus Christ, Campbell’s newest book, the massive The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Re-reading of Justification in Paul is up for a panel review (22-324) and will undoubtedly provide energetic discussion and critique (especially from those who have actually finished the 1376 page book), from panelists such as Douglas Moo.
Doug Campbell is also slated to preside at another hot session entitled “Pauline Soteriology: Divine and Human Agency in Pauline Theology” (S19-119). Speakers include, Alan Torrance, Susan Eastman, J. Louis Martyn, and Telfred Work.
Many of the best SBL presentations in 2009 focus on Pauline Studies, a theme we will pick up next time as we look at some fascinating sessions on the book of Philippians, the Rule of Faith, and Church History.
Short Review: The Deliverance of God
by Douglas Campbell
Campbell’s work begins with the belief that modern interpreters of Paul are crippled by modern political traditions (especially individualism and contractualism) and that before real exegesis and interpretation of Paul can begin, these interpretive models must be jettisoned. Only then, according to Campbell, can an “apocalyptic re-reading” of Paul begin. When these flawed categories are exposed, then, and only then, can an appropriate account of Paul’s own cultural context and theological understanding in regards to his doctrine of justification be taken, and a suitable theological articulation of it, be given.
With this approach in mind, Campbell delivers an exceptionally unique and exhaustive work that allows the reader to see Paul’s most famous and most difficult texts in extraordinary new ways. Furthermore, as a new way of reading Paul, Campbell’s work also promises to move the field of Pauline studies forward, and perhaps out of the grid lock between “Lutheran” readers of Paul on the one hand, and “New Perspective” readers on the other. His work is much welcomed as a step not only forward, but as a step into uncharted territory.