James Crossley's blog Contact: jgcrossley10 - AT - yahoo - DOT - co - DOT - uk

Thursday, May 24, 2007

More fun from Wycliffe

Apparently, '95% of people facing hell unless the message of the gospel is brought to them.' - Richard Turnbull, principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.

To be fair, if you are of that mindset then that must be true. But, more excitingly, this is the welcome return of hell fire preaching!

Just to point out one issue from Wycliffe's website:

We offer a wide range of ministerial, academic, full-time and part-time theology courses that enable Christians to exercise their ministry more effectively in...the academy.

Now, and I think I am being serious here, what percentage of the academy are facing hell?

And if I am not being serious, be fair: you've got Christopher Hitchens on religion...

Ok, here are some serious reports:

Stephen Bates, 'Theologian damns most Britons to hell' Guardian

The speech is available here:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hector Avalos' New Book

On Bible Bending there is notice of Hector Avalos' new book, The End of Biblical Studies. People may remember the stir from his SBL Forum piece a year or so ago. I'll just copy Michelle and put the Amazon.com blurb up:

In this radical critique of his own academic specialty, biblical scholar Hector Avalos calls for an end to biblical studies as we know them. He outlines two main arguments for this surprising conclusion. First, academic biblical scholarship has clearly succeeded in showing that the ancient civilization that produced the Bible held beliefs about the origin, nature, and purpose of the world and humanity that are fundamentally opposed to the views of modern society. The Bible is thus largely irrelevant to the needs and concerns of contemporary human beings. Second, Avalos criticizes his colleagues for applying a variety of flawed and specious techniques aimed at maintaining the illusion that the Bible is still relevant in today's world. In effect, he accuses his profession of being more concerned about its self-preservation than about giving an honest account of its own findings to the general public and faith communities.

Dividing his study into two parts, Avalos first examines the principal subdisciplines of biblical studies (textual criticism, archaeology, historical criticism, literary criticism, biblical theology, and translations) in order to show how these fields are still influenced by religiously motivated agendas despite claims to independence from religious premises. In the second part, he focuses on the infrastructure that supports academic biblical studies to maintain the value of the profession and the Bible. This infrastructure includes academia (public and private universities and colleges), churches, the media-publishing complex, and professional organizations such as the Society of Biblical Literature. In a controversial conclusion, Avalos argues that our world is best served by leaving the Bible as a relic of an ancient civilization instead of the "living" document most religionist scholars believe it should be. He urges his colleagues to concentrate on educating the broader society to recognize the irrelevance and even violent effects of the Bible in modern life.

Update: there is a debate between Jim West and Hector Avalos on Jim's blog. But you didn't need me to tell you that, did you?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Social History of Modern Biblical Scholarship

At ISBL/EABS this summer, there is a session I wanted to mention ages ago, and not simply because I'm in it (thought that's a reason etc and so on and so forth). It is The EABS Social History of Modern Biblical Scholarship and it reflects what seems to me to be a growing movement within biblical studies, namely to see biblical scholarship as a part of broader historical trends.

EABS: Social History of Modern Biblical Scholarship

8:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Room: HS 24 - Hauptgebaude

Burke Long, Bowdoin College, Presiding
Burke Long, Bowdoin College
Trajectories in the Social History of Biblical Scholarship (10 min)

Halvor Moxnes, University of Oslo
Friedrich Schleiermacher: Writing the Biography of Jesus in the Age of Nationalism (25 min)

James Crossley, University of Sheffield
Why Did “Jesus the Jew” Arrive So Late in Modern Scholarship? (25 min)

Bernard Levinson, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Reading the Bible in Nazi Germany: Gerhard von Rad’s Attempt to Reclaim the Old Testament for the Church (25 min)

Break (30 min)

Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College
The Appeal of Racial Theory to New Testament Scholarship in Nazi Germany (25 min)

Erhard Gerstenberger, Philipps Universität-Marburg
Cultural Breaks, Cultural Conformity: The Case of Hermann Gunkel, Innovator of Exegetical Method (25 min)

Ward Blanton, University of Glasgow
On Paul and the Politics of Nothing at All: Toward a Reception History 1 Corinthians 1:27-29. (25 min)

Discussion (20 min)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

BNTC Jesus Seminar

I've been far too busy to menton that Man United won the Premiership, but I should mention the call for papers for the 'Jesus' seminar (as ever, not to be confused with the famous Jesus Seminar - it still happens) at the British New Testament Conference.