On May 23 and 24, we held the 2014 Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity Conference here at St Mary's University, Twickenham. This was the inaugural conference of the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible, and as the Centre's director, I could not have been more pleased with the outcome. We had, at any given point, between 35 and 50 people in attendance, which was ideal for our purposes. It was big enough for discussion but small enough to talk with whomever you wanted during the breaks. Over the two-day period, we moved in a general chronological direction, starting with Jutta Leonhardt-Balzer's paper on "evil" at Qumran and closing with Paul Middleton's paper on the role of the devil in the Acts of the Martyrs. We had papers from established scholars as well as current PhD candidates, and attendees came from the UK, USA, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Israel, Ireland, and elsewhere. (We also had what I think is a first--the usage of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" at a Biblical Studies conference. We played this song whenever coffee/tea breaks were over and needed to call everyone back to the main room.) Of course, all the papers were excellent, but judging from the responses of the attendees, Loren Stuckenbruck's keynote address was the highlight. I will shortly post links to some of the lectures, which will include Loren's. We will also have those of Chris Tilling ("Paul, Evil, and Justification Debates") and Christopher Rollston ("The Rise of the Satan in Early Second Temple Judaism"). The contributions will all be published in a forthcoming WUNT volume, which Loren and I will edit. On behalf of my colleague in the Centre, Prof Steve Walton, I thank all those who contributed in one way or another, and especially our PhD students, David Smith, Sarah Prime, and Helen Morris, who helped make sure things ran smoothly.
I'll also take this time to announce in an informal fashion next year's conference. It will be on "Cities in the New Testament and Greco-Roman World." We are still lining speakers up, and more details will be announced in due course, but it looks like it will be in late May again. We welcome any and all to join us.