University of Divinity Research Day

Next Wednesday (June 7th) sees the annual showcase for research happening across the various Colleges and Centres of the University of Divinity. I am giving one of the plenary papers. Title and abstract are as follows:

“The Effects of the Historical Jesus: Table-Fellowship as Test Case”

In this paper I survey recent methodological developments in historical Jesus studies, assessing the historiographical, theological, and practical benefits of the ‘turn to memory’ in recent scholarship (the work of Schröter, Dunn, Allison, Keith, Le Donne, Rodriguez). These developments can be summarized as a shift away from the notion of access to the historical Jesus by means of a ‘quest’, towards an approach to the historical Jesus through consideration of the ‘effects’ of his life and teaching. These methodological observations will then be illustrated and tested through consideration of one aspect of the tradition: the importance of memories of Jesus ‘at table’. Rather than searching for relative levels of ‘authenticity’ in the gospel traditions relating to table-fellowship, attention will be given to the weight and shape of the early Christian movement’s memories. It will be suggested that presence of such memories in the Jesus tradition and emerging Jesus movement (the ‘effects’) can only be explained on the basis of characteristic and meaningful incidents (the ‘events’) to which we have no direct access, but about which we must responsibly speculate. I engage in such speculation by proposing three trajectories that emerge out of originating events in the ministry of Jesus at table: towards inclusion, ritualization, and transformation. I conclude by arguing that contemporary forms of Christian community and discipleship should continue to manifest these ‘effects of the historical Jesus’.

There are number of other good looking papers in the biblical studies area (or related) including:

Chris Monaghan, Synoptic Studies: Where to from here?

Grant Buchanan, Identity and Human Agency in Galatians 5 & 6

Michael Golding, Indiscriminate, unreciprocated giving in Seneca and some implications for Paul’s approach to giving

Carolyn Alsen, Veiled Resistance: The Cognitive Dissonance of Vision in Genesis 38

Scott Kirkland, The Aesthetics of Politics: Barth’s Romans

Gerald O’Collins, The Scriptures as Inspiring; The Case of the New Testament

Deborah Guess, The quest for the geographical Jesus: an eco-theological critique of the priority of history

Amir Malek, A 12th Century Coptic Commentary on Genesis

The full programme is available here.