Below are the presentations I went to yesterday. Usually about 20 or so people are at each one as people spread out to go to their preferred topics or presenters. I went to 11 presentations and the plenary meeting to hear another speaker. 12 in all. My brain felt like it was walking upstairs all day. There were moments of brilliant scholarship and tight reasoning that simply amazed me. I did get to meet DH Williams of Baylor who has written several books dealing with the early church as resource for Evangelicals (without becoming Roman Catholic).
Many publishing houses are here to show their wares. It is amazing how expensive books for the academy are. Many of the volumes are $80 to $120, virtually nothing when compared to texts for the scientific community but still exorbitant for us readers in the arts. Was pleased to check in at the Inter Varsity Press table and meet the rep. Lines of friendships cross and we had the opportunity to compare notes.
What is most expensive is getting your hands on commentaries of the Fathers. The actual interpretive work on a text is where you really get to know them. One would not usually buy them but use them in the library, and the libraries that will have them are rare.
Of course there is the obligatory time given to sexual identity issues, and in the plenary presentation the speaker tried to demonstrate that evidence would lead us to conclude that St Augustine’s struggle with lust was most problematic in his relationship with men. I considered it to be poor scholarship, but at such meetings the academia has to find that someone we thought was heterosexual was not. It’s sort of the mantra that has to be rehearsed. The speaker was sophisticated and handled all sorts of issues with amazing breadth and insight, but the evidence for the assertion is so scant that while it might suggest itself to the mind, it should not come out of the mouth. The same thing happens with the David and Jonathan relationship. It was the poorest piece of scholarship during the whole conference.
“Providence, Punishment, and Perfection: Clement and Basilides on Suffering”
“Stoic Paradigms in Augustine’s Account of Grace and Free Will”
“St. Jerome on Predestination, Free Will, and Divine Foreknowledge in his Exegesis of St. Paul”
“Divine Contingency in Nemesius’ Rejection of Stoic Compatibilism”
“Origen and the Christian Canon of the Old Testament”
“The Clothing of Divinity: Scripture as Incarnation According to Origen”
“Origen and the ‘Tractus de epithalamio’ of Gregory of Elvira”
“Origen and Africanus on the Hebrew Criterion of Canonicity”
“Can a Heavenly Body be Disabled?
“Resurrecting Deformities: Augustine on Scars and Marks on Heavenly Bodies”
“The Rhetoric of Heaven: Augustine’s Exposition on the Psalms of Ascent”