Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

San Diego and SBL and the Publishers

Attending the Society of Biblical Literature in San Diego isn’t the worst of gigs, but it was surely no vacation. A brief rundown and then some thoughts on the books.
My roommates this year, Boaz Johnson and Kermit Zarley, showed some special abilities in snoring though nothing like two years ago when Kermit did everything he could to imitate the loons and Boaz a perfect timing with Kermit. I’ll not give details, but I wish had the presence of mind to tape the sounds of darkness.
We arrived Friday about 11am, made our way to the Manchester Grand Hyatt, met up with Kermit Zarley, and then took a cab up to the Evangelical Theological Society meeting — as we pulled in to the hotel Kermit said, “Hey, that’s where we used to play the San Diego Open.” We had lunch with my former students … Matt Williams, Jon Lunde, Mark Rapinchuk and Mark’s son and a colleague from College of the Ozarks. I can’t say enough about these professors (Matt and Jon are at Biola) and it’s always an honor to be with them — even if I was distracted by my paper. And saying “paper” is an understatement: we had a 3.5 hour session devoted to my book, Jesus and His Death, with responses from Mark Strauss, Darrell Bock, and Nick Perrin. It was a good session for “both sides” and I’m glad Les Keylock, another former student, has organized annually such inspiring sessions.
Saturday morning I did an emerging event with Tony Jones and Diana Butler Bass … and I’ll avoid a blow-by-blow account, but I thought it was a useful, informative session with both Tony and Diana making some excellent points. (I wore my blue jeans.) Thanks to Keith Matthews and Don Thorsen for organizing this event — they are both from Azusa Pacific. It was great to meet Christine Scheller at the event … she regularly weighs in on this blog as “cas.” I find she has an extensive report about her meetings.
Coffee and breakfasts and lunches and dinners with friends and colleagues and young scholars from all over the world — so many ideas in the air and such a good time to be in the academy.
Here’s my rating this year for the top five publishers and what they had to offer:
1. Eerdmans gets my top rating: academic books galore, some new reference books, and some great new titles.
2. Fortress has come back from some slow years: a good combination of academic reference works and suggestive titles in biblical and theological studies.
3. Baylor University Press: Carey Newman gave this publisher a new start about four year ago and the energy, creativity, and depth of scholarship — across the spectrum — convinces me to move Baylor into the top three this year. I remember when Carey had nothing but a table and some sheets of paper advertising that they were back in action.
Tie for 4th:
Both Abingdon and Westminster John Knox are tied here — both had solid offerings in both theology and biblical studies.

Comments read comments(14)
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Tyler Braun

posted November 20, 2007 at 1:21 am

Glad to hear you put on the jeans for an emerging event. Casual is the way to go out on the left coast.

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posted November 20, 2007 at 7:39 am

Scot … just wondering, will you be posting a picture of the books you purchased at SBL? I do believe you did last year–I found it to be a help in focusing my book buying. Thanks.

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Scot McKnight

posted November 20, 2007 at 7:41 am

For the first time in my history of 24 years going to SBL I didn’t buy a single book. Instead, I wrote them all down and will order them from home.

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tripp fuller

posted November 20, 2007 at 8:43 am

I can’t believe you didn’t buy a book. I will not tell Alecia you avoided the books entirely because I always tell how even after I got you car sick and lost in Greensboro you were able to take note of both used book stores. Hope you have a great week with the family.

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posted November 20, 2007 at 9:54 am

Trinity should have done all it could to keep Jon Lunde and Matt Williams. A huge loss!

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posted November 20, 2007 at 11:23 am

Scot, It was good to meet you too. You are every bit as kind as I expected you would be.

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posted November 20, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Diane Butler Bass . . . there’s a name on my “I think I’d like to read something by her” list. The whole event sounds strangely interesting. I think jeans was a good choice of attire!

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Tim Gombis

posted November 20, 2007 at 8:12 pm

Great to catch up, Scot. Embrace the denim!!

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posted November 20, 2007 at 11:01 pm

Scot, I agree that the book displays were quite good this year. However, I would also note that Baker had a good line-up (perhaps better than or on par with some that you listed). In the interest of full disclosure, I do not get a kickback from this. But if anyone from Baker is reading this, a freebee would be nice for the ad. . .[worth a shot].
I also thought this was one of the most spread-out conferences I’ve been to in a while. . .

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Ron Fay

posted November 21, 2007 at 2:38 pm

Well, I missed SBL this year due to family issues, but I was at ETS. I was almost done with Scot’s book when I realized I was going to be busy during his time slot! Arrgghh. The same thing happened to me with Richard Bauckham, my paper was opposite his book discussion.
Sometimes there is only so much you can do.
I also thought Baker had an excellent display and their new stuff this year was top notch. Baylor has really rebounded in the last few years, but what surprised me was the poor showing of Zondervan. Was it me, or did they just have about 75 copies of 15 books out to make it look full?

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posted November 21, 2007 at 2:59 pm

I am shocked that you did not bring back a single book. That is a goal to aim for, I suppose. My back still hurts from carrying the extra suitcase and backpack.
I do suppose that ordering the books does give you a little delayed satisfaction. Not like me, sitting here with a gigantic pile of new books and not sure what to read next. Somehow I will decide, I’m sure.

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posted November 22, 2007 at 2:12 pm

I agree with the Zondervan comment. However, I remember a few years ago that Eerdmans had a terrible showing (Atlanta) to which they have since rebounded considerably.

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Michael Barber

posted November 23, 2007 at 2:24 am

I am blown away by both Baker Academic and Eerdmans. They are both coming out with some great stuff. I’m currently reading “Jesus Legend”, which I picked up this year–wow! What a great, great book! I’m watching these two carefully. I think Baker Academic is really establishing itself with great material more than ever before.

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posted November 28, 2007 at 10:18 pm

just the #3 publisher? we have work to do.

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