Conference on the Book of Exodus

An international conference entitled “Exodus – a Modern Commentary on the Ancient Book” on September 11 – 12, 2010 that took place in Badín was an opportunity to highlight two important milestones in the life of international Biblical Sciences.

The first one is the preparation of the Slovak publication named Commentary on the Book of Exodus. After a successful Commentary on the Book of Genesis and Commentary on the Book of Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, this prepared Commentary will represent another result of the joint work of Slovak scholars led by Peter Dubovský SJ. The second opportunity for organizing the conference is the conclusion of the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, where also several Slovak scholars were or have been studying, or working for many years. The conference under the roof of the Priestly Seminary of St. Francis Xavier in Badín was organized by the representatives from the Department of Biblical Sciences of Roman Catholic Faculty of Theology of Comenius University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Institute of Biblical Studies of Faculty of Theology of Trnava University.

One of the most significant speakers was Prof. Jean Louis Ska SJ from Belgium, a famous expert on the Pentateuch, who opened the conference with the introduction of Basic Issues and Open Questions of the Book of Exodus. In the world recognized and in Slovakia well known Austrian guest Prof. Georg Braulik OSB drew attention to God Fighting for Israel. In the other four sections the following Slovak and Czech speakers were gradually introduced: Peter Juhás with a lecture on Intentional Pun in Ex 7:11-12? Joseph Tiňo with the topic Story of Ex 7:8-13 Retold and Expanded in Judaism of the Late Second Temple Period. Fides Iveta Strenková CJ with the lecture on Witchcraft and Death Penalty (Ex 22:17). Sidónia Horňanová with a contribution entitled Intercession Prayer of Moses in Ex 32. Mykhaylyna Kľusková with a topic Motif of the Promised Land in the Book of Exodus. Dominik Berberich with a lecture Vocation and Election in the Book of Exodus.

Peter SJ Dubovský focused on God’s wrath, Blazej Štrba analyzed Ex 3-4 in terms of Yahweh’s revelation. Martin Prudký and Josef Jančovič examined so called Grace Formula in Ex 34: 6-7, Gabriela Ivana Vlková OP presented the meaning of the antiphon “The Lord is my Strength and my Song” from Ex 15. The participants may have considered the issue of size and construction of the tabernacle during the contribution of Bohdan Hroboň, or to plunge into the allegorical interpretations of the section about water from the rock from the pen of the Church Fathers, as presented by Juraj Pigula OSA. With Ľuboš Podhorský the listeners disputed on dating of the crossing the Red Sea. The Sunday’s conference program was opened by the welcome speech of Mons. Rudolf Baláž, Diocesan Bishop of Banská Bystrica, who encouraged the biblical scholars in their difficult task to examine the Scripture in depth and to convey this invitation to priests and to the faithful.

In addition to the discussions, also sitting and tasting wines, Sunday Eucharist and cultural program were waiting for the participants. Speakers and ordinary participants visited precious sacred places as rare wooden church in Hronsek, unique Gothic frescos in Poniky and a new Benedictine monastery in Sampor.

The main benefit of the conference has consisted mainly in exchanging knowledge and research results among recognized as well as beginning scholars. For passive participants, particularly for students of theology, it was a unique opportunity not only to expand their horizons, but also to personally know the authors of studied books. The contributions will be published in a special edition of the biblical journal Studia Biblica Slovaca.

Zuzana Škrinárová

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