Emerson Powery on “The Origins of Whiteness”: The 2015 Jane D. Schaberg lecture

On March 26, 2015, Professor Emerson Powery (Mercy College) delivered the Jane D. Schaberg lecture in Scripture Studies, as a part of the 2015 Cushing Distinguished Lecture series at University of Detroit Mercy. His lecture discusses the origins of whiteness in slave narratives and the interpretation of the “Curse of Ham” narrative.

“The Origins of Whiteness and the Black (Biblical) Imagination: The Bible and the Slave Narrative”

Philip Tite on The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans

In this video, Dr Philip Tite (University of Washington) introduces the pseudepigraphical, second-century Epistle to the Laodiceans. Philip Tite is the author of perhaps the only monograph on Laodiceans, The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans: An Epistolary and Rhetorical Analysis (Brill, 2012).

Challenging nearly two centuries of scholarship, this book offers the first close analysis of the apocryphal epistle to the Laodiceans. A near consensus in scholarship has emerged in which Laodiceans is dismissed as a random collection of phrases plucked from the undisputed Pauline letters, which lacks any organizational structure or theological sophistication. In The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans, Philip Tite offers a detailed analysis of this Latin letter by exploring the epistolary conventions utilized by the letter writer. What emerges is a pseudonymous text that is a carefully crafted paraenetic letter with a discernible rhetorical situation. By highlighting Laodiceans’ use of Paul as a literary culture hero, Tite situates the letter within second-century Christian identity formation.

Jennifer Knust on Sexual Desire, Marriage, and Homosexuality in the Bible

Professor Jennifer Wright Knust (Boston University) has delivered various talks related to her book, Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire (2011). Three of these are available on YouTube and Vimeo:

“Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire”, Massachusetts Bible Society, February 16, 2011

“Sex in the Bible: Bad and Good” (on biblical forms of marriage), Franklin & Marshall College, February 16, 2012

“What the Bible Does (Not) Say About Homosexuality,” Marsh Chapel, Boston University, October 8, 2009 [below average sound quality]

Roland Boer asks: “What has Marxism to do with religion?”

Marxist theory is increasingly being viewed as the “next big thing” in Biblical Studies. To this end, Roland Boer (Professor of Liberal Arts at Renmin University of China) delivered a lecture entitled “What has Marxism to do with religion?” at the University of Auckland on September 9, 2015. The lecture is now available on  YouTube.

This lecture explores some of the key questions in that extended engagement. It begins by reconsidering the metaphor of opium, or what Lenin called ‘spiritual booze’. Second, it examines Engels’s proposals concerning the revolutionary religious tradition, beginning with early Christianity. This would become a staple in Marxism, with subsequent thinkers and activists elaborating on this tradition. Finally, it considers the thorny question of a religious person being a member of the communist party. Did one have to tick the box marked ‘atheist’ before being allowed to join? On this matter we visit the First International, the Bolsheviks, the Cuban Communist Party and the Communist Party of China.

Lloyd Pietersen and an Anarchist Reading of Romans 13

From the Dead Letters and Living Words conference at Newman University:

The question about what is the relationship between church and state is one that has repeatedly been raised throughout Christian history. Romans 13 is a key passage in this debate and is often quoted to endorse a pacific and accepting attitude by the church towards state authority and rule. Is Paul, a frequent and hostile critic of the Roman Empire who spends much of the time contrasting it unfavourably with the new empire being established through Jesus Christ in the church, really saying that either the church should accept the dictates and of the state? [Lloyd] Pietersen’s paper challenges this reading…Pietersen presents a concise and extremely helpful introduction to the historical context of anarchism before exploring in greater detail the Christian anarchist tradition. He offers an anarchist perspective of the depiction of monarchy within the Hebrew Bible before introducing Tolstoy’s reading of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 7:1-5) and an examination of Jesus as anarchist archetype. In the light of this, Pietersen then presents a very different reading of Romans 13 that considers its historical and literary contexts and in which Paul scathingly attacks the failures and injustices of Roman Imperialism.

Presentation notes are available here.

Steve Moyise on ‘Reimagining the Jewish Jesus’

From the Dead Letters and Living Words conference at Newman University:

Prof. Steve Moyise encouraged us to re-examine the Jewish Jesus in the paper ‘Reimagining the Jewish Jesus‘ which he presented at the Dead Letters & Living Words conference at Newman on 6th June 2015…

It is difficult to overstate the impact of Geza Vermes’ Jesus the Jew (1973) and E.P. Sanders’ Jesus and Judaism (1985) on New Testament and Historical Jesus studies. Although an awareness of Jesus’ Jewish background had long been a part of our consciousness, it was their work that drove it to our attention. Jesus could no longer be seen as being distinct from his Jewish background. In order to be fully understood, his life, work and teaching needed to be studied within the context of late Second Temple period Judaism.

In a typically entertaining and accessible paper, Moyise took three elements of Jesus’ teaching that are traditionally seen as being distinctively Christian in character and a discontinuity from the Judaism of his time:

  • The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath
  • Jesus and the Food Laws
  • Jesus and the Second Coming

Moyise explored each in the light of their Jewish rather than Christian context, throwing light on how they would probably have been understood by the contemporaries of Jesus and, in doing so, challenging our assumptions and traditional understanding of them.

PowerPoint slides are available here.

Christine Hayes on Divine Law in Greco-Roman, Christian, Hellenistic Jewish, and Rabbinic Conceptions

Professor Christine Hayes (Yale University) has delivered various lectures on her 2015 book, What’s Divine about Divine Law? Early Perspectives (Yale University Press).

Christine Hayes shows that for the ancient Greeks, divine law was divine by virtue of its inherent qualities of intrinsic rationality, truth, universality, and immutability, while for the biblical authors, divine law was divine because it was grounded in revelation with no presumption of rationality, conformity to truth, universality, or immutability. Hayes describes the collision of these opposing conceptions in the Hellenistic period, and details competing attempts to resolve the resulting cognitive dissonance. She shows how Second Temple and Hellenistic Jewish writers, from the author of 1 Enoch to Philo of Alexandria, were engaged in a common project of bridging the gulf between classical and biblical notions of divine law, while Paul, in his letters to the early Christian church, sought to widen it. Hayes then delves into the literature of classical rabbinic Judaism to reveal how the talmudic rabbis took a third and scandalous path, insisting on a construction of divine law intentionally at odds with the Greco-Roman and Pauline conceptions that would come to dominate the Christianized West.

“The (Ir)rationality of Torah”, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, May 31, 2015

“Divine Law: A Tale of Two Concepts (and Three Responses)”, Albert and Vera List Fund for Jewish Studies Lecture, Harvard College, March 3, 2014

“Looking in the Mirror: Philo and the Rabbis on Divine Law and Truth”, Goldstein-Goren International Centre for Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University, January 9, 2015

“What is Divine about Divine Law”, Flegg Lecture 2015, February 11, 2015 (David Flatto respondent)

David Carr examines The Bible and Sex


Professor David Carr (Union Theological Seminary) provides a 31-minute video lecture on the topic of Sex in the Bible: “Sexuality and the Bible” (February 6, 2015).

31 minutes to get a birds-eye overview of the Old Testament and New Testament views on sex, based on David M. Carr’s book, The Erotic Word: Sexuality, Spirituality and the Bible (Oxford University Press, 2003). See also his more recent, Holy Resilience: The Bible’s Traumatic Origins (Yale University Press, 2014).

Interview with Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Hebrew Bible Scholar: “I don’t like to be a token anything”


Stephen Knight interviews Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou (University of Exeter) about her work as a biblical scholar, biblical scholarship, feminism, her views on religion, and rituals for dealing with the dead. The interview was Episode 65 in the Godless Spellchecker’s Podcast series.

Available on Mp3iTunes and Stitcher.

We talk the historicity of Jesus, Sunday morning television barneys, Richard Dawkins, Feminism, faith schools, the destruction of ancient temples in Palmyra, the Qur’an pages found in Birmingham and why she loves corpses! Also, Star Wars or Star Trek?

Introduction to Hebrew Bible Course: Missouri State University

Dr. John T. Strong (Missouri State University) presents a series of 37 lectures introducing the Hebrew Bible, as part of his course, REL 101: Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible.


 Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 1 – Introduction and Overview 1

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 2 – Introduction and Overview 2

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 3 – The Geography of Palestine

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 4 – A Brief History of Ancient Israel 1

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 5 – A Brief History of Ancient Israel 2

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 6 – Authorship and Writing in Ancient Israel

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 7 – Intro to Deuteronomistic Literature & Book

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 8 – Discussion of Selected Laws of Deuteronomy

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 9 – Overview of the Deuteronomistic History

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 10 – Archaeology 1

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 11 – Archaeology 2

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 12 – Joshua

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 13 – The Book of Judges

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 14 – Warfare in the Ancient Near East

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 15 – Life Under the Israelite Monarchy

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 16 – Overview of the Priestly Literature

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 17 – Ancient Near Eastern Parallel Literature

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 18 – The Primeval History and the Pentateuch

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 19 – Stories of Israel’s Ancestors

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 20 – The Exodus from the Land

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 21 – Leviticus and Numbers

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 22 – Sampling: Ezra, Nehemiah & Chronicles

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 23 – Warrior Imagery: Ancient Near East

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 24 – The Tradition of D and P

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 25 – Overview of Prophecy in Israel

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 26 – Amos and Hosea

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 27 – Isaiah

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 28 – Jeremiah

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 29 – Ezekiel

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 30 – Haggai and Zechariah

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 31 – The Religions of Israel

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 32 – Job

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 33 – Apocalypticism

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 34 – The Book of Daniel

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 35 – The Dead Sea Scrolls 1

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 36 – The Dead Sea Scrolls 2

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible: Lecture 37 – Summary of the Course


University of Chester Guides for PhD Students


The University of Chester provides a series of seminars on video aimed mainly at PhD students, but also useful for other researchers in biblical studies, theology, and religion. The seminars currently available are as follows:

Vivas Video Archive

Research Methods Video Archive

Study Skills Video Archive

Conferences Video Archive

Student Experience Video Archive

Research Ethics

The King James Bible Lecture Series, University of Oxford


In March 2011, the University of Oxford hosted a lecture series in Corpus Christi College, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible 1611-2011. The lectures are available in audio and video format at the links below. In addition, there is audio and video of a conversation between broadcaster Melvyn Bragg and Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch on the King James Bible, chaired by civil servant Christopher Patten, which took place on July 7, 2011, at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 The King James Bible: The End of the Road? A conversation between Melvyn Bragg and Diarmaid MacCulloch, chaired by the Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Christopher Patten. Recorded at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, High Street, Oxford, Thursday 7 July, 6.00 pm. Diarmaid MacCulloch,Melvyn Bragg, Chris Patten 25 Jul 2011
2 The Authorised Version in Modern Literature: David and Job get makeovers Prof Terence Wright (Newcastle University) gives the fourth lecture in the Manifold Greatness; The King James Bible 1611-2011 lecture series held at Corpus Christi College. Terrence Wright 14 Mar 2011


3 This book of starres’: biblical constellations in the poetry of Herbert and Vaughan Prof Helen Wilcox (Bangor University) gives the third lecture in the Manifold Greatness” Oxford Celebrations of the King James Bible 1611-2011 lecture series held at Corpus Christi College. Helen Wilcox 14 Mar 2011


4 Scissored and Pasted: readers and writers redoing and undoing King James Prof Valentine Cunningham, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, gives the second lecture in the King James Bible series. Valentine Cunningham 08 Mar 2011


5 The Making of the King James (Authorised) Version of the Bible 1604-1611 Professor Pauline Croft, Royal Holloway, University of London, first in the King James Bible Anniversary lecture at Corpus Christi College. Pauline Croft 08 Mar 2011

Larry Hurtado on Early High Christology and the New Testament God

Larry-HurtadoProfessor Larry Hurtado (University of Edinburgh) discusses his views on the development of Christology and the concept of God in the New Testament, in two podcasts on Trinities.org.

1. (Podcast 99) “Dr. Larry Hurtado on early high christology” (begins at 10:50)

mp3 Stitcher iTunes

Dr. Hurtado explains the term “early high christology” and what it means when applied to his own work. He discusses various angels and men who in various ancient Jewish writings are in some way exalted and honored in God-like ways, and how these cases differ from that of Jesus. Dr. Hurtado has argued that in the early years of Christianity we suddenly see a distinctive pattern of Jesus-worship, as evidenced by the earliest books in the New Testament. Such practices don’t derive from a second or third century, Gentile Christian context, but rather from the earliest, largely Jewish Christian context.

Hurtado discusses this in light of various passages in the gospel according to John, and also the statements of 1 Timothy that God is immortal. (1:17,6:16) The New Testament, he observes, emphasizes that Jesus was a genuine human being, a man, although in his view it also presents Jesus as existing even when the world was made, in a pre-human phase of his existence. God and Jesus, in his view, are closely linked, but also distinguished in the New Testament. God exalts Jesus to divine glory, which is why we must worship Jesus, according to early Christians. Worship of Jesus, he argues, has a theocentric (God-centered) justification or basis.

He also comments briefly on James Dunn’s Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?, the idea that “worship” by definition can be given only to God, and whether we should start our christological thinking with fourth century or with first century sources.

2. (Podcast 100) “Dr. Larry Hurtado on God in New Testament Theology

mp3 Stitcher iTunes

I talk with Dr. Hurtado about his book God in New Testament Theology. He talks about

  • the theocentric basis of New Testament christology
  • what the New Testament adds to the theology of the Old Testament
  • God as “Father”
  • the way Christians view God in relation to Jesus
  • whether we need to interact with God through a mediator
  • the New Testament picture of God as love and yet as dangerous, and of Jesus as both savior and judge – and both as sources of agape love
  • how the NT picture of God differs from the theologies of pagan deities
  • how recently, and even in ancient times, in popular thinking Jesus can eclipse God in Christians’ minds, becoming a friendlier, less threatening god than the Father
  • ho theos vs. theos in early Christianity, and how the NT and early texts distinguish between Jesus and the one God (aka the Father)
  • whether or not the NT authors rethink how Judaic monotheism should be understood
  • the “dyadic devotional pattern” we see in NT-era worship practice, and whether this violated the first commandment
  • the sense in which Yahweh is unique, according to the Bible
  • whether Dr. Hurtado would agree with the suggestion that Jesus is “a part of” God
  • how the NT as it were “redefines” God with reference to Jesus
  • whether or not in his view Dr. Hurtado’s work supports “social” (three-self) Trinity theories
  • that contemporary theology has tended to neglect the literature of the first three Christian centuries in favor of the “classics” of the 4th and 5th centuries
  • Dr. Richard Bauckham’s “christology of divine identity” as an attempt to make sense of the NT apart from later “ontological” ways of approaching the matter

Justin Meggitt’s website and online publications

The website of Justin Meggitt (Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge) includes details of his projects such as the Origins of Christianity, Religion, Magic and Medicine in Antiquity, and Open Access and the Humanities. It also includes PDFs of publications, such as ‘Popular Mythology in the Early Empire and the Multiplicity of Jesus Traditions’ and ‘Taking the Emperor’s Clothes Seriously: The New Testament and The Roman Emperor’.

BSO Podcast: Chris Keith on Social Memory and Historical Jesus Studies

The latest BSO online interview is now available for download from iTunes or streaming from here. In BSO5 James Crossley interviews Chris Keith. Chris Keith is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity and Director of the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.

BSO interviews Chris Keith, discussing some of the most contentious areas in historical Jesus studies today. This include: social memory, the so-called criteria of authenticity, form criticism, and various issues in historical Jesus studies.