What a day.
I just got home from the SECSOR (South Eastern Conference for the Study of Religion) Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN.
I learned so much at the conference, and I’ll be including specific notes and ideas of things that plummeted me into deep bouts of thought and reconsiderations over the next few days.
At the conference, I purchased a few books… well… a lot of books from the small book show they set up in a hotel conference room. But (Anna), they were all for good causes. One book in particular struck me as something that was a “must buy” and I’m so glad I did pick it up. It changed my life.
Academic books are not read by many people. Most have readership numbers in the hundreds, unless a university class picks them up. So, they are incredibly hard to find if they are in a specific niche, and normally quite expensive.
One such book is Steven W. Holloway’s new publication form Sheffield Phoenix Press entitled Orientalism, Assyriology and the Bible. Sounds horribly obsucre and boring to most of you, I’m sure. However, my eventual PhD work is EXACTLY in that realm of study combining the history of Assyriology, the history of Old Testament scholarship and how the two collided.
So, of course, I bought the book. It was the only book that the publisher had at the conference, and they wanted to keep it on display for a little while, so I actually had to wait before I was able to pick it up even though I had already paid for it.
On our way out of town, I swung by the publisher’s stand (the SBL publishing arm) and picked it up. As we started the long trip back to North Carolina, I started flipping throught the table of contents and realized that chapter 1 of the book (“The Beginnings of Assyriology in the United States”) was written by a former professor of mine, Benjamin Foster from Yale, who is a widely known authority on Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology.
I flipped a few pages and something caught my eye. I had been footnoted from my
work published last year by Yale entitled Asia Has Claims Upon New England: Assyrian Reliefs at Yale.
“Floods of joy o’er my soul, like the sea billows roll…”
I’ve had my ups and downs with my academic journey, but having a place in the footnotes of a text on Assyriology, from the widely respected figure of Benjamin Foster nonetheless, was a major major major moment of change in my life. It’s an incredibly small thing in the grand scheme of the Cosmos, but for me, it is a sign post in the middle of the Moabite plain pointing me towards the Promised Land of eventual life as a professor.
I’ve never felt this feeling. I’m overjoyed, excited and confident… and I’m still in shock.
To channel Bono…
And I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that.