SBL Atlanta 2015

Just returned from SBL, Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting. I attended S23-145 Synoptic Gospels section where David Burnett from Criswell College presented his paper called: The Sword and the Servant: Reframing the function of the “two swords” of Luke 22:35-38 in Narrative Context. I was happy to see that he identified an ABCB’A’ chiastic structure. (though it wasn’t exact, he is on the right track!) During Q&A, another scholar asked him if he had noticed if a chiasm followed the sword part that he was talking about in Luke. He said that he hadn’t yet. I had the opportunity to respond that Luke’s entire gospel is composed in that way and gave a few details about the parable blueprint. There seemed to be at least some interest in my comment. Hopefully I will hear from some who attended that session.

It’s been a bit of a struggle over the years to gain scholarly interest in this important work. For example, I met with Jack Welch of BYU yesterday, also at SBL, who has the
Chiasmus Resources website, and he was not overly receptive to my work. He encouraged me not try to force the structure to be in the whole Bible. I’ve heard that before from other scholars over the years as well. Though many years of serious work has gone into this project, he was willing to practically dismiss it in a few short minutes...

Thomas Brodie, another scholar, whom I met 10 years ago at an SBL annual meeting in PA, who when he stated at that time that he was looking for a unilateral pattern in the scriptures (not his words, but something like that) during his paper, and when I responded about the parable, he didn’t even want to know more. It would have been nice to have his interest and potential collaboration with the work. I did contact him many years later too, hoping to collaborate. I also called many other scholars. Doors just weren’t opening. That’s when I decided to tackle the project entirely on my own. It has been a lot of hard work, but it is a special pleasure to see these parables for the first time that have been hidden for generations.

I’ve also called and sent many emails to scholars in the past couple years to introduce the project but I have not seen real interest yet. The main opposition I hear is that they do not believe there could be an overriding pattern throughout the entire Bible. This is what they have been taught over the years. They are wrong, however.

About four years ago I was in Darrell Bock’s office at DTS, and he responded with something like “how could I see something that scholars haven’t?” This is the kind of response that I have been dealing with.

By the way, I have proposed to give a couple SBL papers in the past, but I have not been chosen. Also, I gave a book proposal for my next book that I am really excited about, and the response was that “it’s not a good fit for SBL.” Not sure if I want to attend another SBL in the future...