The Database of Military Inscriptions and Papyri of Early Roman Palestine

Dr Christopher Zeichmann (University of Toronto) has made available a very useful database for the study of early Christianity:  The Database of Military Inscriptions and Papyri of Early Roman Palestine (DMIPERP).

This site is designed to aid the study of the military in the early Roman period for those interested in Judaism and Christianity of the first few centuries CE….

DMIPERP entries are divided roughly as follows: entries 1-132 were all found in Palestine and listed in roughly chronological order; entries 133-201 were texts not found in Palestine but discuss either the military in Palestine or those of a Palestinian background (esp. Jews and Gentiles born in Palestine); entries 202-224 are all surviving military diplomas for Judaea and Syria Palaestina; entries 225-296 are military diplomas of units or people originating in Palestine; entries 297-340 are Palestinian milestones erected by the military; entries 341-362 are all known pre-Constantinian military inscriptions involving Christians. There are 372 entries in total, with new entries being added following that number.


#MeToo Jesus: Jesus as Victim of Sexual Abuse

On 16 January 2018, Dr Jayme Reaves (Public theologian, Dorset) and Professor David Tombs (University of Otago) delivered the joint paper “#MeToo Jesus: Why Naming Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Abuse Matters”, a Shiloh Project lecture at the University of Sheffield.


The #MeToo hashtag and campaign created by Tarana Burke in 2007 and popularized by Alyssa Milano in October 2017 has confirmed what feminists have long argued on the prevalence of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexually abusive behaviour. It has also prompted a more public debate on dynamics of victim blaming and victim shaming which contribute to the silences which typically benefit perpetrators and add a further burden to survivors. As such, the #MeToo movement raises important questions for Christian faith and theology. A church in New York offered a creative response in a sign which adapted Jesus’ words ‘You did this to me’ in Mt 25:40 to read ‘You did this to #MeToo’. This presentation will explore the biblical and theological reasons for naming Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse drawing on earlier work presenting crucifixion as a form of state terror and sexual abuse (Tombs 1999). It will then discuss some of the obstacles to this recognition and suggest why the acknowledgement nonetheless matters. It will argue that recognition of Jesus as victim of sexual abuse can help strengthen church responses to sexual abuses and challenge tendencies within the churches, as well as in wider society, to collude with victim blaming or shaming.

For further reading, see David Tombs, ‘Crucifixion, State Terror, and Sexual Abuse’ in Union Seminary Quarterly Review (1999).

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.

BSO7a-b Interview with Kaya Mar

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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:

BSO7a Interview with Kaya Mar (Intro; 2:47)

BSO7b Interview with Kaya Mar (Main; 35:05)

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:

Mark Noll on “The Bible in Early America: Colonies, Empire, Revival, War”

Mark A. Noll (Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame) delivered a lecture on “the role of Scripture in American history, from the era of Christopher Columbus through the American Revolution” at Boston College on October 29, 2015.


Bible, Empire, and Reception History conference – Live Streaming November 18-19, 2015


Columbia Theological Seminary announced that it will livestream its upcoming conference on Bible, Empire, and Reception History during November 18-19. The Bible, Empire, and Reception History conference will explore the production and use of the Bible in various historical and geographic contexts of empire. It will consider the use of postcolonial criticism in interpreting biblical texts and its implications in modern contexts.
Columbia Connections

The live stream will be available on LiveStream. Columbia Theological Seminary (Georgia, Atlanta) is in the U.S. Eastern Standard Time zone (UTC/GMT -5 hours). The conference schedule is as follows:

8:30-9:00, Wednesday, November 18
Welcome, Introductions and Key Issues

9:00-12:30, Wednesday, November 18
Session # 1. The Bible and Ancient Empires
Keynote Speakers: Carol A. Newsom and Richard Horsley
Respondents: Warren Carter and Esther Menn
Panelists: Christine Yoder (Presider), Stephen Moore, Brent Strawn, Eric Barreto

2:00-5:30, Wednesday, November 18
Session # 2. The Bible, Empire, and the Americas
Keynote Speakers: Yvonne Sherwood and Jaime Lara
Respondents: Fernando Segovia and Rhondda Robinson Thomas
Panelists: Brennan Breed (Presider), Ana T. Valdez, Dianne Stewart, Gregory Cuéllar

9:00-12:30, Thursday, November 19
Session # 3. The Bible, Empire, and Asia
Keynote Speakers: Kwok Pui-Lan and Mitri Raheb
Respondents: Tat-Siong Benny Liew and Mrinalini Sebastian
Panelists: Raj Nadella (Presider), Jin Young Choi, Uriah Kim, Haruko Ward

2:00-5:30, Thursday, November 19
Session # 4. The Bible, Empire, and Africa
Keynote Speakers: Musa Dube and Hendrik Bosman
Respondents: Dora Mbuwayesango and Sarojini Nadar
Panelists: Emmanuel Lartey (Presider), Temba Mafico, Safwat Marzouk, Madipoane Masenya

Columbia have also made available videos of the conference presentations.


Douglas Thompson: How whites and blacks interpreted biblical passages on slavery in Antebellum America

Professor Douglas Thompson’s Mercer University course Biblical Texts and American History looks at historical uses of the Bible in U.S. history. One of the lectures in that course examines the impact of the Bible and religion “on the relationship between slaves and their owners during the Antebellum period”.

He cited Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion and Frederick Douglass’ 1845 memoir as examples of how whites and blacks interpreted biblical passages on slavery.

A video of his lecture (February 11, 2015) is available on C-Span American History TV:


The Bible in Contemporary English Politics

From Sheffield Biblical Studies, three lectures by James Crossley:

The following three audios (mp3) are full length lectures are from the William Temple Association lecture series (Jan./Feb. 2014)

Lecture 1: The Bible in Contemporary English Politics; or, Tony Benn and the decline of the Radical Bible. This looks at the assumptions of what the Bible ‘really means’ in English (and broader) political discourse and the decline of politically radical interpretation of the Bible in English politics with particular reference to Tony Benn.

Lecture 2: Margaret Thatcher’s Religion. This is, incidentally, a bit different from a previous lecture on Thatcher’s Bible, though with some overlap towards the end (on her biblical exegesis). It looks at Thatcher’s Methodist upbringing, her ‘rediscovery’ of Methodism in the 1970s, the Cold War and her understanding of Marxism in to religion, her understanding of Judaism, her conflicts with the CofE, and her biblical exegesis.

Lecture 3: Tony Blair and the End of the Radical Bible. This lecture looks at how Blair developed Thatcher’s Bible and her understanding of religion during the war on terror. It will further look at Blair’s reinterpretation of Labour’s more radical heritage to now concern liberal interventionism. Blair represents the final victory of Thatcher’s Bible in parliamentary politics.

John J. Collins on The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence


John J. Collins delivers the Presidential Address at the 2002 AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, entitled “The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence”, available as a real audio file. The Address was delivered at the first AAR/SBL Annual Meeting following 9/11.

Collins presented a “geneology of the concept of ‘the wrath of God'” and offered scriptural passages where God condones the obliteration of peoples and where “ritual violence” is connected to ideas of religious purity, land rights, and “chosen-ness.” While Collins pointed out that most likely none of these violent events ever occurred, he did underline the ethical implications of their status as part of the Bible especially in the current context of September 11 and possible war in Iraq. Collins’ advice to the Bible scholar was to note the diversity of approaches in the Bible (to relativize it); to admit the unethicalness of certain passages; and to show that certitude is an illusion. Collins offered the warning of another Irish luminary, Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Certitude leads to violence.”

– Eric Daniel Barreto and John Huehnergard, “Annual Meeting Toronto 2002 Highlights”, SBL Forum, n.p. Online:

The Address was later published as John J. Collins, “The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence“, Journal of Biblical Literature 122, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 3-21 (subscription required).