BYU New Testament Commentary Conference

If you are in Provo on July 31st:

Love Never Fails: The Latter-day Saint Affinity towards 1 Corinthians

We are pleased to announce the Third Annual BYU New Testament Commentary Conference will be held on Friday, July 31, 2015, 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in the Hinckley Alumni Center at BYU. This conference is free and open to the public.

We are celebrating the upcoming publication of the newest e-book in the New Testament Commentary Series, which is Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, by Richard D. Draper and Michael D. Rhodes. Everyone who attends the conference may register for a free copy of this e-book.

First Corinthians has long held a prominent place in LDS thought, culture, and practice. It is the source of the Relief Society motto, Charity Never Faileth; and Paul’s discourse on the gifts of the spirit stands behind Article of Faith 7.

Richard D. Draper and Michael D. Rhodes will lead a panel discussion about their commentary on 1 Corinthians as well as respond to questions from the audience.

Morning Session

9:00        John W. Welch, Brigham Young University, editor in chief of BYU Studies and Professor of Law, Welcome and Introductions, and “Visiting the Ruins of Corinth Today”

9:35        Kevin L. Barney, Chicago, lawyer in public finance law and a scholar of Mormon history and scripture, “The Joseph Smith Translation of 1 Corinthians: Towards an Eclectic Approach”

10:25     Break

10:40     Craig L. Blomberg, “A Celestial Commentary on 1 Corinthians”

11:30     Avram R. Shannon, Ohio State University, “The Term ‘Apostle’: Issues in Using Jewish Sources in New Testament Studies”

11:50     Lunch Break: We recommend the buffet at the Cannon Center at Helaman Halls or the food court at the Wilkinson Center, or you may bring a brown bag lunch to eat on the west patio at the Hinckley Center.

Afternoon Session

1:00        Julie M. Smith, Texas,  “Portraits of Jesus: Christology in the Gospel of Mark and 1 Corinthians”

1:45        David L. Paulsen, BYU, Professor of Philosophy, “Theological Underpinnings of Baptism for the Dead”

2:25        Break

2:40        T. Benjamin Spackman, California, “Christian Accommodation at Corinth”

3:00        Michael D. Rhodes, Translator, Professor of Ancient Scripture, BYU, “Remarks and Responses: Behind the Scenes of this New Commentary”

3:30        Richard D. Draper, Commentator, Professor of Ancient Scripture, BYU, “Remarks and Responses: Latter-day Saint Affinities towards 1 Corinthians”

4:00        Conclude

Parking: No one attending the conference may park in the few reserved spots available directly across from (east of) the Hinckley Center. Please park at the Museum of Art visitor lot (open during construction), or in Lot 48, which is just under the south scoreboard of the stadium, and a short walk from the Hinckley Center. If you have a handicap hangtag, you may park in the “A” lot across from the Hinckley Center, but not in the reserved spots.


20 comments for “BYU New Testament Commentary Conference

  1. Terry H
    July 20, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    I could be there Saturday. What’s with the Friday? C’mon, Julie. You’re on the Board. Fix this problem. Having said that, I’m looking forward to it.

  2. July 20, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    looks interesting. i will actually be in town that weekend, will try to make it.

  3. Ben S
    July 20, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Featuring two t&s bloggers and one from bcc, no less.

  4. July 20, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Yes, very well done all around. Looking forward to some kind of post giving an update on the project.

  5. Geoff - Aus
    July 21, 2015 at 1:53 am

    The church I go to doesn’t do anything that is not in the manual. I would love to have access to such things.

    Julie I was recently in Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome and the guide talked about the religion of the time and I had the impression that they worshipped many Gods including worshiping sex. Is this your understanding? I thought of it in relation to the scriptures quoted against homosexuality, actually referring to heterosexual people worshiping sex, as seen from the view of a Jewish person.

    Thoughts some time

  6. Julie M. Smith
    July 21, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Geoff, it is definitely the case that most were polytheistic. I don’t think “worshipping sex” is the right formulation, but there is sometimes a ritualistic sexual element to some ancient worship.

  7. July 21, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Not to be a stickler for credentials, but does anyone else find it strange that there are no LDS participants with an actual PhD in New Testament or Early Christianity participating? By no means do I wish to denigrate the contributions of Ben, Julie, or Kevin, but I’m sure that there must be some trained LDS New Testament scholars around who could participate as well.

  8. Terry H
    July 21, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Geoff, all of the volumes are available in e-book format. I don’t recommend the DB Bookshelf, but perhaps its better on something other than a smartphone. They are all around $13.00 each (slightly less). The Testimony of Luke was just published in hardcover. The binding is very similar to those in the Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature series published by DeGruyter. It is excellent, and at $29.99, its about one third or one fourth of the cost of a similar effort. THAT DOESN’T MEAN ITS ONLY ONE THIRD TO ONE FOURTH AS GOOD EITHER. BYU Studies finally published it on its own. I’m not sure if they were looking to associate with another publisher or not. Julie, can you shed some light on that? I’ve got some comments on the Revelation volume in preparation but I’m liking it more than those in the recent Maxwell Institute issue of Studies in the Bible and Antiquity, where there was a lot of constructive criticism (some of it deserved). I can’t recommend these highly enough to Latter Day Saints, though. They are well above anything we’ve had available to us before. I await each volume anxiously. For me, its also important to note that these volumes may be replaced (or supplemented) in the series by future efforts, just like in the Anchor Bible series. (Please can David Seely finish his Deuteronomy volume and Ron Hendel get out the Genesis). We just got the new Craig Koester Revelation to replace the less-than-stellar J.M. Ford volume as an example of what I’m talking about.

    I’m sorry I’m going to miss this (having unavoidable work that day) because I admire the heck out of the work of nearly everyone on the panel. Kevin, Julie, David, and Ben all have inspired me to study the scriptures more and all have provided tools I’ve been using for years. I’m particularly anxious to see what Blomberg has to say about it as a non-LDS biblical scholar.

  9. Mogget
    July 21, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Huh. Not even the BYU faculty with NT/EC creds.

  10. Anon
    July 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    FWIW, the electronic editions are initial releases, and the print volumes are likely to differ, even significantly at times. I don’t know if revised electronic editions will be available.

    John and Mogget- None of the work on this counts towards tenure; it’s not an “outside” publication. Espencially for those still working on professional advancement, it’s a major project and time-consumer, but with little to no pay-off. Why get involved, then?

  11. Mogget
    July 21, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Hm. Don’t know that I’ve seen this sort of a publishing process in academia before. And I don’t think Draper presented it that way at the SBL, either. Is this is a new idea? Does anyone know when it was it first publicly sold with that caveat, in such a way that potential buyers knew they were getting a work in progress? Is there something on the Amazon page, perhaps?

    Also a bit surprised to see that what one might expect to be a significant and valuable bit of work won’t count for tenure. Regardless of who published it, it certainly could be done with the sort of polish and sophistication typical of work that is favorably judged for tenure, I would think. In that case, a tenure review committee that refused it would seem rather arbitrary.

    Finally, I do think that there are folks at BYU w/ the creds who are already past the continuing status review–as I recall, some of them spoke last year. And, perhaps we should distinguish between composing a volume and commenting on a section of someone else’ work. The former is indeed a significant undertaking but the latter is common to the academic world and requires far less investment.

    Still a bit surprised to see no one with NT/EC creds from the institution whose name the series bears. Have to check and see if the LDS exegetes outside of BYU were invited, too. You would think that somebody would be available, no?

  12. July 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Looks really excellent!

  13. Daniel O. McClellan
    July 21, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Well, one person who supervises the Church’s Bible translations was invited but later disinvited to make room for out-of-town invitees.

    Bible translation is a separate discipline from NT studies, too. This has largely been overlooked in this project, but there are also very few specialists in the Church.

  14. Terry H
    July 21, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    One thing I’ve also noticed. Why are Rhodes and Draper doing three different volumes. (Revelations, 1 Corinthians and Hebrews). Come to think of it, maybe its four if they’re doing 2 Corinthians too. While its not completely uncommon (think of Craig Koester doing Hebrews AND Revelations for the Anchor Bible), its unusual for them to be completed so quickly. Koester took 13 years between each.

    Mogget & Daniel O. McClellan. When we talk about invitations, are we talking about presenting at the Conference or are we talking about volumes of the Commentary itself?

  15. Daniel O. McClellan
    July 21, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    I’m talking about presenting at the conference. From what I recall, the people contributing to the commentaries have been in collaboration for years, although now things are being shuffled a bit. Regarding the time to completion, it’s been pointed out by other reviewers that the commentaries so far have been pretty haphazardly constructed. Members of the Church seem to require far less methodological precision and care than readers of Anchor Bible or Hermeneia commentaries.

  16. Mogget
    July 21, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Presenting. Just a bit unusual, perhaps, to see so little support among the folks w/ the creds and experience for what is supposed to be right up their alleys, so to speak.

  17. R. D. Draper
    July 22, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Just an FYI, The BYU NT Committee first met in 1999 and, after receiving permission in 2000 to do the project, assigned responsibility for each of the volumes. Work has been moving along since then with those responsible collecting material, researching items, and preparing to produce the volumes. The point is that we have been at this for fifteen years and, therefore, though it may look like we are producing the volumes rather quickly, there have been years of research behind them.
    R. Draper

  18. Mogget
    July 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Word has it that some folks who worked on these commentaries as grad students at BYU, and who are now PhDs with teaching positions at various universities, are no longer part of the project. Wouldn’t they have been among the more logical choices for speakers at this conference? And are there plans to acknowledge their contributions even though they are no longer part of the project?

  19. g.wesley
    July 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    fwiw, my take on this is:

    the byu ntc should just be called something else, for various reasons, and there would be less to disagree about if it weren’t (asserting to be) so semi-official.

    in the church in general there needs to be (room for) more critical engagement with mainstream biblical scholarship.

  20. Terry H
    July 23, 2015 at 12:31 am

    G. Wesley. In my opinion, these are first steps towards exactly the “more critical engagement with mainstream biblical scholarship” you’re talking about. I like the fact that BYU’s name is on it. That doesn’t make it more or less official to me, but I am a bit of a maverick at times (especially when it comes to scholarship).

    R. Draper. Thanks for that important clarification.

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