SBL Auckland

I’m looking forward to going to Auckland for this year’s SBL International Conference. As well as presenting my own paper, I’m looking forward to hearing quite a number of others, to being able to catch up with friends and colleagues whom I don’t see very often and to find out a bit more about Maori culture. The conference begins with a Powhiri (welcome ceremony) at the Marae at Auckland University and I am booked on the Tamaki Hikoi guided tour which introduces Maori culture. When I was in Christchurch last year on my way home from Texas, I was able to get a tiny taste of Maori culture and am really interested to hear more. It is particularly interesting that there are significant similarities between Maori art and the art of the Canadian First Nations people in British Columbia.

I have found the research that I’ve been doing for my paper really fascinating, if slightly “off topic” for my thesis. The topic is “Eyewitness Testimony in Psychological Research: Some Consequences for Richard Bauckham’s Work.” The work I’m referring to is, of course, his Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (Eerdmans, 2006). If you’re interested, you can read the abstract on the SBL conference website.  I didn’t realise just how huge the corpus of psychological eyewitness/memory literature is until I started reading.  You could read until the cows come home and still not be on top of every aspect!

It’s interesting that there is so little cross-pollination between the disciplines.  There are books on memory in oral traditions, on memory and retelling of stories, how culture affects memory, things that psychologists take for granted about eyewitness accounts (or autobiographical/recollective memory) that just don’t appear in the literature of biblical studies.

I know – so many books to read, so little time, but still…