Peter Conference: Edinburgh 2013
The conference on the Apostle Peter sponsored by our Centre for the Study of Christian Origins (Univ of Edinburgh) was held here 4-6 July, and I think we were all very pleased with it. We had ca. 70 registered, 21 presentations, lots of informed and lively discussions, and a tasty conference banquet and an available bar-service (!). My colleague, Dr. Helen Bond and I will now try to organize a selection of presentations for publication in due course. From the quality of the presentations it will be difficult to omit any!
My own presentation kicked off the event with a brief discussion of three major treatments of Peter by Protestant New Testament scholars, Oscar Cullmann, Martin Hengel and Markus Bockmuehl, spanning several decades. I tried to explore briefly the circumstances in which they wrote and their respective emphases.
Cullmann was deeply concerned with promoting Christian ecumenical efforts in the post-World War II period, and urged Peter as an emblem of Christian unity-in-diversity. Hengel urged that Peter was a theological influence in earliest Christian preaching, and a much more important figure than scholars may have realized. He also alleged a rival Petrine mission over against Paul’s, however, so it isn’t quite so easy to see how Hengel could also portray Peter as a symbol of Christian unity. Bockmuehl’s two books on Peter are put forth as case-studies in Bockmuehl’s programme for NT studies, in which the “reception” of a figure or text is an important factor in how we should read/understand them today.
The other presentations were all very good, among which Peter Lampe’s and Margaret Williams’ I found particularly informative and stimulating.
Right after that conference I was involved also in the International Society of Biblical Literature conference in St. Andrews (8-11 July), at which I made two more presentations. More on these in postings later.