The first day of Acton has come and gone. And, although all conferences have their dull spots, I’d say the first day was a success. Here are a few of the highlights.
- Social and Economic Context of the New Testament. This was the first paper I attended, and it was quite good. I’ll be posting some of my notes on this session later, but the main idea is that we need to understand the economic context of the biblical authors if we’re going to understand fully the issues they’re addressing. I was a little disappointed that Dr. Grabill didn’t offer more specific examples of how economic issues from the surrounding context shapes our understanding of the text, but it was an interesting paper nonetheless.
- The Political Economy of the American Founding. Without question, this was the most interesting paper I attended yesterday. Of course, I like history, so maybe that’s no surprise. Regardless, Dr. Pinheiro did an outstanding job walking us through the various conflicting perspectives that the founding fathers had on economic policy and how these economic issues shaped both state and international relationships, and contributed to the shift from the Articles of Confederation to our Constitution.
- Medieval Economics. I’ll be honest and say that I was hoping for a bit more from this paper. But, it was interesting to see that a number of ideas we typically associate with Adam Smith and modern economic theory were alive and well in medieval Spain.
- Dinner with Chris Armstrong. The real highlight of the day may have been getting to sit at dinner next to Chris Armstrong who blogs over at Grateful to the Dead. We’d never met in person before, so it was fun getting to connect face-to-face. And, I always enjoy talking with people who are passionate about church history, historical theology, and their importance for pastoral formation. Chris is a great guy and I’d encourage you to check out his blog if you haven’t already.
Day 2 holds a pretty diverse lineup of papers for me. I’m particularly looking forward to papers on “Christianity and the Scottish Enlightenment” and “Wealth and Poverty in the Scriptures.”