2019 Conference at Liverpool Hope University

The Call for Papers for the 2019 British New Testament Society Conference is now open. The conference will be taking place at Liverpool Hope University, Thursday 5 to Saturday 7 September 2019.

Click here to register. Continue reading to see the complete Call for Papers and plenary speakers.

Registration details, including information about conference tours, may be found here.

Update: The minutes from the general meeting of the 2019 BNTS conference are now available to download in pdf form (here).


Plenary Speakers

Professor Candida Moss, University of Birmingham

Title: The Mark of the Nails: Resurrection, Identity, and Bodies in the Doubting Thomas Episode

Despite the fact that the resurrection of Jesus is a foundational moment in Christian history and one of the most closely debated elements of the Gospel narratives, the body of Jesus itself has received remarkably little attention. This paper uses ancient medical literature to ask ‘what are the marks in Jesus’ hands?’ and ‘what kinds of expectations would ancient audience have had about a resurrected (as opposed to reanimated) body?’ Moreover, it will explore the cultural significance of these marks and what they mean for our understanding of this scene in John.

Dr Alison Jack, University of Edinburgh

Title: ‘How Frugal is the Chariot/That Bears a Human Soul’: What Might Literary and Biblical Critics Learn from Each Other?”

Both literary and biblical critics work with texts, and both are invested to some degree in the power of these texts, ‘frugal’ though they might be, to transport a reader from one place to another, to echo Emily Dickinson’s image of reading. This paper considers some of the ways that the study of literature might inform the study of biblical texts, and vice versa. If biblical texts, like novels, poetry and drama, are considered to be ‘chariots’ for the ‘human soul’, what shared approaches might best lead to an appreciation of their significance, structure and direction of travel?

Professor John Barclay, University of Durham

Title: Benefit Networks in Pauline Churches: Practice and Theology [The Graham Stanton Memorial Lecture 2019]

The aim of this paper is to explore the significance of networks of horizontal reciprocity within the Pauline churches, moving away from two current models (charity to the poor; patronage by the rich). Network theory (and its distinction between strong and weak links) can shed light on the nature of boundaries in the early churches, and the complex relation between ‘assemblies’ and households. As new networks that strengthened the security of those (the majority) in volatile social conditions, and widened their ‘radius of trust’, the (broadly defined) benefits offered by these churches could spread across both strong and weak links. For Paul, these gift networks (local and translocal) carried enormous theological freight, and we will conclude by exploring the theological significance he accords to ‘solidarity’ (koinōnia) in Christ.

Seminar Group Papers

The original call for papers may be viewed below. To view the 2019 seminar papers for individual seminar groups, follow the links below (you may also download this information as a pdf document):

Call for Papers

[UPDATE: Seminar paper titles and abstracts for the respective seminar groups may be viewed in the list above or by visiting the relevant seminar group page and clicking on ‘2019 programme’.]

To download the 2019 Call for Papers, click here.

Proposals for papers are invited for the British New Testament Conference 2019 to be held in Liverpool from Thursday 5 to Saturday 7 September. Paper proposals must include the presenter’s name and institutional affiliation (where appropriate), a title, and an abstract of not more than 300 words, and should be sent directly to the relevant seminar chairs by Friday 19 April 2019. Proposals for the Simultaneous Short Paper session should be sent to the Secretary, Steve Walton (steve.walton@cantab.net) by the same date. Specific seminar contact details and calls for papers are below.

The Book of Acts

Sean Adams (sean.adams@glasgow.ac.uk)
Matthew Sleeman (matthews@oakhill.ac.uk)

This year, one session will be shared with the NT: Use and Influence group, and will involve a panel discussion on the reception history of the community passages in Acts 2 and 4.

We shall have two ‘open call’ sessions, and welcome 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 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.

The Book of Revelation

Michelle Fletcher (michelle.fletcher@kcl.ac.uk)
Garrick Allen (garrick.allen@dcu.ie)

The Revelation seminar is accepting papers for two open sessions this year. Papers on any exegetical, textual, thematic, and reception-historical issues are invited, as are papers on other issues relating to the Book of Revelation. Our third panel will review the book The Violence of the Lamb: Martyrs as Agents of Divine Judgement in the Book of Revelation by Paul Middleton (T&T Clark, 2018).

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).

At the 2019 conference, we plan to hold: (1) a session on representations of Jesus in early extra-canonical literature; (2) a panel discussion of Andrew Gregory’s The Gospel according to the Hebrews and the Gospel of the Ebionites (OUP); (3) an open session on any topics within the remit of this seminar. We envisage two short papers each in sessions (1) and (3), and welcome proposals along the lines indicated above. Abstracts should state the paper’s thesis and outline the approach that will be taken.


David Moffitt (dm206@st-andrews.ac.uk)
Loveday Alexander (l.c.alexander@sheffield.ac.uk)

Whilst papers on any topic directly relevant to the study of Hebrews will be considered, we particularly invite proposals relating to the ways the Hebrews has been influenced by, or can be read within, a variety of Graeco-Roman contexts.

Johannine Literature

Cornelis Bennema (cbennema@ust.ac.uk)
Andy Byers (a.j.byers@durham.ac.uk)

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. Usually, one full session is dedicated to the discussion of a major paper by invitation. In the remaining two sessions, there is scope for four to five papers. Papers are normally 30 minutes, allowing time for questions and discussion, but shorter papers of 20 minutes are also welcome.

New Testament and Second Temple Judaism

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

The 2019 meeting will offer one open-call session, for which paper proposals on any topic pertinent to the study of the New Testament and Second Temple Judaism are warmly welcomed. There will also be one joint session with the Paul seminar discussing the question ‘Paul—In What Sense within Judaism?’ (panellists: Kathy Ehrensperger, Matthew Novenson and Simon Gathercole). A further session will be devoted to papers from two invited speakers about their current research in this area: Philip Esler on ‘Interpreting the New Testament in Light of Judean Legal Papyri’, and Meredith Warren on ‘Under-Represented Senses in the New Testament and Early Judaism’.

New Testament: Use and Influence

Alison Jack (a.jack@ed.ac.uk)
John Lyons (w.j.lyons@bristol.ac.uk)

This year, one session will be shared with the Book of Acts group, and will involve a panel discussion on the reception history of the community passages in Acts 2 and 4. The seminar will also offer an ‘open call’ session, for which we would welcome proposals on any topic regarding the use and influence of the NT.


Peter Oakes (peter.oakes@manchester.ac.uk)
Dorothee Bertschmann (d.h.bertschmann@durham.ac.uk)

This year we are offering two open-call sessions, each with three half-hour slots, for which paper proposals on any topic pertinent to the Pauline studies are warmly welcomed. There will also be one joint session with the NT and Second Temple Judaism seminar discussing the question ‘Paul—in what sense within Judaism?’ (panellists: Kathy Ehrensperger, Matthew Novenson and Simon Gathercole).

Synoptic Gospels

Andy Angel (vicar@standrewsbh.org.uk)
Elizabeth Shively (ees3@st-andrews.ac.uk)

The synoptic Gospels seminar will spend one session exploring the theme of the sea and boats in the synoptic Gospels, and the other two sessions hearing papers on any theme in these Gospels. Papers on the specific theme of sea and boats will receive preference in consideration, but the seminar is open to consider papers on any theme in the synoptic Gospels. Please email your submission to both Andy Angel and Elizabeth Shively, co-chairs of the synoptics seminar.

Simultaneous Short Papers

Steve Walton (steve.walton@cantab.net)

Proposals for 20-25 minute papers are invited for the simultaneous short papers session. Preference will be given to papers that do not easily fit into one of the established seminar groups. Proposing the same paper for this section and one of the seminar groups is not permitted.