This year's British New Testament Conference began on Thursday evening with a drinks reception and a welcome from Liverpool Hope University College, who were our hosts. As often at the conference, the drinks were all situated by the book display, an ideal arrangement. After a good dinner, with generous amounts of wine on offer, we had the first main paper from Richard Burridge, Dean of King's College, London. His topic was "A Biographical Approach to New Testament Ethics", a paper that interacted with other recent studies on New Testament ethics, including those of Richard Hays and David Horrell and made suggestions, among other things, for a Jesus-based, Christological, biographical foundation for New Testament ethics. Richard had a decent powerpoint presentation and a hand-out and although I had my customary doze, it was pretty straightforward to follow, and stimulated lots of useful questions, in spite of the healthy amounts of wine imbibed.
One of the most remarkable things about this conference was the substitute for the traditional bar. Because Liverpool Hope were not able to provide a bar in the Students' Union, Kenneth Newport put on a free drinks do in the Chaplaincy each evening, and this generated a lot of good feeling, and some very enjoyable conversations. As several people remarked, it is the post-paper socialising that remians the heart of the conference. I'm just hoping that Kenneth's hospitality did not go unrewarded. On Friday evening, Richard Burridge made a little announcement reminding the punters to put a little donation in to help cover these expenses.