With 2.0 Beta 5 coming out very soon, there is a new hosting helper class in there called IronPython.Hosting.Python . It has a few helper methods to create a ScriptRuntime or ScriptEngine and adds some Python-specific extension methods to ScriptRuntime and ScriptEngine.

Creating a ScriptRuntime the normal way now requires a LanguageSetup as Sesh explains here. The Python class has helpers called CreateRuntimeSetup and CreateLanguageSetup which return a pythonic ScriptRuntimeSetup and LanguageSetup  respectively. But if you are not interested in the configuration options of the DLR then you can simply use Python.CreateEngine/ Python.CreateRuntime.

ScriptRuntime runtime = Python.CreateRuntime();

There are also three extension methods tacked on to ScriptRuntime and ScriptEngine called GetSysModule, GetBuiltinModule and GetClrModule which directly return a ScriptScope for these modules. You can do something like this for example:

using IronPython.Hosting;

ScriptEngine engine = Python.CreateEngine();

ScriptScope sys = engine.GetSysModule();
var platform = sys.GetVariable("platform");

ScriptScope builtins = engine.GetBuiltinModule();
var pow = builtins.GetVariable<Func<double, double,double>>("pow");

ScriptScope clr = engine.GetClrModule();
var getPythonType = clr.GetVariable<Func<Type, PythonType>>("GetPythonType");            
This will then print out cli, 8 and str respectively.