What a day! My brain is tired and my people skills are sore. I definitely met a lot of people and heard some interesting presentations. So far the people I'm striking up conversations with wind up being independents and grad students, but I did meet a couple of professors at lunch. That fits, since I don't know who's who and what they study (yet) anyway. I'm starting to figure it out though - naturally, that's one major reason I'm here.
Texas really is pretty conservative overall, God bless it. ;) Check the list of presenters if you want to see who's represented (there've been few changes). Personal hilights so far were:
Michael W. Martin from Lubbock Christian University on Rhetoric in Mark - I haven't paid much attention to the whole rhetorical approach but this presentation made me a little more interested, I gotta admit.
Mark Goodwin from the University of Dallas on dating John's Gospel - I got to sit next to Lou during this one and he's the Johnine studies fanatic (not I) but I found it very interesting and Lou told me it was a good survey of the issue since someone named "Martin". John A.T. Robinson got mentioned by Goodwin during the Q&A, which makes three catholic scholars I've seen mention him recently. That's deeply intriguing...
The Big One (to me) -- Peter J Haugen from Baylor University gave a talk on "The Damascus Incident" about textual issues involving 2.Cor 11:32-33 and Acts 9:23-25. I need to get a copy of that paper and read it again. The Q&A was my one chance to pipe up about my view (Paul fled Damascus twice, by the same trick) and his response was very positive overall. In fact, we continued talking after the session and plan to stay in dialogue about these issues. It was nice to feel like I made a personal and topical connection. I hope it pays off for both of us.
I attended as many presentations as I could, but those were the stand outs for me. I also missed a couple more that looked good because of time conflicts, and two or three that looked promising weren't what I expected - I wish they'd print an alphabetical list of abstracts in addition to the program guide. I'd gladly have paid extra for that or printed a digital copy at home before coming. Just thinking 'out loud'.