The Eighth International East-West Symposium of New Testament Scholars is part of the international outreach efforts of the SNTS to support global education in New Testament studies. This particular conference took place at Caraiman Monastery in Busteni, Romania and focused on New Testament anthropology. I found it a wonderful experience, and shared photos while there – the scenery was breathtaking, in addition to the conference itself being directly helpful to my research. In this post, I want to recap some of the highlights, not of papers, but of places and people. There are plans to publish the invited plenary papers and at least some of the seminar papers. I’ll happily share some details about those if there’s interest. But for now, some photos and connections.
The conference opened with greetings sent from Patriarch Daniel, as well as Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr who organized the event from the SNTS end. Cosmin Pricop was the principal local organizer and he did an incredible job. The Studiorum Novi Testamentum Societas is fascinating for someone used to SBL. As is typical in Europe, the scholarship is thoroughly critical in character, and yet we opened and closed each day with prayers, the Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants taking turns.
Rita Ferrone wrote about the visit of the Pope to Romania. I didn’t get to see him, but did experience some of the sentiment (and witness a little of the transportation disruption) that went with it, as his arrival was just around the time the conference was wrapping up.
I thought it was cool to see a “Byzantine Bookstore” not far from the Orthodox Seminary in Bucharest.
On the day I arrived, I got to meet Cosmin Pricop, who was the principal Romanian organizer of the conference:
I arrived almost simultaneously with Petr Mareček from the Czech Republic, and so I showed him around Old Bucharest, including introducing him to a fantastic restaurant, Caru’ cu Bere:
We visited a museum in Bucharest that was full of interesting things, some going back to the Greco-Roman era (as well as parts of a replica of Trajan’s Column).
There were also reconnections with a number of people I already knew, including Bill Loader:
Tomas Hatina was a new acquaintance:
Amiel Drimbe from Romania was someone I knew mostly virtually and so it was good to have plenty of time to hang out in person.
Here we are with Hans Klein, probably the Romanian New Testament scholar whose work is best known outside of Romania in the German-speaking world:
The beautiful Caraiman Monastery in Busteni in the Bucegi Mountains was the breathtakingly beautiful venue for the conference:
They had a very big banner made for the event…
There was quite a bit of hanging out with Orthodox priests:
The little wooden church on the site of the monastery had a really interesting icon of John the Baptist, and since that was the focus of my paper, I was really glad to have spotted it!
Cyril Hovorun has spoken at Butler University, and so I had to pass on greetings in both directions.
I was delighted to have the chance to not only meet Jerzy Ostapczuk, but to tell him about the Oldest Romanian School in Brasov, which I should blog about sometime. The school is adjacent to a church, and they hid a lot of valuable religious books there from the Communist authorities. When they went to renovate the school in the post-Communist period, these were rediscovered and many of them are now on display there.
Towards the end of the trip we visited Castle Peles and the Sinaia Monastery:
In the small museum there, they had a copy of a crucially important Romanian translation of the Bible. It dates from back when the Romanian language was still written with the Cyrillic script. Can you make out what the author attribution is of the work that end on the left page, drawing the Old Testament to a close? If so, do you know what is behind it?
Finally, here are a few additional photos from the conference. Let me know if the glimpses of presenters and slides persuade you that you would like to hear more about the content of the conference!
Let me know what, if anything, you’d like to hear more about!