The first paper, "Blood, Life, and Purification: Reassessing Hebrews' Christological Appropriation of Yom Kippur," presented by David Moffitt (Duke University), questioned the traditional reading of Hebrews in which Jesus' death, rather than his resurrection (or his life) provides the greatest moment of atonement. This reading depends on the view that Jesus' resurrection doesn't figure (or figures very marginally) in Hebrews and by the analogy of "two great redemptive moments" of Yom Kippur: the slaughter of the sacrifice and the sprinkling of the sacrificial, atoning blood. Moffitt rebuts the first claim, noting a number of instances when the resurrection is actually present or can be inferred in the text. He also emphasizes that blood in the Hebrew Bible and in Hebrews means life, not death; he then offers some ways in which his reading solves some interpretive problems throughout Hebrews.
The second paper, "Anti-Imperialism and Historiography in the Temple Cleansing of the Gospel of John (John 2:13–22)," presented by Janelle Peters (Emory University), suggests that John's account of the Temple Incident takes aim at Roman imperialism and presence in the land. Unfortunately, while Peters was reading her paper, my phone began to vibrate and I had to leave the room momentarily, and so my recollection of her paper is significantly flawed. In addition, I am not at home among Johannine scholarship. But I do vaguely (and so unhelpfully) remember thinking that her thesis was interesting and worth pursuing. I hope to hear her work presented in a future meeting, preferably one in which I can devote my attention with fewer distractions.
The third paper, "'Where the body is, there also the eagles will be gathered': Eschatology and the Arrest of Jesus in Luke's 'Little Apocalypse' and Passion Narrative," presented by T. J. Lang (Duke University), offered a reading of Luke 17.37 hinted at in the paper's title. Lang reads ἀετός ["eagle" or "vulture" (BDAG; s.v.)] as "eagle" and suggests that the Lukan Jesus is incorporating Rome in the saying regarding the circumstances of Jesus' parousia (Lang properly notes that Matthew, not Luke, mentions the parousia). His argument doesn't rely so much on the eagle as a Roman symbol (cf. Ant. 17.151ff.; War 1.650ff.) but rather on ἀετός as an imperial symbol in the LXX. This reading offers some intriguing possibilities for the Lukan gospel, especially the links between the Passion narrative and the travel narrative and for other things besides.
The fourth paper, "Matthew 26:64 and the Enthronement of Jesus," presented by Nathan Eubank (Duke University), read the Romans' parody of Jesus' enthronement (purple garment, crown of thorns, reed for a scepter, etc.) and Matthew's parody of the Romans' parody. I liked the the point that in Matthew's account the parodic has become ironic. A lot of good stuff in this paper, but unfortunately it was the last of the session and so my mind was halfway out the door.
So many good things said about New Testament themes, but at such an unfortunate time. For those of us who were unable (or unwilling) to attend this final session in order to get a head start on the journey home missed some good stuff. And so I'm not too sorry that I can't provide more information on these papers; if you were really that interested, you should have been there! And yet I am disappointed in myself that I can't remember these papers better than I can (though Moffitt distributed copies of his paper, so his is *ahem* crystal clear in my mind . . . at least, it could be if I need it to be).
I'll wrap up some loose ends on SECSOR in one more post. Since the conference ended, now, three days ago, things are fading the grey in my inexorably aging memory. But for those of you so inclined and living in or near the American Southeast, I heartily recommend next year's SECSOR meeting (Atlanta, 5–7 March 2010).