For graduate students in biblical studies, presenting at the national Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) meeting is a rite of passage. I have just submitted my first proposal. Needless to say, I am nervous!
The SBL meeting every November is actually part of a smorgasbord of people who study religion. The SBL meets concurrently with the American Academy of Religion, the premier organization for those who study religion: Buddhist Studies, Islamic Studies, sociology of religion, etc. These two Goliaths established, an army of smaller organizations swarm in at the same time, with much more specific titles like the “Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies” and the “International Qur’anic Studies Association.”
And even within the SBL there is a HUGE range of different types of scholars: historians, social-scientists, literary scholars, theologians, archaeologists, postcolonial interpreters…. the list goes on. This is my favorite part of biblical studies. We are defined by subject, not method, so the number of perspectives on anything is quite vast.
My proposal is called “Jesus in the Garden Temple: Intertextuality and Visual Exegesis of the Song of Songs in The Saint John’s Bible.” I look at the Song of Songs in this Bible; show how its illuminations create connections between the Song, symbolism of Solomon’s Temple, and Jesus in the Gospels; and then speculate on what those connections mean.
As readers of this blog well know I have been working on this particular work of biblical art for some time now. I am very excited to spread the word about this project to other scholars looking at the intersection of the Bible and art. This paper is a spinoff from my book project, looking at the intersection of intertextuality and theology in The Saint John’s Bible.
I should hear back by early April to see if I got in. If I succeed then I will share more information here.