This past week a conference took place at the Vatican to which ADC’s own Craig Evans was invited to participate. One of ADC’s MA students, Jesse Richards, was also in attendance. Below is a reflection along with some photos from Jesse.
The conference on the work of Joseph Ratzinger was excellent. Over 100 universities were represented from around the world. Scholars and students convened in Rome to discuss the Joseph Ratzinger's trilogy on Jesus and what impact his work might have on scholarship. His work brought the various Christian traditions together to discuss “the figure of our Lord.” This ecumenical Christian spirit among scholars was palpable and refreshing. It was a great privilege to be in attendance and see our own ADC professor on the stage.
The papers presented at the conference were lively and engaging. All the papers were presented in either English or Italian. If a paper was presented in Italian we had earpieces and a frantic English translator on the other end. After each paper there was opportunity for questions and comments (or a sermonette!) from the audience. We had a three hour break for lunch and then we reconvened for an afternoon workshop. The workshops had focused papers around one particular topic with extended time for audience interaction.
After the days events we would return to the dining room at the Vatican where we were served superb food and local Italian wine. Pope Francis would enjoy his dinner meal at the table next to us. We were eating and drinking in the Pope’s dining room! Then after dinner we would take an evening stroll around the Vatican. We always made sure to find some gelato as well!
After the end of the conference on Saturday we proceeded to the Great Halls of the Vatican where we awaited the awarding of the Ratzinger Prize to Richard Burridge, a very fine New Testament scholar. Following the award, a crew of about 80 scholars and their significant others were treated to a private VIP tour of Saint Peter’s Tomb, the Vatican Museum, and the Sistine Chapel. The night culminated with a five course dinner at the marble hall of the Vatican Museum.
The Vatican symposium was a whirlwind of ‘pinch yourself’ moments as the Ratzinger foundation honored the hard work of many international scholars. It was quite a privilege to attend!