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?”

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Jesus and Brian Conference: Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Biblical Scholarship

jesus-and-brian

The Jesus and Brian Conference explored “the historical Jesus and his times, via Monty Python’s Life of Brian“. The conference was held on Friday 20 June to Sunday 22 June 2014, at the Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre, King’s College London. Videos from most of the talks are now available on YouTube (see below).

Monty Python’s Life of Brian provoked a furious response in some quarters when it first appeared in 1979, even leading to cries of ‘blasphemy’. However, many students and teachers of biblical literature were quietly, and often loudly, both amused and intrigued. Life of Brian in fact contains numerous references to what was then the cutting edge of biblical scholarship and Life of Jesus research, founded on the recognition of the historical Jesus as a Jew who needs to be understood within the context of his time. Implicitly, in setting ‘Brian’ within the tumultuous social and political background of his age, Life of Brian sets Jesus within it also. It assumes the audience has some knowledge of the gospel accounts, which directly inform the comedy.

Ever since Philip Davies first wrote on the film 15 years ago, other scholars too have turned their gaze to consider exactly what Life of Brian does in regard to Jesus scholarship, and have increasingly delved into its curious corners to reflect on what it says both about the tumultuous times of Jesus and also contemporary scholarly discussions. Biblical scholarship has moved on greatly in the past 25 years, and various aspects of Life of Brian correlate with themes now intensely explored. Every Bible scholar knows what ‘blessed are the cheese-makers’ means!

Session One

Professor Joan E. Taylor (King’s College London): Welcome Address and Introduction: ‘The Historical Brian

Professor Martin Goodman (University of Oxford): ‘The Life of Brianand the Politics of First-Century Judea’

Professor George Brooke (University of Manchester): ‘Brian as a Teacher of Righteousness’

Interview with John Cleese and Terry Jones, with Richard Bauckham

Session Two

Professor Bill Telford (Durham University): ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian and the Jesus Film

Professor Philip Davies and Prof. James Crossley (University of Sheffield): ‘Monty Python’s Life of Jesus

Session Three

Dr Helen Bond (University of Edinburgh): ‘You’ll Probably Get Away With Crucifixion’: Laughing at the Cross in Brian and the Ancient World

Dr Guy Stiebel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): ‘Romani Ite Domum: Identity and Expressions of Resistance in Judaea

Session Four

Professor Steve Mason (University of Aberdeen): ‘What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? Brian and Josephus on Anti-Roman Sentiment

Professor Paula Fredriksen (Boston University): ‘Are you a Virgin? Biblical Exegesis and the Invention of Tradition’

Session Five

Dr David Shepherd (Trinity College Dublin): ‘When Brian met Moses: The Life of Brian (1979) Wholly Moses (1980) and the ‘failure’ of biblical parody

Dr Aaron Rosen (King’s College London): ‘Laughing at Brian, Laughing at Christ: Some Reflections on Film and Modern Art

Session Six

Katie Turner (King’s College London): ‘”The Shoe is the Sign“:The Costuming of the Life of Brian and the Clothing of First-Century Judaeans’

Professor Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt University): ‘Beards for Sale: The Uncut Version of Brian, Gender and Sexuality

Session Seven

Professor Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): ‘Brian and the Apocalyptic Jesus

Professor Adele Reinhartz (University of Ottawa): ‘Hook-nosed Heebies: Brian, Jesus, and Jewish Identity

Session Eight

Revd. Canon Professor Richard Burridge (King’s College London):‘The Church of England’s Life of Python–Or, What the Bishop Saw’

Dr David Tollerton (University of Exeter): ‘Blasphemy! On Free Speech Then and Now

(no video provided by Kings College)

Update (September 10, 2015): The book of the conference is now available:

jesus-and-brian-book

Jacob L. Wright on Aronofsky’s Noah and Flood Traditions

In the latest episode of Emory Looks at Hollywood series, Jacob L. Wright, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory’s Candler School of Theology, discusses the various Flood traditions which lie behind and within, and which were inspired by the biblical Flood story, including one of the most recent developments in the unfolding tradition, Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah (2014).

Wright also has a short article on the same subject in Sacred Matters, “Noah: An Unrighteous Man”.

See also:

Cathleen Falsani, interview with Darren Aronofsky, “The ‘Terror’ of Noah: How Darren Aronofsky Interprets the Bible”, The Atlantic, March 26, 2014

Annette Yoshiko Reed, “Who Gets to Decide if Noah is Biblical?” Religion Despatches, April 1, 2014

h/t: Jim West