Blogging from Singapore's SBL Conference: Thursday
My nonexistence has been greatly exaggerated.
Somebody thinks that I don't exist. No, not here at the conference, where nobody is yet conflating me with the docetic Christ. Rather, it's somebody whom I've never met . . . but maybe that goes without saying. If I had met him, he'd have to believe in my existence, right?
Jeffrey Gibson informs me that a certain Geoff Hudson has been emailing various scholars to alert them to the 'fact' that I am actually an alias for Gibson.
I won't waste my time trying to prove Mr. Hudson wrong. But if you various scholars out there are willing to attest to my existence as the genuine Horace Jeffery Hodges attending this SBL Conference in Singapore . . . well, have at it.
I don't have much time for blogging today. I gave my presentation yesterday (Wednesday) on nourishment in John's Gospel and Gnostic texts. The program title had me giving the paper titled as follows:
"Earthly versus Heavenly Nourishment in John's Gospel"
That's because I told them that I would be doing so. By the time that I reached Singapore, the title had transfigured into:
"Gift-Giving Across the Sacred-Profane Divide: A Maussian Analysis of Heavenly Versus Earthly Food in Gnosticism and John's Gospel"
The content remained the same, and for those interested, an earlier, online version can be found here on Felix Just's website.
Today (Thursday), I presented my paper on Mark:
"Jesus as the Holy One of God: The Healing of the Zavah in Mark 5:24b-34"
In the same program, Mark Cheeseman (Whitley College) and Kim Huat Tan (Trinity Theological College) presented papers related to mine. All three of us were concerned with Jesus's role as the Holy One of God, albeit with different emphases.
Tan's paper, "Exorcism and Empire in Mark," an excellent thought-provoker, offered a political reading of Mark that argued on the basis of the Gerasene story for a political reading of this gospel. Jesus is presented as bringing political liberation from Rome but not revolt, for the demons destroy themselves by rushing into the waters -- thus will Rome destroy itself. Tan, incidentally, wasn't offering a reductionist hermeneutic. He added -- when I asked him -- that he reads Mark as really speaking about actual demon possession and not using mere code words intended for deciphering by those in the know.
Cheeseman's paper, "Priestly Christology in the Cleansing of the Leper (Mark 1:40-45)," was also quite good. He argued that Jesus is presented as fully purifying the leper in Mark 1:40-45. Jesus's order to the healed and purified leper that he go to the priest to offer the ritual sacrifices as commanded by Moses should be followed by this meaning of "eis marturion autois":
"as a testimony against them"
Usually, this is taken to mean "as a testimony to them" -- as though Jesus were setting an approving seal on the Levitical regulations. Cheeseman thinks that this reading is not supported by the use of "eis marturion autois" in the rest of Mark's Gospel.
Well, I can only report schematically, for I have to run to catch the next session.