2013 New Testament: Use and Influence

Session 3 is a joint session with Social World of the New Testament seminar.

Session 1

Hilary Perry

104 Years and Counting: Aspects of the Afterlife of the Scofield Reference Bible

This paper focuses on the treatment of the subject of "Israel" in introductions, notes and subheads in the 1917 Scofield Reference Bible and in the revised editions of the Scofield Bible published in 1967 and 2003.  A comparison between elements of commentary in these different editions is significant since publication of the Scofield Reference Bible antedated the foundation of the modern state of Israel, whereas the revised editions came into being after its establishment.  The implications of later editorial additions to the 1917 commentary and deletions from it are explored in relation to the existence of the state of Israel.  Differences in dispensational and covenantal interpretation are also examined.  Some reference is made to the works of modern dispensationalist authors.


Alison Jack

The Parable of the Prodigal Son and Shakespeare’s Henry IV Pt 1: Prodigality as Preparation for Kingship

Many writers of the Elizabethan era, such as George Gasgoigne and Robert Greene, found in the parable of the Prodigal Son a potent motif to express their varying responses to the political, social, literary and religious traumas of their age. Shakespeare sits firmly within this tradition, and themes of authority (expressed through didactic precepts), rebellion and repentance are to be found in many of his plays. In Henry IV Pt 1, the parable is explicitly quoted, but its traditional interpretation is not accepted uncritically. This paper will explore ways in which the parable is exploited by characters within the play, and will consider the role of the reader in constructing meaning through his or her understanding of the parable. 


Session 2

John Lyons

From Golgotha to Glastonbury and Beyond: Translating Jewish Burial Piety into English Imperial Exceptionalism

This paper considers two linked events—the intervention of a pious Jew, Joseph of Arimathea, in the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus and the singing of the anthem, Jerusalem, at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29th 2011—tracing the five crucial segues that so altered the Joseph tradition as to leave a pious Jewish councillor responsible for the ode to English chosen-ness that was the Royal Wedding’s Jerusalem.


Mark Harris

Science, the end of the world, and the reality of the risen Jesus

The science-religion discussion has not so far indulged to any great degree in biblical interpretation, and yet recent thinking on scientific eschatology has meant that the resurrection narratives of the New Testament have come into special focus. A number of scholars – R J Russell, John Polkinghorne, Gerald O’Collins, and David Wilkinson – have challenged scientific models for the end of the world by advocating the biblical idea of new creation. Thus, in the face of bleak cosmological predictions of either ‘freeze or fry’ for the far-off future of the universe, these scholars discuss the nature of physical reality which would pertain if resurrection were to become the norm in the future, a ‘law of nature’. The point being made is that the risen Jesus – as he is described in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, and 1 Corinthians 15 – provides the data for constructing such a reality. This paper will present the main views at play, and investigate the hermeneutical assumptions involved in these hypothetical constructions of a new physical reality. 


Session 3

James Crossley
David Horrell
Chris Keith

Panel Discussion

A panel discussion of New Testament social-scientific scholarship as social history, with James Crossley, David Horrell, and Chris Keith.