Archives of Reception of the Bible

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Monday, July 24, 2006

The Book of Revelation and Effective History, 4-6th September 2006

A bit of info on the conference that has been occupying me recently (both in terms of organisation and it terms of writing my own paper.

The Book of Revelation and Effective History: An Interdisciplinary Colloquium

Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Bristol.

Monday 4-6th September 2006

Christopher Rowland, Jonathan Roberts, Jo Carruthers, Alison Jack, James Harding, Melanie Wright, Anke Holdenried, Simon Woodman, Kenneth Newport, Michael Northcott, Hanna Strenström, Jorunn Økland, Heikki Räisänen, William John Lyons

Colloquium rationale

In 2003 Christopher Rowland and Judith L. Kovacs published their commentary on the Revelation of John in the Blackwell Bible Commentaries series. The series deals broadly with the ‘effective history’ of the biblical texts (on this term, see, and is thus a radical departure from the norms of the commentary tradition. Well received as this commentary was, however, its significance is also related to the fact that its publication has opened up a new field of research. It is now easy to see both the richness of the material that has been covered in the commentary and the gaps that remain, the material that is not examined and the questions that are not asked. Similarly, reflection on the actual process of doing ‘effective history’ on Revelation and the potential impact of this commentary on future interpreters provide two new research tasks generated post-publication.

It is with the intention of celebrating these opportunities that this Colloquium on Revelation and ‘effective history’ is being organised. The conveners are Dr William John Lyons of the University of Bristol and Dr Jorunn Økland of the University of Sheffield, and the Colloquium will take place at the University of Bristol’s Institute for Advanced Studies, Bristol, on September 4-6th, 2006. The event is intended to be a small but concentrated interdisciplinary event that will deal some of these materials and questions in more detail and depth. The invited speakers are drawn from a number of different disciplines (although the majority will be biblical scholars), and Christopher Rowland will be an active participant. It is anticipated that a volume on the effective history of Revelation in various areas—religious life, academic life and thought, art, music, broader/popular culture, etc—will be published in due course (allowing some time after the Colloquium for rewriting and editing, hopefully around Easter 2008).


Introduction: Reception of Revelation: Christopher Rowland (University of Oxford)

Session 1a: Jonathan Roberts (University of Liverpool), “The Apocalypses of World and Word in Coleridge and Wordsworth.”
Session 1b: Jo Carruthers (University of Bristol), “'Prayer is the safeguard of interpretation': Negotiating the curse on commentary (Revelation 22) in Rossetti’s Face of the Deep.”
Session 1c: Alison Jack (University of Edinburgh), “Revelation, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: RL Stevenson’s Strange Case.”

Session 2a: James Harding (University of Otago, NZ), “The Risk of Knowledge: Echoes of the Book of Revelation in Eco’s The Name of the Rose.”
Session 2b: Melanie Wright (University of Cambridge), “‘Every eye will see him’: Revelation and Film.”

Session 3a: Anke Holdenried (University of Bristol), “Revelation: A Trajectory of Interpretation in Daniel Clasen’s De oraculis gentilium (1673).”
Session 3b: Simon Woodman (South Wales Baptist College), “‘The Plain Meaning of the Text’: A 17th Century Baptist Perspective on Revelation 20.1-7.”

Session 4a: Kenneth Newport (Liverpool Hope University College), “‘Be thou faithful unto death’ (cf. Rev 2.10): The Book of Revelation and Apocalyptic (Self) destruction.”
Session 4b: Michael Northcott (University of Edinburgh), “Postmillennial Tensions: From the Fathers to the Brethren.”

Session 5a: Hanna Stenström (Uppsala universitet), “Feminist Exegesis of Revelation: A Critique and a Proposal.”
Session 5b: Jorunn Økland (University of Sheffield), “‘… and death shall be no more, nor grief, nor cry, nor distress’: The Apocalypse and the Marxist dream of the classless society.”

Session 6a: Heikki Räisänen (University of Helsinki), “Revelation, Violence, and War: Glimpses of a Dark Side in the Effective History of the Book.”
Session 6b: William John Lyons (University of Bristol), “‘Can You Feel the Heat?’: Gauging the ‘Effectiveness’ of the Book of Revelation.”

Reflection: Christopher Rowland.

Please note that this is not a public event. If you would like further information, then please contact Dr John Lyons (email:, extn: 45930).


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