My (Online) 2020 Conference Activity

It has been a busy autumn season for numerous reasons and I am sure I’m not the only one feeling the drag at this point. Those in the biblical studies world will know all too well at this point that the usual hustle and bustle of the annual conference scene has transformed into a tidal wave of email, recording, uploading, and various other digital logistics. Everything is online. Without saying more about my personal reflections on this state of affairs, I will simply list my activity in the various societies’ online events over the next few weeks.


Way back in the misty past, when 2020 was not yet 2020, I posted about the open call for papers at this year’s Septuagint Studies section at ETS. Normally we would have two sessions, but because everything is chaos this year, we are actually hosting only one session, with just two papers, which include:

Todd R. Chipman (MBTS)
Why did God make Moses feel like a Failure? Linguistics and LXX Narrative

Raymond M. Johnson (Christ Church West Chester)
From Rigor Mortis to Resurrection: Matthean Dependence on Ezekiel 37:12-14 in Matthew 27:51-54

If you are part of ETS, you will know that ETS is “meeting” online. If you want to “participate,” you will need to register for the conference, watch the (pre-recorded) videos of the presentations in advance, then “show up” for the discussion section. That will be held live as a Zoom Webinar (moderated by yours truly) this Friday at 8:30AM EST.


The Institute for Biblical Research is a subsidiary group that meets as a prelude of sorts to the SBL conference. For two years now I have served as co-chair of the IBR Linguistics and the Biblical Text research group.  A while back, I posted about our session for this year (here and here), which has topic and focus at the center of attention (lots of good puns to be cracked this year). This session too is going to be online, but it will be live on 10 December at 1:00PM EST.

  • David J. Fuller, McMaster Divinity College
    Cohesion as a Criterion for the Pragmatics of Biblical Hebrew Word Order: A New Proposal (20 min)
  • Kevin Grasso, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Respondent (15 min)
  • Discussion (15 min)
  • Aaron Michael Jensen, South African Theological Seminary
    Fronted Adjuncts and What They Teach Us about Information Structure (20 min)
  • Travis Wright, University of Cambridge, Respondent (15 min)

To join us, you will have to register, but it’s important to know that this is a heavily discussion-based group. We have a group Wiki page with the papers posted already. I’ll be moderating this session as well, with the aim being to foster good, thorough discussion of the papers.


Most years at SBL I spend the majority of my time at the sessions of the IOSCS, which is probably no surprise. But I’m also involved in a few other sessions that have parallels to my research. One of those is the Cognitive Linguistics group, where I’ve presented a few times before. Another is Biblical Lexicography. Although this will be my first year presenting in this session, as of last year I am part of the steering committee. This session will be live online on 8 December at 1:00PM EST.

My paper is entitled “Too Practical? Early Modern Septuagint Lexicography and Its Effects.” I’ll be focusing on some of the early history of biblical reference works and how they’ve informed our current ones (for better or worse).


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