Sydney FBS meeting Friday 28th July 2.00pm (Zoom)
At this meeting we will have two speakers:
Dr Jonathan Thambyrajah: "The Irrevocability of the Law in Daniel 6 and Esther"
Abstract: Interpreting Esther and Daniel 6 has often begun with the belief that these texts claim that the Persian law was irrevocable. This has been seen as a problem, because the historical Persian empire does not seem to have operated in this way (and it is hard to imagine how it could have). However, taking that claim seriously creates even bigger exegetical problems within these two texts. To solve the exegetical problems, it is necessary to revisit the concept of irrevocability. Upon closer inspection, the idea is not that the king cannot revoke his own laws, but that lesser authorities may not. The occasions when the king appears trapped by the law are not to do with the idea of irrevocability, but rather the trope of the king’s regret—one that is common in literature and histories about the Persian empire.
Bio: Jonathan Thambyrajah is the lecturer in Biblical Studies at BBI—TAITE and also teaches Biblical Studies and Hebrew at the University of Sydney. His PhD research on loanwords in Biblical literature was recently published in the LHBOTS series. His research focuses on Biblical languages, translations, and literature in the cross-cultural context of the Second Temple period and its aftermath (particularly Esther). He is also interested in how early translations of Biblical Books reflect the exegesis and interpretation of early Jewish and Christian communities.
Rev Dr Tom Habib: “Bringing Nicodemus into the Light: Complexity & Dialectics in Johannine Characterisation’
Abstract: It is near consensus now that some Johannine characters are more complex than was once thought. Far from being flat, representative types, these characters are present conflicting traits and remain somewhat ambiguous in their faith response to Jesus. No-one fits this description better than the character of Nicodemus, who has been described as a ‘tertium quid’; ‘an in-between’; and ‘one who emerges from the dark of night, but never completely’. But what is the function of such complexity? My paper explores this question by considering the form and function of complex characterisation in Greek tragedy and how this might help us to better understand the portrayal of Nicodemus in John’s Gospel. From this heuristic approach, I argue that Nicodemus’s complexity is best understood as part of a broader dialectic within John’s Gospel that explores the tension between the Judean law and cult, and the claims of Jesus.
Bio: Thomas Habib. BA (Sydney); BD (Moore); PhD (Cantab. Tom is a lecturer in New Testament and Greek at Moore Theological College, Sydney. He has recently completed his PhD at Cambridge University, exploring the moral characterisation of the ᾽Ιουδαῖοι in the Gospel of John. Tom’s research interests include Johannine narrative studies, Johannine ethics, New Testament and Graeco-Roman literature and communicative approaches to ancient language learning.