The 352nd Meeting of the Chicago Society of Biblical Research

The 352nd  meeting of the CSBR (Chicago Society of Biblical Research) was held at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. The meeting, in particular, was to honor the scholarship of Professor Hans Dieter Betz. Two scholars who are former students of Dr. Betz offered their tributes to Dr. Betz: Clare K. Rothschild and Margaret M. Mitchell.

Meeting of Chicago Society of Biblical Research

In the session, three papers were presented, and the followings are the abstracts: 

1. Revisiting the Judicial Species of Rhetoric for Galatians by Troy Martin (Xavier University)

 The primary purpose of this paper is to evaluate an old suggestion by Cornelius a Lapide and Heinrich August Schott about the syntax of Galatians 1:6-7 that supports Hans Dieter Betz’s association of Galatians with forensic rhetoric. Rather than connecting εἰ μή in verse 7 to the preceding relative clauses as do all other commentators, they connect these two words to Θαυμάζω in verse 6. According to them, εἰ μή introduces a protasis for an apodosis that begins with Θαυμάζω. The resulting syntax indicates that Paul adopts the rehtorical strategy of “shifting of blame” in this attempt to persuade the Galatians to return to his gospel. Since shifting of blame is a recognized strategy in forensic rhetoric, their explanation of the syntax of Galatians 1:6-7 makes this part of the forensic species of rhetoric useful for understanding one aspect of Paul’s rhetorical strategy in Galatians.

2. The Depictions of Paul and Other Jews as Present and Former Persecutors in the Acts of the Apostles by James Kelhoffer (St. Louis University)

This paper examines persecution as a basis for legitimacy in the Acts of the Apostles. In particular it considers Luke’s negative depictions of Jews as persecutors and Luke’s characterization of Paul as the persecuted former persecutor.

3. The Cultic Status of the Levites in the Tmeple Scroll: Between hermenutics and History by Jeffrey Stackert (University of Chicago)

The complex views of Levitical cultic status in the Pentateuch continued to develop in Second Temple Jewish Literature. In several texts (e.g., Chronicles, the Testament of Levi, Aramaic Levi, Jubilees), the status of the Levites vis-à-vis the priests changes and even improves relative to their rank in pentateuchal Priestly literature. Perhaps no Second Temple text, however, is more noteworthy on the question of the relative status of priests and Levites than the Temple Scroll. By both mediating between biblical Priestly and Deuteronomic perspectives and innovating beyond them, this text introduces cultic privileges for the Levites unattested in other Second Temple literature. In this paper, I will attempt to explain the Temple Scroll authors’ exegetical engagement with their biblical sources as a basis for their novel presentation of Levitical cultuc rights. I will also consider the historical conditions that facilitate the legal innovations that the Temple Scroll introduces with regard to Levitical cultic status.

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