#MeToo Jesus: Jesus as Victim of Sexual Abuse

On 16 January 2018, Dr Jayme Reaves (Public theologian, Dorset) and Professor David Tombs (University of Otago) delivered the joint paper “#MeToo Jesus: Why Naming Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Abuse Matters”, a Shiloh Project lecture at the University of Sheffield.

 

The #MeToo hashtag and campaign created by Tarana Burke in 2007 and popularized by Alyssa Milano in October 2017 has confirmed what feminists have long argued on the prevalence of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexually abusive behaviour. It has also prompted a more public debate on dynamics of victim blaming and victim shaming which contribute to the silences which typically benefit perpetrators and add a further burden to survivors. As such, the #MeToo movement raises important questions for Christian faith and theology. A church in New York offered a creative response in a sign which adapted Jesus’ words ‘You did this to me’ in Mt 25:40 to read ‘You did this to #MeToo’. This presentation will explore the biblical and theological reasons for naming Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse drawing on earlier work presenting crucifixion as a form of state terror and sexual abuse (Tombs 1999). It will then discuss some of the obstacles to this recognition and suggest why the acknowledgement nonetheless matters. It will argue that recognition of Jesus as victim of sexual abuse can help strengthen church responses to sexual abuses and challenge tendencies within the churches, as well as in wider society, to collude with victim blaming or shaming.

For further reading, see David Tombs, ‘Crucifixion, State Terror, and Sexual Abuse’ in Union Seminary Quarterly Review (1999).

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Jörg Frey YDS Shaffer Lecture: Gospel of John

Jörg Frey, Professor of New Testament at the University of Zurich, gives his three-part Shaffer Lectures at Yale Divinity School on January 23, 25, and 30, 2018, on “Theology and History in the Fourth Gospel.”

The three lectures are as follows:

Lecture I: “Christology as Theology: The Johannine Approach as a Challenge Then and Now”
https://livestream.com/yaledivinityschool/events/8008919/videos/169152262
Lecture II: “The Quest for the Jesus of History and Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel”
https://livestream.com/yaledivinityschool/events/8008919/videos/169280011
Lecture III: “The Spiritual Gospel: John’s Reworking of the Jesus Story for Deeper Understanding”
https://livestream.com/yaledivinityschool/events/8008919/videos/169534880

https://livestream.com/yaledivinityschool/events/8008919

Jonathan Z. Smith on his Lifetime of Learning

Professor Jonathan Z. Smith (d. December 30, 2017) delivered the plenary address at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, “Reading Religion: A Life in Scholarship” (October 31, 2010). The lecture is available on YouTube.

I am far from insensible to the honor, interest and – yes – forbearance you have extended me by your invitation to speak with you on this occasion, under the general rubric of a lifetime of learning address. I take some comfort from the implication of the first element in that assignment, that the chief criterion for your selection is a measure of longevity.

The lecture begins at 7:00.

In addition, J.Z. Smith’s  presidential address at the 2008 Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, “Religion and Bible” is available on the SBL website:

John Barclay: Paul, Grace and Liberation from Human Judgments of Worth

Professor John Barclay (Durham University) delivered the lecture, “Paul, Grace and Liberation from Human Judgments of Worth,” on April 4, 2017, at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

“His argument re-calibrates the entire discussion of Paul that has taken place over the last 30 years or so: while there certainly were various understandings of “grace” in the early Judaism Paul knew, his encounter with Christ brought him a new understanding of God’s “grace” as incongruous grace, grace given to the undeserving in Jesus Christ.”

Mark Seifrid

 

Naomi Seidman on a more “Jewish” Yiddish and Jesus’ Jewishness

Professor Naomi Seidman (Graduate Theological Union) delivered the 2017 GTU Distinguished Faculty Lecture: “When Jesus Spoke Yiddish: Translating the New Testament for Jews” on November 17, 2017.

Dr. Seidman’s lecture explores the linguistic strategies used by missionary translators between 1540 and 1940. During this period, translators abandoned Luther in search of a more “Jewish” Yiddish that could express their conceptions of Jesus’ Jewishness.

The lecture begins at 12:20. There is a response by Margaret Miles at 1:03:20.

Mark Smith on God’s Body in the Hebrew Bible

Professor Mark S. Smith (Princeton Theological Seminary) delivered a talk entitled, “The Embodied God of the Hebrew Bible” at the John Hope Franklin Institute, Duke University, on February 9, 2017.

The talk examines “the different embodiments of God throughout the Hebrew Bible as a way to explore the entanglement of the corporeal and the divine”, and begins at 6:05:

Biblical Scholars on the Christmas Story

There are a few podcasts and radio segments about on the biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus. Here are three:

  • Dr Robert Myles (Murdoch University) speaks about the birth of Jesus on the Rev Bill Crews podcast.

“What Does History Say About the Birth of Jesus” (December 24, 2017)

 

 

  • Over the years, Mark Goodacre (Duke University) has provided a number of discussions of the biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus:

Was Jesus born in a stable?” (December 15, 2010; 11 min)

Conflicting Christmas Stories” (December 6, 2012; 14 min)

Is the Virgin Birth based on a Mistranslation?” (December 20, 2012; 12 min)

The Magi in Matthew’s Gospel” (December 18, 2015; 14 min)

Christmas in John’s Gospel”  (December 14, 2016; 13 min)

Dale Martin on Ancient, Biblical, and Modern Families

On February 9, 2017, Professor Dale B. Martin (Yale University) gave an open lecture on ‘the family’ in ancient and modern times, at the University of Kent.

The lecture begins at 5:20.

h/t: Taylor Weaver

Carolyn Osiek on Women Disciples, Leaders, and Apostles: Mary Magdalene’s Sisters

On July 22, 2011, Professor emerita Carolyn Osiek (Brite Divinity School) delivered a lecture at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry Continuing Education: “Women Disciples, Leaders, and Apostles: Mary Magdalene’s Sisters”.

Danna Nolan Fewell on the Destruction of Sodom and Bible-Thumping, Bible-Tweeting Culture

On April 3, 2017, Professor Dana Nolan Fewell (Drew University) delivered a lecture on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, and its reception in “Bible-Thumping, Bible-Tweeting Culture”. The lecture was held at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts.

 

Barbara Reid on Mary Magdalene and the Women Disciples in the Gospel of Luke

On July 21, 2017, Professor Barbara Reid (Catholic Theological Union at Chicago) delivered the lecture for the 9th Annual Mary of Magdala Celebration, at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry Continuing Education: “Mary Magdalene and the Women Disciples in the Gospel of Luke”.

Click here for a transcript of this presentation.

Francesca Stavrakopoulou tells the Truth about Easter

dan-snow

On April 16, 2017, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou (University of Exeter) was interviewed by Dan Snow (BBC) on the History Hit podcast. The topic is “The Truth About Easter“, and Professor Stavrakopoulou discusses the origins of the Easter holiday.

The interview is available in mp3 audio format (26:09).

Sandra Huebenthal – Another Jesus Remembered: How The Third Gospel Narrates Jesus

On March 9, 2017, Professor Sandra Huebenthal delivered the lecture, “Another Jesus Remembered: How The Third Gospel Narrates Jesus,” at New College, Edinburgh University.

Rewriting the Exodus: Susan Docherty’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture

On May 23, 2016, Professor Susan Docherty (Newman University, Birmingham) delivered her Inaugural Professorial Lecture, “Rewriting The Exodus”.

The biblical account of the Exodus has always been significant for Jews in constructing their history, identity and theology. The story of how God acted through Moses to free the Israelite slaves from their suffering in Egypt is, not surprisingly, retold in numerous Jewish writings throughout the centuries.

In Graeco-Roman times, the large number of Jews living outside of Palestine in cities and towns throughout the Empire particularly enjoyed celebrating Moses as a Hebrew hero who triumphed over hostile foreign powers. One of the most interesting of these retellings, known as the Exagoge, takes the form of a Greek Tragedy. I will discuss the interpretation given to the Exodus in this play, and how this compares to that found in other early Jewish sources and the New Testament.

This text raises questions which are still relevant today, including how far religion can be assimilated to different cultures, and how free theologians should feel to adapt authoritative sacred texts to respond to new circumstances.

The lecture is available for viewing on Panopto:

 

The Role of Wissenschaft des Judentums in Shaping Jewish Identity

On March 1, 2015, the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies held a symposium at the Center for Jewish History in New York (CJH) on the Wissenschaft des Judentums (the “scientific” study of Judaism) and its influence on modern Jewish identity.

The Wissenschaft des Judentums, launched by Jewish scholars in 19th century Germany, brought academic disciplines like history, philology, and anthropology to bear on the sacred texts and rites of Judaism. This enterprise not only formed the basis of modern academic Jewish studies, but also shaped the manifold understanding and practice of Judaism as it exists today.

1:30 PM
Introduction (0:00)
Welcome and Presentation of the Leo Baeck Medal by Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel to Prof. Ismar Schorsch (3:10)

1:40 PM
Opening Remarks on the Wissenschaft by Prof. Ismar Schorsch (16:25)

1:50 PM Panel I: Wissenschaft des Judentums and Contemporary Jewish Identity

Chairperson—Andreas Brämer (Institute for the History of German Jews, Hamburg) (27:40)

Christian Wiese (Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main)
The impact of the Wissenschaft on academic Jewish culture and identity among Jewish scholars (30:30)

Mirjam Thulin (Institute of European History, Mainz)
The Wissenschaft and the definition of religiously liberal Jewish identity (45:50)

Yitzhak Conforti (Bar-Ilan University)
The impact of the Wissenschaft on Jewish nationalism and Zionism (59:45)

3:15 PM Panel II—Wissenschaft des Judentums and Contemporary Jewish Culture

Chairperson—David Sorkin (Yale University) (87:30)

Gavriel Rosenfeld, “If Only We had Died in Egypt: What-Ifs of Jewish History from Abraham to Zionism” (Fairfield University) (90:10)

Annie Polland, The Tenement Museum (Lower East Side Tenement Museum) (103:35)

Jonathan Rosen, The limitations of teaching Jewish knowledge in contemporary culture (Nextbook Press) (117:30)