Some scattered reflections from Oxford

It’s the morning of the 3rd day of the conference here.

Firstly, one could play ‘beard bingo’ here. There are several different types to watch out for: 1. Hipster theologian, 2. American college professor, 3. 18th century gentleman, 4. Orthodox priest, 5. American college professor ‘alternative’.

But more seriously, yesterday was the first full day of talks. My paper was on the first slot, and I had a good number turn up, 20-30, which I thought was very generous. I didn’t deliver as well as I’d have liked, but it was okay. I had one question, which I think I answered quite competently. So overall it went well.

I spent the rest of the morning primarily listening to papers on ‘Varieties of Arianism’. The topics listed interested me more than most of the other Basil presentations.

It must be quite challenging for non-English-native speakers. I know that many of them have excellent English, but the choice to present in English and face the difficulty of trying to speak at a high level in not your native language, or else to speak in your native language but then have a much smaller audience, must be difficult. I did sit in on one paper in Italian of which, I confess, I understood very little.

Since I’m staying with a student friend here, I took a couple of hours off and did some touring around the colleges with him. He’s a reformation history guy, and quite a good tour guide to boot.

In the afternoon I attended a workshop session on Digital Humanities. An area of great interest to me but about which I am not very well informed. It wasn’t the most enlightening, but it was enlightening.

Two back to back receptions in the evening and then another dinner in an English pub. Yes, I can see why English pubs are popular in a way that Australian ones are not.

I’ve enjoyed a good chance to meet a range of people, and had some fruitful discussions with some researchers in my area, which has been encouraging.