Dictionary of Nature Imagery of the Bible

The Dictionary of Nature Imagery of the Bible is a new online resource which will provide information on the natural, ecological context of nature imagery found in the Hebrew Bible.

In this video, Project Leader, Professor Dalit Rom-Shiloni (Tel Aviv University) discusses the approach and structure of the dictionary.

 

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David M. Carr: Beyond Original Sin: Genesis on the Emergence of True Adulthood

On April 5, 2018, Professor David M. Carr (Union Theological Seminary) delivered the final lecture in the 2017-18 Killeen Chair of Theology and Philosophy lecture series, at St. Norbert College.

David M. Carr, Ph.D., professor of Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary, invites us to consider the transformative possibilities in the story of God’s creation of male and female humans in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2-3. Carr’s lecture will offer a new reading of Genesis 2-3 as a subtle account of what it means to be a fully adult human, neither all good nor all bad.

The lecture begins at 3:15.

Social-Scientific Criticism and Christian Origins: Past, Present and Future

On May 25, 2018, The Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St Mary’s University, Twickenham held a one-day seminar, “Social-Scientific Criticism and Christian Origins: Past, Present and Future”.

‘Social-Scientific Criticism’ now serves in New Testament studies as an umbrella term for a variety of critical approaches to early Christianity, which include cultural anthropology, social identity theory, social history, ancient and modern media studies, memory theories, human geography, ancient and modern politics, race theory, trauma studies, and others. This conference gathers leading scholars to answer that question and track the progress of the scholarly discourse from initial applications to the current state of the discussion, as well as offer thoughts about the future.

9.10-9.20am Introduction to the Conference
Chris Keith

Session 1 Theoretical Origins and Texts
9.20-9.50am ‘From Honour and Shame to Theorizing Christian Origins’
John Kloppenborg

9.50-10.20am ‘Competitive Textualisation in the Jesus Tradition’
Chris Keith

10.20-10.50am ‘The Letter to Titus as a Site of Memory’
Michael Scott Robertson

Session 2 Violence and Identity
11.20am-12.10pm ‘Violence as Social Currency in Early Christianity’
Sarah Rollens

12.10-12.40pm ‘The Death of John the Baptist and the Sociology of Beheading in the Ancient World’
Nathan Shedd

Session 3 Space and Language
2-2.40pm ‘Diverse Futures of Social-Scientific Criticism of the New Testament: Affective, Spatial, Cognitive and Digital Turns’
Louise J. Lawrence

2.40-3.20pm ‘Apocalyptic Language in the New Testament: Can Cognitive Linguistics Help?’
Jamie Davies

Session 4 Ethnicity, Race and Ideology
3.40-4.10pm ‘Whose Race Needs to be Noted? Further Reflections on Whiteness and Biblical Studies’
David Horrell

4.40-5.10pm ‘Social-Scientific Criticism and the Bible: Investigating Ideological Trends’
Taylor Weaver
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Session 5 Politics and Social-Scientific Criticism
5.30-6pm Keynote Address: ‘Cults, Martyrs, and Good Samaritans’
James Crossley

6-6.20pm Respondent: Hannah Strømmen

6.20-6.40pm Respondent: Yvonne Sherwood

Beverly Roberts Gaventa: We, They and All in Paul’s Letter to the Romans

Professor Beverly Roberts Gaventa (Baylor University) presented the 2018 Fretheim lecture at Luther Seminary on April 10, 2018. The lecture commences at 9:10.

The deepening fractures in North America around a host of issues trouble many people, within and beyond traditional religious institutions. Words like “we” and “they” dot the landscape of Paul’s letter to the Romans, but students of the letter seldom reflect on the work they do. This talk will reflect on that language in Romans and show how Paul’s most famous letter may be surprisingly helpful in our polarized context.

Gerald West: The Bible as a Site of Struggle

Professor Gerald West (University of KwaZulu-Natal) presented the 2018 De Carle Lecture Series on the topic, “The Bible as a Site of Struggle”.

“The Bible as a site of struggle” allows me to bring my biblical scholarship work and my community-based activist work together. The Ujamaa Centre for Community Development and Research, established in the late 1980s as part of the struggle against apartheid, is the site of much of my work, intersecting the academy and the community. After nearly thirty years of work with the Ujamaa Centre I have recognised more clearly what it is that our work with the Bible offers to local communities of the poor and marginalised. Central to what we offer is a participatory praxis in which we work with the Bible as ‘a site of struggle’ – of multiple, often contending ideo-theological voices. Working with a Bible that is ‘a site of struggle’ offers forms of interpretive resilience to poor and marginalised communities who are often stigmatised and victimised by dominant monovocal appropriations of the Bible. In this lecture series I will reflect on both the academic and community dimensions of this work.

Wednesday 28 February – ‘Site of struggle’ in South African Liberation Theologies

Wednesday 07 March – The Bible as a Site of Struggle in South African Black Theology

Wednesday 14 March – Recovering a Co-opted Bible in Post-apartheid South Africa

Wednesday 21 March – Working with the Bible as a Site of Struggle in Local Communities

 

 

Stanley Porter on Metaphor in the New Testament

On June 21, 2018, Dr. Stanley Porter delivered a lecture at the University of Otago on “Metaphor in the New Testament: Expressing the Inexpressible through Language.”

Much New Testament studies has been shackled by a limiting and constraining literalism—or at least what purports to be literalism. This has resulted in an emphasis upon the “thingness” of the ancient world and its texts, rather than on the “howness,” that is, how language is used to reflect upon and even create the world in which the ancients existed. The result of such a narrow view of human experience and use of language is the failure to appreciate the nature and complexity of language itself, in particular metaphor. Fundamental to interpretation is recognition of the role that language plays in human experience, and from that grow all of the other helpful means by which we analyze texts. In this paper, I wish to confine myself to the use of metaphor in the New Testament, and its relationship to Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). I will examine theories of metaphor briefly to see what they help us to understand about language. Then I will treat metaphor from a SFL standpoint as it functions within the New Testament. In this section, I think that I can make some new observations regarding metaphor and how it functions in the New Testament.

Sidnie White Crawford, “The History of Qumran and its Library: A New Synthesis”

Professor Sidnie White Crawford (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) summarises the latest scholarship on the Qumran library of 800-900 fragmentary manuscripts from the mid-third century BCE to the late first century CE, and the history of the sect responsible for the collection and its scribal/learned characteristics. Her public lecture was delivered on January 25, 2018, on the occasion of receiving a D.Theol honoris causa from the University of Uppsala.

James Crossley on Cults, Martyrs and Good Samaritans

Professor James Crossley (St Mary’s University) presents a paper drawn from his book, Cults, Martyrs and Good SamaritansReligion in Contemporary English Political Discourse (Pluto Press, July 2018). The paper was presented at the CSSSB conference, Christian Origins and Social-Scientific Criticism, on May 25, 2018 (Crossley appears at 2:50)  There were two responses to his paper, from Dr Hannah M. Strømmen (University of Chichester) and Professor Yvonne Sherwood (University of Kent), not included in the video. 

John Barclay, Firth Lectures: Gift-Reciprocity and Community Construction in the New Testament

On 17 and 18 April, Professor John Barclay (University of Durham) delivered the two 2018 Firth lectures at the University of Nottingham, entitled “Beyond Charity: Gift-Reciprocity and Community Construction in the New Testament”.

John Barclay also led a postgraduate seminar on 18 April, “Reciprocity and Risk at the Economic Margin: Some Early Christian Examples”.

His most recent major book is a study of Pauline theology from the perspective of his theology of grace, called Paul and the Gift (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015). If we read Paul’s theology of grace in the light of ancient notions of gift, Barclay argues we can understand in a new way his relationship to Judaism, his theology of the Christ-event and his ethic of reciprocal generosity. Paul and the Gift explores the theological and social significance of the incongruity of grace in the formation of innovative communities, going beyond Sanders and the current antithesis between old and new perspectives on Paul. This book, focusing on divine gift/grace, is the first of a two-part series.

Simon Gathercole on Crucifixion and Resurrection in the Gospel of Peter

Dr Simon Gathercole (Cambridge University) delivered the third Lagrange Lecture at the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem, on May 2, 2018, entitled “The Death and Resurrection of Jesus in the Gospel of Peter”.

Gathercole examines how the Gospel of Peter takes the traditions in the canonical gospels, and rearranges them, in part in order to blame “the Jews”.

 

The Phoenicians never existed: Josephine Quinn

Associate Professor Josephine Quinn (University of Oxford) discusses her book, In Search of the Phoenicians (Princeton University Press, 2017), with responses by Hindy Najman (University of Oxford) and Stephanie Dalley (Oriental Studies, University of Oxford). The panel is chaired by John Watts (University of Oxford). The panel took place on April 25, 2018, as is part of the University of Oxford’s Book at Lunchtime series.

The Phoenicians traveled the Mediterranean long before the Greeks and Romans, trading, establishing settlements, and refining the art of navigation. But who these legendary sailors really were has long remained a mystery. In Search of the Phoenicians makes the startling claim that the “Phoenicians” never actually existed. Taking readers from the ancient world to today, this monumental book argues that the notion of these sailors as a coherent people with a shared identity, history, and culture is a product of modern nationalist ideologies—and a notion very much at odds with the ancient sources.

  • Torch: The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

Yair Zakovitch on the Song of Songs versus Biblical Narrative

On February 21, 2018, Professor emeritus Yair Zakovitch (Hebrew University) delivered the first 2018 Lagrange lecture at the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem, entitled “On Love and Beauty: The Complex Relations between the Song of Songs and Biblical Narrative.”

For decades it has been customary—indeed nearly academic dogma—to isolate the literary traditions of the Song from wider biblical traditions, especially prophetic literature and the scriptural narratives recounting Israel’s story. Recently, however, some scholars have begun to press arguments for recognizing inter-biblical allusions in the Song, working to re-integrate this unique specimen of biblical love-poetry within a broader biblical thought-world. The presentation of Prof. Zakovitch belongs within this budding debate and provided a sneak preview of material that will soon appear in his forthcoming study: The Song of Songs: Riddle of Riddles (T&T Clark, September 2018).

Thomas Römer on the Ark of the Covenant

Romer - Ark of the CovenantProfessor Thomas Römer (Collège de France) delivered the second Lagrange Lecture on April 25, 2018, at the École biblique et archéologique française in Jerusalem, entitled “Biblical Traditions about the Ark of the Covenant”.

The lecture begins at 3:15.

With careful attention to various diachronic puzzles posed by the often-confusing and incomplete biblical reports, Römer proposed the tentative outlines of a revisionist history of this fascinating cult object. From its mysterious origins in Shiloh to its temporary sojourn at Kiriath Yearim—for a much longer period than the biblical account would admit—the Ark belongs within a decentralized picture of Israelite worship in Römer’s view. Along these lines, Römer raised the possibility that the chest may have originally contained twinned cult stones, perhaps of YHWH and Asherah. The Ark’s ultimate, ceremonial transfer into Jerusalem should perhaps be dated to the time of Josiah and the politics of centralization, he suggests, while the account of its migrations through the Philistine cities may reflect earlier political tensions from the time of Hezekiah.

Taylor Weaver on Paul, Gifting, and Class Struggle

Taylor Weaver (University of Kent) presents his talk on Class Struggle and Early Christianity, delivered to the Religious Studies department at the University of Kent, February 2018. The talk is available on YouTube, in two parts: