BNTS Call for Papers 2021

Proposals for papers are invited for the British New Testament Society Meeting 2021 to be hosted by the University of St Andrews from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 August. Paper proposals must include the presenter’s name and institutional affiliation (where appropriate), a title, and an abstract of 150-175 words (max). Proposals should be sent directly to the relevant seminar chairs by Monday 29 March 2021. Proposals for the Simultaneous Short Paper session should be sent by Monday 26 April 2021.

Note: the BNTS Code of Conduct can be downloaded here: PDF.

Book of Acts

Sean Adams (sean.adams@glasgow.ac.uk)
Monique Cuany (monique.cuany@het-pro.ch)

The Acts seminar welcomes seminar papers approaching Acts from a variety of angles and using a variety of methods: historical, literary, textual-critical, theological, archaeological, the social world, possible links/parallels with other biblical and ancient writings, and so on. We also include topics for discussion which relate Acts to the wider contexts of Luke-Acts and the Pauline corpus, where they are relevant and helpful to the study of Acts. Offers of papers are welcome both from research students (this is a great opportunity to ‘try out’ your ideas) and from more established scholars.

We will have a joint session with the Later Epistles seminar that will examine cultic motifs (e.g., temple, priesthood, sacrifice, atonement, sacrilege, etc.) in Acts and Hebrews. Proposals focusing on some cultic matter from the perspective of both Hebrews and Acts are especially encouraged and will be considered first.

We make papers available on the British New Testament Society web site a few weeks before the conference so that seminar members can read them in advance. At the seminar, the paper’s author presents a 10-15 minute summary before discussion, in order to maximise discussion time in the seminar.

Book of Revelation

Garrick Allen (garrick.allen@glasgow.ac.uk)
Meredith Warren (m.j.warren@sheffield.ac.uk)

The Revelation seminar is accepting papers for two open sessions and one session on “Revelation and Other Apocalypse.” For the open sessions, papers on any exegetical, textual, thematic, and reception-historical issues are invited, as are papers on other issues relating to the Book of Revelation, its broader textual culture, and historical content. The themed session invites presentations on Revelation’s literary and generic connections to other early Jewish and Christian apocalypse, studies specific to other apocalyptic traditions, and the development of apocalyptic traditions. 

Early Christianity

Dominika Kurek-Chomycz ‎(kurekcd@hope.ac.uk)
Francis Watson (francis.watson@dur.ac.uk)

The New Testament texts exist within the broader phenomenon of Early Christianity as a whole, and this seminar is concerned especially with aspects of that total phenomenon that go beyond the New Testament. These include non-canonical texts (e.g. the so-called Apostolic Fathers, New Testament Apocrypha, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha in Christian usage, Nag Hammadi and associated literature, early patristic texts); and wider historical themes (e.g. orthodoxy and heresy, canon formation, gender, ritual, identity, martyrdom, social setting, material culture). 

This year we plan to host one invited paper session, one open session, and one session devoted to the theme of ‘the female body’, whether in texts, ritual, and/or iconography. Offers of short (25-30 min.) papers are invited relating either to the latter theme or to any other aspect of our area.

Johannine Literature

Cornelis Bennema(c.bennema@gmail.com)
Andy Byers (byers.andrew3@gmail.com)

The Johannine Literature seminar invites papers on the Gospel of John and/or the Johannine Epistles. Offers of papers are welcome both from established scholars and from research students and the seminar provides an excellent opportunity for feedback from experts in the field. Papers are normally 30 minutes, allowing time for questions and discussion, but shorter papers of 20 minutes are also welcome.

Later Epistles

David Moffitt (dm206@st-andrews.ac.uk)
Katherine Hockey ‎(katherine.hockey@abdn.ac.uk)

  1. One session dedicated to the Petrine Epistles. While any topic on these texts will be considered, the session aims to focus particularly on the question of Petrine authorship. Proposals that address the issue of Petrine attribution in terms of the larger concept of authorship as a form of exemplarity in early Judaism and early Christianity are especially encouraged.
  2. One open session addressing topics on any later epistle(s), including the wider Catholic Epistles collection and the deutero-Paulines.
  3. One joint session with the Acts seminar that will examine cultic motifs (e.g., temple, priesthood, sacrifice, atonement, sacrilege, etc.) in Acts and Hebrews. Proposals focusing on some cultic matter from the perspective of both Hebrews and Acts are especially encouraged and will be considered first.

New Testament & Second Temple Judaism

Susan Docherty (s.e.docherty@newman.ac.uk)
Crispin Fletcher-Louis (cfletcherlouis1@glos.ac.uk)

The 2021 seminar will include one open-call session (3 x 30 minute slots), for which papers on any topic relating to the New Testament in its early Jewish context are warmly welcomed from both established scholars and research students. Another session will be devoted to consideration of a paper by Prof Philip Alexander on “The Apocalyptic Revival in Judaism Post-70 and its Reflection in Early Christian Writings”, and a response to it given by Prof Richard Bauckham. For the third session, there will be a review (held jointly with the Synoptic Gospels seminar) of Matthew Thiessen’s recently published and already well-received book Jesus and the Forces of Death: The Gospels’ Portrayal of Ritual Impurity Within First Century Judaism (Baylor University Press, 2020). The review will led by an invited panel, with Dr Thiessen in attendance.

Paul

Dorothee Bertschmann (d.h.bertschmann@durham.ac.uk)
Matthew Novenson (matthew.novenson@ed.ac.uk)

This year the Paul Seminar will hold a book panel on two new books on the “in Christ” motif in Paul: Teresa Morgan, Being ‘in Christ’ in the Letters of Paul, and J. Thomas Hewitt, Messiah and Scripture. For our two open-call sessions, we welcome paper proposals on any and all topics in Pauline studies, and in particular ones on the “in Christ” motif or participation in Christ more generally. 

Synoptic Gospels

Tim Carter (tim.carter@lst.ac.uk)
Kent Brower (kbrower@nazarene.ac.uk)

We plan to run the following sessions for 2021:

  1. An open session of papers (2 or 3 depending on submissions)
  2. A joint session with the Second Temple Judaism Group which we will be reviewing Matthew Thiessen’s Jesus and the Forces of Death: The Gospels’ Portrayal of Ritual Impurity within First-Century Judaism, with a response from the author.
  3. A session with Richard Burridge on translation and performance of one-half of Mark.

For our open session, we welcome proposals from PhD students as well as more seasoned scholars. We are more than willing to consider papers that:

  • relate to the issues surrounding Thiessen’s work, that is, purity-impurity, or other related topics
  • connect with the work of Burridge on translation and oral performance
  • any other topic that emerges out of research in the three synoptic gospels

The New Testament and Christian Theology

Erin Heim (erin.heim@wycliffe.ox.ac.uk)
Jamie Davies (jamie.davies@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk)

We are launching this new seminar at BNTS 2021 with a focus on the topic of ‘The New Testament and the Doctrine of Scripture.’ There will be one session with invited panelists and two open-call short paper sessions. Papers are invited on any aspect of the topic, but we are particularly interested to receive proposals for papers that engage Christian theologians in dialogue with the NT, or readings of particular NT texts in conversation with the doctrine of Scripture. In addition to close exegetical discussions, we particularly welcome papers from those who would not ordinarily present at a New Testament conference, especially those working in systematic theology or at the intersection of New Testament and doctrine.

Simultaneous Short Papers

Tom de Bruin (tdebruin@newbold.ac.uk)
Michelle Fletcher (michelle.fletcher@kcl.ac.uk)

Though not a seminar group, this session includes 20–25 minute papers which showcase research that does not easily fit into one of the established seminar groups. We especially welcome papers that explore novel methodologies, are interdisciplinary, or focus on reception and use of the New Testament.

Results of BNTS Small Grant Awards

The committee is delighted to grant awards to the following people after our last call for small grants:

Bibliographical Resources (Max £200).  

Zachary Skarka (PhD candidate, University of Birmingham) for The History of the Pauline Corpus in Texts, Transmissions and Trajectories by Chris S. Stevens.

Siobhan Jolley (PhD candidate, University of Manchester) for Elisabetta Sirani “Virtuosa”: women’s cultural production in early modern Bologna by A Modesti.

Adesola Akala (Fellow, St John’s College Durham) for books (tbc) for an in-progress publication.

Small Grants (Max £500) 

Matthew Novenson for ‘Lost in Translation: A Panel Event for International Women’s Day 2021’, Centre for the Study of Christian Origins, University of Edinburgh.

Susan Docherty on behalf of Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Tim Carter, and Kent Brower, for travel costs for Matthew Thiessen of McMaster University to respond to a panel reviewing his recent book Jesus and the Forces of Death convened for a joint session of the Synoptic Gospels and NT & Second Temple Judaism seminars at the BNTS Conference 2021.

More BNTS Small Grants

We have announced a new round of grants from the Society’s reserves to projects which advance “education through study of and research into the New Testament and related writings” in the UK (from our Constitution).

This round, given the current library access issues, we are welcoming applications for essential bibliographical resources from members not in full time academic posts.

As in previous rounds, we also welcome applications for travel and conference costs for a BNTS seminar presenter from abroad (covid dependent); public engagement events highlighting the work of NT scholarship; support for the ongoing research of independent scholars; any activity undertaken for the benefit of the Society.

Deadlines: Applications should be submitted no later than Monday 14th December 2020

Continue reading “More BNTS Small Grants”

BNTS 2020 Graham Stanton Memorial Lecture Available

The BNTS 2020 Graham Stanton Memorial Lecture, delivered by Prof. Hugh Houghton, is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqpIKOwij9s.

The lecture is entitled ‘New Light on the Oldest New Testament Catena Manuscript’. Below is an abstract:

Two hundred years ago on the island of Zakynthos, the British and Foreign Bible Society was presented with a manuscript which turned out to be two documents in one. On the face of it, the book was a Byzantine gospel lectionary copied in the thirteenth century. Yet it was soon realised that this liturgical Bible was written on pages from a much older book, whose parchment had been reused as a palimpsest. The remaining traces of the original writing showed that the erased text was a commentary on the Gospel according to Luke in the format known as a catena, a compilation of extracts from early Christian writers. Although the gospel text was published in the nineteenth century—and shown to be an important early witness to the text of Luke—the rest of the manuscript has remained largely unstudied.

Following the acquisition of Codex Zacynthius by Cambridge University Library after a nationwide campaign, the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded a research project at the University of Birmingham from 2018–20 to produce a digital edition of the manuscript. Multispectral images created from high-resolution digital photographs have enabled the recovery of the full text of the original document for the first time, along with a complete transcription of the lectionary and the first-ever English translation of a catena. The commentary turns out to be a key source for the preservation of extracts from Severus of Antioch, who was condemned as a heretic, and has enabled the identification of previously unknown sources. The lectionary, meanwhile, opens a new window on Byzantine book production through a series of marginal comments written by its newly identified copyist, abbot of a monastery in Rhodes. This presentation describes the work and findings of the project, and introduces the new digital edition and open access studies of the manuscript.

BNTS Plenary Paper Open to the Public

The British New Testament Society is delighted to announce that one of our plenary papers will be freely available on Zoom to anyone who wishes to hear it. This will be by Professor Hugh Houghton of the University of Birmingham, on ‘New Light on the Oldest New Testament Catena Manuscript’. The abstract is below. It will take place on Friday 4 September 2020 at 8 pm UK time. If you wish to join in this session, please email the Society’s Secretary, Prof Steve Walton (secretary@bnts.org.uk), to request the Zoom link. The session will not be recorded, so it is only available ‘live’.

Abstract:

Two hundred years ago on the island of Zakynthos, the British and Foreign Bible Society was presented with a manuscript which turned out to be two documents in one. On the face of it, the book was a Byzantine Gospel lectionary copied in the thirteenth century. Yet it was soon realised that this liturgical Bible was written on pages from a much older book, whose parchment had been reused as a palimpsest. The remaining traces of the original writing showed that the erased text was a commentary on the Gospel according to Luke in the format known as a catena, a compilation of extracts from early Christian writers. Although the gospel text was published in the nineteenth century—and shown to be an important early witness to the text of Luke—the rest of the manuscript has remained largely unstudied.

    Following the acquisition of Codex Zacynthius by Cambridge University Library after a nationwide campaign, the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded a research project at the University of Birmingham from 2018 to 2020 to produce a digital edition of the manuscript. Multispectral images created from high-resolution digital photographs have enabled the recovery of the full text of the original document for the first time, along with a complete transcription of the lectionary and the first-ever English translation of a catena. The commentary turns out to be a key source for the preservation of extracts from Severus of Antioch, who was condemned as a heretic, and has enabled the identification of previously unknown sources. The lectionary, meanwhile, opens a new window on Byzantine book production through a series of marginal comments written by its newly identified copyist, abbot of a monastery in Rhodes. This presentation will describe the work and findings of the project, and introduce the new digital edition and open access studies of the manuscript.

BNTS 2020 Registration Now Open

The BNTS 2020 conference registration is now open. This year’s conference is being hosted fully online by Durham University. For more information on plenary papers, seminar papers and panels, and to register, please visit the Registration and Programme Page. Please note registration closes at midnight (in whatever time zone you wish!) on Wed 12 Aug.

Guidelines for Proposing a New Seminar Group

The following information is also available to download in two formats: .docx and .pdf.

PROPOSING A NEW SEMINAR GROUP

Seminars

The seminars are at the heart of the British New Testament Society’s work. They provide a forum for presentation and discussion of research by established scholars and research students. Over the years the number and themes of the seminars have varied. Some are relatively small (10–12), others can be much larger (40–50). It is crucial that there is a core group who attend and contribute to the seminar’s work, to ensure its continuing viability.

Seminars normally have three 1.5 hour sessions during the conference each year, two on Friday morning and one on Saturday morning. Seminar chairs are free to organise these creatively, as best serves the theme of their seminar, including book reviews, presentation of papers, debates, etc. The opportunity for research students to present papers has been part of the BNTS ethos since the Society’s foundation, and so normally at least one of each seminar’s sessions should be open to proposals from research students.

Seminars are encouraged to hold joint sessions with other seminars where there is a connection between the two—seminar chairs normally discuss this with each other, often while together at the conference.

Seminar chairs normally serve a five-year term of office (to encourage rotation of chairs to involve more of our members), and are expected normally to be present at the conference during their term of office. The Society’s Secretary monitors this term of office, and alerts serving chairs (and the committee) when their present five-year term is coming up. In exceptional circumstances, a seminar chair may ask for a short extension to their term of office by writing to the committee (through the Secretary), giving an explanation for the request (e.g. to facilitate ‘staggering’ the terms of office of the two co-chairs).

Each year, the Secretary writes to ask seminar chairs for a ‘call for papers’ for their seminar for the following year’s conference. This call for papers is sent to the Society’s email list and put on the Society’s website (normally early in the calendar year) with a deadline for proposals. Seminar chairs must ensure that the Secretary receives the full information about the seminars (presenter, institution, title, abstract) by a deadline set each year. This deadline is to ensure that, when registration for the conference opens, all the information about the seminars is available on the Society’s website, to enable members to choose their seminars in full knowledge of the programme. In the intial request for a ‘call for papers’, the Secretary will give the deadlines for each stage of the process for that year.

Process

New seminars are initiated through a three-part process:

  1. the potential seminar chairs produce a proposal (for contents, see below) which they send to the Secretary (secretary@bnts.org.uk), who ensures that it is considered by the committee, normally at the committee meeting during the conference each year;
  2. the committee considers the proposal in the light of the present spread of seminar areas and themes and the potential support for the new seminar, and may approve it, decline it, or seek further information from the proposers. If approved, the new seminar will normally be announced during the conference business meeting;
  3. once approved, the chairs of the new seminar provide a one-paragraph explanation of the seminar’s area/theme for the Society’s website, and their email addresses to go on the website alongside the seminar details.

The proposal

Please include in your proposal:

  • the seminar title, which should be succinct and clearly indicate the focus of the proposed seminar;
  • the names of the proposed chair(s)—normally seminars have two co-chairs from different institutions or situations (e.g. one could be an independent scholar);
  • a brief (up to 750 words) description of the proposed seminar’s primary contents/themes, and the rationale for introducing it;
  • clarification of any overlap with the work of current seminars (please check on the BNTS website for the explanations of each current seminar’s work);
  • the names of people who have indicated they would support the seminar;
  • a sketch of what the seminar might cover in its first two years.

Questions?

If you have questions about this, or would like comments on a draft seminar proposal, please contact the Secretary (secretary@bnts.org.uk).