ETS and SBL: Which Sessions Will Be Awesome?


The ETS and SBL conferences are upon us!  I am fairly excited for both conferences this year.  I mean seeing good friends, making new ones, and eating American food are always wins in my book.  Add to that some solid sessions and papers at both conferences and we've got ourselves a good 'ol fashioned shindig. I've laid out below the highlights for me this year.  I am sure that some of them overlap and some of them differ from yours — that's the beauty of having gigantic annual conferences!  Feel free to share your highlights in the comments section; I'd love to see what others are attending and whether I've missed anything important!


  • Tuesday, 19 November
    • 8:30-11:40
      • Five Views on Inerrancy
        • Now, hear me out on this one.  Seriously, what could be better than a session that has a paper by Al Mohler titled "Classic Inerrancy is Necessary for Evangelical Integrity" and an immediately following paper by Peter Enns titled "Abandoning Inerrancy is Necessary for Evangelical Integrity"?  Probably bringing popcorn to this one.  Also, there are other great scholars in this session: Mike Bird, Kevin Vanhoozer, and John Franke.  I am looking forward to hearing what Mike Bird has to say on the matter; his paper, titled "Inerrancy is Not Necessary for Evangelicalism Outside the USA," should be interesting and probably something most conservative evangelical Americans ought to hear.
    • 2:00-5:10
      • Applied Linguistics and Biblical Languages
        • In my mind, this session may be the most important one of both conferences.  Brian Schultz on "The Need for, and Challenges of, Undergraduate Biblical Language BA Programs," Randall Buth on "A Pinnacle Program: What the Church Needs for Biblical Language Training," and a panel discussion with Craig Blomberg and William Mounce on "Biblical Languages and the Church."  Teaching the biblical languages both in academics and for the Church is why I got into this PhD in the first place.  Cannot wait for this session.
  • Wednesday, 20 November
    • 8:30-11:40
      • New Testament Greek and Exegesis: Understanding the Function of the Greek Article
        • This will be an interesting session.  You have Ronald Peters presenting on "A Discourse/Functional Approach to the Greek Article" and Steve Runge on "The Greek Article: A Cognitive-Functional Approach."  Both of these should be great papers.  I do not know Ronald Peters or his work, but his title sounds promising.  Steve is a good friend and fantastic scholar — his paper is one you don't want to miss!
        • There is also a paper by Denny Burk on "The Genuine Article: A Grammatical Paper You Have to Hear in Person (Don't wait for the movie)" and a panel discussion with the three presenters and Daniel Wallace serving as moderator.  This should be interesting.  I interacted some with Burk's research on the article back during my Master's work and was not convinced by his arguments.  He and Wallace are, or at least were, fairly close in their description of the function of the article, so it will be interesting to see how the panel discussion goes.
    • 3:00
      • From 3:00-3:40, John Walton will present on "Genesis 1 through Ancient Eyes."  Walton is magnificent at what he does, challenging us to consider more seriously and more rigorously the ancient context in which the Old Testament was written.


  • Friday, 22 November
    • 1:00-4:30
      • Principles and Strategies for Analyzing NT Greek Discourse: An Introductory Workshop.
        • Led by Steve Runge, this is sure to be both a fantastic and informative workshop.  If you are interesting in Greek discourse grammar, this will be the best place to be introduced to it.  Here's a snippet from the description: "It offers an accessible overview of foundational concepts and does not require a specialized knowledge of linguistics.  The instructors lead sessions describing linguistic devices used for structuring or organizing a discourse.  This knowledge is then applied to exegesis of select NT passages."
  • Saturday, 23 November
    • 9:00-11:30
      • Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics: The 'Perfect' Storm
        • In this session, we will hear from the three "big names" in Greek aspect scholarship: Porter, Fanning, Campbell.  They will all be discussion their takes on the Greek Perfect.  Honestly, I am not convinced that this will be all that productive of a session.  These are the same voices we've been hearing for years, and I doubt they have anything new to say.  However, this does provide the opportunity to hear their arguments all at one time in one place, and I am hopeful that the Q&A will be good.
        • Unfortunately, because of a scheduling conflict, I will not be able to make it to this session  :(  Someone take notes?
      • Also during this time, in the IOSCS session, Ben Johnson is giving a paper that caught my eye: "Narrative Sensitivity and the Use of Verb Tense in 1 Reigns 17:34-37."  WHAT?!  This has the potential to be so exciting (at least to discourse linguistics Septuagintalist nerds such as myself).
    • 1:00-3:30
      • Biblical Lexicography: Issues in Biblical Lexicography and Semantics I
        • The whole session looks interesting, but at 2:30, my buddy Daniel Rodriguez will present on "אחר: A Cognitive Lexicographic Account."  Daniel is a sharp guy, and he gives good papers.  Even if you're not interesting in the topic itself, he's got a pretty solid linguistic framework for doing semantics.
    • 7:00-10:00
      • Craft Beer Reception at Christ Lutheran Church
        • Need I say more?
  • Sunday, 24 November
    • 1:00-3:30
      • Too much is going on in this slot.  There is a session on the Book of the Twelve Prophets: Textual Growth and the Book of the Twelve as well as an IOSCS session reviewing J. Ross Wagner's Reading the Sealed Book: Old Greek Isaiah and the Problem of Septuagint Hermeneutics.
      • For the Book of the Twelve session, I will definitely attend the first paper by Felix Albrecht ("Verbum Domini: The Septuagint Minor Prophets, Their Text, and Transmission").  Felix has been working on updating the Göttingen edition of the Minor Prophets, so this is a musn't miss for me.
      • The review session will be my next stop.  Wagner is a solid scholar and I really want to know what his new book is about!
    • 4:00-6:30
      • Two sessions going on at this time:
        • First up is the Blogger and Online Publication: Student Blogging and Students in the Digital Age.  Brian LePort and Joel Watts are both presenting in this session, so that's just fun.  (Joel Watts may win best paper title of the conference: "Giving Your Students to Molech's Fire May Be Permitted.")
        • Unfortunately for me, the Blogger session is happening at the same time as Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew, so I'm not sure if I'll only go to one or try to hit both.  The Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew session looks fantastic, with folks like Phillip Marshall (my old prof!), Adina Moshavi, and Christo van der Merwe.
  • Monday, 25 November
    • 9:00-11:30
      • Applied Linguistics for Biblical Languages: Evaluating Techniques for Language Teaching
      • Potentially good stuff here.  Especially interested in the last paper by Helene Dallaire "Words, Words, Words: What Does it Mean to 'Learn' Vocabulary in a Biblical Language?"
    • 7:00-9:00pm
      • Bibliobloggers Gathering!  I guess this is technically my third blog post, so I am not sure if I really qualify as a Biblioblogger yet.  However, I will gladly go represent the other Kris and Old School Script  :)
  • Tuesday, 26 November
    • 9:00-11:30
      • Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics: The Greek Perfect Tense
        • I may not be able to attend "The 'Perfect' Storm," but I think this session will be even better.  All the papers look interesting, especially the last two: Francis Pang, "Perfectivity and Telicity in Koine Greek: Towards a Better Understanding of the Compositional Process of Greek Aktiosart" and Steve Runge, "The Perfect, Markedness, and Grounding."  Trust me, you want to hear what Steve has to say.

So, that's all what I am most excited about this time around.  How about you?