Earlier this summer, McMaster Divinity College hosted its annual Bingham Colloquium, this year with the theme of Linguistics and the Bible: Retrospect and Prospects (last year’s summary on the theme of the gospel was reported by Hughson). The three major sub-topics were Linguistics, Translation, and Exegesis. As usual, several guests were invited to present papers on the theme. This year was unique in that students were given opportunities to submit paper proposals, and select papers were presented in parallel sessions.
The three invited speakers were Drs. Randall Tan (Global Bible Initiative), Scott Berthiaume (SIL International), and Mark Proctor (Lee University), presenting on each of the sub-topics of Linguistics, Translation, and Exegesis, respectively. Two of our bloggers also presented papers. Stan presented the closing plenary session paper entitled “What is the Relationship between Exegesis and Our Views of Greek, or Vice Versa?”, including a survey of some of the major books on biblical interpretation out there. I (Dave) presented a parallel session paper entitled “Discourse Analysis and the New Testament: Retrospect and Prospect,” providing a survey of the various approaches to discourse analysis, with a special focus on the two major schools in New Testament studies currently, SIL and SFL. In addition to our guests, there were three other plenary speakers from MDC, who read papers on the major sub-topics of the meeting: Linguistics, specifically on the ongoing development of the OpenText.org project (Christopher Land and Francis Pang), Translation, focusing on the CEB translation (Cynthia Long Westfall, who was an editor of the CEB translation), and, as mentioned already, Exegesis, specifically on the role of Greek (or lack thereof) in exegesis works (Stanley Porter). A more detailed schedule of the colloquium can be found here.
There were several unique additions to this year’s colloquium. The first, as I have mentioned above, was the opportunity for students to present plenary session papers. The topics covered in these papers were wide-ranging: discourse analysis (me), register analysis (Andrew Dyck), lexicography (Ryder Wishart), clause structuring and transitivity (Chris Stevens), discourse levels and conjunctions (John Lee), ideational metafunction analysis (Esther Cen), linguistics and the role of hermeneutics/epistemology (David Fuller), and the role of linguistics in commentaries (Jason Jung). I didn’t have a chance to attend all of the parallel sessions, obviously, but it seemed that all of the papers generated stimulating discussion.
Another unique and pleasant addition was the pre-conference open discussion, followed by a dinner at a local Lebanese restaurant. The conversation continued there, along with some more casual and personal discussions. The food was, as expected, fantastic and so was the company. We especially enjoyed getting to know our invited guests, Randall, Scott, and Mark.
The theme for next year’s Colloquium has not been determined yet, but if history is any indication, it should be another stimulating and encouraging time together. Those in the Southern Ontario area (and even those who are not) would benefit from attending next June.
— David I. Yoon