Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Web page for the Baptist Hermeneutics Colloquium

There is now a web page for the Baptist Hermeneutics Colloquium. More speakers are listed and there are proposed paper titles for a number of them. Shaping up to be a very interesting event, I reckon.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Bible in Art, Music and Literature Seminar Series, Centre for the Reception History of the Bible, University of Oxford

The Bible in Art, Music and Literature Seminar Series

Trinity Term 2008

Week 2 (28 April): Prof John Sawyer (Professor Emeritus,
University of Lancaster),The Use of Hebrew in Renaissance Art.

Week 4 (12 May): Dr Louise Lawrence (University of Exeter),
"Crumb Trails and Puppy-Dog Tales": Some Afterlives of the
Canaanite Woman('Biblical Women and their Afterlives' series,
funded by the AHRC).

Week 6 (26 May): Dr Mary Charles-Murray (University of Oxford,
Representations of Biblical Women in Christian Art ('Biblical
Women and their Afterlives' series, funded by the AHRC)

Week 8 (9 June): Dr Zoe Bennett (Anglia Ruskin University
and The Cambridge Theological Federation), John Ruskin's
Paradise Lost: Ruskin, the Bible and the Death of Rose de la

Mondays: 5pm

The Danson Room, Trinity College

Convenors: Prof Chris Rowland (Queen's) Dr Christine Joynes

ALL WELCOME. Refreshments provided.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Colloquium on Baptist Hermeneutics, January 2009

Sean Winter gives notice of an excellent development in the study of Baptist Hermeneutics, a Colloquium co-organised by Simon Woodman and Helen Reynolds.

The ‘plainly revealed’ Word of God? Baptist Hermeneutics in theory and practice.

Baptists have always been proud to declare their reliance on scripture. However in the light of the plethora of internationally renowned twentieth century British Baptist biblical scholars, there is surprising absence of overt reflection on the practice of Baptist hermeneutics. This colloquium will therefore provide an opportunity to explore the theory and practice of Baptist hermeneutics, consisting primarily of contributions from current British Baptist scholars, enhanced by insights from international participants. It is anticipated that an edited volume will arise from the colloquium, exploring both the distinctives of a Baptist approach to scripture, and the application of this approach to specific texts."

The list of currently confirmed participants, in addition to Woodman and Reynolds, is:

Paul Fiddes (Regent’s Park College, Oxford)

Sean Winter (Northern Baptist College, Manchester)

Simon Perry (Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, London)

Mikeal Parsons (Baylor University)

Bill Bellinger (Baylor University)

Alan Culpepper (Mercer University)

Brian Brock (Aberdeen University) - Who will write a response chapter in the published volume

The proposed date for the colloquium is Tuesday 20th - Thursday 22nd January 2009.

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My essays on-line

I have wanted to do this for ages. A number of my essays and articles are now available on-line through my University web-page.

New Testament

'On the Life and Death of Joseph of Arimathea', Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 2 (2004), 29-53.

Old Testament

Reception History

'When is a Jew Not a Jew? Adventures of a 1st Century Pharisee in 4th Century Antioch and Constantinople', in M-L Luxemburg (ed.), Proceedings of the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, Vol. 10 (September 2005-August 2006) (Bath: Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, 2007).

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EABS seminar, Lisbon, 3-7th August 2008

The Biblical World and its Reception

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Emma England, University of Amsterdam, Holland

‘Hide and Seek with Noah’, or How to Find God in the Flood Story for Children: A Case Study in the Reception and Recreation of a Biblical Text (45 mins)

By looking at various retellings of the Flood Story (Gen.6:1-9:19) published for children I aim to demonstrate how the character of God has been appropriated to meet the apparent needs of the producers and consumers of the text. This will focus our gaze on the multiplicity of ways we choose to read and can read the character. By doing so I aim to demonstrate the significance we must place on reading children’s literature within the field of biblical studies. An analysis of the retellings reveals how God has become a less significant character than Noah, even though Noah is silent in the Genesis narrative while God makes ten direct speeches. I will present numerous texts including those where God is denied a voice and a physical appearance, where God speaks but is not described or illustrated, the illustrated God, the human belief in the absent God, as well as the total absence of God. The texts will be drawn from English publications from the religious and secular publishing trades, illustrating that in today’s Western world the Genesis Flood Story has been swallowed by the dominant cultural text that is ‘Noah’s Ark’.

William John Lyons, University of Bristol, UK

A Comparative Study of Two ‘Apocalypses’ and Their Respective Chains of Tradition, or Why Johnny Cash is a Better Exegete than John of Patmos! (35 mins)

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 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). The origin and development of this modern apocalypse and its chain of tradition is then compared with scholarly proposals about the origin, development, and reception of the ‘major apocalypse’ that is the Book of Revelation, before the paper concludes by asking—and perhaps even answering—the question of which of the two is the best exegete, John of Patmos or Johnny Cash!

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Break (10 mins)

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James Crossley, University of Sheffield, UK

Black Monks or Hip Priests? Using Biblical and Religious Language in the Manchester Alternative Music Scene, 1977-1994 (40 mins)

The city of Manchester between the late 1970s and the early 1990s is frequently regarded as a major UK centre for alternative music, boasting bands such as The Fall, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, 808 State, Happy Mondays, and Stone Roses, the record label Factory Records, charismatic figures such as Tony Wilson, a major club in The Hacienda, and prominent figures in influential music scenes such as post-punk and acid/rave. While there is increasing intellectual attention paid to this place and period in the history of popular music, it is rarely noted that there was a constant and creative use of the Bible, biblical texts, and religious imagery throughout. Moreover, this use of Bible and religion is notably different between the late 1970s and early 1990s, from being used in the name of dark introspection, cynical observation, nihilism and pessimism to being used in the name of self-congratulation, self-importance and (largely misguided) optimism. This paper will look at the different and diverse reasons for this stark shift by looking at, for instance, the dominant personalities, musical experimentation and trends, changes in drug use, the influence of Thatcherism, the increasing lure of mainstream popular culture, and the changing cityscape of Manchester.

* * *

J. Mark Blackwell, Francis Marion University, USA

A Tale of Two Cities, a Tale of Two Lots: Robert Hunter, The Grateful Dead, and a Song of “Gomorrah” (40 mins)

From 1965-1995, the legendary Grateful Dead were a San Francisco-based band and support community who became known and remembered for their unique musical approaches. They fused root elements of bluegrass, folk, gospel, Negro spirituals, rock and roll, blues, jazz, and country and western into their sound. Of course, the Grateful Dead were most famous for their live performances that featured long instrumental improvisations, and this feature has resulted in them being dubbed “the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world”. Guitarist Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter collaborated to produce the majority of songs in the Grateful Dead catalogue, as well as music for its spin-off groups, which include the Jerry Garcia Band. Hunter’s lyrics frequently turn upon biblical phrases and imagery, and the Bible influences his writing more than any other religious instrument or heritage. “Gomorrah” first appeared on the Jerry Garcia Band three-year album project “Cats Under the Stars” (1978) as a re-telling of the Gen. Ch. 19 narrative. Blair Jackson, in his 1999 biography Garcia: An American Life, describes the song as “a Sunday school parable (with a dash of irony delivered by the Reverend Garcia).” This paper will investigate Hunter’s reading of the Sodom and Gomorrah narrative by (a) briefly reviewing the general arguments about Lot from interpretation histories on Gen. Ch. 19 and 2 Pet. Ch. 2, (b) considering a place for “Gomorrah” in that history and (c) examining the cultural scenes and social influences surrounding San Francisco’s sexual revolution in the mid-1970s. The conclusion will comment on irony in Hunter’s “Gomorrah” and suggest how his reading addresses the figure of Lot in broader cultural discussions.

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Discussion of music papers (10 mins)

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Bible in the 19th Century: The Word and Its Re-wordings in British Literature and Thought (Eds. Frédéric Slaby & Élise Ouvrard)

A link sent to me recently by Frederic Slaby (of the University of Caen, France) to the latest issue of the LISA e-journal. Here are the contents of the issue, some of which look very intriguing indeed and all of which are freely available.



Overview of a Controversy: The Scriptures and 19th-Century Biblical
Criticism in Great Britain

S. T. Coleridge, Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit (1840): Its Place
in the History of Biblical Criticism

Newman and the Bible

Trollope, Liberalism and Scripture

Thomas Henry Huxley and the Bible


Hirelings and Laborers: Biblical Parable in Blake’s Milton

The Bible and Literary Inspiration in T. De Quincey’s Suspiria
de Profundis

For the Letter Killeth, but the Spirit Giveth Life: Elizabeth
Gaskell’s Rewriting of the Gospels

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy and the Power of the Letter

Myth and Biblical Imagery in De Profundis

Getting to Grips with the Gospels: Interpretation and elaboration
in Marie Corelli’s Barabbas (1893)

Kipling’s ‘Anglo-Indian’ Bible

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New Job in Bristol

Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies (ref. 13860)
Department of Theology and Religious Studies

Based in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, you will become an active participant in the Department's Centre for Christianity and Culture. The Department of Theology and Religious Studies seeks to build on its standing in Christian and Jewish studies. Preference may be given to those working within Biblical reception, Jewish history, or/and Reformation theology. You should have an excellent publication record and you will be expected to teach at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Grade: Level b in Pathway 1
Salary: £31,840-£35,858

Contact for informal enquiries:
Dr C A Muessig Tel. 0117 9287763

Timescale of appointment :
Contract: Permanent

Anticipated interview date: 02 June 2008
Anticipated start date: 01 August 2008

Closing date for applications: 9.00 am on 24 April 2008

Further information:

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