Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Departure from SBL

Took one final walk into the French Quarter before heading to the New Orleans airport. Here is a photo in front of the St. Louis Cathedral, taken just after lunch today:

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday at the SBL

The meetings here in New Orleans continue to go strong. We did take a break to have some nice receptions last night. Here's a snapshot from the Yale reception:

From left to right we have: Carol Bechtel, Stephen Chapman, Mark Smith, Myself, and Jim Watts.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday at SBL

My second paper went well today, with about 70 in attendance in the Exile / Forced Migrations Consultation.

Also today I attended a Social Sciences section and a session reviewing Marvin Sweeney's new book, Reading the Hebrew Bible after the Shoah [Holocaust]. Here is a snapshot of that panel:

From right to left we have: Dennis Olson, Walter Brueggemann, Frederick Greenspahn, Patricia K. Tull, and Marvin Sweeney.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday at the SBL

A busy, productive day today at SBL. Heard many fascinating talks, and my own session on the Levites was great. Well attended---fifty people were there for my talk.

In the exhibit hall I discovered how to get interactive biblical Greek and Hebrew on my iPhone: Olive Tree Bible Software. I made the purchase...

To see their scholary original language texts, visit their site here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Arrival at SBL

Here is the view from my plane of Lake Pontchartrain as we landed in New Orleans today, 14 minutes early. Su, wife of my colleague John Yieh drove me and John to National airport. She even packed us bag lunches. Thanks Su! On our plane was Carolyn Sharp from Yale, who had a stop-over in DC.

My room here at the Sheraton is very nice:

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Fine Tea with Bishops of Tanzania

Here's a snapshot taken right after a lovely tea at my house with Bishop Jacob Chimeledya (center), my former VTS student, and immediately to his left, Bishop John Lupaa of the Rift Valley Diocese (he is the new Provincial Dean). Both are fine persons, and it was wonderful to converse with them in my home. As you can see, Rebecca also got a chance to meet them! I want to thank my current student Narcis Sebikwekwe (immediately to my left) for making all the arrangements.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The "Public" Nature of Circumcision

My Old Testament Interpretation students got to talking the other day about the role of circumcision as a "sign" of inclusion in God's covenant with Abraham. Two students emailed with cross-cultural illustrations of the public visibility of circumcision in some places around the globe even today. These students wondered whether biblical circumcision was a more communal and public phenomenon than most of us today might tend to imagine. As always, comments are welcome.

Alice R. emailed this picture from Islamic Turkey:

She comments, "When I was in Turkey I saw young boys dressed up in costume. I found out that this was part of their circumcision ritual. The boys I saw were about 12, but apparently this is done between the ages of 4 and 12."

Another student, Ben, emailed some of his experience of circumcision in one nook of the Island of Madagascar (specifically, Andrombovato, which is made up of a diverse population---a melting pot or fruit salad of traditions). Ben writes, "The ceremony took place at the local charasmatic church (I do not know of it being associated with any particular larger church), and throughout the night there were drums, singing, praying, and dancing (we could hear the whole thing from our house down the hill). I do not recall if it was a minister or a doctor that performed the circumcision. As the morning broke, the boys ( I think only 2 or 3 were circumcised) were taken throughout the village and dressed in dresses and the fathers would show that their sons had been circumcised by raising the dresses as they approached people in the village. The whole event was very much a public event and the young boys seemed to have reached a new role in the village (one of many rites of passage to come). Also it appeared that the young boys became more connected with their fathers than their mothers at that time."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

International Student Day at Our Seminary

I had goat for lunch, among other neat recipies from my students.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Now in Print: Feasting on the Word, Year C, Volume 1

I'm pleased to report the publication of three of my expository essays: “Genesis 45:3–11, 15, Exegetical Perspective,” “Isaiah 55:10–13, Exegetical Perspective,” and “1 Kings 8:22–23, 41–43, Exegetical Perspective,” in Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C, Volume 1 (ed. Barbara Brown Taylor and David L. Bartlett; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2009) 363–367, 387–391, and 411–415.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

In the News: A New Assyrian Tablet from Ziyaret Tepe in Turkey

Ziyaret Tepe appears to have been an important Assyrian outpost in Turkey from about 800 to 600 B.C.E. It has been identified as Tushan, a provincial Assyrian capital. In the news recently has been the find of an Akkadian tablet listing the names of 144 women who appear to have been agricultural workers employed by the palace. The names on the tablet are not Assyrian, and if the individuals are not from the non-Assyrian indigenous population they may represent workers brought in from different conquered areas. If this is the case, the tablet would then attest to the Assyrian practice of scattering and intermixing the populations of conquered areas as a strategy to subdue and pacify their empire.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Dr. Alan Tull, 1933 - 2009

One of my religion professors back at college in the early 1980s has died: Prof. Alan Tull. I remember very fondly the many deep discussions and lively arguments we had over the Greek New Testament in his big stone office within the towering Gothic college chapel. Alan always had plenty of time to tutor me, to argue with me, and of course, to try to shock me out of dogmatic slumber. Here is his obituary graciously forwarded to me by my NT colleague, Dr. Tony Lewis:

The Rev. Canon Dr. Alan Condie Tull
July 7, 1933 - November 4, 2009

Canon Alan Tull passed away peacefully November 4, 2009. He was born July 7, 1933 in Salt Lake City to Verna Condie and Alan Tull. He earned a BA with Distinction from Stanford University in 1955 and a Theological Doctorate from General Theological Seminary in 1968. Fr. Tull was ordained deacon by Bishop Watson, June 10, 1958 and priest on December 13, 1958.

Canon Tull served the church in many capacities. From 1958-1961 he was Vicar of St Paul's in Vernal; and priest in charge at Holy Spirit in Randlett, St. Elizabeth's in White Rocks and St. Timothy's in Rangeley, Colorado; 1961-1964 Tutor at General Seminary; 1964-1990 Chaplain and Professor at Trinity College. In 1990 he returned to Utah and served as Rector of St. Mary's in Provo until his retirement in 1997, after 51 years of service in various capacities including Canon Theologian to the Bishop of Utah.

Canon Tull was a firm believer in equal rights. He was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling. He was passionate about good food and good drink as any of his emails from his travels to his friends would confirm.

He is survived by his brother Darrell (Joe) (Gloria); nephew Kevin; niece Tiffany; 2 grand nieces; and 1 grand nephew. He was preceded in death by his parents.

A Requiem Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, November 14th at 11 a.m. at St. Mark's Cathedral, 231 East 100 South, Salt Lake City. A reception will follow in the Deans' Hall at the Cathedral.

Update: Dr. Gettier forwarded this obituary that was sent to the Trinity College Community:

A native of Utah, Dr. Tull attended Stanford University as an undergraduate and received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the General Theological Seminary in 1958. He served as a vicar in the Episcopal Missionary District in the state of Utah, and then returned to the General Theological Seminary as a fellow and tutor and as a candidate for the Th.D. degree. With his academic background in Patristics, Dr. Tull came to Trinity in 1964 as an instructor of religion and taught courses in church history and in ethics. He was officially named Chaplain in February 1965 and became Assistant Professor in 1968. He was the third Episcopal priest to be installed as Chaplain here after the post was created in 1946. (Prior to that the College President also served as Chaplain.) Dr. Tull served Trinity College for 25 years as Chaplain and 26 as a member of the Religion department. He retired from Trinity at the end of the spring semester in 1990. After leaving Trinity, Chaplain Tull went on to serve as Episcopal Chaplain at Brigham Young University and rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Provo, Utah. He was later named canon theologian for the Episcopal diocese of Utah.

Respected by his students as “a faithful priest, a fine scholar, and a friend and mentor,” Chaplain Tull is most vividly remembered for his activism during the civil rights and Vietnam eras. During his tenure, Chaplain Tull oversaw many projects in the Chapel—the organ, organ case and music gallery, addition of bells to the carillon, stained glass windows on the North Porch, memorial garden, sedilia, entryway, gates to the Friendship Chapel, and others. He was very sensitive to the integrity of the building. Upon his retirement from Trinity, in 1991 friends and colleagues of Tull commissioned a stonecarving in the Chapel in the likeness of Dr. Tull. Remembered with affection for his wit and sense of adventure in retirement, we are grateful today for this playful and lasting remembrance of our former Chaplain. A funeral is planned for Saturday, November 14th, at St Mark's Cathedral, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Claude Levi-Strauss 1908 - 2009

Claude Levi-Strauss, the famous French social anthropologist known for his approach of Structuralism, died over the weekend at the age of 100. I first heard lectures on Levi-Strauss in English courses during college in the mid 1980s, and subsequently realized his impact on biblical studies when I was a seminary and graduate student. I continue to find his work helpful for a critical understanding of the nature of mythology, and I still lecture on him briefly in my Old Testament Interpretation course when we cover contemporary literary approaches to the Bible. Levi-Strauss influenced generations of intellectuals with his ideas on culture.

For more obituary comment, click here.