Saturday, April 12, 2008

This Week's Stone-Campbell Journal Conference

Friday and Saturday of this past week, around 200 scholars from the various branches of the Stone Campbell movement met at Cincinnati Christian University for the annual Stone-Campbell Journal Conference.

I was sick as a dog; Friday, I had a sore throat and stuffy sinuses, but I thought I was just suffering from horrible allergies. Since then, I've since started coughing, etc., and am fairly certain that I have a nasty cold, if not the flu. I feel sorry for every person whose hand I shook at the conference, I'm sure I started a couple of epidemics.

I read a paper on Friday afternoon. The purpose of the paper was to describe my understanding of succession, how it works, etc. Let me talk for a minute about the purpose of reading a paper at a conference. We scholars who do stuff like this do it for several reasons.
  1. It impresses people and makes us feel good when people tell us they're impressed. (I'm being totally honest here; I know you think we scholarly types are above this, but we're not.)
  2. It looks good on our CV's / resumes, when it's time for us to look for a job.
  3. It's a way to work out things that you're exploring. For example, I'm writing a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. For a while, I WAS going to read a paper at SCJ that was taken directly from the commentary that I am writing. I ended up going in a different direction, however.
The BIGGEST benefit from reading a paper, however, is the comments and discussion that you can generate. When you share cutting edge work, research in an area that no one else has explored, one of the most valuable things is having another educated pair of eyes look at your work and ask, "Have you thought about this?"

That's what happened for me at SCJ. There were a couple of comments that I found both perceptive and possibly valuable for my own work. I particularly appreciated Lee Magness's comment, which I will unpack in a future post.

Anyway. Off to bed. I'll share more about the conference on Monday.

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