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Reading Communities, Reading Scripture, Reading Responsibly

6 April 2013, 129 Divinity School
Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the Divinity School, Vanderbilt University

The Symposium honors Daniel Patte upon the announcement of his retirement from forty-two years of full-time service as Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Vanderbilt University. 

 We welcome his students, colleagues, and family for a day of scholarly presentations and conversation about matters important to Daniel’s scholarship and teaching and to generations of his students.  

 The Symposium in particular attests to the legacy of Daniel’s influence through the individual work of his dissertation advisees.  His students have gone on to careers in the academy and the church as teachers, scholars, and administrators reflecting Daniel’s work and life. But they have done so in their own ways under Daniel’s mentorship. Daniel was not a controlling scholar or teacher who sought students to be clones or to simply imitate his own work. Rather, we were gifted by a remarkable individual, a teacher/scholar/churchman who sought to connect and challenge, to raise important questions for all of us for whom the Bible is both a concern and a question, and so to provide guidance by example rather than command. 

 The papers to be presented in the Symposium will give tribute to the work of Daniel Patte on the eve of his retirement, not by parsing some aspect of his own considerable published work but by extending the trajectory of that influence. Each presenter was a Patte dissertation advisee who has been encouraged and supported in the development of their individual projects and endeavors.  That individuality is reflected today across three interlocking themes: reading communities, reading scripture and reading responsibly. Needless to say, the legacy of Daniel’s work will continue to a considerable degree through his influence in the development and evolution of scholarship beyond what he or we can foresee.  For such is the freedom and energy unleashed by Daniel Patte as respected teacher, scholar, administrator and dissertation adviser.