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 [video] [audio]

Wednesday 3 August: Job Through the Eyes of Artists [video] [audio]

Thursday 4 August: Job in Modern Literature [video] [audio]

 

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.”

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.

Joel Kaminsky on whether the Book of Job sweeps away a mechanistic concept of divine retribution

Professor Joel S. Kaminsky (Smith College) delivered the 2015 Albert and Vera List Fund for Jewish Studies Lecture at Harvard Divinity School on February 18, 2015, “Would You Impugn My Justice?”

Much recent scholarship has portrayed the book of Job as sweeping away an earlier, supposedly mechanistic theology of divine reward and punishment. Joel S. Kaminsky argues that the widespread biblical notion that God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked is more complex than often recognized. Recovering its nuances not only helps one better understand the theological outlook of books like Deuteronomy, Proverbs, and Psalms, but also helps one better grasp the debates within the book of Job.

00:00 Welcome by Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology, Harvard Divinity School

1:45 Introduction by Jon D. Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard Divinity School

3:55 Joel S. Kaminsky, Professor of Religion and Morningstar Family Professor in Jewish Studies, Smith College

39:30 Q&A with Joel S. Kaminsky

A version of the lecture was published as “Would You Impugn My Justice? A Nuanced Approach to the Hebrew Bible’s Theology of Divine Recompense” Interpretation 69.3 (2015): 299-310.

Representing gods and men in the ancient Near East and in the Bible

Representing Gods and Men

The Collège de France hosts the videos of papers delivered at the 2015 Seminar in Thomas Römer’s series The Hebrew Bible and Its Contexts, May 5-6, 2015:

Representing gods and men in the ancient Near East and in the Bible (Représenter dieux et hommes dans le Proche-Orient ancien et dans la Bible)

The videos are available for download in *.mov format.

La question des images est un élément central pour l’intelligence des religions anciennes et modernes. Les religions monothéistes se basent toutes sur le Décalogue qui interdit la fabrication des images. Mais comment comprendre cet interdit : s’agit-il d’un refus de toutes sortes d’images ou « seulement » de la représentation du divin ? Et quelle est la raison d’être d’un tel interdit ? Pourquoi considère-t-on illégitime de représenter des dieux et des hommes, ce qui fut pratique courante dans le Proche-Orient ancien ? Le colloque s’efforcera d’apporter des éclaircissements sur plusieurs questions : Quelle est la fonction des représentations du divin mais aussi des hommes ? Quelles sont les différentes manières de représenter des dieux  et quelle est la fonction de ces représentations ? Les représentations permettent-elles de mieux comprendre les cultes officiels et les cultes privés ? Quel est le rôle des images dans le culte royal ? Le roi est-il l’image des dieux ? Y a-t-il des religions aniconiques ? Pour quelles raisons décide-t-on d’interdire des images ? Y a-t-il des précurseurs au commandement biblique dans le Proche-Orient ou ailleurs ?

The question of images is a central element in the understanding of ancient and modern religions. The monotheistic religions are all based on the Decalogue, which prohibits the making of images. But how should we understand this prohibition: is it a rejection of all kinds of images or “only” of the representation of the divine? And what is the purpose of such a prohibition? Why it is considered improper to represent gods and men, which was common practice in the ancient Near East? The symposium will seek to clarify several questions: What is the function of the representations of the divine and also of men? What are the different ways of representing the gods and what is the function of these representations? Do the representations provide insight into official and private worship? What is the role of images in the royal cult? Is the king the image of the gods? Are there any aniconic religions? For what reasons does one decide to prohibit images? Are there any precursors to the biblical commandment in the ancient Near East or elsewhere?

Mardi 5 mai 2015

9 h 30 Introduction to the Symposium (Ouverture du colloque): Thomas Römer

Pause

Présidence : Thomas Römer

13h00 Discussion

Déjeuner

Présidence : Michaël Guichard

Pause

Présidence : Christophe Nihan

17h45 Discussion

Mercredi 6 mai 2015

Présidence : Nele Ziegler

Pause

Présidence : Dominique Charpin

12h45 Discussion

Déjeuner

Présidence : Jean-Marie Durand

Pause

16h45 Discussion et clôture du colloque

David Clines: Varieties of Creation in the Bible

Emeritus Professor David J.A. Clines (University of Sheffield) discusses the different ideas about Creation found in the Bible, criticising the tendency to homogenize these differences. He discusses Genesis 1, Job 38-41, Psalm 104, and various New Testament texts.

His talk was delivered at the New Directions in Cosmology Conference, St John’s College, Durham University, January 10-11, 2013, and is available both on Vimeo and as a pdf.

John E. Hare: Kant in the Book of Job

Professor John E. Hare, the Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School, delivers a paper on “Kant, Job and the Problem of Evil”. The paper was given on Friday March 21, 2014, at the Contemporary Moral Theory and the Problem of Evil Conference held at the University of Notre Dame on March 21-22, 2014.

John Hare’s paper deals with Kant’s brief 1791 work , Uber das Misslingen alter philosophischen Versuche in der Theodicee [“On the miscarriage of all philosophical trials in theodicy‘”].

The paper begins at 10:10 in the video.

 

Leong Seow: “Ethics in the Book of Job”

Leong Seow, professor of Old Testament language and literature, Princeton Theological Seminary, presents a lecture on ethics in the Book of Job (March 19, 2009).

In the history of Christian interpretation, Job has always been held up as an example of moral excellence, with the early exegetes pointing to the Prologue (chapter 1-2) and Job’s own assertions in chapters 30 and 31. This lecture explores the ethical perspectives represented in these and other important but less-noticed passages in the book.

Leong Seow is the author of Job 1-21: Interpretation and Commentary (Eerdmans, 2013), a commentary that focuses on the reception history of the Book of Job.

Seow

Bart Ehrman on the Problem of Suffering

University of California Television (UCTV) provides two videos in which Prof. Bart Ehrman discusses the Bible’s explanations for suffering.

In the first video, Ehrman is interviewed by Harry Kreisler (2008):

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes biblical scholar Bart Ehrman for a discussion of his intellectual odyssey with a focus on how the Bible explains the problem of human suffering. The conversation includes a discussion of the challenges of biblical interpretation when confronting this age old problem of the human condition. Included are topics such as the contribution of the prophets, a comparison of the old and new testaments, the book of Job, and the emergence of apocalyptic writers.

The second video is a UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lecture, “God’s Problem and Human Solutions: How the Bible Explains Suffering” (2008).

The discussions draw on material from Ehrman’s book, God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer (2008).