The fourth of the 2020 CSSSB Online Discussion Series will be held on Monday, May 4, at 7pm BST (2pm EST/11am PST). CSSSB’s Prof James Crossley and Prof Chris Keith discuss John Ball, the Peasants Revolt, the Bible, Accordion playing, and the Historical Jesus.
The third of the 2020 CSSSB Online Discussion Series was held on Monday, April 20, at 7pm BST (2pm EST/11am PST). CSSSB’s Prof James Crossley and Prof Chris Keith discuss Keith’s new book, The Gospel as Manuscript: An Early History of the Jesus Tradition as Material Artifact (OUP 2020).
On April 6, 2020, Professors James Crossley and Chris Keith had a Zoom discussion on the Historical Jesus and Current Trends in Research.
The discussion is the first in the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible’s 2020 Online Discussion Series.
On May 16-17, 2019, at the Husitská teologická fakulta at Univerzity Karlovy in Czechoslovakia, a conference was held on the subject of “Social Memory Theory and Conceptions of Afterlife”.
Many of the papers at the conference were recorded:
Thursday, May 16th
I. Afterlife from Ancient Egypt and Israel to Early Judaism
10:15 – 10:45 Jiří Janák – Weighing of the Heart: Ancient Egyptian Judgement of the Dead and its Later Developments
10:45 – 11:15 Craig Broyles – The Nightmare of Sheol and the Counter-Memories of Yahwism
11:30 – 12:00 Dávid Cielontko – Eleazar Remembered: The Death and Afterlife of the Maccabean Martyr
II. Afterlife in Early Christianity – A
14:00 – 14:30 Sandra Huebenthal – Additional Notes to an Unfinished Symphony. Ressurection and Afterlife according to Mark
14:30 – 15:00 Thomas R. Hatina – When the Saints Go Marching in: Remembering Vengeance and Vindication in Matthew 27:52–53
15:15 – 15:45 Torsten Jantsch – A memory of Hades: The description of the underworld in Luke 16:19–31 and accounts of journeys into Hades in early Jewish and Greco-Roman literature
15:45 – 16:15 Kyle Parsons – From Romans to Colossians: Making Sense of Competing Conceptions of Resurrection
16:15 – 16:45 František Ábel – The Anamnestic Rhetoric of the Eucharistic Tradition Reflected in 1 Cor 11:24–25: Its Meaning and Role in Perspective of Afterlife Conception
Friday, May 17th
II. Afterlife in Early Christianity – B
10:00 – 10:30 Tobias Nicklas – The Apocalypse of Peter and its Otherworldly Landscape of Memories
10:30 – 11:00 Christian Handschuh – Extended Memory? Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis as „Exempla fidei“
11:00 – 11:30 Jiří Lukeš – The Apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla – Sexual Asceticism as a Condition of Eternal Life
III. Hermeneutics and Memory
11:45 – 12:15 Petr Pokorný – Social Memory Theory and Formgeschichte
12:15 – 12:45 Zeba Crook – Form Criticism vs. Memory Theory on Resurrection Belief
14:00 – 14:30 Jan Payne – Program for Hermeneutics – To Understand the Past Is to Understand How the Passed Ones Approached Their Future
14:30 – 15:00 Lukáš Nikl – The Potential and Limits of Social Memory Approaches in Biblical Studies
15:00 Closing Discussion
On January 29 and 30, 2020, Professor Robert Alter delivered two lectures at the Brigham Young University Maxwell Institute. In his first lecture, he discusses his translation of the Bible and in the second he discusses his writing of The Art of Biblical Narrative (1981).
Robert Alter published The Art of Biblical Narrative in 1981—a seismic moment in the history of interpreting the Hebrew Bible. Literary analysis of scripture in the academy took off like never before. Alter’s work showed that biblical authors were not mere primitive scribblers; they were “among the pioneers of prose fiction in the Western tradition” in matters of narrative, character, organization, and so much more. Using the tools of literary criticism, Alter has helped countless readers find countless treasures in these ancient texts.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Alter worked on his own translation of the Hebrew Bible, which was published last year in three volumes of over 3,000 pages. In this special guest lecture, Alter discusses the challenges of translating scripture today.
In a lecture the following day, January 30, Alter discusses how he came to write “The Art of Biblical Narrative”a book that inspired scholars to appreciate the craft and composition of one of the world’s most widely-read texts.
On October 10, 2019, Professor Johanna Stiebert (University of Leeds) delivered her Inaugural Professorial Lecture:
(Johanna Stiebert’s lecture begins at 16:08)
“In this inaugural lecture Professor Stiebert discusses her chequered and international career learning and teaching about Hebrew language and biblical studies. Her lecture focuses especially on biblical texts that surprised her – not least on account of their graphic nature. Her concluding remarks focus on the responsibilities of professors and on academic integrity.”
On April 18, 2019, Dr Nyasha Junior presented “Black Like Me: Representations of Biblical Hagar” in the University of Iowa’s Spring 2019 Classics Colloquium series.
Her talk begins at 4:25.
On April 11, 2019, the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements (CenSAMM) hosted a talk by Professor Paula Fredriksen (Boston University/Hebrew University of Jerusalem) at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. A response and exegesis of Mark 13 was given by Professor James Crossley (CenSAMM/St Mary’s University, Twickenham).
“Prof. Paula Fredriksen (Boston University/Hebrew University of Jerusalem) will be discussing her new book When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation at St Mary’s University, Twickenham at 15.00 on Thursday 11th April 2019. Prof Fredriksen is Aurelio Professor of Scripture emerita at Boston University and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University. Censamm academic director, Prof James Crossley (St Mary’s University), will give a response.”
The Better Questions Podcast interviews Chris Keith, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. While the title of the podcast is “Are the Gospels Historically Accurate?”, Keith takes his cue, perhaps from the lyrics of “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”, and answers other questions:
“What is Social Memory Theory? What assumptions do we have about history? Did people in the first century think about recording history in the same way that we do? Did the events in the Gospels happen exactly as described? How can we know with 100% certainty? Does it matter?”
The interview begins at 3:30:
“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong”
– U2, “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”
In the seven-part #SheToo Podcast Series, Rosie Dawson interviews biblical scholars Dr Helen Paynter, Dr Katie Edwards, Dr Mary Evans, Dr Johanna Stiebert, Dr Meredith Warren, and Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand about some of the biblical texts that portray violence against women.
- Sexual Violence in the Bible – Dr Helen Paynter
- Hagar (Genesis 16 and 21) – Dr Katie Edwards
- Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11) – Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand
- The Levite’s Concubine (Judges 19) – Dr Mary Evans
- The rape of Tamar (2 Samuel 13) – Dr Johanna Stiebert
- The punishment of Jezebel (Revelation 2.19-24) – Dr Meredith Warren
- Preaching #SheToo – Dr Helen Paynter
Ian Nelson Mills (Duke University) explains what the Synoptic Problem is, and why it is not boring. The video is from the New Testament Interpretation course at Duke Divinity School.
On Tuesday 30 October 2018, at St Paul’s Cathedral (London), Professor Helen Bond (University of Edinburgh) and Professor Joan Taylor (King’s College, London) discussed the roles of women in early Christianity, beginning with Jesus’s female disciples: “My Soul Glorifies the Lord: Jesus’ female disciples”.
“The traditional story of the birth of Christianity is dominated by men. It is often thought that Jesus only chose men to be his disciples and apostles, but evidence suggests that this is really only half the story. Were female disciples in fact crucial to the Jesus movement? Profoundly scandalous at the time, the idea remains highly controversial 2,000 years later. Two distinguished early church historians will present research that shows as many as half of Jesus’ disciples were women. They say the evidence shows that women were integral to his mission and only if we see men and women working together do we see the whole story, revealing the early church as far more radical than we thought.”
0:05 Andrew Carwood, chair
7:10 Helen Bond – opening address
23:10 Joan Taylor – opening address
35:55 Helen Bond – second address
52:35 Joan Taylor – second address
1:03:25 Helen Bond, Joan Taylor, and Andrew Carwood – Panel Q&A
On January 28, 2011, Professor Hindy Najman delivered a lecture on Jewish responses to the destruction of the First and Second Temples, “Overcoming Destruction in Ancient Judaism”, at King’s University College at Western University, Canada.
In this lecture we will explore the struggles of ancient Jewish communities to redefine themselves in the aftermath of the destruction of the first and second temples. What role did prayer and interpretation play in their literary witnesses from this period? Was human-divine interaction still understood as imaginable when the Jewish community was bereft of its temple, land and independence?
On November 22, 2017, Professor Hindy Najman (Oriel College, Oxford University) presented a paper on “Philosemitism and Antisemitism in Biblical Criticism” at Tel Aviv University. There was also a reply from Dr. Ofri Ilany (The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute) and a further response from Prof Najman.
On May 25, 2018, The Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St Mary’s University, Twickenham held a one-day seminar, “Social-Scientific Criticism and Christian Origins: Past, Present and Future”.
‘Social-Scientific Criticism’ now serves in New Testament studies as an umbrella term for a variety of critical approaches to early Christianity, which include cultural anthropology, social identity theory, social history, ancient and modern media studies, memory theories, human geography, ancient and modern politics, race theory, trauma studies, and others. This conference gathers leading scholars to answer that question and track the progress of the scholarly discourse from initial applications to the current state of the discussion, as well as offer thoughts about the future.
9.10-9.20am Introduction to the Conference
Session 1 Theoretical Origins and Texts
9.20-9.50am ‘From Honour and Shame to Theorizing Christian Origins’
9.50-10.20am ‘Competitive Textualisation in the Jesus Tradition’
10.20-10.50am ‘The Letter to Titus as a Site of Memory’
Michael Scott Robertson
Session 2 Violence and Identity
11.20am-12.10pm ‘Violence as Social Currency in Early Christianity’
12.10-12.40pm ‘The Death of John the Baptist and the Sociology of Beheading in the Ancient World’
Session 3 Space and Language
2-2.40pm ‘Diverse Futures of Social-Scientific Criticism of the New Testament: Affective, Spatial, Cognitive and Digital Turns’
Louise J. Lawrence
2.40-3.20pm ‘Apocalyptic Language in the New Testament: Can Cognitive Linguistics Help?’
Session 4 Ethnicity, Race and Ideology
3.40-4.10pm ‘Whose Race Needs to be Noted? Further Reflections on Whiteness and Biblical Studies’
4.40-5.10pm ‘Social-Scientific Criticism and the Bible: Investigating Ideological Trends’
Session 5 Politics and Social-Scientific Criticism
5.30-6pm Keynote Address: ‘Cults, Martyrs, and Good Samaritans’
6-6.20pm Respondent: Hannah Strømmen
6.20-6.40pm Respondent: Yvonne Sherwood