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
CENSORED

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

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Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity

The Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity Conference was held on Friday 10th to Saturday 11th June 2016, at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Some of the lectures from this conference are now available on YouTube:

Day 1

Chris Keith (read by Steve Walton), “The Memory Approach and the Reception of Jesus”

Christine Jacobi, “The Reception of Jesus in Paul”

Discussion after Keith and Jacobi

Richard Bauckham, “The Psychology of Eyewitness Memory”

Helen Bond, “The Reception of Jesus in the Gospel of John”

Discussion after Bauckham and Bond

Jens Schroeter, “Memory and Theories of History” [lecture is incomplete: cuts off early]

Day 2

Samuel Byrskog, “Memory and Narrative”

Sandra Hübenthal, “The Reception of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel”

Discussion after Byrskog and Hübenthal

Alan Kirk, “Memory and Media”

Joan Taylor, “The Reception of Images of Jesus Prior to Constantine”

Discussion after Kirk and Taylor

Ruben Zimmermann, “Memory, Identity, and Mimetic Ethics”

James Crossley, “The Reception of Jesus in Talmudic Literature”

Discussion after Zimmermann and Crossley

Rafael Rodríguez, “Memory and Liturgy”

Anthony Le Donne, “Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Memory Approach”

Panel Discussion

The Historical Jesus, His Illiteracy, and a Memory Approach: A Syndicate Symposium on Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite

Chris-Keith-Symposium-Header

There is a symposium at Syndicate on Chris Keith’s book, Jesus against the Scribal Elite: The Origins of the Conflict (2014).

The following critical responses to the volume are available on the Syndicate website:

Symposium Introduction, by Chris Tilling.

“Put into Perspective By an Illiterate Jesus”, by Dagmar Winter, October 10, 2015.

Response to Chris Tilling and Dagmar Winter by Chris Keith, “Jesus, Scribal Illiteracy, and Conflict: In Grateful Dialogue with My Respondents”, October 12, 2015.

“Text-Brokering and Social Upheaval”, by Tobias Hägerland, October 14, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “Understating the Significance of Jesus’ Success: A Response to Tobias Hägerland”, October 14, 2015.

“Literacy, Iconoclasm, and a Maddening Portrait of Jesus”, by Christopher Skinner, October 19, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “Embarrassment and the Unpalatably Illiterate Jesus: A Response to Christopher Skinner”, October 19, 2015.

“Will the “Real” Jesus Stand Up?”, by Jason Lamoreaux, October 21, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “‘Perspective’ and the Debateable Legitimacy of Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again: A Response to Jason Lamoreaux“, October 21, 2015.

BSO Podcast: Chris Keith on Social Memory and Historical Jesus Studies

The latest BSO online interview is now available for download from iTunes or streaming from here. In BSO5 James Crossley interviews Chris Keith. Chris Keith is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity and Director of the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.

BSO interviews Chris Keith, discussing some of the most contentious areas in historical Jesus studies today. This include: social memory, the so-called criteria of authenticity, form criticism, and various issues in historical Jesus studies.

“Social Memory Theory and the Gospels: Assessing the First Decade”: Chris Keith’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture

Professor Chris Keith presents his inaugural professorial lecture “Social Memory Theory and the Gospels: Assessing the First Decade” at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, on October 16, 2013.

Memory in Historical Jesus Research: SBL 2013 Baltimore

An audio recording of an SBL panel session on Memory in Historical Jesus Research (Baltimore, 2013) is available on Anthony Le Donne and Chris Keith’s blog. The quality is not particularly good and the first four minutes of Chris Keith’s paper are missing. The audio is in two parts:

1. The papers

Chris Keith, ‘The Past Approaching and Approaching the Past: The Contribution of Memory Studies to Historical Jesus Research’

Zeba Crook, ‘Memory Distortion and the Historical Jesus’

Rafael Rodríguez, ‘An Uneasy Concord: Memory and History in Contemporary Jesus Research’

Paul Foster, ‘Memory: Help or Hindrance in Historical Jesus Research?’

2. The panel discussion and questions