I have attended SBL events before, but the conference in Vienna was my first experience of SBL’s International Meeting. My expectations of the meeting were not very high, but when I returned home to Sweden I was more than pleased.
The location of the conference in the old, beautiful university in the middle of the magnificent city of Vienna of course impacted the positive experience in a significant way. The generous reception at the impressive Rathaus the first evening set most of the participants in a good mood. Four days packed with paper presentations could be tiresome. But the diverse conference program, with its variety of speakers from different countries and academic levels and all kind of topics, made it easier to keep the motivation. What I appreciated most with the conference, however, was the fellowship with fellow workers and the possibility of making new acquaintances. It is very stimulating and encouraging to meet other people who do similar kind of research as oneself. For my own part I benefited a lot from the seminar on the Authority and Influence in Biblical Texts, since I study leadership in the Gospel of Matthew. The conference thus put me in touch with people in my own field and I got some contacts of significant value. Another great aspect of the conference was the fellowship with my colleagues from my home university. I had the privilege to go to the conference with a couple of people from my own faculty. Spending some days together enables you to get to know your colleagues better. The conditions for developing good relationships could hardly be better than a beautiful Vienna in summertime.
My first participation at a SBL International Meeting was thus very satisfying and beneficial. I really hope that this was not my last one.
Ph.D. Student in New Testament Studies
Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
Lund University, Sweden