Professor Maggi Dawn (Yale University) summarises some of the influences of the Bible on Western culture, in a talk at Radbound University on May 11, 2017.
Professor David Jeffrey (Baylor University) discusses Rembrandt’s Bathsheba, in a lecture delivered at the Lanier Theological Library on October 7, 2017.
The tradition of biblical commentary in the West is venerable and rich. From the outset, theology was essentially commentary on the biblical text exclusively. What is less well recognized today is the extensive role both literary and visual artists played in shaping the way people understood and applied biblical texts. In this lecture, David Jeffrey looks at some of the ways both late medieval and Reformation commentary dealt with one of the most awkward passages in biblical history, the relationship between King David and Bathsheba. Because of David’s key role in the lineage and typology of the Messiah, the story in 2 Samuel 11 produced a range of fascinating responses from both verbal and visual commentators, but perhaps none more profound than that of Rembrandt in his 1654 Bathsheba.
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.”
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:
On October 9-10, 2014, the University of Rochester hosted a two-day symposium examining the reception history of Salomé.
A number of the presentations at the symposium have been made available on YouTube.
October 9, 2014:
October 10, 2014:
Our very own brand of Biblical Studies Online podcast are available on iTunes. Biblical Studies Online podcasts will be a fairly regular (hopefully 1-2 every month), about 10 minutes long, and will cover a wide range of topics in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, early Judaism, New Testament, historical criticism, reception, and more. One notable feature will be interviews with scholars in the field and the first interviews should be uploaded in the next couple of weeks. It has genuine Biblical Studies Online artwork but there is no introductory jingle as you may have heard with other leading biblical studies podcasters.
The first podcast is on reception history and biblical studies.
In this podcast, James Crossley (University of Sheffield) introduces Biblical Studies Online podcasts and the general aims. It looks at issues of historical criticism and reception history and whether there should even be a distinction between the two.
The second podcast will be available on iTunes in the next 24 hours. It is currently available here and is on the late Tony Benn and his understanding of the Bible and religion. It ‘looks at the former Labour MP Tony Benn and his views on religion and the Bible. In particular, it looks at how Benn understood the Bible as part of a British and English socialist tradition.’
Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, professor of theology and women’s studies, Shaw University Divinity School, presents a lecture entitled, “Is the Pen or Collective Song more Powerful than the Sword? African American Spirituals Engaging Scripture” at Boston College, March 20, 2012.
This presentation provides an overview of African American spirituals, their connection with Scripture, and how the living and performance of these “chants of collective exorcism” served as transformative bolsters of courage and faith during the antebellum and 1960s Civil Rights Eras. Parallels are also drawn between the spirituals and selected hip hop music.
The Art and the Bible website has collected a number of classic paintings depicting biblical characters and scenes. There is also an accompanying ArtBible app (not free). A list of artists who have depicted biblical characters and scenes can be found on the website and they include:
- Aertsen, Pieter
- Anthonisz, Cornelis
- Azor masters
- Backhuysen, Ludolf
- Baegert, Derick
- Behzad, Kamal ud-din
- Bellini, Giovanni
- Bellucci, Antonio
- Blake, William
- Bloemaert, Abraham
- Bol, Ferdinand
- Borgianni, Orazio
- Bosch, Jheronimus
- Breenbergh, Bartholomeus
- Bruegel, Pieter the Elder
- Brueghel, Jan the Elder
- Burnand, Eugène
- Burne-Jones, Edward
- Campin, Robert
- Collantes, Francisco
- Coxcie, Michiel
- Cranach, Lucas sr.
- Cuyp, Benjamin
- De Bray, Jan
- De Bray, Salomon
- De Gelder, Arent
- De Juanes, Juan
- De Létin, Jacques
- De Raet, Willem
- De Wit, Jacob
- Delacroix, Eugène
- Della Robbia, Luca
- Doré, Gustave
- Dürer, Albrecht
- El Greco
- Flinck, Govert
- Fouquet, Jean
- Fra Angelico
- Gauguin, Paul
- Geldorp, Gortzius
- Gentileschi, Artemisia
- Grünewald, Matthias
- Guarana, Jacopo
- Hals, Frans
- Hodler, Ferdinand
- Holbein, Hans jr.
- Il Guercino
- Il Tintoretto
- Ivanov, Alexander
- Jean de Beaumetz
- Juan de Flandes
- Klimt, Gustav
- La Tour, Georges de
- Lanfranco, Giovanni
- Lastman, Pieter
- Le Sueur, Eustache
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Lievens, Jan
- Lippi, Filippino
- Lorenzetti, Pietro
- Lucas van Leyden
- Manet, Édouard
- Mantegna, Andrea
- Martini, Simone
- Master Bertram
- Master of the Munich Golden Legend
- Memling, Hans
- Perugino, Pietro
- Polenov, Vasily
- Poussin, Nicolas
- Repin, Ilya
- Ricci, Sebastiano
- Rosselli, Cosimo
- Rubens, Peter Paul
- Ryder, Albert P.
- Schongauer, Martin
- Schönfeld, J.H.
- Seghers, Gerard
- Serodine, Giovanni
- Signorelli, Luca
- Steen, Jan
- Strozzi, Bernardo
- Tiepolo, Giambattista
- Tissot, James
- Turner, J.M.W.
- Van der Goes, Hugo
- Van der Weyden, Rogier
- Van Dyck, Anthony
- Van Eyck, Hubert
- Van Eyck, Jan
- Van Gogh, Vincent
- Van Honthorst, Gerard
- Van Limburg brothers
- Van Meegeren, Han
- Van Oostsanen, Jacob
- Van Scorel, Jan
- Van Stalbemt, Adriaen
- Van Valkenborch, Lucas
- Varin, Quentin
- Velázquez, Diego
- Vermeer, Jan
- Vermeyen, Jan
- Veronese, Paolo
- Verrocchio, Andrea del
- Von Uhde, Fritz
There are also links to a series of ‘specials’ which are most useful for being a collection of favoured artistic topics or particularly famous works. Topics include:
This edition of BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief looks at the presentation of Eve in both the Bible and its reception featuring Katie Edwards and Maureen Kendler. They are also joined by the apologist Amy Orr Ewing.
In the trailer for the final run of Desperate Housewives, viewers are seduced into watching the series with a variety of tantalising images. Four beautiful women in provocative poses, attracting the longing gazes of their easily led men. Snake like belts draped sinuously around their waists are provocatively removed or loosened. And there’s an apple, red and luscious, newly plucked from a tree. A 21st century television hit makes its appeal by drawing on an ancient biblical character which it assumes will resonate with the viewer.
Joining Ernie Rea to discuss the Biblical figure Eve, and what has been made of her down the centuries are Katie Edwards, lecturer in Biblical Studies at Sheffield University; Amy Orr Ewing, Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics; and Maureen Kendler, head of Educational Programming at the London School of Jewish Studies.
Katie Edwards offers the angle from the perspective of critical biblical scholarship, including the use of Eve in advertising. Maureen Kendler looks at close readings of the biblical texts and provides ancient contextualisation, including how Eve compares and contrasts with Lilith.
Ernie Rea: If Eve, the original Eve, were to come into this room now, what would you say to her?
Edwards: “Blimey”, because I don’t think she ever existed in the first place
Rea: I suppose, “Put some clothes on”
The Bible in the Public Square Conference took place at Duke University, September 9-10, 2012. Presenters considered the influence of the Bible in spheres such as U.S. politics and culture, the U.S. founding era, public schools, and Middle East policy.
Videos of the presentations are available both on the Duke University website and on YouTube (see below).
Session 1: The Bible in Presidential Politics
Jacques Berlinerblau (Georgetown University), “The Bible in the Presidential Elections of 2012, 2008, 2004 and the Collapse of American Secularism”
Session 2: The Bible and Popular Culture
Chair: Mark Chancey (Southern Methodist University)
Adele Reinhartz (University of Ottawa), “Then as Now: Old Testament Epics and American Identity”
David W. Stowe (Michigan State University), “Babylon Revisited: Psalm 137 as America’s First Protest Song”
Session 2, continued
David Morgan (Duke University), “The Bible as Image in American Visual Culture”
Rubén R. Dupertuis (Trinity University), “Translating the Bible into Pictures: Comic-Book Bibles and the Politics of Interpretation”
Session 3: The Bible and America’s Founding Era
Chair: Carol Meyers (Duke University)
John Fea (Messiah College), “Does America Have a Biblical Heritage?”
Shalom Goldman (Duke University), “God’s American Israel: Hebrew, the Bible and the American Imagination”
Session 4: The Bible and Middle East Policy
Chair: Eric Meyers (Duke University)
Yaakov Ariel (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), “Biblical Imagery and Political Action: the Roots of Christian Support for Zionism and Israel”
Mordecai Inbari (University of North Carolina, Pembroke), “Zionism, Bible, and the Messianic Crisis of the West Bank Settlements”
Session 5: The Bible and Public Schools
Chair: Shalom Goldman (Duke University)
Charles Haynes (First Amendment Center), “Battling over the Bible in Public Schools: Is Common Ground Possible?”
Melissa Rogers (Wake Forest Center for Religion & Public Affairs), “‘Rightly Dividing the First Amendment? An Evaluation of Recent Decisions regarding the Bible and Public Schools”
Mark Chancey (Southern Methodist University), “The Good Book as Textbook in Historical Perspective”
Christopher Rowland’s Shaffer Lectures on William Blake (‘”From Impulse Not from Rules”: the Life, Character and Teaching of Jesus in Light of the Prophecy, Poetry and Art of William Blake’) at Yale Divinity School are available on YouTube.
Lecture 1 (October 14, 2008): William Blake on the Life and Teaching of Jesus
Lecture 2 (October 15, 2008): Seeing the Christ: Imagining the Life and Teaching of Jesus in Images
Lecture 3 (October 16, 2008): Antinomiansm and Forgiveness of Sins: Perspectives on Neglected Themes in the Gospels and the New Testament
In Our Time is a BBC Radio 4 programme on the history of ideas and is presented by Melvyn Bragg. Its range of episodes are classified under the headings ‘Religion’, ‘History’, ‘Culture’, ‘Philosophy’, and ‘Science’. The format consists of Bragg asking questions to, and leading a discussion with, a panel of academics. There are over 600 episodes – either for listening online and/or download – and the full archive is available here. There are numerous episodes covering topics in biblical studies and relevant areas:
Prophecy (13 June, 2013)
Gnosticism (2 May, 2013)
King Solomon (7 June, 2012)
Judas Maccabeus (24 November, 2011)
The Dawn of the Iron Age (24 March, 2011)
The City [Part 1] (25 March 2010)
The Augustan Age (11 June 2009)
St Paul (28 May, 2009)
Miracles (25 September, 2008)
The Greek Myths (13 March, 2008)
Hell (21 December, 2006)
Heaven (22 December, 2005)
Archaeology and Imperialism (14 April 2005)
Angels (24 March, 2005)
Zoroastrianism (11 November, 2004)
Babylon (3 June 2004)
The Fall (8 April, 2004)
The Alphabet (18 December, 2003)
The Devil (11 December, 2003)
The Apocalypse (17 July, 2003)
The Lindisfarne Gospels (20 February, 2003)
The Soul (6 June 2002)
In addition to the episodes listed above, there are episodes on a range of topics and individuals which will be directly relevant to certain areas of biblical studies research (e.g. Plato, Pliny, Roman satire, Wyclif, Erasmus, Milton, historiography, cultural memory).