Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Second SBL paper

I always thought folks were mad when they did two SBL papers, but here goes.

Accepted for a Contextual Biblical Interpretation session in Boston.

‘Preaching the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10.25-37)’: A Study of Shifting Meaning in a (Published) Sermon

William John Lyons
University of Bristol

A comparatively little studied phenomenon is the shift in biblical meaning produced when a sermon designed for oral delivery in a Christian communal setting is published in an edited volume designed for a different purpose. The Bible has—hopefully—been successfully inculturated for an audience in a certain time and place, but its subsequent usage, and especially its reproduction in print, potentially shifts that cultural tone into a somewhat different key.

The sermon considered here was delivered in Sheffield in 1992 by Professor John Rogerson of Sheffield University. Its text, set by the Anglican lectionary, was the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10.25-37) and its setting was the ‘First Celebration of Holy Communion’ of the newly ordained vicar of the Nine O’clock Service (NOS), Chris Brain. The sermon’s discussion of the need for the divine risk-taking as exemplified in the Scriptures to be echoed by human risk-taking in the present was originally heard in the context of a fast approaching move into a long awaited mission-field. It took on a different meaning, however, following the contextual shift brought about by the collapse of NOS in a public sexual scandal in 1995.

Although it could have been presented as prescient, the decision to publish the sermon in 2002 did not revolve around an attempt to claim foreknowledge. Rather it was the abrupt closure of NOS by local Church authorities that provided a third context—the deafening silence now reigning over its mission-field, the club culture of Sheffield—in which the published sermon could now effectively function as the protest of one still angry individual, a protest aimed at those Church leaders who refused to echo the divine risk-taking so prominent in the sermon and who by their risk-averse behaviour effectively destroyed a Church already badly damaged by internal abuse.

This paper will need to be available before the conference so at least I won't be trying to write two papers at the last minute :)

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Another world!

Once again Jim West appears to demonstrate conclusively that he lives in a very different world to me. In my world, it is simply not possible to delete one's opponents (though I'll grant that some academics do give a very different impression of their powers!). As Chris Heard himself points out, in reality Jim's powers are really rather limited. Jim, do us all a favour. Keep up the tirades. And when folks respond and disagree with you, don't sulk. Dish up some more!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Paper title for Lisbon

I am thinking of my paper title for the 'Biblical World and Its Reception' seminar at EABS in Lisbon in August. I am toying with the following:

A Tale of Two Exegetes, or Why Johnny Cash Kicks John of Patmos' Ass!

Any thoughts... (other than "you can't be serious", "don't do it", "you should be ashamed" and so on)... ?

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

JSHJ 6 (2008)

Volume 6 of JSHJ is now available on-line. A fine line-up including yours truly. Notably, on p. 79 of the piece, a blog comment of Mark Goodacre is cited to good effect.

Editorial Foreword
pp. 1-2(2)
Author: Webb, Robert L.

Did the Historical Jesus Prohibit All Oaths? Part 2
pp. 3-24(22)
Meier, John P.

Eyewitnesses and the Oral Jesus Tradition
pp. 85-105(21)
Author: Dunn, James D.G.

Morton Smith as M. Madiotes: Stephen Carlson's Attribution of Secret Mark to a Bald Swindler
pp. 106-125(20)
Authors: Pantuck, Allan J.; Brown, Scott G.

Book List
pp. 126-128(3)

Books Received
pp. 129-130(2)

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Biblical women and their afterlives - A few Oxford pics

A few pics of the conference - which was great fun by the way.

The grounds at Trinity College, Oxford.

Lesleigh Cushing-Stahlberg, with Chris Rowland chairing.

Caroline Vander Stichele, Peter Loewen, Nancy Graham, and John Darr.

Chris Rowland chairing John Darr's paper.

Jennifer Knust, on the Adultress woman pericope.

Jennifer Knust answering questions, with Chris Joynes chairing.

Last one - Heidi Hornik on Mary Magdalene by Michele Tosini.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

SBL paper

A few bloggers posted their abstracts for SBL a while ago, taking the risk that their papers might be rejected and 'never' be delivered (ok, overstatement, I know). Lacking their confidence, not to mention their organisational abilities, I didn't post either of the two abstracts I submitted. Well, one has now been accepted and here it is. The session is Holly Hearon and Richard Swanson's Bible in Ancient and Modern Media - the topic, Johnny Cash, of course. I might also add that the paper has the longest title of any I've ever written.

‘The Apocalypse of John and Its (Many, Modern) Mediators’: John of Patmos’ Apocalypse (c. 80-100CE), Johnny Cash’s The Man Comes Around (2002CE), Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead (2004CE), and the videographers of YouTube (2006-08CE).

William John Lyons (University of Bristol)

Johnny Cash’s description of his 2002 song, The Man Comes Around (from his American IV album), as being ‘based, loosely’ on the Apocalypse of John is in fact a considerable understatement. The song quotes verbatim from that and other biblical texts, echoes a number of its most important apocalyptic motifs, and effectively moulds John of Patmos’ material into a functional, available, and culturally significant ‘mini-Apocalypse’. The formal relationship between the song and its ‘parent’ texts and Cash’s own characterisation of his role in mediating between the two are first briefly examined. The paper then critically analyses the ongoing impact of the book of Revelation – as mediated through the song and its first significant soundtrack outing in Zack Snyder’s zombie film, Dawn of the Dead (2004) – upon a specific media set, the growing number of YouTube videos that are being created to illustrate Cash’s ‘mini-Apocalypse’ (2006-present). Finally, certain aspects of the early impact of John of Patmos’ own Apocalypse are re-considered in the light of the assumptions and processes that have been observed within this modern chain of traditions.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Bible for Sinners

A new book by Chris Rowland and Jonathan Roberts, The Bible for Sinners. The blurb on Amazon states:

"Product Description
In this book, two experts in biblical and literary studies offer a wide-ranging discussion of what is going on in different types of Christian interpretation. They consider examples from history, from literature, and from a range of contentious present-day situations. Rather than providing answers, the authors open out the fundamental interpretative questions raised by same-sex relationships, justice in society, religious heresy, and marriage and divorce.

The context and approach of the reader have been underestimated in Biblical Exegesis. The Biblical text is generally credited with an abstract quality that lifts its words above time and space, above mere human contingencies. This has made it monolithic - a stone on which countless individuals have been dashed to pieces. Yet this interpretation has been developed by interpreters who have institutional power, and who have been unaware that they are interpreting in the interests of those who have such power. This book looks at past and present interpretations, as well as how certain subjects have been understood within them, including homosexuality and marriage."

Anything these two have come up with together is worth investigating further, trust me!

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