Paper Proposal – Accepted!

by hamiltonmj1983

I received some great news this week – my paper proposal for SECSOR 2013 (the South East Commission for the Study Of Religion in Greenville, SC this March) was accepted in the Bible and Modern Culture: (3) Interpreting Biblical Stories/Parables of Violence and their Significance for Contemporary American Culture program unit!

I will include my proposal below:

Divine Violence: How do we Promote Peace without Taming the Divine Warrior?

Violence, while a part of our culture, is held out at a distance by most people. The Church attempts to do the same thing, condemning most or all forms of violence. Sections of the Bible that deal with violence are either exemplified as righteous examples of proper violence, or glossed over in an effort to tame the Divine. How then, do Christians deal with violence int heir own religious texts without changing the original meaning of the text to tame God, buts till continuing to promote peace as Christ-followers? The purpose of this paper is to better understand the use of violence attributed to God in order to gain a fuller understanding of how these texts can still apply to religious followers today, without taming the Divine Warrior. The sample text used will be Second Isaiah (Isaiah 40-55).

The paper will be divided into two parts. The first part will utilize the methodology laid out by Dr. H. Wayne Ballard in his The Divine Warrior Motif in the Psalms in order to identify the passages in Second Isaiah that contain the Divine Warrior Motif. By identifying key words and word usages Dr. Ballard was able to plot out the occurrences of the Divine Warrior Motif in the Psalms. In similar fashion, I will attempt to plot out the frequency of these same words and usages throughout Second Isaiah in order to determine the
applicable passages.

The second part will attempt to understand the purpose of these passages in light of the Ancient Near Eastern context and then interpret them for a modern readership. After discussing each passage in order to ascertain the socio-historical context, I will attempt to explain what impact these texts should have on a modern Christians and students of the Hebrew Bible. In light of modern ethical concerns about violence, particularly in religious texts, how can presenting a deity figure as a warlord in battle bring anything positive to the table? This paper will seek to answer that question and hopefully convince the audience that the Divine Warrior brings comfort instead of pain, and hope instead of terror.

So, this means that I have submitted two paper proposals (SBL this November and now SECSOR in March), and have been accepted to both! Does a 100% paper proposal acceptance rate garner any bragging rights? Or should I keep my mouth shut in order to not jinx myself (or possibly even to attempt humility, eh?).

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