The annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (and the American Association of Religion) has gotten off without a hitch, at least for Margaret and me. I got to the 7:30 breakfast meeting on time, but only by the sheerest chance did I arrive at the correct hotel (there are two Marriotts side by side, and the one to which I thought I was going, was not in fact the one toward which I should have been headed. Providentially, I went unawares to the hotel I did not intend to go to — thereby ending up at the hotel to which I should have been headed.
Now Margaret is giving her paper, the lead-off paper in the Bible and Christian Theology group, and she is cooking. Go, Margaret! She makes a case that Hans Frei’s “plain-sense” legacy to the theological interpretation of Scripture tends to occlude both human accountability for interpretations and the Holy Spirit’s role of guiding and extending the interpretive imagination — an eclipse that Henri de Lubac’s sympathetic account of medieval “spiritual” exegesis can remedy. Lewis Ayres follows Margaret’s paper with a lively argument that de Lubac’s assessment of spiritual exegesis depends on his account of the soul and its purification. Ann Astell is third, discussing de Lubac’s affinity for the work of Teilhard de Chardin. Steve Chapman of Duke gave the final presentation of the panel, observing de Lubac’s opprobrious remarks on Judaism and the theological status of the New Testament. Trent Poplun gave a response to all the papers; I thought he rather missed the point of Margaret’s paper, but he recouped some favor by quoting her appreciatively in his wrap-up remarks.