Tuesday, November 26, 2013

SBL/AAR Wrapup

One of the takeaways from this year's Biblioblogging panel at SBL is that I tend to over-think my blog posts, so I'm going to jump right in.

Overall, the weekend was a success. I had a promising interview for a job that really suits my skill-set and interdisciplinary tendencies (not to mention geographical preferences). My presentation, "Academic Busking: A New Paradigm for Distance Learning and Online Content Creation," was well received, and meshed much better than I expected it to into the lively discussion of academic blogs, self-branding, and content creation that ensued in the Blogging and Online Publications session.

I attended a number of interesting panels, especially in the Esotericism and Mysticism, Wisdom and Apocalyptic, and Pseudepigrapha groups, including a review session for Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 1, edited by Jim Davila, Richard Bauckham, and Alexander Panayotov. (This marked the first time that I've been in the same room with the real John J. Collins, but no tears in the space-time continuum have been reported...) The question of the appropriateness of perpetuating the term "Old Testament pseudepigrapha" for a rather heterogenous, polyphyletic body of works came under discussion. The only real defense anybody had was "what else are we supposed to call them?" I can say that from the perspective of the job market, it would be nice to have a catch-all term for what I do that doesn't require scare quotes, so if anybody comes up with an answer, let me know.

The most important part of the conference was getting to meet people, some new, some I'd only known electronically. I am not at my best in crowds full of unfamiliar faces, but hopefully I've now established enough of a foundation that I can overcome the Yoghurt Paradox in the future.¹ I appreciate everyone being so welcoming when I suspect I spent much of the weekend looking like a frightened mammal.

¹ "The Yoghurt Paradox" is my term for the difficulty of meeting new people if you don't already know people, much as you must already have a yoghurt starter to make yoghurt, or, according to m. Avot 5:6, you need tongs in order to forge tongs.²

² And yes, another thing that came up in the Blogging panel is that footnotes aren't really appropriate to blogging as a genre, but some things I can't give up!

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