2011 Jesus

Session 1

Michael Sandford (University of Sheffield)

Chanting down Babylon or Weeping for Jerusalem? The historical Jesus, Roman Imperialism, and Cultural Resistance

Using insights from postcolonial theory, this paper explores parallels between the cultural resistance to Western imperialism that we find in the contemporary Rastafari movement, and Jewish cultural resistance to Roman imperialism in ancient Palestine at the time of Jesus. While this paper draws attention to the role of Roman imperialism for understanding the historical Jesus, it will argue that Jewish imperial resistance became particularly prevalent only after the execution of Jesus and with the rise of Jewish nationalism. As such, this paper treats the evangelists’ framing of Jesus as one which may have been influenced by later political developments, and concludes that Jesus’ participation in ‘imperial resistance’ was minimal.

Session 2

Panel discussion

Pope Benedict XVI and the Historical Jesus


  • Dr James Crossley (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr John Lyons (University of Bristol)
  • Dr Angus Paddison (University of Winchester)

Session 3

Review of Maurice Casey, Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian’s Account of his Life and Teachings (London and New York: T&T Clark, 2010)

Eddie Adams (KCL)
David Bryan (Durham)
Helen Bond (University of Edinburgh)
Mark Finney (University of Sheffield)
Karen Wenell (University of Birmingham)

Response by Maurice Casey (University of Nottingham)