One of the many things that excites me about being a Martin Marty Junior Fellow is the prospect of bringing into conversation not only data, which in my realms of study involve quite ancient civilizations, but also theoretical models that explain how contact with long forgotten civilizations were preserved in the Hebrew Bible. Often literary and linguistic data are kept separate when studying the Hebrew Bible and its encounters with larger, and often hostile, ancient Near Eastern empires, and yet the very literary interaction with these other cultures is what produces the occasionally odd linguistic phrase. Combining literary and linguistic studies through critical modes of analysis, like source criticism, and socio-linguistic theory, such as contact linguistics, may shed light on how the interplay between language and literature reveal strategies for survival at various times in ancient Israel's history given the shadows of surrounding imperial forces.
I hope to accomplish more synthetic approaches between text, theory, and modern religious discourse with the other Marty Fellows. I have much to learn from other disciplines involved in the symposium, and I hope to learn how the make the past part of the conversation partner with modern religious dialogue. I hope to be challenged to make the connection and exploring the similarities between past and present without blurring the very real, though no less instructional, distinction between ancient and modern religious landscapes. I could not think of a better context in which to pursue my work and explore the value of my dissertation for broader implications for the study of religion (and the humanities generally) than with the collegial and critical support network of the other fellows.