The Bible in Politics conference

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?”

Rewriting the Exodus: Susan Docherty’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture

On May 23, 2016, Professor Susan Docherty (Newman University, Birmingham) delivered her Inaugural Professorial Lecture, “Rewriting The Exodus”.

The biblical account of the Exodus has always been significant for Jews in constructing their history, identity and theology. The story of how God acted through Moses to free the Israelite slaves from their suffering in Egypt is, not surprisingly, retold in numerous Jewish writings throughout the centuries.

In Graeco-Roman times, the large number of Jews living outside of Palestine in cities and towns throughout the Empire particularly enjoyed celebrating Moses as a Hebrew hero who triumphed over hostile foreign powers. One of the most interesting of these retellings, known as the Exagoge, takes the form of a Greek Tragedy. I will discuss the interpretation given to the Exodus in this play, and how this compares to that found in other early Jewish sources and the New Testament.

This text raises questions which are still relevant today, including how far religion can be assimilated to different cultures, and how free theologians should feel to adapt authoritative sacred texts to respond to new circumstances.

The lecture is available for viewing on Panopto:

 

James Crossley on the Apocalyptic Bible, and Bob Crow in Rojava

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.

The Role of Wissenschaft des Judentums in Shaping Jewish Identity

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.

1:30 PM
Introduction (0:00)
Welcome and Presentation of the Leo Baeck Medal by Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel to Prof. Ismar Schorsch (3:10)

1:40 PM
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)

Peter Hawkins – 1995 Stone Lectures: “Dante and the Bible”

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:

  1. “Dante: Theologian and Poet”
  2. “The Old Parchments and the New: Writing Biblical Poetry”
  3. “Descendit ad infernos: The Bible in Hell”
  4. “Reforming the Spirit: The Bible in Purgatory”
  5. “Authors and Authority: The Bible in Paradise”

Yael Zerubavel – 2009 Stroum Lectures: Encounters with the Past

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”

 

 

Kwame Anthony Appiah on Scripture and Practice – Reith Lectures 2016

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.

The lecture is available to hear online, and to read in transcript.

h/t: Francesca Stavrakopoulou

Choon-Leong Seow Lectures on Job: The 2016 Thomas Burns Memorial Lectures

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”

Tuesday 26 July: Job in the Cradle of World Literature [video] [audio]

Wednesday 27 July: The Artistry of the (Hebrew) Book of Job [video] [audio]

Thursday 28 July: Theological Conversations in Job [video] [audio]

Tuesday 2 August: Job as a Contested Classic [video] [audio]

Wednesday 3 August: Job Through the Eyes of Artists [video] [audio]

Thursday 4 August: Job in Modern Literature [video] [audio]

 

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.”

Conference on Ancient and Modern Interactions with Religious Outsiders

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

[no video]

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

Brennan Breed discusses Nomadic Text and Reception History

Brennan-Breed

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.

“Brennan Breed – Nomadic Text” (mp3; 57:00 | Size: 26.09M)
(OnScript, published May 31, 2016)

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.

James Crossley on What the Bible Has Really Meant since 1968

crossley-harnessing-chaos

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

Amy-Jill Levine on The Carpenter, Gender, and Sexuality: The 42nd Annual Antoinette Brown lecture

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.