Well, not really. Nerds unleashed is more like it.

I periodically get questions about the annual trek to wherever ETS, SBL, ASOR, IBR, etc. are held (San Diego this year). Chief among them is “What’s it about?” and “What do you do there?”  I can only answer that for me, so don’t expect a thrill ride.

The academic conferences are the best time of year for three things: (1) catching up with friends who are as geeky as I am; (2) getting discounts on scholarly books where the bestseller threshold is triple digits (which matches the cost of many of them without the discount); and (3) listening to other scholars talk about complex, esoteric, and arcane topics.

I can hardly wait. Really. I printed out my book wish list yesterday. It has about 100 titles, about half of which are $100 or more retail (and they’re not reference sets — they are single titles). Once reality sets it about mid-week, I’ll end up getting a few. Sometimes it helps to linger at the book tables the last day. Some publishers offer an extra discount the hour before closing time. They don’t want to ship their contraband back home. (But truth be told, some just fear the book trolls and want us to go away).

What sorts of sessions do I want to attend? Well, there probably won’t be anything as fun as last year’s astrobiology afternoon on religion and ET (courtesy of the American Academy of Religion), but there will be some interesting cage matches (er … sessions) on inerrancy this year. If I see Pete Enns wearing a Yankees cap I’ll have to knock it off. (If you’re reading this, Pete, I’ll be wearing my Red Sox cap … you’ve been warned).

Seriously, there are over a thousand sessions during the week. Here are some lectures on my “hope to get to it” list:

The Punishment of the Powers: Deuteronomy 32 and Psalm 82 as the Backdrop for Isaiah 34

Sacred Space in the Pentateuch

Fallen Angels, Bastard Spirits, and the Birth of God’s Son: An Enochic Etiology of Evil in Galatians

Irenaeus on the Deification of Believers and the Divinity of the Spirit

Adam and Eve at Old Princeton

The Inheritance of the Cosmic Kingdom in the Psalms and Isaiah

Greco-Roman Mythological Eschatology: The Denial of the Resurrection at Corinth

In the Religion and Science Fiction Study Group:

  • Dad Wanted a Boy: Gender, Embodiment, and Transcendence in Gravity and 2001
  • Hail Ripley, Full of Grace: The Evolving Paradigm of Woman as Secular Savior in Apocalyptic Science Fiction Film
  • Before Superman There Was Doctor Occult: Esoteric Themes in Superhero Comics of the Golden Age
  • Avengers Disassembled: Exploring the Material Culture of Sacred and Hi-Tech Weapons in Whedon’s The Avengers

“So Shall Your Seed Be”: Paul’s Use of Gen 15:5 in Rom 4:18 in light of Early Jewish Deification Traditions

Revolutionary Sacred Architecture: Akhenaten’s Sun Temples and Israel’s Tent

The Founding of the Temple in Ancient Egypt and Israel

Teaching the Bible with Google Earth and Other Visualization Tools

Akkadian Demonology and Hebrew Theology: A Phenomenological Approach

Rock Giants, a Magic Stone, and Many Destructions of the World: Extra-biblical Literature in the Noah Movie

Creation as Cosmic Temple

Sacred Trees in Ancient Near Eastern Iconography And Their Impact for the Interpretation of Genesis 2–4

What Is a Cherub?

The Function of the Heavenly Cult in Hebrews and Its Predecessors

Early Christian Mysticism, Angelomorphic Identity, and the Shepherd of Hermas

By now you’re either thinking, “Wow, those sound so cool!” or “Mike, you need help.” Or both.

Anyway, that gives you all an idea.