I reached the finish line Monday just before midnight, following 6 long days of meetings in Atlanta, Georgia. The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL) had their annual meetings back-to-back at adjacent hotels downtown. I spent about 12 hours each day listening to scholars present papers reflecting their latest research, meeting with potential PhD supervisors from the five schools to which I've applied, and meeting friends new and old. My roommates and I stayed up late into the night talking and woke up early each morning to get ready for a new day. It was mentally intense, but emotionally exhilarating.
Imagine you are visiting the baseball hall of fame and you discover, much to your surprise, that all of the baseball greats who are still alive are gathered there. As you walk the halls your jaw drops when you see the name tags of all your favorite players, just inches away. You have complete freedom to mingle with them, and if you're brave enough you can strike up a conversation. That's what ETS and SBL are like for a young biblical scholar. I was surrounded by the men and women who had shaped my thinking in so many ways, and had shaped the thinking of my professors, and now I was seeing them face to face. James Kugel. Karen Jobes. Daniel Block. Richard Hays. Frank Theilman. Alan Culpepper. Joel Green. Patrick Miller. Thomas Schreiner. Marianne Meye Thompson. Seyoon Kim. Peter Martens. John Goldingay. Eugene Merrill. Erhard Gerstenberger. J. Ross Wagner. Andreas Kostenberger. Rikk Watts. Craig Keener. Grant Osborne. Walt Kaiser. Paul House. Jeff Tigay. Sandra Richter. Bernard Levinson. David Pao. John Oswalt. (Eliana is watching me type and she says you get the idea...) It felt like a living bibliography.
There's no way to capture even just an overview of what I learned in my blog, but I'm hoping to tell you about a few of the things that stood out to me during my six days. So stay tuned...!