Saturday, March 29, 2008

More from the MAR-SBL 2008

The quality of the papers at the conference this year was high, surpassing previous years, several folks have commented. One excellent paper that I heard was by a Ph.D. student at PTS, Sarah Zhang, who is writing a dissertation on the Song of Songs, working with my friend Chip Dobbs-Allsopp. As part of her talk, she shared this image, a 1949 painting by Salvador Dali entitled, The Madonna of Port Lligat:

click to enlarge

Sarah understands the painting to connect with the Song of Songs in several ways. The gaps in the bodies of Mary and Jesus create a continuity between them and their natural surroundings, similar to how in reading Canticles we look "through" the lovers' bodies to see eyes as doves and hair as a flock of goats, etc. Soo too, Dali was highly inspired in his work on this painting both by his love for the female model in it and his love of the natural locale that he depicts. In a parallel way, canticles upholds and supports romantic love and love of nature as interrelated, twin portals to a hightened spirituality.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blogging From New Brunswick MAR-SBL

The conference is turning out to be a great success. The sessions I went to today had people overflowing out into the hall ways. I spent the morning staffing registration, then had a wonderful lunch with our plenary speaker, Dr. Choon-Leong Seow, along with Judy Fentress-Williams, and Jeremy Schipper. After lunch, went to two great sessions, and then we had our plenary, a lecture in slides by Dr. Seow on "Job's Wife in the History of Consequences." What a model plenary talk: lots of great humor and it sure showed how stubborn scholarly persistence pays off in striking results. One of the best aspects of the talk was Seow's demonstration that interpreter's have often misread art to depict Job's wife negatively. Take this painting from the 1630s by La Tour for example:

La Tour

Before interpreters discovered its true subject matter was Job's wife, they saw the woman as a beautiful and comforting angel. When it was revealed that she was actually Job's wife, the woman was seen as a harsh antagonist of Job!

So too, in the case of Job's wife by Durer, all the world-class scholars of art that Dr. Seow contacted described the painting to depict the woman in negative terms. Isn't she clearly pouring water on Job to comfort him, cleansing him of puss and worms? Dr. Seow gave several strong arguments for a positive interpretation of Durer's painting of the wife, but I can't steal his thunder here. You'll have to buy the book when it comes out!

A. Durer 1505

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Off to the Regional SBL today...


This afternoon I leave by train for New Brunswick for our Regional SBL meetings. I hope to do some posting from there to report out on the progress of the conference. Hope to see some of you there!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter 2008

Here's a Cook family portrait on Easter Sunday 2008 (click to enlarge):

Click Me!

And a photo of Rebecca receiving communion from our friend Vance Johnson at the Easter Eucharist this morning:

Easter 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This Silly Dog Has Got the Beat

Nothing to do with biblical studies, but can't resist posting this rapping basset video sent to us by our friend Jim M.:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Sermon Today on Ezekiel 37

Right-Click to Download Audio File

Warm thanks to my friend Susan Shillinglaw for creating this MP-3 audio file of my sermon on Ezekiel 37 today at the weekly VTS all-community eucharist. The sermon is 12 minutes long, and the file is about 5 MB in size, so a broad-band internet connection is recommended. To download, click on the image above, or right click here and choose "save as."