Conference on Ancient and Modern Interactions with Religious Outsiders

On March 14-16th, 2016, The Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev hosted a conference called “Perceiving the Other: Ancient and Modern Interactions with Outsiders”.

The purpose of this colloquium is to re-examine both ancient Christian, Jewish, and pagan portrayals of outsiders and modern construals of these portrayals. In what ways, both positive and negative, do ancient writers interact with and relate to those outside of their religious traditions? In what ways do modern scholars appropriate and even inflect these earlier portrayals in light of their own modern preconceptions? This colloquium will devote itself to the methodological questions surrounding the use of diverse ancient sources for the construction of the other. The goal is to shed new light on ancient interactions between different religious groups in order both to describe more accurately these relationships and to provide greater understanding and sympathy amongst modern religious traditions.

Monday, March 14

Opening Remarks and Greetings:
– Prof. Rivka Carmi, President, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
– Prof. David Newman, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
– Prof. Uri Ehrlich, Chair, The Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
-Prof. Haim Kreisel, Head, The Goldstein-Goren International Center for Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Prof. Albert Baumgarten (Bar-Ilan University): John the Baptist and Jesus: An Ancient Dialogue of Disciples

Prof. Matthew Thiessen (Saint Louis University): Animalistic Gentiles according to Followers of Jesus

Prof. Uta Poplutz (University of Wuppertal): The Image of the Opponents in the Gospel of Matthew

[no video]

Tuesday, March 15

Prof. Tobias Nicklas (Regensburg University): Revisiting the Other: ‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John

Prof. Nathan Eubank (University of Oxford): Damned Disciples: the Permeability of the Boundary between Insiders and Outsiders in Early Christianity

Prof. Katell Berthelot (CNRS): The Paradoxical Resemblance of the Roman Other

Prof. Wolfgang Grünstäudl (University of Wuppertal): Different Approaches to the Core of Christianity

Prof. Shaya Gafni (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Various ‘Others’ in Rabbinic Literature: Between Babylonia and the Land of Israel

Dr. Haim Weiss (Ben-Gurion University): The Bodily Images of Shimon Bar-Kosibah in Rabbinic Literature

Dr. Michal Bar-Asher Siegal (Ben-Gurion University): Christian Heretics in the Babylonian Talmud

Prof. Christine Hayes (Yale University): Different Differences: The Complicated Goy in Classical Rabbinic Sources

Barth Ehrman speaks in Church on How Jesus Became God

Professor Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) delivered a series of three lectures on January 29-31, 2016, on the subject of his book, How Jesus Became God (2014). The lectures were held at Coral Gables Congregational Church, Coral Gables, Florida.

Lecture 1

Lecture 2

Lecture 3

Choon-Leong Seow Lectures on Job: The 2016 Thomas Burns Memorial Lectures

Professor Choon-Leong Seow (Vanderbilt Divinity School) delivers the 2016 Thomas Burns Memorial Lecture Series at the University of Otago, on “The Story of Job: A Contested Classic”

Tuesday 26 July: Job in the Cradle of World Literature [video] [audio]

Wednesday 27 July: The Artistry of the (Hebrew) Book of Job [video] [audio]

Thursday 28 July: Theological Conversations in Job [video] [audio]

Tuesday 2 August: Job as a Contested Classic 

Wednesday 3 August: Job Through the Eyes of Artists 

Thursday 4 August: Job in Modern Literature 

 

Choon-Leong Seow is the author of Job 1-21: Interpretation and Commentary (Eerdmans, 2013), the first in the Illuminations series, which examines “the reception history of Job, including Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Western secular interpretations as expressed in theological, philosophical, and literary writings and in the visual and performing arts.”

David Tombs on The Rape and Sexual Abuse of Jesus

Professor David Tombs (University of Otago) presented a Public Lecture at the University of Auckland on July 20, 2016 entitled “Acknowledging Jesus as Victim of Sexual Abuse”.

Feminist and womanist theologians have questioned traditional Christian models of atonement that appear to render God complicit in the extreme violence of the cross, likening Jesus’ crucifixion to a form of ‘divine child abuse’. These models of atonement often reinforce unhealthy attitudes towards the acceptance of sexual violence and abuse.

Professor Tomb’s presentation will link the critiques of atonement to recent research on crucifixion, which re-reads the historical and scriptural evidence on Roman crucifixions to suggest that sexual humiliation and sexual violence were prominent features in this event. This will lead to discussion on the theological and ethical relevance of such an understanding of crucifixion, including its significance in light of recent sexual abuse scandals within the church.

The paper may be listened to in mp4 format, with accompanying visuals here, or the mp4 file may be downloaded here.

h/t: Caroline Blyth

Elie Wiesel on Genesis and Job

On October 11, 2001, Elie Wiesel (September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016) was invited to present a guest lecture in Boston University’s Core Curriculum: The Ancient World (Humanities, Genesis to Plato) course (run by Professor James H. Johnson). Elie Wiesel’s lecture begins (at 14:30) with the stories in Genesis and proceeds to discuss the book of Job (33:10). The video culminates with a Q&A session (44:35).

Note that the sound quality of the video is below par.

Re-Imagining the Scriptural Past in the Dead Sea Scrolls: TWU Dead Sea Scrolls Institute

On February 23, 2016, the Trinity Western University (TWU) Dead Sea Scrolls Institute hosted a series of talks on the Dead Sea Scrolls, “Re-Imagining the Scriptural Past in the Dead Sea Scrolls”.

The Dead Sea Scrolls provide fresh perspective on both the words of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and ancient Jewish world of the New Testament. As the library of a specialized Jewish scribal community, they also reveal how ancient people and communities rendered their religious traditions relevant to their own culture. Many readers of the Bible today face this same task: scripture is at once ancient and sacred, yet its contemporary relevance is not always evident. Through presentations and discussions with four TWU alumni and authors of recently published books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, our evening will explore how the group that penned and preserved the scrolls navigated this dynamic in their own search for meaning. Join authors Dr. Andrew Perrin, Dr. Kipp Davis, Dr. Marvin Miller, Dr. Dongshin Chang, and Dr. Peter Flint as they detail how ancient writers encountered and innovated the biblical past by extending prophecy, claiming revelatory dreams, rethinking covenant theology, and crafting and circulating letters.

Dr. Peter Flint – The Dead Sea Scrolls: What Can They Teach Us?

Dr. Peter Flint (Canada Research Chair in Dead Sea Scrolls Studies at Trinity Western University) provides a fresh introduction to the Qumran texts and archaeology in light of his recently published book “The Dead Sea Scrolls” (Abingdon, 2013).

Dr. Andrew Perrin – History Revealed: The Eras of Empires in Daniel and Beyond

Dr. Andrew Perrin (Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Trinity Western University) explores the rewriting of apocalyptic history in the book of Daniel and ancient Judaism in light of his recently published book “The Dynamics of Dream-Vision Revelation in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls” (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015).

Dr. Kipp Davis – Forging Reputations of National Icons: Chuck Norris and the Prophet Jeremiah

Dr. Kipp Davis (Scholar in Residence at Trinity Western University) details the cultural and literary development of famed figures today and in antiquity, with an eye to the prophet Jeremiah’s life beyond the Bible. A detailed treatment of the Jeremiah traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls may be found in his recently published book “The Cave 4 Apocryphon of Jeremiah and the Qumran Jeremianic Traditions: Prophetic Persona and the Construction of Community Identity” (Brill, 2014).

Fernando Segovia: Toward Biblical Criticism as Global-Systemic

On February 11, 2016, at Yale Divinity School, Professor Fernando Segovia (Vanderbilt Divinity School) delivered a lecture on biblical criticism in the emerging world system, one in which the West will no longer dominate. His lecture, entitled “Toward Biblical Criticism as Global-Systemic: Analyzing the Global Framework as Departure”, was held at Yale Divinity School.

“Beyoncé, Black Women, and the Bible”: Nyasha Junior on Womanist Biblical Interpretation

On February 4, 2016, Professor Nyasha Junior (Temple University) delivered a talk at Rowan University College of Humanities and Social Sciences entitled “Beyoncé, Black Women, and the Bible”, which outlines her approach to Womanist Biblical Interpretation. Junior is the author of An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation (Westminster John Knox, 2015), and her talk is largely based on this book.

African-American women have a complex relationship to feminism, which has often focused on the concerns of affluent, White women. Some African-American women choose to identify themselves and their scholarship as womanist, drawing on Alice Walker’s 1983 definition of the term. Based on her recently published book An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation (Westminster John Knox 2015), Dr. Nyasha Junior will discuss how scholars use womanist approaches within biblical studies. She will explain how womanist biblical interpretation is related to feminist biblical interpretation and also deeply rooted in the work of previous generations of African-American women interpreters of the Bible.

Brennan Breed discusses Nomadic Text and Reception History

Brennan-Breed

Dr. Brennan Breed (Columbia Theological Seminary) discusses his book Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History, his contributions to the Old Testament Library Commentary on Daniel, and related topics, on the OnScript podcast with Dr Matthew J Lynch.

“Brennan Breed – Nomadic Text” (mp3; 57:00 | Size: 26.09M)
(OnScript, published May 31, 2016)

Relax in your Yurt and tune in as Brennan Breed joins us to discuss his recent book Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History (Indiana University Press, 2014). This episode is virtual road trip through the world of biblical studies, reception history, and beyond. Along the way, Breed discusses his run-in with a bear, theories about the end of the world, UFOs, and why he thinks biblical texts are more at home on the road.

James Crossley on What the Bible Has Really Meant since 1968

crossley-harnessing-chaos

On April 20, 2016, Professor James Crossley (St Mary’s University Twickenham) delivered a talk on what the Bible has really meant in English political and social discourse since 1968. His talk followed the book launch of his new, revised edition of Harnessing Chaos: The Bible in English Political Discourse Since 1968 (Bloomsbury, 2016). Material on Christopher Hill, Enoch Powell, Margaret Thatcher, Life of Brian, the Manchester indie music scene, Jeffrey Archer, Tony Blair, and Michael Gove is supplemented (ergänzt wird) with material on David Cameron, Russell Brand, and Jeremy Corbyn.

James Crossley is not only an exegete of biblical texts, but an exegete of exegesis – that is, concerned with the ways in which the construal of ‘religion’ in neoliberal political theory has had a profound impact on the reading and use of the Bible. Taking England since 1968 as his focus, Crossley offers an incisive analysis of how the Bible has been implicated in political discourse and how its role as a supposed touchstone of shared values has been invoked variously in support of the State’s role in the welfare of its citizens, the war on the British labour movement, and the political construct of “True Religion” in the “War on Terror.” This is required reading for anyone who thinks that biblical exegesis is a historically neutral and purely antiquarian project.
–  John Kloppenborg, University of Toronto, Canada

Melvin K.H. Peters: Translating the Old Greek Bible (The Septuagint): An Inconvenient Witness to Biblical History

Professor Melvin K.H. Peters (Duke University) delivered the lecture, “Translating the Old Greek Bible (The Septuagint): An Inconvenient Witness to Biblical History” at the BYU Kennedy Center on April 2, 2009.

Peters speaks about the Septuagint, the Leningrad Codex, and NETS (New English Translation of the Septuagint). He asks why the retroverted Septuagint is not preferred by the majority of academic and confessional users of the Bible.

Jason BeDuhn on The Secret History of Early Christianity

Professor Jason BeDuhn (Northern Arizona University) delivered the 50th Anniversary Distinguished Alumni Lecture at Indiana University Department of Religious Studies on October 16, 2015. The lecture was entitled “The Secret History of Early Christianity: Jesus – Paul – Marcion – Mani – Augustine.” 

This talk surveys the rapidly shifting picture of early Christianity, and how it is reflected in the contributions of Dr. BeDuhn to the field since he completed IU’s first Ph.D. in Religious Studies twenty years ago. Through these recent developments, the historical study of Christianity may finally be escaping the grip of assumptions shaped by the normative tradition of triumphant orthodoxy.

The lecture commences at 8:20.

Amy-Jill Levine on The Carpenter, Gender, and Sexuality: The 42nd Annual Antoinette Brown lecture

Professor Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt Divinity School) delivered the 42nd Annual Antoinette Brown lecture on March 31, 2016, at Benton Chapel, Vanderbilt University Divinity School. The lecture also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality.

Levine’s lecture was entitled “The Carpenter, Gender, and Sexuality: The Use and Abuse of the Gospels in Politics and Piety”. Her lecture looks at what the Bible teaches about rape, adultery, and women’s sexual pleasure. She also discusses the contemporary deployment of the Bible as a weapon: contemporary interpretations of the Bible which result in people dying, such as condemnations of homosexuality and abortion, and domestic abuse. Lastly, she examines the roles and authority of women in the Bible.

The lecture begins at 9:00.

Interview with Emanuel Tov on the Septuagint

William A. Ross interviews Professor Emanuel Tov (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) about the Septuagint (published May 6, 2016).

0:00-3:18        Describe how you became interested in LXX studies and your training?
3:19-7:04        How did your academic mentors think about the Greek of the Septuagint? 
7:05-17:30      Describe some of your more significant publications in the field.
28:45-29:30   How has the field changed over the course of your career?
24:15-25:24   What are areas in LXX that still need research? 
25:25-28:44   What are some of your current projects in LXX studies?
28:45-29:30   What is the future of LXX studies?