I am currently in the weird position of trying to reconnect with a role and set of tasks that (a) I have not been involved in since April because of sabbatical and (b) will not be involved in from January 09 because of my new job. However, the first week in September is Conference week which culminating in a good time in Durham from Thursday – Saturday last week.
The plenary papers were, I thought, of a particularly high standard throughout. I found John Barclay's discussion of Romans 9-11 and the Wisdom of Solomon stimulating. I think his conclusions have a clear bearing on the nature of Pauline soteriology, but consequently on the whole pistis Christou debate as well. the funny thing is that John and I disagree about quite how one should construe those phrases in the light of the radicality of Pauline soteriology.
Dale Martin's paper was detailed and entertaining at the same time. I enjoyed the tone of his presentation – not so much 'this is the right way of handling this material', but 'here is a different way of thinking about it, what do you think?' Not everyone who responded did so in the same vein. My favourite moment was the off the cuff translation of δαιμονιον as 'demonette'.
Eddie Adams' presentation on Early Christian Meeting places was interesting and informative and no doubt will form the basis of a larger project.
I attended the Hermeneutics Seminar which, in general terms, I confess I found something of a disappointment. The content of the papers was fine (excluding of course my own, about which I decline to comment), but numbers were small, and therefore certainly on Saturday (5 of us ioncluding the chair, the speaker and 2 of the previous contributors) while we had interesting conversations there was little sense of scholarly interrogation of the papers. I am not sure what the BNTC Committee can do about this, but compared with, say, giving a paper in the Paul seminar, it was a less satisfying academic experience.
The usual festivities, of course, helped to lubricate the proceedings. Jim Davila has pictures, but he may not be putting them up for public consumption. The train journey back was not easy, but those of us who were at the station earlier probably had it easier than those who came later on.
Other reports can be found from Mike Bird here, Ben Blackwell here and James Crossley here – the latter, as so often, giving very good advice. Update: The aforementioned pictures are here and Nijay has reflections here and here.
One final thing: Mark mentions all the hard work done by the Society Secretary Louise Lawrence. He is right. Thanks to Louise for all her hard work throughout the year. The details of my new job came directly via the BNTS email list, sent by Louise, so I have a lot to thank her for.