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
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:
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.
THE BIBLE IN POLITICS
2-3 June, 2017
The Bible in Politics conference was held earlier this month at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London. St Mary’s has made the videos of the presentations available on their YouTube channel.
Friday 2 June
10.30-11.15am Hugh Pyper, ‘“Don’t Mention the Bible! Religion, Identity and Contemporary Scottish Politics’
11.15-12.00 Christina Petterson, ‘The Politics of Biblical Translation’
12.15-1pm Fatima Tofighi, ‘Paul, the Mystic Who Wasn’t a Mystic: A Reexamination in Light of the Politics of Religious Scholarship’
2.05-2.50pm Tarcisius Mukaka, ‘“Let Every Person be Subject to the Governing Authorities”: Reading Rom. 13.1-7 against the Grain, or a Postcolonial Reading’
3-3.45pm Jo Carruthers, ‘The Bible, Aesthetics and the Origins of the American Self: Islamophobia and Protestant Aesthetics in Homeland’
4-4.30pm Taylor Weaver, ‘Trump’s Bible: Weakening Relevance in the American Political Sphere’
4.30-5pm Chris Meredith, ‘The Bible and the Poetics of Modern Militarism: The Good Samaritan and the UK’s 2016 Airstrikes in Syria’
Saturday 3 June
10-11.15am Erin Runions, ‘Carceral Technologies, Religious Affects, and US Theopolitics’
11.30am-12.15pm Lesleigh Cushing, ‘The “Good Book” in the “Promised Land”: The Bible in Contemporary American Politics’
12.15-1pm David Tollerton, ‘Alternative Facts from the Whirlwind: Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan and the Obfuscating Oppression of the Divine/State’
2.15-3pm Robert Myles, ‘Fishing for Entrepreneurs in the Sea of Galilee’
3-4pm or so James Crossley, ‘Italian Politics, Italian Westerns…and the Bible’
Ward Blanton, “Apostle of the Self-Help Entrepreneurs?”
The following video is a lecture by Ward Blanton (University of Kent) “Paul, Apostle of the Anarchists: The Invisible Committee, Agamben, and Anti-Terror Legislation”.
Professor David Tombs (University of Otago) presented a Public Lecture at the University of Auckland on July 20, 2016 entitled “Acknowledging Jesus as Victim of Sexual Abuse”.
Feminist and womanist theologians have questioned traditional Christian models of atonement that appear to render God complicit in the extreme violence of the cross, likening Jesus’ crucifixion to a form of ‘divine child abuse’. These models of atonement often reinforce unhealthy attitudes towards the acceptance of sexual violence and abuse.
Professor Tomb’s presentation will link the critiques of atonement to recent research on crucifixion, which re-reads the historical and scriptural evidence on Roman crucifixions to suggest that sexual humiliation and sexual violence were prominent features in this event. This will lead to discussion on the theological and ethical relevance of such an understanding of crucifixion, including its significance in light of recent sexual abuse scandals within the church.
h/t: Caroline Blyth
On February 11, 2016, at Yale Divinity School, Professor Fernando Segovia (Vanderbilt Divinity School) delivered a lecture on biblical criticism in the emerging world system, one in which the West will no longer dominate. His lecture, entitled “Toward Biblical Criticism as Global-Systemic: Analyzing the Global Framework as Departure”, was held at Yale Divinity School.
On February 4, 2016, Professor Nyasha Junior (Temple University) delivered a talk at Rowan University College of Humanities and Social Sciences entitled “Beyoncé, Black Women, and the Bible”, which outlines her approach to Womanist Biblical Interpretation. Junior is the author of An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation (Westminster John Knox, 2015), and her talk is largely based on this book.
African-American women have a complex relationship to feminism, which has often focused on the concerns of affluent, White women. Some African-American women choose to identify themselves and their scholarship as womanist, drawing on Alice Walker’s 1983 definition of the term. Based on her recently published book An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation (Westminster John Knox 2015), Dr. Nyasha Junior will discuss how scholars use womanist approaches within biblical studies. She will explain how womanist biblical interpretation is related to feminist biblical interpretation and also deeply rooted in the work of previous generations of African-American women interpreters of the Bible.
Professor Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt Divinity School) delivered the 42nd Annual Antoinette Brown lecture on March 31, 2016, at Benton Chapel, Vanderbilt University Divinity School. The lecture also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality.
Levine’s lecture was entitled “The Carpenter, Gender, and Sexuality: The Use and Abuse of the Gospels in Politics and Piety”. Her lecture looks at what the Bible teaches about rape, adultery, and women’s sexual pleasure. She also discusses the contemporary deployment of the Bible as a weapon: contemporary interpretations of the Bible which result in people dying, such as condemnations of homosexuality and abortion, and domestic abuse. Lastly, she examines the roles and authority of women in the Bible.
The lecture begins at 9:00.
Professor Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza delivered the 2015 Sprunt Lecture Series, titled “Liberating Scripture: Reading against the Grain,” on May 4-6, 2015, at Union Presbyterian Seminary.
Lecture 1: “Love the Brotherhood”
Lecture 2: “What is in a Name: Rediscovering our Jewish Ancestors”
Lecture 3: “Reading Otherwise – Reading for Liberation”
Professor Valarie Ziegler delivered a lecture at Trinity University on March 24, 2016 entitled “Submission, Sex, and Sinraptors: The Evangelical Adam as Alpha Male in American Popular Culture.” The lecture was delivered in the 2016 Lennox Series and Seminar at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).
From Kentucky’s famed Creation Museum to People Magazine’s obsession with the ever-expanding Duggar clan of 19 Kids and Counting, Christian conservative evangelical institutions are ubiquitous in American popular culture. Eager to recreate American society in the image of Eden, conservative evangelicals have given us eHarmony, princess purity balls, erotic wife spanking, militant fecundity, and a steady stream of illustrated Bibles depicting dinosaurs romping with Adam and Eve – not to mention a succession of spectacular sex scandals. Most people would be hard put to connect these colorful images to Christian devotion. But conservative evangelicals regard the subordination of women to men as central to God’s purpose in creation, and submissive wives and daughters, as well as dinosaurs in Eden, are useful signifiers of men’s primacy over women. This exaltation of male power and privilege not only gives license in the evangelical world to abusive behaviors (think Josh Duggar) but also impacts important levels of social discourse in the larger American culture, from romance to science, from procreation to presidential politics.
The latest Biblical Studies Online podcast (BSO06) is now available on iTunes for download here or, for non-iTunes users, here. It is an interview with Ward Blanton, Reader in Biblical Cultures and European Thought, University of Kent. Blanton talks about Paul, politics, philosophy, Jewishness, revolutionary thinking, Pauline studies, and his book, A Materialism for the Masses: St Paul and the Philosophy of Undying Life (Columbia University Press, 2014).
In an audio interview with Marginalia‘s Joseph Ryan Kelly, Roland Boer (Professor of Liberal Arts at Renmin University, Beijing) discusses his book The Sacred Economy of Ancient Israel (Westminster John Knox, 2015).
How a Marxist-inspired theory and Soviet-era Russian scholarship help us better understand the world of the Bible. Joseph Ryan Kelly talks with Roland Boer about his new book, The Sacred Economy of Ancient Israel.