Monday, 20 November 2017

Lonergan and Bible at the American Academy of Religion

I am sitting in Boston's Logan Airport as I write this, returning from a fun but--as always--exhausting weekend at the concurrent Annual Meetings of Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion (AKA, SBLAAR). For myself, the highlight of this weekend was a meeting that took place on Sunday night, when a number of us gathered to discuss the possibility of starting a Lonergan and Bible group at SBLAAR. Some highlights from this discussion.

1) It was agreed that there is more than enough will on both the side of Lonergan studies and that of biblical to sustain such a group.
2) It was agreed that such a group needs to operate from the centre (to use a quintessentially Lonergan phrase). That is to say, there are two "movements" here, that will meet in this group: Lonergan scholars with an interest in biblical studies, and biblical scholars with an interest in Lonergan.
3) It was agreed that this operation from the centre can help meet the larger need of bringing together conscientious thought and work in systematic theology with conscientious thought and work in biblical studies.
4) It was agreed that although the initial idea was that this group would function under the auspices of SBL, our aims would be better met if it functioned under the auspices of AAR.
5) It was agreed that we will aim to hold our initial session(s) at the SBLAAR Annual Meeting in Nov. 2018, with the recognition that if this cannot be achieved we can aim for 2019.

As indicated by especially #5, there remains much work to be done. In particular, what we need at this point are persons who are willing to serve on the steering committee. Volunteers for such service would be appreciated. In addition, a long-standing need was identified, namely that of identifying and recruiting persons who 1) have primary expertise in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, and 2) are interested in Lonergan. Due to the pioneering work of the Lonerganian New Testament scholar Ben Meyer there is a readily identifiable body of NT scholars interested in Lonergan, but little comparable among HB/OT scholars. Another need identified by the group was that of gender and ethnic inclusivity, as homogeneity is hardly a virtue.

Thanks to Dave de la Fuente, John Martens, and Jordan Ryan for attending the meeting last night. Thanks also to Michael Barber, John Dadosky, Darren Dias, Robert Doran, Bill Heroman, James McGrath, and Jeff Peterson, all of whom expressed an interest in attending but were unable to do so due to other commitments. (If I've failed to mention any others who conveyed their regrets, my apologies). A special mention needs to go to Jeff Peterson, who got this whole ball rolling by suggesting that we think about starting a Lonergan and New Testament group (which quickly evolved into Lonergan and Bible) at the SBL in the first place.

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