Earlier this month, St Mary’s College hosted an international conference on Old Testament Interpretation and the Social Sciences.
Biblical scholars from the UK and the USA, Ireland, Canada, Germany, Italy and Finland attended.
‘The conference was held exactly ten years after a similar one we held here on the New Testament and the Social Sciences. We were very happy that Principal Brian Lang, himself an anthropologist, was able to open the proceedings’, said conference organiser Professor Philip Esler.
‘Papers were delivered on topics as diverse as ‘Tribalism in Ancient Palestine and the Hebrew Bible’, ‘Polygyny in the Biblical World: Insights from Haiti’ and ‘Freud, Moses and Monotheism’.
The British Academy supported the conference, especially in relation to the attendance of the major international researchers Professors Marvin Chaney and Bob Coote from San Francisco Theological Seminary and Professor Doug Oakman, from Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, USA.
‘The use of the social sciences to raise fresh questions of biblical texts is now an established area in biblical research’, said Professor Esler. ‘The 1994 conference led to an influential book published in 1995 entitled Modelling Early Christianity’, he added, ‘and plans are well in hand for a parallel volume containing the papers from this conference entitled Modelling Ancient Israel.’
(Photo: from left to right: Professors Doug Oakman, Philip Esler, Marvin Chaney and Bob Coote)Research