Saturday, October 15, 2016
More Adventures in Biblical Studies: Amy Jill Levine, Live!
This morning I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Amy Jill Levine speak in Dallas. I've read The Misunderstood Jew and Short Stories by Jesus and blogged a bit about each within the context of my study of the Samaritan Woman, but I've never seen her live.
Wow. I'm just impressed, and, to borrow an old church term, edified.
This is a woman who is smarter than anyone in any room she's ever in, and yet completely interested in communicating with the people in that room- which means that she was delightful to listen to.
The first talk was called "The Call to Speak about Church and State: Daniel in Babylon" and the second was "The Call to Discipleship: Mary and Martha."
She gave us so much information. So much.
Yeah, I can't even with the Daniel stuff. She got into cultural identity, cultural assimilation, Babylonian history, told the whole story of Daniel-EVEN the part where after Daniel came out of the lion's den, the men and the families of the men who threw him in were then thrown in themselves and devoured. (Emma's whispered response to me was "Yeah, I don't remember reading THAT in my Storybook Bible.")
Emma, my almost 15 year old daughter, went with me willingly. I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I'm so glad she has been exposed to someone like AJ (I can call her that now, because we're like bff's-obviously.) She got to see and hear a strong, smart woman speak to a room with authority and with such generosity. That was a major takeaway for me. Here is a Jewish woman spending her Saturday morning talking to a bunch of rich, old (except for Emma, one young male student in birkenstocks, and me because I may be old, but I'm not rich) Texans about being a more devoted follower of Jesus.
The Mary and Martha stuff was epic. Just a few of the things she included were:
-the significance of names (how many Mary's do you know? [lots] How many are Jewish? [none] The name used in the 1st century was Miriam. Her discussion of the commonality of that name made me say "WOW" out loud several times.)
-the "two sibling" trope that runs throughout the Bible (Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Leah and Rachel)
-a short comparison of the prodigal son and his brother with Mary and Martha.
-the mistranslation of the word "deacon" when gendered. In Greek it's the same word, but it's been translated as "serve" for women and "minister" for men. That was yet another out loud "WOW" response from me.
She ended the talk with the importance of listening, following and knowing Jesus Christ in order to be identified as his disciple.
If you are in Dallas, she is coming back Feb 11-12 and April 1-2. Find the schedule here.
On April 2, she is going to talk about the Samaritan Woman!!! (Insert loud, obnoxious squeals of glee.)