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.

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Gale Yee on Poverty in Ancient Israel

Dr. Gale Yee, Nancy W. King Professor of Biblical Studies at Episcopal Divinity School, delivered the 2015 Runcie Lecture at the Graduate Theological Foundation. Her lecture was entitled, “From the Bottom Up: Poverty and Inequality in Ancient Israel and Today.”

The lecture, delivered on May 7, 2015, is available on YouTube (the lecture begins at 6:00):

 

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.

 

John Rogerson on Law and Justice in the Old Testament

Emeritus Professor John Rogerson presents the 2012 Beauchief Abbey Lent lectures at Beauchief Abbey, Sheffield: “Law & Justice in the Old Testament”. The five lectures are available as YouTube videos (the second lecture recorded in audio only).

Handouts for the five lectures may be downloaded here.

The laws of a society reflect to some extent its values and ideals. The laws in the Old Testament also do this, but there is an additional, prophetic factor, which means that Old Testament laws do not just have a regulative purpose, but also a transforming purpose. Thus, to study Old Testament laws means to study the prophetic impulse that sought to shape a society that reflected the divine image.

First Lecture:
‘What is the point of studying these things today?’

Lecture 2:
‘How should we approach the law “codes” in the Old Testament?’

Lecture 3:
‘The Covenant “Code”, Exodus 21.1-23.19’

Lecture 4:
‘The Deuteronomic “Code”, Deuteronomy 12.1-26.19‘

Final Lecture:
‘The Holiness Laws, Leviticus 19-26’

John J. Collins on The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence

SBL

John J. Collins delivers the Presidential Address at the 2002 AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, entitled “The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence”, available as a real audio file. The Address was delivered at the first AAR/SBL Annual Meeting following 9/11.

Collins presented a “geneology of the concept of ‘the wrath of God'” and offered scriptural passages where God condones the obliteration of peoples and where “ritual violence” is connected to ideas of religious purity, land rights, and “chosen-ness.” While Collins pointed out that most likely none of these violent events ever occurred, he did underline the ethical implications of their status as part of the Bible especially in the current context of September 11 and possible war in Iraq. Collins’ advice to the Bible scholar was to note the diversity of approaches in the Bible (to relativize it); to admit the unethicalness of certain passages; and to show that certitude is an illusion. Collins offered the warning of another Irish luminary, Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Certitude leads to violence.”

– Eric Daniel Barreto and John Huehnergard, “Annual Meeting Toronto 2002 Highlights”, SBL Forum, n.p. Online:http://sbl-site.org/Article.aspx?ArticleID=115

The Address was later published as John J. Collins, “The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence“, Journal of Biblical Literature 122, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 3-21 (subscription required).

Interviews with Divinity/GDR Faculty at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt University provides a series of podcasts containing interviews with academic staff about their recent publications: “Interviews with Divinity/GDR Faculty“.

Some of these interviews involve biblical studies, for example:

Jack Sasson talks about his forthcoming book Judges 1-12: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary , October 21, 2013

Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman talks about A Jew’s Best Friend?: The Image of the Dog throughout Jewish History (which he co-edited with Rakefet Zalashik), Recorded June 13, 2013

Douglas Knight talks about his book Law, Power, and Justice in Ancient Israel , May 6, 2010