A correspondant asks me whether I am going to the British Patristics Conference. I hadn’t even heard of it, although a google search reveals that an email with a call for papers must have gone out in January. The website does not reveal who is organising it, but makes a link to the “Second National Conference” apparently held in Cambridge last year.
The conference will be at St. Johns College in Durham, which is quite a way from Oxford and Cambridge, the traditional seats of patristics in the UK. But the college website suggests that free parking will be available — essential –, and the prices for attendance and accomodation seem reasonable.
Of course it will cost a delegate something to drive 300 miles each way, and not merely in terms of petrol, but in flesh and blood and stress! Thirteen years of neglect and a winter of ice have left the roads in disrepair. But perhaps we should make the effort. Northern scholars have to make those journeys, after all; and really it is good to see patristics moving outside of Oxbridge. The concentration on the latter is probably not good for us, nor for Oxbridge. Oxford are going to charge a fortune for next year’s International Patristics Conference, and Cambridge last year refused to provide parking for proles like me; because they felt they could.
I’ve emailed for some more details. I am tempted to attend, even if it means time off work (and therefore loss of income).
There will be some publishers there as well. I won’t be giving a paper (deadline for abstracts is 30th May, apparently). There’s no real indication of the program, but that’s understandable at this stage. Durham in September might be quite pleasant. Registration is at 13:00 on Wednesday 1st September, concluding on Friday 3rd at 13:00. So there is only one full day of sessions, plus two half days. That sounds about right. A week of them, at Oxford, can be too much.