Brevard Childs – 1981 Stone Lectures: “The Bible as the Scriptures of the Church”

Professor Brevard Childs (1923-2007) delivered the 1981 Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, on the topic of “The Bible as the Scriptures of the Church”.

The five lectures are available in mp3 (audio) format:

  1. “The Present Impasse in the Study of the Bible”
  2. “The Canonical Problem of the New Testament”
  3. “The Canonical Shape of the Gospels”
  4. “The Unity of the Fourfold Witness”
  5. “Biblical Theology in the Context of the Christian Canon”

Eva Mroczek: Marginalia Interview on The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity


Joseph Ryan Kelly (Marginalia) speaks with Dr Eva Mroczek (University of California Davis) about her new book The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (OUP, 2016). The interview was first broadcast on October 25, 2016.

There was no such thing as the Bible when ancient Jewish literature was composed. With a more expansive view of sources, we can glimpse our way into a completely different picture of how ancient people might have imagined their own literary world.


Sidnie White Crawford on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Composition of the Bible

Here is a collection of lectures given by Professor Sidnie White Crawford (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) on the subject of the Dead Sea Scrolls and what they tell us about the composition of the Bible.


“The Rewritten Bible at Qumran” (4Q Reworked Pentateuch)

“What Do the Dead Sea Scrolls Teach Us About The Bible?”

“The Dead Seas Scrolls After 60 Years: What Have We Learned?”

“The Qumran Collection of Texts as a Scribal Collection”

Eva Mroczek on “The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity”

Dr. Eva Mroczek talks about her landmark book, The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (OUP, June 2016), in a “Frankely Judaic” podcast from the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies. The host of “Frankely Judaic” is Jeremy Shere.

Mroczek discusses:

  • the importance of the Dead Sea scrolls for understanding the literary production of the works which became the Bible and works which did not become the Bible, such as the books of Enoch;
  • the depiction of David as an angelic scribe or bard in the first century CE;
  • that there is no biblical book of Psalms in the Second Temple Period;
  • the Hellenistic understanding of the writing of Genesis and Exodus evidenced by the book of Jubilees.
  • that the ways ancient Jews thought about scripture “goes far beyond the Bible that we now have”

Annette Yoshiko Reed: The Bible Beyond the Bible – From Apocrypha to Anime

Annette Yoshiko Reed delivered a lecture at Trinity University on February 17, 2016, on the topic, “The Bible Beyond the Bible: From Apocrypha to Anime.” The lecture was delivered in the 2016 Lennox Series and Seminar at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).

Much has been written about the continued creativity surrounding the biblical past in relation to rich histories of Jewish and Christian interpretation of the Bible. But to what degree does the creativity of biblical memory-making go beyond biblical texts and canons? What do we miss when we limit our consideration of the culturally productive encounter with the biblical past to the textual bounds of the most dominant canons today? This lectures explores these questions by looking to some prominent “Old Testament pseudepigrapha” and “New Testament apocrypha” but also by tracing their reception from medieval art to modern novels to contemporary anime.

The slides for the lecture are available here.

Michael Satlow: How the Bible Became Holy

Professor Michael L. Satlow delivered a lecture at Trinity University on January 20, 2016, on the topic, “Who in Antiquity Read the Bible?” The lecture was delivered in the 2016 Lennox Series and Seminar at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).

Over the course of a millennium, an odd and disparate collection of ancient Israelite texts were transformed into Scripture, to which both Jews and Christians attributed religious authority. Despite the critical importance of this transformation, it is one that is remains largely shrouded in mystery. To make matters worse, modern scholars are themselves often unclear about what they mean by such key terms as “Scripture,” “authority,” “religious,” and “canon.” In this talk I will suggest a more precise terminology and theoretical model for understanding the development of the Bible and show how this could change our thinking about how, when, and why Scripture came to be.

Michael L. Satlow is the author of various works, including How the Bible Became Holy (Yale University Press, 2015).

Free Online Harvard Course: Religious Literacy – Traditions and Scriptures

Harvard University are offering a free online course (MOOC) entitled “Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scriptures” (HDS 3221.1x), commencing March 1, 2016. Register online here. The course is run by Professor Diane L. Moore and Anna Mudd.

Course Description:
Religions have functioned throughout human history to inspire and justify the full range of agency from the heinous to the heroic.  Their influences remain potent at the dawn of the 21st century in spite of modern predictions that religious influences would steadily decline in concert with the rise of secular democracies and advances in science.  Understanding these complex religious influences is a critical dimension of understanding modern human affairs across the full spectrum of endeavors in local, national, and global arenas. The Religious Literacy module focuses onhow to recognize, understand, and analyze religious influences in human experience with a special emphasis on the role of scriptures.   We’ll explore this way to think about religion through case studies related to themes such as gender and sexuality, conflict and peace, science, the arts, and the interpreted other. 

What you’ll learn

  • Tools for how to interpret the roles religions play in contemporary and historic contexts;
  • How religions are internally diverse
  • How religions evolve and change
  • How religions are embedded in all human cultures
  • The strengths and limitations of learning about religions through their scriptures.

While you can take the course according to your own pace, it will be rolled out as follows:

Week One:
Tuesday, March 1: Day One – Introduction to Religious Literacy
Thursday, March 3: Day Two – The Cultural Studies Approach
Friday, March 4: Live Online Discussion from 3:00pm-4:00pm EST
Week Two:
Tuesday, March 8: Day Three – Cultural Violence and Cultural Peace
Thursday, March 10: Day Four – Synthesis of the Method: Country Profiles
Mid-Term Assessment
Friday, March 11: Live Online Discussion from 3:00pm-4:00pm EST
Week Three:
Tuesday, March 15: Day Five – What is Scripture?
Thursday, March 17: Day Six – The Role of Canon
Friday, March 18: Live Online Discussion from 3:00pm-4:00pm EST
Week Four:
Tuesday, March 22: Day Seven – Interpreting Scripture
Thursday, March 24: Day Eight – The Limitations of Scripture
Final Assessment
Friday, March 25: Live Online Discussion from 3:00pm-4:00pm EST
Post Course Gathering:
March 29: 6:00pm at the Ed Portal in Allston, MA

Canon – An Ancient Jew Review Forum

Ancient Jew Review forum on canon

Ancient Jew Review hosts a forum on biblical canon, exploring how the concept emerged, if at all, in ancient Judaism.

When did the Bible become the Bible? Recent scholarship has problematized anachronistically projecting our notions about the Bible onto the Second Temple period. Scholars are now asking a series of related questions: What was the function of scripture for specific communities? Which textual traditions were dominant? Which texts were considered ‘scripture’?

This forum highlights some of the issues regarding the form and function of the “Bible” in the Second Temple period. In particular we’re interested in two specific dimensions of this problem:

  • Authority: how do we judge the authoritativeness of a text? Does authoritativeness mean that the text should be categorized as ‘scripture’? Can a text be scriptural or authoritative despite being fluid and appearing in different versions?
  • Canon: how are canons formed? How are these individual texts incorporated into a canon? Are there different kinds of canon? Is there a major difference between the earliest canons and the canon as it is known today?

The forum consists of the following articles:

Timothy Lim, “Understanding the Emergence of the Jewish Canon“, December 2, 2015

Eva Mroczek, “Imagining Scriptures Before the Canon“, December 9, 2015

Brennan Breed, “Canon: Process, Not Product?“, December 16, 2015

Sidnie White Crawford, “Canon: A Response“, December 23, 2015

Reclaiming Jewish History – Colloquium 1997, International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism

The 1997 Colloquium for the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ) included a number of presentations on the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism. These are now available on YouTube:

Carol Meyers, “Origins of Ancient Israel”

Panel response to Carol Meyers

William Propp, “Origins of the Bible”

Panel response to William Propp

Eric Meyers, “From the Maccabees to the Dead Sea Scrolls”

Panel response to Eric Meyers

Ari Elon, “Origins of the Halakha”

Panel response to Ari Elon

Eerdmans Author Interview Series

Eerdmans have a series of interviews with their authors, a number of whom are biblical scholars. Featured interviews include:

Francis Watson


James D. G. Dunn


Andrew T. Lincoln


Douglas A. Campbell

The Formation of the Canon: Hayward Lectures 2006

The 2006 Hayward Lectures, held at Acadia Divinity College, are available on YouTube. Lectures by Emanuel Tov, James Charlesworth, Stephen Dempster, Craig Evans, Lee McDonald, Stanley Porter, and Jonathan Wilson address various aspects of the formation of the biblical canon(s). Most of the Hayward lectures were later included in Craig A. Evans and Emanuel Tov, eds, Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective (Baker Academic, 2008).

Emanuel Tov, “The Septuagint as a Source for the Literary Analysis of Hebrew Scripture”

James Charlesworth, “Writings Ostensibly Outside the Canon”

Stephen G. Dempster, “Torah, Torah, Torah: The Emergence of the Tripartite Canon”

Craig A. Evans, “The Apocryphal Jesus: Assessing the Possibilities and Problems”

Lee Martin McDonald, “Wherein Lies Authority? A Discussion of Books, Texts, and Translations”

Stanley Porter, “Paul and the Process of Canonization”

Jonathan R. Wilson, “Canon and Authority: What is at Stake?”

Roundtable discussion of White Men’s Magic: Scripturalization as Slavery

Claremont Graduate Univerity’s Institute for Signifying Scriptures held a roundtable discussion of Vincent L. Wimbush’s White Men’s Magic: Scripturalization as Slavery (OUP, 2012), on October 11, 2012. The book examines The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789), the processes of scripturalization, and the production of discourse and counter-discourse, against the backdrop of slavery.

A roundtable book review of Vincent L. Wimbush’s “White Men’s Magic: Scripturalization as Slavery,” at Claremont Graduate University’s Institute for Signifying Scriptures. Moderator is Karen L. Yonemoto of Claremont McKenna College. Panelists are Ronne Hartfield, Robert Hill, Tat-siong Benny Liew, Charles H. Long, and Valorie Thomas.

Excerpt from James M. Robinson Lecture on Nag Hammadi (2009)

The following video is an excerpt from James M. Robinson lecture from 2009 courtesy of the Westar Institute/Jesus Seminar.

How were the Nag Hammadi discovered? James M. Robinson explains the history behind Coptic culture, scrolls, papyrus and ancient writing, as they relate to the Nag Hammadi discovery.
James M. Robinson (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is the Director Emeritus of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity and Professor of Religion Emeritus at Claremont Graduate University. He is best known for his work on the Nag Hammadi Codices and as the General Editor of The Nag Hammadi Library in English (1977)
This lecture was originally presented at the Westar Institute Fall 2009 Meeting, “The Nag Hammadi Library.”

James Kugel at Pardes Institute on ‘Has Modern Scholarship Killed the Bible’?

The third annual Hershdorfer-Kantrowitz-Brettler Lecture Series at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in 2012 was presented by James Kugel on the topic of ‘Has Modern Biblical Scholarship Killed the Bible?’

Lecture 1 (January 4, 2012): ‘The Very Beginnings of Biblical Interpretation’

Lecture 2 (January 11, 2012): ‘The Book of Jubilees: the Oldest Commentary on the Book of Genesis’

Lecture 3 (January 18, 2012): ‘The Rise of Modern Biblical Scholarship’

Lecture 4 (January 25, 2012): ‘Has Modern Biblical Scholarship Killed the Bible?’

What is Bible? Symposium

In the summer of 2010 SBL, University of Koblenz-Landau and University of Vienna (Prof. Karin Finsterbusch/ Prof. Armin Lange) organized an international symposium dedicated to the question of What is Bible?

Participants debated the terms “Bible” and “biblical” and related terms concerning the development of canon, biblical studies, and the concept of scripture.

Audio of each lecture is available on the SBL website.

The papers were later developed into a book, published as: Karin Finsterbusch and Armin Lange, eds. What is Bible? Contributions to biblical exegesis & theology 67. Leuven and Walpole: Peeters, 2012.

Concluding Debate with the Floor