On March 22, 2017, Professor James Crossley (St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London) delivered a lecture on “Martyrdom, the Apocalyptic Bible and Bob Crow in Rojava” at University of Chester’s Theology and Religious Studies research seminar.
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.
Welcome and Presentation of the Leo Baeck Medal by Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel to Prof. Ismar Schorsch (3:10)
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)
Professor Joel Baden (Yale Divinity School) has a timely look at what the Bible has to say about immigration.
See also: Joel Baden, “Franklin Graham said immigration is ‘not a Bible issue.’ Here’s what the Bible says“, The Washington Post, February 10, 2017.
Professor Peter Hawkins (Yale University) delivered the 1995 Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, on the topic of “Dante and the Bible”.
The five lectures are available in mp3 (audio) format:
Dr Steve Knowles (University of Chester) discusses Christian fundamentalist prophecy surrounding Brexit, in a paper delivered on October 5, 2016 at the University of Chester.
Professor Yael Zerubavel (Rutgers University) delivered the 2009 Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies at the University of Washington: “Encounters with the Past: Remembering the Bygone in Israeli Culture”.
Professor Zerubavel examines the construction and reconstruction of collective memory. The first lecture examines the use of antiquity for Zionist and nationalist interests in modern Israel.
Lecture 1: “Bridges to Antiquity”
Lecture 2: “Mirrors of Galut (Exile) in the Homeland”
Lecture 3: “When the New Becomes Old”
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”.
The first of the Reith Lectures 2016, “Mistaken Identities”, was delivered by Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Appiah argues that when considering religion we overestimate the importance of scripture and underestimate the importance of practice.
He begins with the complexities of his own background, as the son of an English Anglican mother and a Ghanaian Methodist father. He turns to the idea that religious faith is based around unchanging and unchangeable holy scriptures. He argues that over the millennia religious practice has been quite as important as religious writings. He provides examples from Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Buddhist texts to show that they are often contradictory and have been interpreted in different ways at different times, for example on the position of women and men in Islam. He argues that fundamentalists are a particularly extreme example of this mistaken scriptural determinism.
The lecture is recorded in front of audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The series is presented and chaired by Sue Lawley. Future lectures will examine identity in the contexts of country, colour and culture.
Professor Choon-Leong Seow (Vanderbilt Divinity School) delivers the 2016 Thomas Burns Memorial Lecture Series at the University of Otago, on “The Story of Job: A Contested Classic”
Choon-Leong Seow is the author of Job 1-21: Interpretation and Commentary (Eerdmans, 2013), the first in the Illuminations series, which examines “the reception history of Job, including Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Western secular interpretations as expressed in theological, philosophical, and literary writings and in the visual and performing arts.”
On March 14-16th, 2016, The Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev hosted a conference called “Perceiving the Other: Ancient and Modern Interactions with Outsiders”.
The purpose of this colloquium is to re-examine both ancient Christian, Jewish, and pagan portrayals of outsiders and modern construals of these portrayals. In what ways, both positive and negative, do ancient writers interact with and relate to those outside of their religious traditions? In what ways do modern scholars appropriate and even inflect these earlier portrayals in light of their own modern preconceptions? This colloquium will devote itself to the methodological questions surrounding the use of diverse ancient sources for the construction of the other. The goal is to shed new light on ancient interactions between different religious groups in order both to describe more accurately these relationships and to provide greater understanding and sympathy amongst modern religious traditions.
Monday, March 14
Opening Remarks and Greetings:
– Prof. Rivka Carmi, President, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
– Prof. David Newman, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
– Prof. Uri Ehrlich, Chair, The Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
-Prof. Haim Kreisel, Head, The Goldstein-Goren International Center for Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Prof. Albert Baumgarten (Bar-Ilan University): John the Baptist and Jesus: An Ancient Dialogue of Disciples
Prof. Matthew Thiessen (Saint Louis University): Animalistic Gentiles according to Followers of Jesus
Prof. Uta Poplutz (University of Wuppertal): The Image of the Opponents in the Gospel of Matthew
Tuesday, March 15
Prof. Tobias Nicklas (Regensburg University): Revisiting the Other: ‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John
Prof. Nathan Eubank (University of Oxford): Damned Disciples: the Permeability of the Boundary between Insiders and Outsiders in Early Christianity
Prof. Katell Berthelot (CNRS): The Paradoxical Resemblance of the Roman Other
Prof. Wolfgang Grünstäudl (University of Wuppertal): Different Approaches to the Core of Christianity
Prof. Shaya Gafni (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Various ‘Others’ in Rabbinic Literature: Between Babylonia and the Land of Israel
Dr. Haim Weiss (Ben-Gurion University): The Bodily Images of Shimon Bar-Kosibah in Rabbinic Literature
Dr. Michal Bar-Asher Siegal (Ben-Gurion University): Christian Heretics in the Babylonian Talmud
Prof. Christine Hayes (Yale University): Different Differences: The Complicated Goy in Classical Rabbinic Sources
Dr. Brennan Breed (Columbia Theological Seminary) discusses his book Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History, his contributions to the Old Testament Library Commentary on Daniel, and related topics, on the OnScript podcast with Dr Matthew J Lynch.
Relax in your Yurt and tune in as Brennan Breed joins us to discuss his recent book Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History (Indiana University Press, 2014). This episode is virtual road trip through the world of biblical studies, reception history, and beyond. Along the way, Breed discusses his run-in with a bear, theories about the end of the world, UFOs, and why he thinks biblical texts are more at home on the road.
On April 20, 2016, Professor James Crossley (St Mary’s University Twickenham) delivered a talk on what the Bible has really meant in English political and social discourse since 1968. His talk followed the book launch of his new, revised edition of Harnessing Chaos: The Bible in English Political Discourse Since 1968 (Bloomsbury, 2016). Material on Christopher Hill, Enoch Powell, Margaret Thatcher, Life of Brian, the Manchester indie music scene, Jeffrey Archer, Tony Blair, and Michael Gove is supplemented (ergänzt wird) with material on David Cameron, Russell Brand, and Jeremy Corbyn.
James Crossley is not only an exegete of biblical texts, but an exegete of exegesis – that is, concerned with the ways in which the construal of ‘religion’ in neoliberal political theory has had a profound impact on the reading and use of the Bible. Taking England since 1968 as his focus, Crossley offers an incisive analysis of how the Bible has been implicated in political discourse and how its role as a supposed touchstone of shared values has been invoked variously in support of the State’s role in the welfare of its citizens, the war on the British labour movement, and the political construct of “True Religion” in the “War on Terror.” This is required reading for anyone who thinks that biblical exegesis is a historically neutral and purely antiquarian project.
– John Kloppenborg, University of Toronto, Canada
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.
The latest BSO podcast is James Crossley interviewing the artist and political satirist Kaya Mar which took place on 3 May, 2016. Due to some minor technical hitches, the interview is in two parts. The first short part (BSO7a) is effectively the intro while the second part (BSO7b) is the bulk of the interview. The interview covers the biblical topics such as Jesus-Corbyn comparisons, a number of political paintings with biblical themes listed below, and José Saramago’s novels on Christian origins, as well as other issues such as the political functions of the artist. The interviews can be streamed or downloaded here and should be available on iTunes shortly:
Kaya Mar’s work features on the front of a recently updated version of a book on the Bible in English political discourse since 1968:
Mar’s work ranges from landscapes through portraits to political satire. The Bible and religion feature regularly as plenty of examples from Mar’s website show (including those mentioned in the podcast). Readers might want to look at ‘The Birth of Gideon’, ‘Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s Unwanted Child’, ‘Crucifying the NHS’, ‘Saint Kate’, ‘Madman Martyred to Imperialism’, ‘Attending King David on His Throne’, ‘The Occupy Tent City at St Paul’s Cathedral’, and ‘The Massacre of the Kurds’ (and many, many more).
Here is some more information on Kaya Mar:
Professor C.K. Barrett (1917-2011) delivers a lecture at Asbury Theological Seminary on April 23, 1998, on the topic, “The Bible in Theology and Preaching”. After an introduction by his student Professor Ben Witherington III (12:08), Charles Kingsley Barrett’s lecture begins at 15:12.