Report of the Joint Meeting 2018
Violence in the Hebrew Bible: Between Text and Reception
Het Oudtestamentisch Werkgezelschap in Nederland en België
The Society for Old Testament Study (United Kingdom)
Die Ou-Testamentische Werkgemeenskap van Suid Afrika
22–24 August 2018, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen.
The Joint Meeting 2018 of the Oudtestamentisch Werkgezelschap (OTW), the Society for Old Testament Study (SOTS), and the Old Testament Society of South Africa (OTWSA/OTSSA) focused on texts of violence in the Hebrew Bible, as well as their often problematic reception history. Point of departure was the observation that authoritative texts and traditions can be rewritten and adapted to new circumstances and insights. Texts are subject to a process of change. The study of the way in which these (authoritative) Biblical texts are produced and/or received in varying socio-historical circumstances discloses a range of theological and ideological perspectives. In reflecting on these issues, the central question was how to allow for the plurality of possible and realized meanings of a given text, while retaining the ability to form critical judgments regarding Biblical exegesis.
The Joint Meeting 2018 was the 230th meeting of the OTW, the 17th Joint Meeting of OTW and SOTS, the 3rd Joint Meeting of OTW and OTWSA/OTSSA, and the 1st of OTW, SOTS, and OTWSA/OTSSA. Because the Joint Meeting 2018 was a great success, the president of the OTW proposed to explore the possibility to integrate the OTSSA within the system of Joint Meetings between the OTW and OTSSA. Both the president of the OTSSA and the secretary of the SOTS were in principle positive with regard to this suggestion. As a first step, both the board of OTW and of the OTSSA will submit a proposal to their members. If they agree, a formal request will be sent to the board of the SOTS.
58 scholars from 3 continents and 12 countries participated in the Joint Meeting 2018: 27 OTW-members, 12 SOTS-members, 15 OTWSA/OTSSA-members, and 4 junior researchers.
I Violence in the Hebrew Bible: General Reflections
Jacques van Ruiten (University of Groningen), Violence in the Hebrew Bible: Between Text and Reception
David J.A. Clines (University of Sheffield), The Ubiquitous Language of Violence in the Hebrew Bible
Heather A. McKay (Edge Hill University), Violence with Humour: Is this Possible in the Hebrew Bible?
II Violence in the Torah: Text and Reception
Christo Lombaard (University of South Africa), The Murderous God of the Akedah in Three Recent Public Discourses: a British Popular Anti-Religious Book, a US TV Series and a South African Poem (Or: Criteria for Godhood and Faith in Secular Media)
Miracle Ajah (National Open University of Nigeria), Narratives of Violence in Numbers 25: Between Text and Reception
III Violence in the Former Prophets: Text and Reception
Cornelis de Vos (University of Münster), Violence in the Book of Joshua
Ntozakhe Cezula (University of Stellenbosch), Two Poles of the Exodus: Conquest the Oppressive Pole as Depicted in Joshua 6:21
June F. Dickie (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Jael: Mighty Hero, Exemplary Egalitarian, or Slippery Man-Slayer? Perspectives of Interpretation Then and Now of Judges 4–5
Catherine Lewis-Smith (University of Cambridge), Was Samson’s Mother Raped? How Sexual Violence is Handled in Critical Responses to Judges 13
David Shepherd (Trinity College, Dublin), ‘Put Him to Death for the Life of his Brother’: the Problem of Bloodguilt and the Peculiar Death of Absalom
Paul Sanders (Protestant Theological University, Amsterdam), Sevenfold Assassination Appeasing God and Humans: 2 Samuel 21
Izaak de Hulster (University of Helsinki), yhwh’s War with Whom? Foreign Deities and the Biblical Portrayal of Kings
III Violence in the Later Prophets: Text and Reception
Eric Peels (Theological University Apeldoorn), Divine Tears because of Divine Violence? God’s Lament in the Oracle against Moab in Jeremiah 48
Willem S. Boshoff (University of South Africa), Between Violence and Pornography in Revenge: Hosea 2:4–15 (Heb) and the Shift from one Perpetrator to Another
Wim de Bruin (Stolwijk), Reading the Book of Micah as Mediation between two Perspectives on the Enemy
Wilhelm J. Wessels (University of South Africa), A Critical Reflection on the Presentation and Reception of YHWH as a Violent Deity in the Book of Nahum
III Violence in the Writings: Text and Reception
Matthew J. Lynch (Westminster Theological Centre), Scheming Violence in the Psalms
Arie Versluis (Theological University Apeldoorn), ‘Happy is the One Who Dashes Your Infants Against the Rocks’: Reception History and Theological Interpretation of Psalm 137:9
Tsaurayi K. Mapfeka (King’s College London), The Massacres in Susa and Beyond: The Bloodbath of Esther 9 as Reflective of Life in Diaspora
The papers of the Joint Meeting 2018 will be submitted for publication in a volume of the series Oudtestamentische Studiën (Brill), which will be peer-reviewed.
OTW-Board: Jacques van Ruiten (University of Groningen) and Koert van Bekkum (Evangelical Faculty Leuven / Theological University Kampen), with the support of the staff of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen.
Funds and sponsors
The conference was made possible by generous grants of the
Royal Academy of Sciences in the Netherlands (KNAW);
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen;
Theological University of Apeldoorn;
the Theological University of Kampen.
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