News and Coming Events
|2021 Issue of Australian Biblical Review Mailed Out|
The 2021 issue of Australian Biblical Review (Volume 69) was mailed out on 16 September, earlier than usual to allow for the delivery delays occurring worldwide at the moment. Details of the articles in this issue can found here and the full text of all of the book reviews can be found here.
|Postage Rate Increases|
In September Australia Post announced changes to some international postage rates.There are now five zones: New Zealand—$8.50, Asia/Pacific—$9.60, North America—$13.50, Europe and Africa—$14.60 and Middle East—$15.00. Current subscription rates can always be found on the ABR Page.
|2021 FBS Conference Moving Online|
The 2021 FBS Conference will now be online only due to the COVID-19 restricctions. To register for the conference, go to Trybooking. The full program for the conference is now available and can be downloaded from here.
|August Melbourne Meeting Cancelled|
The third Melbourne gathering of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies for 2021, due to be held on Friday, 13 August, was cancelled. Instead, U-Wen Low presented his paper, “Revelation as Performance—A Pastiche of Methods” on Zoom, and a good number of members viewed it and asked questions.
|August Zoom Meeting for Sydney Members|
The third meeting for Sydney members was a remote meeting via Zoom on 13 August. Dr Alexandra (Ali) Robinson from United Theological College presented a paper with the title “What does it mean to reject Lordship? An examination of the epistle of Jude.”
The term κυριότητα in Jude 8 can be understood as either “authority” or “lordship.” Each meaning would affect the way the rest of the letter is read. Does the epistle rebuke the people who do not submit to the direction of church leaders and traditional doctrine? Or does the epistle reveal an apostasy of rejecting Jesus himself? This paper will bring out the distinction between the two directions and will determine which of the two meanings fits better in the context of the epistle.
Dr Alexandra Robinson is a lecturer in New Testament Studies at United Theological College. She received her PhD at Macquarie University where she researched the harsh rhetoric of Jude’s epistle in relationship with Jewish woe oracles and Greco-Roman invective. This research led to the publication of her monograph (2019) with T&T Clark and subsequent articles on harsh rhetoric in both Jude’s epistle and the gospel of John, published through New Testament Studies, Novum Testamentum and the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism. Since taking up a position at UTC, she has begun work on Luke’s gospel looking at the significance of female characters such as Mary, the mother of Jesus.
|Melbourne Meeting Cancelled|
The second Melbourne gathering of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies for 2021, due to be held on Thursday, 27 May, at the Centre for Theology and Ministry, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A link has been sent to members for a Zoom meeting at 7.30 to view the paper by Dr Megan Turton titled, “Natural Law and Positive Law: The Principles of ‘Bloodguilt’ in the Biblical Laws and Narratives.”
|Upcoming Sydney Meetings|
Two Friday FBS Sydney meetings are coming up:
13 August, 1.00–3.00pm: Dr Ali Robinson, Charles Sturt University, on “What does it mean to reject Lordship? An Examination of the Epistle of Jude.”
19 November, 1.00–3.00pm: Dr Janine Luttick, Australian Catholic University, on “The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter (Mark 5:21–24, 35–43): A Reading in light of Depictions of Children’s Bodies in the First Century CE.”
|Call for Papers in Further Stream at the 2021 Conference|
Abstracts are invited for the following additional stream: READING THE BIBLE IN AUSTRALIA:
“[A] degree of biblical literacy, along with critical skill in evaluating how the Bible has been taken up and interpreted in our history, can only help Australians grapple well with the choices that society faces.” (Meredith Lake, The Bible in Australia, 2nd edition, 2020). Meredith Lake’s work has given us a valuable cultural history of the Bible in Australia which invites a deeper conversation about how particular biblical texts have been and could be interpreted and applied. This stream welcomes papers that consider the past and present influence of a biblical text or theme in Australia and offer a fresh contextually and ethically informed reading of that text or theme. It is hoped that papers will combine: (i) a critical account of how a biblical text or theme has been used within and influenced Australia (ii) an exegetical study of that text or theme; and (iii) an interrogation of the political, economic, social and ecological consequences of how that text or theme is read. Authors are encouraged to acknowledge their interpretive assumptions and commitments; the social, economic and cultural contexts with which they identify; and the ethical frameworks they deploy. Submissions from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants are particularly encouraged. Following the ANZATS Conference, presenters may be invited to develop their papers for possible inclusion in a book.
Each paper is for 30 minutes followed by 15 minutes for questions. Proposals should be no more than 250 words, and include your full name, academic title, institutional affiliation and email address. Abstracts are due to the convenors Deborah Storie and Barbara Deutschmann by May 31, 2021.
|Tour of Chau Chak Wing Museum|
On 23 April Sydney FBS members were treated to a tour of the new Chau Chak Wing Museum of the University of Sydney at Camperdown, focussing on artefacts related to Biblical Studies, from the periods of ANE to the Roman Empire. 24 members attended.
The tour entailed fun and enriching activities that enabled members to (lit.) touch pieces of the world reflected in the ancient texts they are dealing with. This was also a great opportunity to finally meet in person, after so long!
|2021 FBS National Conference: Call for Papers|
The 2021 FBS National Conference will be held from
30 September to 2 October at Pilgrim Theological College and Trinity College Theological School, Parkville, Victoria.
The keynote speakers will be Assoc. Prof. Monica Melanchthon and Prof. Brendan Byrne, SJ. This conference offers an opportunity to gather together, to network and to share research in Australasia.
A call for papers has been issued for the following sessions: trauma hermeneutics, post-colonial hermenuetics, ecological hermeneutics, orality and performance criticism, prophets, Penteteuch, Johanninne studies, Synoptic Gospels, Pauline scholarship, the Book of Revelation and second temple Judaism.
Each paper is for 30 minutes with 15 minutes of questions to follow; see the leaflet for details.
Abstracts of proposed papers must be submitted to Robyn Whitaker by 31 May.
|Launch of Jon Newton’s Book on Revelation|
The Melbourne launch for Jon Newton’s Revelation commentary has been organised for Thursday, 15 April, from 5.00–6.00pm at Alphacrucis Melbourne campus, Level 4, 350 Queen Street, Melbourne. It will also be streamed.
Those who would like to attend should RSVP to Jon Newton, as there will be limited space with COVID rules.
Copies of the book will be available at a special launch price.
|Tour of Chau Chak Wing Museum for Sydney Members|
The new Chau Chak Wing Museum that was opened last year at Sydney University has kindly agreed to provide a free tour to our group with a focus on artefacts related to Biblical Studies, from the periods of ANE to the Roman Empire.
The tour will take place on Friday, April 23, at the regular time of for Sydney meetings. It will include:
More details and instructions (re where to meet & what to bring) will be sent to those who wish to attend. Please contact Dr Gili Kugler by 12 April.
- 1–1.50pm: tour of exhibitions
- 1.50–2.10pm: break (at the museum café)
- 2.10–3.00pm: object handling and discussion (Study Room 1)
- 3.00–3.30pm: program concludes but participants can stay and continue discussions
|March Daytime Seminar in Melbourne|
Members are invited to attend the first Melbourne gathering of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies for 2021. Rather than a meeting with a dinner, this time it will be a seminar only, held on Friday afternoon, 12 March from 2:00–3:30pm (followed by drinks for those who can stay).
The seminar will be at the Centre for Theology & Ministry (CTM), 29 College Crescent, Parkville. The paper will be presented by Rev. Dr Chris Porter and is titled, “Will the real oί ʼIouδαῖοι please stand up? A socio-cognitive engagement with the animus of the Fourth Gospel,” and will be followed by discussion and questions. Please arrive a little before 2.00pm to allow time to sign in with the QR code. We will also provide a live stream of the paper via Zoom for those that wish to attend remotely. The zoom link will open at 1.45pm.
Cheese and crackers will be served afterwards with wine and non-alcoholic beverages at a cost of $5 for professionals and $2 for those with a concessional membership.
Please RSVP to the Secretary, Megan Turton if you would like to attend and specify whether you would like to do so in person or on Zoom. We will be limited to a capacity of about 30 people physically in the room due to COVID-19 restrictions. Those who have registered for online attendance will receive a Zoom link and further information a few days prior to the meeting.
If you are not already a Zoom user, you can download the free software here. You do not need to sign in or have an account in order to attend the seminar, but you will need to have downloaded it.
Other meeting dates and speakers for 2021 are:
|Date|| ||Time|| ||Event|| ||Speaker|
|Thursday, 27 May|| ||6.30pm|| ||Dinner|| ||Megan Turton|
|Friday, 13 August|| ||2.00pm|| ||Daytime Seminar|| ||U-Wen Low|
|Thursday, 4 November|| ||6.30pm|| ||AGM|| ||Elizabeth Boase|
|Report on November Zoom Meeting for Sydney Members|
The final Sydney meeting of 2020 was held on Friday, 6 November. The speaker was Dr. Lydia Gore-Jones, who spoke on “Religious Innovation and Divine Revelation in 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch.” For those who missed it, Lydia’s article on the topic, which was just recently published, can be viewed here.
Bio: The speaker, Lydia Gore-Jones, received her PhD in 2018 from Macquarie University, where she studied in the Department of Ancient History. Her thesis is titled “When Judaism Lost the Temple: Crisis and Response in 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch.” She is currently Lecturer in Biblical Studies at St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College.
Abstract: How did ancient Judaism resolve the conflict between scriptures that are considered divine revelation fixed in writing, on the one hand, and the inevitable need to adapt to new circumstances of the community, on the other? A good case study of religious revision in ancient Israel is afforded by the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70CE. Both 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch were written as Jewish response to a national and religious crisis. Using pseudonyms of Israel’s past heroes from the destruction of the First Temple, both authors promulgated an eschatological vision as the solution, yet called for a return to the Mosaic Torah. In both apocalypses religious innovation is carried out covertly rather than explicitly. The “new” is presented as a discovery and return to the “old.” There are, however, also differences: whereas in 2 Baruch innovation is through eschatological exegesis of the Deuteronomic tradition, in 4 Ezra it has to be through an expansion of divinely revealed scriptures.
|FBS Member Achievements in 2020|
The list of achievements by FBS members during 2020 is now online at the Achievements Page.
|2020 Annual General Meeting|
The Annual General Meeting of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies was held as a Zoom meeting on Thursday, 5 November. 30 members participated. The Presidential Address was given later in the evening by Zoom by Dr Robyn Whitaker, titled: “The Tale of Two Feasts: The Use of Rhetoric in Matthew 14.”
The following officers and members of the Executive were elected to hold these positions for the next year:
|ABR Editor (Old Testament):||Mark O’Brien|
|ABR Editor (New Testament):||Alan Cadwallader|
|ABR Book Review Editor:||Gareth Wearne|
|Committee Member:||Chris Monaghan|
|Committeee Member:||Gili Kugler|
Meetings during 2021 will be held on Friday, 12 March at 2.00pm (speaker: Chris Porter), Thursday, 27 May at 6.30pm with dinner (speaker: Megan Turton), Friday, 13 August at 2.00pm (U-Wen Low) and Thursday, 4 November at 6.30pm with dinner (AGM with speaker to be confirmed).
A list of member’s achievements in 2020 was presented to the meeting. See the Achievements Page.
|PayPal Fees Significantly Reduced|
PayPal has reduced their fees for payments to FBS, applying their charity rate. Their fee for Australian payers has reduced from 2.4% to 1.1% (plus 30 cents), and for overseas payers from 3.6% to 2.1% (plus 0.40 cents). To make a payment, go here.
|August Online Paper from Melbourne|
As in June, the talk was delivered online via Zoom on Thursday, 27 August by Angela Sawyer, who presented a paper titled, “Deutero-Isaiah’s Daughter Zion as Survival Literature: Terror Management or Postcolonial Trauma?”
Future dinner dates and speakers are:
|5 November|| ||Robyn Whitaker (including AGM)|
|July Zoom Meeting for Sydney Members|
The third Sydney meeting of 2020 will be held on Friday, July 31, at 2.00pm (the paper will last 30 minutes and discussion will follow until 3.00pm). The speaker will be Prof. Dalit Rom-Shiloni from Tel Aviv University. Members who respond to the invitation they have received from Dr Gili Kugler by 27 July will receive an invitation to join a Zoom meeting.
Bio: Dalit Rom-Shiloni is an Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Department of Biblical Studies of Tel Aviv University, Israel. Born and raised in Haifa, she earned her academic degrees in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rom-Shiloni writes extensively on the formation of sixth century BCE literature, mostly prophecy and poetry; descriptive Hebrew Bible theology(/theologies); group-identity conflicts; inner-biblical allusions and interpretation in the prophetic literature; and nature and landscape imagery. Rom-Shiloni serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Hebrew Journal Beit Mikra: Journal for the Study of the Bible and Its World; and is the initiator and Editor-in-Chief of the DNI Bible project (The Dictionary of Nature Imagery of the Bible, http://dni.tau.ac.il/). Rom-Shiloni is the author of God in Times of Destruction and Exiles: Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) Theology (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2009, in Hebrew); Exclusive Inclusivity: Identity Conflicts between the Exiles and the People Who Remained (6th–5th Centuries BCE) (LHB/OTS 543; T&T Clark, 2013); a short commentary on Jeremiah, in Jewish Study Bible, second edition (OUP, 2014). In addition to about 30 articles, she has co-edited five books (and three more are in preparation). Forthcoming is her book Voices from the Ruins: Theodicy and the Fall of Jerusalem in the Hebrew Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, Spring 2021).
On a personal note, Rom-Shiloni lives in the Old City of Jerusalem, married to Amnon Shiloni, a former journalist in the Voice of Israel, radio station; a mother of three, and a grandmother of five.
Abstract: “Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Their Books: Why Are They Treated So Differently in Hebrew Bible Scholarship? - Thoughts and Suggestions.” By the late 7th / early 6th centuries BCE, Jeremiah in Jerusalem and Ezekiel in Babylonia were two prophets of many others within their assumed era of activity. The two figures, priests by kinship, were accepted as prophets of God by their contemporaries and by generations to come. This presentation traces major points in a long history of scholarship concerning the distinct evaluations each of the prophets and respectively their books have gained. I will call attention to the long-standing scholarly pre-suppositions that are still governing (or, at times, are only at the back of) our “scholarly minds.” What are they based on? And more importantly, should we carry those distinctions on? Could there be alternative perspectives to explain transformations in prophetic activity and writing by the early 6th century BCE, such that both Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and their books, share?
The presentation will be based on three recent papers:
Dalit Rom-Shiloni, “The Forest and the Trees: The Place of Pentateuchal Materials in Prophecy as of the Late Seventh / Early Sixth Centuries BCE,” in Congress Volume Stellenbosch 2016 (Ed. L.C. Jonker, G. R. Kotze and C. M. Maier; Vetus Testamentum Supplement 177; Leiden: Brill, 2017), 56–92.
_____., “Prophets in Jeremiah in Struggle over Leadership, Or Rather over Prophetic Authority?” Biblica 99,3 (2018) 351–72.
_____., “From Prophetic Words to Prophetic Literature: Challenging Paradigms that Control Our Academic Thought,” JBL 138,3 (2019) 565–86.
|June Melbourne Paper Delivered Online|
The June Melbourne dinner was cancelled. Instead, the talk was delivered online via Zoom on Thursday, 11 June, Dr Fergus King presented a paper titled, “Hit or Myth?: Methodological Considerations in Comparing Dionysus with the Johannine Jesus.”
Future dinner dates and speakers are:
|27 August||Angela Sawyer|
|5 November||Robyn Whitaker (including AGM)|
|Australian Biblical Review now in the ATLA database|
All of the articles and book reviews of Australian Biblical Review since its first issue in 1951 are now available online in the ATLA (American Theological Library Association) database. Access can be obtained through libraries.
The Sydney/NSW Branch of FBS has a new Coordinator—Dr Gili Kugler. The previous Coordinator, Rachelle Gilmour, has done a fine job as Coordinator since the branch was created and her many efforts have been well appreciated by members, especially her organisation of the 2018 FBS Conference in Sydney. Gili is a Lecturer in Classical Hebrew and Biblical Studies at the University of Sydney. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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