CSBR Winter 2023 Program

The 388th Meeting of the Chicago Society of Biblical Research convenes on Saturday, February 04, 2023 starting at 2:45 p.m. at McCormick Theological Seminary.

P. Richard Choi, Andrews University

“A Pauline Reading of Psalm 119”

This paper grew out of classroom discussions with my students while teaching my course Pauline Epistles. Their question, which came up time and again throughout my teaching career, was whether Paul’s negative statements about the law were at odds with the positive conceptions found in Psalm 119. In this paper, I offer careful comparisons of the lexes, tenses, and metaphors found in the MT (BHS) and the LXX (Göttingen) versions of Psalm 119 to demonstrate that Paul and Psalm 119 are not at odds with each other in their understanding of the law and that it is even possible that Paul drew his inspiration from Psalm 119. At the very least, however, it is hoped that this paper offers pointers on how those with eyes and ears trained in the Pauline Letters can appropriate this important psalm within the ecosystem of the apostle’s thinking on the law.  


Olivia Stewart Lester, Loyola University Chicago

“Prophecy as Process: Rethinking Judaism and Christianity with the Sibylline Oracles”

This paper contends that the Sibylline Oracles—a collection of Greek poetic oracles written over centuries by Jews and Christians, voiced by a pagan prophetess—are best understood as a convergence of dynamic literary processes, and that these dynamic processes help us conceptualize “Judaism” and “Christianity” themselves as movements in process. This paper will consider three examples of dynamic Jewish and Christian literary processes in the Sibylline Oracles: pseudepigraphy, scriptural interpretation, and text collection, arguing that they shed light on the complex literary relationships between Jews and Christians in the first several centuries CE. In their initial Jewish creativity, the frequent indistinguishability between “Jewish” and “Christian” portions of the collection, and moments of violent anti-Judaism, the Sibylline Oracles provide a kind of literary microcosm for interactions between ancient Jews and Christians. In light of this, I argue that Sibylline Oracles offer an alternative to a “parting of the ways” model: dynamic transformation.

Laurie Brink, O.P., Catholic Theological Union

Laurie Brink, O.P., Catholic Theological Union

Αλλήλους εκδέχεσθε! Pondering Paul’s theological imperative to wait in 1 Cor 11:17-34”

Members of the largely Gentile Corinthian Christian community are lambasted by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 11:17-34 because of their bad behavior at the “Lord’s Supper.” Scholars wisely note the comparison between this meal and Greco-Roman symposia. But might Paul’s operative metaphor be drawn from his Jewish background? Comparing elements of the Lord’s Supper with Sabbath observance might offer new insights on Paul’s expectations of coming together as church (συνερχομένων ὑμῶν ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ1 Cor 11:18).