Attending ETS / SBL / AAR Meetings
Willow Creek's Discipleship Problem: How to Fix the Seeker-driven Church

Tony Jones, N.T. Wright, Richard Bauckham, Scot McKnight, James K. A. Smith, Robert Bella and John Milbank - Audio from SBL and AAR

In the past, I have been enormously helped by people who recorded audio of various lectures and conferences and then kindly posted it on the web.  I have recorded a few of the sessions from the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR) annual meetings November 17-20, 2007 in San Diego.  See my previous post about attending the meetings.  There are literally thousands of lectures at the meetings but I thought I would give you a sample of the ones I attended.  At each time slot, there are about 30-40 choices to choose from.  Sometimes I bounce from one to another.  Other times I find someone to talk to and skip the sessions.  So some of the talks are not complete.  But I still thought I would post what my little MP3 player recorded and see if anyone was interested.

For the next couple of years, SBL and AAR will not meet together.  Some AAR people led this divorce but people in my circles are hopeful that after a couple of years people will reconsider.   Typically theologians, historians, practical theology, and people who study other religions than Christianity attend AAR.  Biblical studies people attend SBL.  But in the past these have occurred together so that many of us have enjoyed sessions from both. April 28, 2008 Update: the AAR has decide to begin meeting with SBL again when they are able to work out the logistics in a few years again.

Other places to find great audio: 

If you like audio, see my now outdated Best Audio for Church Leaders (Aug 2006) but still useful list of MP3's on the internet and my instructions about listening to podcasts in my also outdated post Best Podcasts for Church Leaders (Oct 2006)

Also Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) has this on their site:

As in previous years, ACTS, inc. will be recording all sessions at the conference. Online orders for these recordings may be placed on their web site at the following address:  The entire conference costs $149.00.

I do not think AAR and SBL record their sessions at all. 

If you dislike my low quality recordings, check out which has quite a good selection of Christian books on audio.  For example, you can download the unabridged 6 hour audiobook of Eugene Peterson's Eat This Book for $20.98.  (This is the book Duke Divinity School first year students were required to read this year).  That would be a very rich six hour car drive.  They also offer a free download each month.  This month (November) it is The Religious Affections (Unabridged) by Jonathan Edwards.  In December it is Dark Night of the Soul (Unabridged) by St. John of the Cross. 

Instructions for playing MP3's:

I have given you MP3's which play on any computer.  You just right click on it and click "Save Link As . . ." or "Save Target As . . ." and you can save it to your desktop (and it will be on your computer and you can listen to it whenever you want).  If you have an MP3 player, you just plug in to your computer like a memory stick and move the MP3's from your computer to your player. 

I have pasted below the SBL or AAR description of the session (S is for SBL and A is for AAR) and then put a note in italics with my comment about the recording.  I'm sorry to say that I have not listened to these recordings nor edited them.  If you are interested, I thought you would appreciate them anyway. 

Let me know in the comments if you appreciated them or if they were too poor quality to be helpful.  I haven't done this before so I just thought I would give it a shot.   I have emailed the speakers to let them know I have posted these and I will take down the talks if any of them wish.  But I do think this is good publicity for AAR, SBL and each of the speakers.

Without further ado, here are the MP3's I recorded from 9 presentations I heard at SBL/AAR this past weekend. 

Emergent Church Forum
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: 29 C – CC
The panelists are Tony Jones, Diana Butler Bass and Scot McKnight and the moderator, from Azusa Pacific University, is Keith Matthews. 

I missed the first ten minutes of this one.  Tony was speaking when I arrived.

Emergent Church Forum.mp3 (131 MB; 2 hrs. 19 min.)

Update: December 18: The first hour of this lecture is also available now on the Emergent Village podcast website but honestly you didn't miss too much in the 10 minutes I missed but Tony's recording is a better recording.  I would expect that they would put up part 2 (the second hour) at the end of December.

Mission and Biblical Interpretation: toward a Missional Hermeneutic
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: 28 C – CC
What would it mean to read the Bible with an explicit methodological starting point in an ecclesial location understood as fundamentally missional? Join us for our sixth annual session focused on such questions, as Princeton Theological Seminary professors Darrell Guder and J. Ross Wagner present their work on missional hermeneutics in the seminary classroom. We anticipate a thought-provoking and productive discussion.

I only taped Ross's brief comments about Philippians.  The first two minutes are the end of Darrell Guder speaking.

Mission and Biblical Interpretation - toward a Missional Hermeneutic.mp3  (12 MB; 13 min.)

Synoptic Gospels
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: San Diego C - MM
Theme: Panel Review of Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006)
Jeffrey Peterson, Austin Graduate School of Theology, Texas, Presiding
John Kloppenborg, University of Toronto, Panelist (20 min)
Adela Yarbro Collins, Yale University, Panelist (20 min)
James Crossley, University of Sheffield, Panelist (20 min)
Richard Bauckham, University of St. Andrews-Scotland, Respondent (25 min)
Discussion (65 min)

I only recorded Bauckham's response.  The room was packed.

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses - The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony.mp3 (23 MB; 24 min.)

Scriptural Reasoning Group   
Sunday - 9:00 am-11:30 am
Steven D. Kepnes, Colgate University, Presiding
Theme: Pragmatism and Biblical Hermeneutics: A Discussion of the Work of Peter Ochs
David Lamberth, Harvard University
Leora Batnitzky, Princeton University
James K. A. Smith, Calvin College
Nicholas Adams, University of Edinburgh
Peter Ochs, University of Virginia

Scriptural Reasoning Group
Theme: Pragmatism and Biblical Hermeneutics: A Discussion of the Work of Peter Ochs
The session will discuss the theoretical contribution of the work of Peter Ochs in terms of its contribution to the field of American pragmatism and to theoretical advances in biblical hermeneutics as well as in contemporary analyses of religious community and inter-religious dialogue. In particular the session will discuss the impact of Professor Ochs' work on the recently developed set of practices referred to as scriptural reasoning. Panelists will speak from the perspective of their various disciplines including, philosophy of religion, Christian theology and contemporary Jewish philosophy.

I recorded until from the beginning of the session until Smith was finished (the first three speakers).  Ochs was not present because he had to do a eulogy at a funeral.

Pragmatism and Biblical Hermeneutics - A Discussion of the Work of Peter Ochs.mp3 (72 MB; 1 hr. 16 min.)

Sunday - 9:00 am-11:30 am
William Schweiker, University of Chicago, Presiding
Theme: Living in a Secular Age: Charles Taylor and the Philosophy of Religion
F. B. A. Asiedu, Middlebury College
The Post-Secular Condition: The Usefulness of Belief in the Philosophy of Charles Taylor
Jennifer A. Herdt, University of Notre Dame
Secularization, Recomposition, and Bad Faith in Contemporary Christian Ethics
Joseph Prabhu, California State University, Los Angeles, University of Chicago
Re-examining the Secularization Hypothesis
Robert N. Bellah, University of California, Berkeley
Taylor on Religion and Modernity
Charles Taylor, Northwestern University

I only taped Taylor's response and I was sitting in an area of the room where the sound was terrible.  The room was absolutely packed.

Living in a Secular Age - Charles Taylor and the Philosophy of Religion.mp3 (44 MB; 47 min.)

Sunday - 1:00 pm-2:30 pm
Sponsored by the Public Understanding of Religion Committee
Lawrence Mamiya, Vassar College, Presiding
Theme: The Marty Forum: Robert N. Bellah
Robert N. Bellah, University of California
Randall Balmer, Columbia University

Special Topics Forum
Theme: The Marty Forum: Robert N. Bellah
Sponsored by the Public Understanding of Religion Committee
The recipient of the 2007 Martin Marty Award for contributions to the public understanding of religion is Robert N. Bellah, Elliott Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Bellah has authored or co-authored numerous influential books and articles in the sociology of religion, including Beyond Belief, The Broken Covenant, The New Religious Consciousness, Varieties of Civil Religion and Uncivil Religion, Habits of the Heart and The Good Society. The Marty Forum provides an informal setting in which Dr. Bellah will talk about his work with Professor of American Religion Randall Balmer and will engage in discussion with the audience.

I taped all of it except the last ten minutes when my battery ran out.  This should be a very good recording.

Interview with Robert N. Bellah.mp3 (70 MB; 1 hr. 15 min.)

Sunday - 3:00 pm-4:30 pm
Paul Oslington, Princeton University, Presiding
Theme: Theological Readings of Economics
Alasdair John Milbank, University of Nottingham
Albino Barrera, Providence College
Kathryn Blanchard, Alma College
Rebecca Todd Peters, Elon University

Wildcard Session
Theme: Theological Readings of Economics
This session is about religious voices in political economy. Deeper theological engagement with economic theory is needed because (a) much contemporary religious discussion of economics is ill-informed and superficial (b) economics dominates contemporary culture. In the session panel members will consider a number of recent theological readings of economics, followed by discussion. The emphasis will be economic theory rather than particular economic issues because religious engagement with particular issues depends on our view of the relationship between theology and the economic tools we use to consider the various issues. At the end of the session we will discuss the proposal for a new AAR group on religion and economics and its relationship to the Religion and Social Sciences Section.

I taped Milbank and Barrera.  Barrera told me he listened to my recording and could make it out.   

Theological Readings of Economics.mp3 (36 MB; 39 min.)

God in Public?
4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Room: Salon C - MM
N. T. Wright, Durham Cathedral
God in Public? The Bible and Politics in Tomorrow’s World (45 min)

I taped all of this.  The room was packed.

God in Public - The Bible and Politics in Tomorrow’s World.mp3 (44 MB; 58 min.)

Pauline Epistles
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: 20 A - CC
Theme: Paul and Empire
Papers by John M.G. Barclay, Durham University, and Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, with a response by Robert Jewett, University of Heidelberg
Alexandra Brown, Washington and Lee University, Presiding
John M.G. Barclay, Durham University
Why the Roman Empire was Insignificant to Paul (40 min)
N. Thomas Wright, Church of England
Paul's Counter-Imperial Theology (40 min)
Robert Jewett, University of Heidelberg, Respondent

I taped this in two parts as there was a five minute break after Barclay and Wright presented.  The first part has Barclay and Wright.  In the second part, Jewett responds and Barclay and Wright respond.  They then took some questions but I skipped out at that point.  Many New Testament scholars were there.  There is lots of talk on the blogosphere about this one.  If you google, Wright Barclay Paul Empire, you'll get lots of hits.

Paul and Empire - Part 1 of 2.mp3 (84 MB; 1 hr. 30 min.)

Paul and Empire - Part 2 of 2.mp3 (30 MB; 33 min.)