A small scuffle has broken out across the Tasman in the wake of the Bible and Critical Theory Seminar. Robert Myles, of the newly minted Jesus the Bum fame, has challenged The Dunedin School’s claim to be the ‘nerve centre’ of innovative biblical studies in Aotearoa.

The catch with these claims and counter-claims is that I am supposed to have uttered this phrase at some point or other. Yet no-one is quite clear on precisely when, where, and indeed if. For the Dunedin School ‘the attribution has never been clearly established’, while Jesus the Bum opines that I may have said it ‘in jest’, parenthetically observing that ‘ (mysteriously, of course, the original post can no longer be found)’.

If I may add some clarity to the discussion of sources and authorial intention, I did in fact let slip in an email message after the Auckland SBL that we would meet in Dunedin at some point soon since it is the nerve or perhaps nervous centre of scintillatingly original biblical studies in New Zealand. Appended to an email for the Bible and Critical Theory list, it prompted an immediate and lightly jocular reply from Elaine Wainwright concerning Auckland’s claim to the yellow jersey. Ever the diplomat, I of course replied to Elaine that Auckland too should be up for the count, although I did think to myself that Auckland had yet to show the goods. That appears to be changing and Dunedin may be about to meet its match.

What I do know is:

a) we have met in both Auckland (2008) and Dunedin (2010).

b) we are planning to meet in lumpy land every second year.

c) the question of where we will meet in 2012 is up for grabs.