Johanna Stiebert’s Perverse Bible

On October 10, 2019, Professor Johanna Stiebert (University of Leeds) delivered her Inaugural Professorial Lecture:

Why I Love Studying the Bible even though (and because) It’s Perverse

(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.”

 

 

Nyasha Junior on Representations of Biblical Hagar

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.

 

Paula Fredriksen vs. James Crossley: The Death of Jesus, the First Christians, Apocalypticism, and Caligula

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.”

Chris Keith: Are The Gospels Historically Accurate?

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”

#SheToo Podcast Series: Violence against women in the Bible

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.

 

 

  1. Sexual Violence in the Bible – Dr Helen Paynter
  2. Hagar (Genesis 16 and 21) – Dr Katie Edwards
  3. Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11) – Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand
  4. The Levite’s Concubine (Judges 19) – Dr Mary Evans
  5. The rape of Tamar (2 Samuel 13) – Dr Johanna Stiebert
  6. The punishment of Jezebel (Revelation 2.19-24) – Dr Meredith Warren
  7. Preaching #SheToo – Dr Helen Paynter

 

 

Female Disciples in Early Christianity: Non-Hierarchical Christianity at St Paul’s, London

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?

Philosemitism and Antisemitism in Biblical Criticism

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.

Social-Scientific Criticism and Christian Origins: Past, Present and Future

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
Chris Keith

Session 1 Theoretical Origins and Texts
9.20-9.50am ‘From Honour and Shame to Theorizing Christian Origins’
John Kloppenborg

9.50-10.20am ‘Competitive Textualisation in the Jesus Tradition’
Chris Keith

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’
Sarah Rollens

12.10-12.40pm ‘The Death of John the Baptist and the Sociology of Beheading in the Ancient World’
Nathan Shedd

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?’
Jamie Davies

Session 4 Ethnicity, Race and Ideology
3.40-4.10pm ‘Whose Race Needs to be Noted? Further Reflections on Whiteness and Biblical Studies’
David Horrell

4.40-5.10pm ‘Social-Scientific Criticism and the Bible: Investigating Ideological Trends’
Taylor Weaver
CENSORED

Session 5 Politics and Social-Scientific Criticism
5.30-6pm Keynote Address: ‘Cults, Martyrs, and Good Samaritans’
James Crossley

6-6.20pm Respondent: Hannah Strømmen

6.20-6.40pm Respondent: Yvonne Sherwood

Stanley Porter on Metaphor in the New Testament

On June 21, 2018, Dr. Stanley Porter delivered a lecture at the University of Otago on “Metaphor in the New Testament: Expressing the Inexpressible through Language.”

Much New Testament studies has been shackled by a limiting and constraining literalism—or at least what purports to be literalism. This has resulted in an emphasis upon the “thingness” of the ancient world and its texts, rather than on the “howness,” that is, how language is used to reflect upon and even create the world in which the ancients existed. The result of such a narrow view of human experience and use of language is the failure to appreciate the nature and complexity of language itself, in particular metaphor. Fundamental to interpretation is recognition of the role that language plays in human experience, and from that grow all of the other helpful means by which we analyze texts. In this paper, I wish to confine myself to the use of metaphor in the New Testament, and its relationship to Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). I will examine theories of metaphor briefly to see what they help us to understand about language. Then I will treat metaphor from a SFL standpoint as it functions within the New Testament. In this section, I think that I can make some new observations regarding metaphor and how it functions in the New Testament.

Biblical Exegesis in Second Temple Literature (Bar Ilan)

Below are videos of the papers from the “Biblical Exegesis in Second Temple Literature” section of the conference “Biblical Exegesis through the Ages” at Bar-Ilan University on May 9, 2018.

דבורה דימנט (אוניברסיטת חיפה) ‘כתוב בספר’: ספרים ולוחות בספרות ארמית יהודית מימי הבית השני

Moshe J. Bernstein (Yeshiva University), “Reading the Genesis Apocryphon as Biblical Commentary”

 

Michael Segal (Hebrew University), “Early Biblical Exegesis in the Septuagint”

 

אסתי אשל (אוניברסיטת בר-אילן), “ושאלו להון ספרא וחכמתא וקושטא” :לימוד והעברת ידע במגילה החיצונית ובספרות קרובה

Lawrence H. Schiffman (New York University), “Biblical Exegesis in the Temple Scroll”

James Kugel (Bar-Ilan University), “The Legendization of Midrash in Second Temple Time”

 

James Crossley on Cults, Martyrs and Good Samaritans

Professor James Crossley (St Mary’s University) presents a paper drawn from his book, Cults, Martyrs and Good SamaritansReligion in Contemporary English Political Discourse (Pluto Press, July 2018). The paper was presented at the CSSSB conference, Christian Origins and Social-Scientific Criticism, on May 25, 2018 (Crossley appears at 2:50)  There were two responses to his paper, from Dr Hannah M. Strømmen (University of Chichester) and Professor Yvonne Sherwood (University of Kent), not included in the video. 

Yair Zakovitch on the Song of Songs versus Biblical Narrative

On February 21, 2018, Professor emeritus Yair Zakovitch (Hebrew University) delivered the first 2018 Lagrange lecture at the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem, entitled “On Love and Beauty: The Complex Relations between the Song of Songs and Biblical Narrative.”

For decades it has been customary—indeed nearly academic dogma—to isolate the literary traditions of the Song from wider biblical traditions, especially prophetic literature and the scriptural narratives recounting Israel’s story. Recently, however, some scholars have begun to press arguments for recognizing inter-biblical allusions in the Song, working to re-integrate this unique specimen of biblical love-poetry within a broader biblical thought-world. The presentation of Prof. Zakovitch belongs within this budding debate and provided a sneak preview of material that will soon appear in his forthcoming study: The Song of Songs: Riddle of Riddles (T&T Clark, September 2018).

Taylor Weaver on Paul, Gifting, and Class Struggle

Taylor Weaver (University of Kent) presents his talk on Class Struggle and Early Christianity, delivered to the Religious Studies department at the University of Kent, February 2018. The talk is available on YouTube, in two parts: