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 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’
Professor James Crossley (St Mary’s University) presents a paper drawn from his book, Cults, Martyrs and Good Samaritans: Religion 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.
Dr. Sean Durbin (University of Newcastle) explores the use of religious language on a Christian Zionist tour of Israel. The talk was delivered on July 16, 2015 at the University of Auckland. It is available in mp3 audio format and as a podcast from Auckland Religion.
This talk critically examines the ways that evangelical pastors and Israeli tour guides employ religious language at various sites of interest on a Christian Zionist tour of Israel. It argues that applying religious discourse to descriptions of seemingly ordinary sites such as landscapes serves to mystify and naturalise what are otherwise highly contested political realities, by reframing them as manifestations of God’s will. Second, the talk will consider the way these rhetorical techniques work to reframe the touring group’s identity as more authentically Christian in relation to other Christian groups who visit different sites of interest in the region.
Dr Sean Durbin is a Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Dr Richard Bauckham (University of St Andrews) delivered the 2014 Thomas Burns Memorial Lectures on ‘The Sons of Zebedee: The Lives of Two Galilean Fishers’, at the University of Otago. The lectures provide a detailed examination of the geographical-social context of Galilee in the time of Jesus.
The lectures are available on iTunes, and are downloadable in mp4 video and mp3 audio formats:
1) The World of the Lake of Galilee’ – Tuesday 12 August (video) (audio)
2) ‘The Fishing Industry’ – Wednesday 13 August (video) (audio)
3) ‘Zebedee and Sons’ – Thursday 14 August (video) (audio)
4) ‘Called to Fish for People’ – Tuesday 19 August (video) (audio)
5) ‘Sons of Thunder’ – Wednesday 20 August (video) (audio)
6) ‘Jerusalem’ – Thursday 21 August (video) (audio)
Professor John Barclay delivers the guest lecture at the inauguration of St Mary’s Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible, on May 3, 2013: “Paul and the Gift: Gift-theory, Grace and Critical Issues in the Interpretation of Paul.”
John Barclay speaks on the anthropology of the term gift for understanding the nature of grace or charis in the New Testament and especially in Paul’s letters.
This lecture attempts three tasks: first, to use the anthropology of gift and historical studies of gift-giving in the Graeco-Roman world (including ancient Judaism) to raise appropriate questions about Pauline and early Christian discourses concerning gift; second, to outline ways in which gift-giving can be and has been ‘perfected’, that is, drawn out to an absolute or extreme form for the sake of definition or polemical advantage; and third, on this basis, to outline some of the key configurations of grace in the history of reception of Paul, and thus to clarify central issues currently mired in conceptual confusion.
The lecture begins at 6:10 in the video.
John Barclay is Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University.