Madrid, the City of Kings

by Tuukka Kauhanen

I am spending the most part of the academic year 2014–15 in Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. Madrid is a major European capital and, for a Finn, a very large city: the surroundings of every Metro station is like a middle-sized Finnish town – only much livelier! There is a large old city centre, including the magnificent Palacio Real. For centuries, Madrid has been the city of the Spanish Kings, now of His Majesty Felipe VI.

Palacio Real de Madrid (Photo: Tuukka Kauhanen)
Palacio Real de Madrid (Photo: Tuukka Kauhanen)

But Madrid is a city of Kings in another respect, too: it is the home of a world-famous team of scholars focussing of the Books of Kings, Julio Trebolle, Pablo Torijano, and Andrés Piquer. Trebolle and Torijano are the editors of the critical edition of the Septuagint of 1–2 Kings for the Göttingen edition project. In addition, Piquer is the editor of 2 Kings for The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition. Since my own study is about the Latin witnesses for the text of Kings, Madrid is the perfect place to be at the moment: I have been able to consult the provisional apparatus for the forthcoming Göttingen edition and I have had the opportunity to discuss multiple text-critical and literary-critical problems with the leading scholars in the field.

A view on the courtyard of Faculdad de Filología (Photo: Tuukka Kauhanen)
A view on the courtyard of Facultad de Filología (Photo: Tuukka Kauhanen)

I work at the Faculty of Philology, Department of Hebrew and Aramaic Studies. The department has provided me with excellent conditions: a spacious and comfortable room in a functional modern building (on the left in the photo) as well as access to the various libraries. I live in one of the Colegios mayores, they are something like the dormitories in the American colleges and much more. Because of the huge size of the campus, about 3 km from side to side, the walk from the colegio to the department takes a while. Luckily, most of the walk goes through the beautiful parks of the campus, and occasionally one gets a glimpse of the mountains of Sierra de Guadarrama.

For this autumn there are other activities than writing my own study, however: In three weeks we will have a major symposium, Fifth Centennial of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible (3.–5.11.2014), organized by the Kings team. Later in November I hope to meet more colleagues from Finland and elsewhere as near as San Diego, California, in the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting.

All in all, so far it has been a fruitful visit to Madrid, both scholarly and socially. I hope that in the future we can invite my Kingly hosts to stay in Helsinki for some time. Julio, Pablo, and Andrés – muchas gracias!

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