FBS News and Events

Book Launch: Janine Luttick, Jairus’s Daughter and the Female Body in Mark

Friday 8th December 2023

FBS members are invited to attend the launch of Jairus’s Daughter and the Female Body in Mark by Dr Janine Luttick.

The book will be launched by Amy-Jill Levine (Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace).

Friday 8 December 2023 at 5–7pm, ACU Strathfield Campus, The Function Room (600.G.04-05), 25A Barker Road, Strathfield.

About the author: Janine Luttick is a lecturer in biblical studies at Australian Catholic University (ACU). Her research focuses on the depictions of children in the Bible. She has published in the areas of the Gospel of Mark and contemporary biblical hermeneutics.

Please RSVP by Monday 4 December 2023 to the author, noting any dietary requirements.

2024 Melbourne Meeting Dates

Please be aware of the upcoming dates and times for Melbourne’s 2024 FBS Meetings.

Friday 8th March, 2:00 – 3:30 pmTBC
July, 6:30–9:00 pmTBC
Friday 13th September, 2:00 – 3:30 pmDr Chris Seglenkis
Thursday 7th November 6:30 – 9:00 pm (AGM + paper)Assoc. Prof. Liz Boase

Melbourne Meeting Dates

Please be aware of the upcoming dates and times for Melbourne’s FBS Meetings. You may note that the date and time of the first and second meeting has been changed since the AGM, due to scheduling conflicts, and to accommodate an international speaker, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel:

Friday 17th March, 2:00 – 3:30 pmDr Brian Kolia (via Zoom)
Thursday 27th April, 7:00–9:00 pmProf. Yosef Garfinkel
Friday 11th August, 2:00 – 3:30 pmDr Rosemary Canavan
Thursday 2nd November 6:30 – 9:00 pm (AGM + paper)Dr Chris Monaghan

2023 FBS AGM and President’s Address

Thursday 2nd November 2023

FBS members are warmly invited to Melbourne’s final meeting for the year, to be held on Thursday 2nd November at 6:30 pm at the Centre for Theology & Ministry (CTM), 29 College Cres, Parkville VIC 3052. This meeting will include both the AGM and the President’s Address.

We will gather at 6:30 and sit down for dinner at 7:00 pm. We will begin the AGM at 7:30, with the aim to begin the paper at 8:00 pm, following the AGM. Our President, Dr Chris Monaghan, will present a paper titled, The Gospel of Thomas, where to from here? Dinner, dessert, and drinks will be at the cost of $30.00 to be paid on the night. Please let me know if you have any dietary requirements.

Zoom will also be available for those who are unable to attend the AGM or the paper in person.

Regarding the AGM and the upcoming vote for the 2024 executive members, the executive has recommended the creation of an extra position on the committee for a person residing outside Victoria and New South Wales. We have seen an increase in FBS membership from almost all the states/territories and would like to better represent this membership in the executive. I invite such members to consider nominating themselves at the AGM; please contact me if you are interested and would like more information on this position (or any other position on the executive).

Finally, please send Megan Turton your publications and accomplishments for the year, so that they can be shared at the AGM and published on the website.

Please RSVP to Megan Turton by 12 midday, Friday 27th October, if you would like to attend and specify whether you would like to do so in person or on Zoom. Please note that, as the dinner is being professionally catered, your in person RSVP cannot be altered after the RSVP date.

Sydney FBS Meetings in 2023

The 2023 Sydney programme for Fellowship for Biblical Studies meetings is shaping up to be very exciting with a variety of speakers, subjects, venues and formats.

Please mark these dates in your calendar and keep them free. Further details will be sent closer to each meeting.

Friday 31 March: Lucy Davey Memorial Lecture.
This will be an opportunity to remember and pay tribute to a remarkable biblical scholar, and to hear Dr Louise Pryke speak on “Conflict with Nature: Bioweapons in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Literature.” Venue: University of Sydney. 2:00pm.
Friday 26 May: Dr Karl Hand on “Queering Ephesians”
New Testament scholar Rev. Dr Karl Hand is the author of the commentary on Ephesians in the Queer Bible Commentary (2nd edn.). At this meeting he will speak on “Queering Ephesians.” Venue: United Theological College, North Parramatta. 2:00pm.
Friday 28 July: Dr Jonathan Thambyrajah on the law in Daniel and Esther; Rev. Dr Tom Habib on John’s Gospel
Dr Jonathan Thambyrajah will speak about the irrevocability of the law in Daniel and Esther and Rev Dr Tom Habib will speak about complex characterisation in John’s Gospel (subjects TBC). Venue: Moore Theological College, Newtown. Meet for lunch at 1:00pm, with the meeting to commence at 2:00pm.
26–28 September (Tue–Thurs): FBS NATIONAL CONFERENCE.
Watch your emails for full details including a call for session proposals (already sent) and a call for papers. Venue: Australian Catholic University, North Sydney.
Friday 27 Oct: Symposium: “Wine and wine-making in the Bible and ANE.” — postponed until 2024

Wine and Wine-making in the Bible and ANE Symposium Postponed

Friday 27th October 2023

The Symposium on "Wine and Wine-making in the Bible and ANE" scheduled for this coming Friday has been postponed to 2024.

Australian Association of Jewish Studies: 2024 Conference call for papers

Sunday 22nd October 2023

Conference Theme: Deadline for submissions extended to 22 October 2023

Creation – Re-Creation is the theme for the 2024 Australian Association for Jewish Studies Conference. The conference will be held at the Sydney Jewish Museum on 11–12 February 2024, and the conference committee invites submissions of abstracts that address all elements of the themes of Creation and Re-Creation — broadly defined — with reference to Judaism, Jewish History and Culture, and Jews.

Papers may explore, extend or challenge Jewish ideas of the Origin. Creation as an ongoing category of meaning, both divine and secular, has been fundamental to Jewish belief, thought and politics. Creation may hence be investigated through the various forms of human expression that seek to mirror Divine perfection, but also through protagonists of new ideas: material construction, or innovative contributions through scientific, political, artistic, philosophical, legal, and other fields.

Re-Creation indicates a resumption of Creation after a period of stasis or change or may denote reinvention. This includes themes of Jewish Diaspora and phases of migration; or changes both individualised and of the Jewish people, such as during eras post-destruction, including the return of antisemitic tropes and the Holocaust.

We encourage application by academic scholars and professional practitioners from all areas of Jewish Studies and related fields including (but not limited to):

  • Tanakh and Biblical Studies
  • Antisemitism, Holocaust and Genocide Studies
  • Memory Studies
  • Jewish Cultural Studies, including the Visual Arts and Literature
  • Jewish Life and Jewish identity
  • Jewish Education
  • Gender Studies
  • Literary and Film Studies
  • Israel and Diaspora Studies
  • Museums, Architecture, and Arts Professionals

Please send an abstract of no longer than 200 words and a short bio to Dr. Lynne Swarts and/or Dr. Jonathan Kaplan by 22 October 2023. Online speaker presentations may be accepted in special circumstances.

Fellowship for Biblical Studies 2023 National Conference

The Fellowship for Biblical Studies 2023 Conference will be held in Sydney from 26 – 28 September 2023 (Tuesday to Thursday).

Some sessions will be grouped into themes, which are expected to cover a range of FBS member interests such as Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Cognate Literature, Indigenous scholarship, Feminist scholarship, Environment, and Gender and Sexuality.

We invite proposals for:

  • Themed session of 1.5 hours;
  • Panel discussions;
  • Suggestions of other sessions or formats;
  • HDR/ECR workshops.

If you’d like to propose and/or chair a session, please submit your proposal to the organising committee by Friday 24th March via sydney@fbs.org.au.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch by email — our organising committee is ready to help in any way we can.

Once we finalise the sessions we will call for individual papers (expected to be early April).

We are looking forward to hearing the latest research from our Australian Biblical Studies community and research partners around the world.

Third Melbourne Meeting of 2023

Friday 11th August 2023

We are excited to invite you to Melbourne’s third meeting for the year, to be held on Friday 11th of August, 2:00–3:30pm. Please note that there is a change from our usual venue: the meeting will be held at Trinity College Theological School, Old Warden’s Lodge, 100 Royal Parade, Parkville VIC 3052.

At 2:00pm, Dr Rosemary Canavan will present a paper titled, The Public Inscriptions and Their Iconography: The Potential of Visual Exegesis.

Public inscriptions and their iconography in the Greco-Roman world offered visual presence and communication in evocative ways. What emerges from the time of Augustus (27 BCE–14 CE) is a cultural phenomenon, especially among the elite, to leave a lasting record of individual presence and achievement. Yet inscriptions had other purposes too. In this paper, after a brief introduction of the influence of Augustus on public inscriptions, I will elucidate a specific example in the ancient city of Aphrodisias where the public inscriptions and their iconography interact in a visual way with the Letter to the Colossians and the believing community in Colossae. Inscriptions rarely stand-alone but are part of a web of imagery and meaning in the culture of the day. It is this complementarity and building of a schema of meaning that offers the potential for visual exegesis. This is predicated on the propensity of words, whether an inscription or a biblical text, to conjure images in the minds of the hearer/reader. This paper will illustrate how New Testament writers, specifically exemplified through the author of the Letter to the Colossians, drew upon existing images in the Greco-Roman world rhetorically and strategically to portray the kingdom of God as a new way of living.

The paper will be followed by question time, and then nibbles and drinks will be provided at the cost of $5.00 per person.

Please RSVP to me by Thursday 10th August if you would like to attend and specify whether you would like to do so in person or on Zoom.

I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

Megan Turton (FBS Secretary)

Sydney Meeting: Dr Jonathan Thambyrajah and Rev Dr Tom Habib

Friday 28th July 2023

The next meeting of the Sydney Fellowship for Biblical Studies will be on Friday 28th July at Moore Theological College, Newtown.

Our meeting will commence at 2:00pm. You are welcome to come earlier at 1:00pm, bring your own lunch, and enjoy some casual fellowship time with other members and guests. Further venue details will be sent closer to the date.

This meeting is free but to help us with planning please reserve your spot by responding via this link.

If you wish to attend virtually via Zoom, please respond using this link (note that this is not the Zoom link itself — you will receive that after completing the form and closer to the event date.

At this meeting we will have two speakers (and two papers):

Dr Jonathan Thambyrajah: “The Irrevocability of the Law in Daniel 6 and Esther”

Abstract: Interpreting Esther and Daniel 6 has often begun with the belief that these texts claim that the Persian law was irrevocable. This has been seen as a problem, because the historical Persian empire does not seem to have operated in this way (and it is hard to imagine how it could have). However, taking that claim seriously creates even bigger exegetical problems within these two texts. To solve the exegetical problems, it is necessary to revisit the concept of irrevocability. Upon closer inspection, the idea is not that the king cannot revoke his own laws, but that lesser authorities may not. The occasions when the king appears trapped by the law are not to do with the idea of irrevocability, but rather the trope of the king’s regret—one that is common in literature and histories about the Persian empire.

Bio: Jonathan Thambyrajah is the lecturer in Biblical Studies at BBI—TAITE and also teaches Biblical Studies and Hebrew at the University of Sydney. His PhD research on loanwords in Biblical literature was recently published in the LHBOTS series. His research focuses on Biblical languages, translations, and literature in the cross-cultural context of the Second Temple period and its aftermath (particularly Esther). He is also interested in how early translations of Biblical Books reflect the exegesis and interpretation of early Jewish and Christian communities.

Rev Dr Tom Habib: “Bringing Nicodemus into the Light: Complexity & Dialectics in Johannine Characterisation”

Abstract: It is near consensus now that some Johannine characters are more complex than was once thought. Far from being flat, representative types, these characters are present conflicting traits and remain somewhat ambiguous in their faith response to Jesus. No-one fits this description better than the character of Nicodemus, who has been described as a ‘tertium quid’; ‘an in-between’; and ‘one who emerges from the dark of night, but never completely’. But what is the function of such complexity? My paper explores this question by considering the form and function of complex characterisation in Greek tragedy and how this might help us to better understand the portrayal of Nicodemus in John’s Gospel. From this heuristic approach, I argue that Nicodemus’s complexity is best understood as part of a broader dialectic within John’s Gospel that explores the tension between the Judean law and cult, and the claims of Jesus.

Bio: Thomas Habib. BA (Sydney); BD (Moore); PhD (Cantab. Tom is a lecturer in New Testament and Greek at Moore Theological College, Sydney. He has recently completed his PhD at Cambridge University, exploring the moral characterisation of the ᾽Ιουδαῖοι in the Gospel of John. Tom’s research interests include Johannine narrative studies, Johannine ethics, New Testament and Graeco-Roman literature and communicative approaches to ancient language learning.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

Stephen Cook
Sydney FBS Coordinator
Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies
University of Sydney

Call for Papers: FBS 2023 Conference

Friday 14th July 2023

The call for papers for the 2023 FBS conference has now been published on the conference page. To submit a proposal for a paper to be presented at the conference, please complete the form on that page.

FBS Melbourne Meeting: David, Solomon, Rehoboam: the debate on the early kings of Judah

Thursday 27th April 2023

We warmly invite you to our next Melbourne event to be held on Thursday 27th April, 7:00pm–9:30pm at the Centre for Theology and Ministry, 29 College Crescent, Parkville, Victoria Australia 3052.

This will be a special event run in partnership with the ACU Ancient Israel Program. Visiting scholar Professor Yosef Garfinkel will present a paper titled: David, Solomon, Rehoboam: the debate on the early kings of Judah.

This is a free public lecture, so please pass on the information to anyone who may be interested.

RSVP through Eventbrite by Thursday 20th April.

Since the 1980s hot debate arose about the early history of the Kingdom of Judah, and the historicity of the biblical tradition about the first kings: David, Solomon and Rehoboam. Did David establish a kingdom? Did Solomon build a palace and temple? Did Rehoboam fortify 15 cities in Judah? Since 2007 Prof. Garfinkel’s excavations have unearthed revolutionary data on the early history of the kingdom of Judah: fortified cities, public buildings, seals and inscriptions. Currently, in partnership with the Australian Catholic University, he is excavating the city built by Rehoboam. The lecture will present the results of the last excavation season in the winter of 2023.

2023 Lucy Davey Memorial Lecture

Friday 31st March 2023

I am excited to announce that our first Fellowship for Biblical Studies meeting for the year will be a public event in honour of our late colleague, the much-loved Lucy Davey, and in conjunction with the Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney. The lecture will take place at 2:00pm on Friday, 31st March, 2023 in the Nelson Meers Foundation Auditorium of the Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney.

Our speaker will be Dr Louise Pryke on the subject “Conflict with Nature: Bioweapons in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Literature.”

Please register your attendance using this link (the event is free but registration is recommended to secure your spot).

This lecture will be open to the public. Feel free to forward this invitation to your colleagues, students, and friends.

Stephen Cook,
Sydney FBS Coordinator.

First Melbourne Meeting of 2023

Friday 17th March 2023

We warmly invite you to the third Melbourne gathering for 2023. It will be held on Friday 17th March, 2:00 – 3:30 pm. We will meet in person at the Centre for Theology & Ministry (CTM), 29 College Cres, Parkville VIC 3052. We will begin at 2:00 pm with a paper followed by discussion and questions.

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 1:45 pm.

Brian Kolia, Lecturer in Old Testament at Malua Theological College, will present a paper from Samoa over Zoom titled: Judas greets Jesus with a sogi/hongi? A Talanoa of Judas’ kiss in Mark 14 with the kiss in Song of Songs 8:1 and the sogi of Limaleleima’oloa.

Abstract: The kiss by Judas in the synoptic gospels has long been interpreted as an act of betrayal. But is it? A closer reading of Judas’ kiss in Mark 14 might suggest other possibilities. In fact, there are elements in Judas’ kiss that echo the kiss of the lovers in the book of Song of Songs. As a Samoan, I am also intrigued at the use of the word ‘sogi’ in the Samoan translation which brings about different nuances of ‘kissing’ that resonate with the Maori hongi. The word sogi is also the word for smelling or breathing in, so the sogi for Samoans is not just a planting of lips on the other person, but a breathing in of that person’s scent and a breathing in of their spirit, much like the Maori hongi. Much of this nuance will be brought forth in talanoa with the story of Limaleleima’oloa and the origins of the sogi for the Samoans. Through this perspective of sogi/hongi, did Judas breathe in/suck out the spirit/life of Jesus? Does this mark a turning point in the Gospel narrative? This warrants an intertextual talanoa between the biblical and cultural texts so as to re-read Judas’ kiss in the garden at Gethsemane in Mark 14 from a Samoan/Pasifika perspective.

Please RSVP to Megan if you would like to attend in-person, or over Zoom.

2022 Issue of ABR is in the mail

Volume 70 of the Australian Biblical Review for 2022 has been produced and is in the mail to all subscribers. The list of articles is also available on this website here. The 2022 book reviews are available as PDF extracts from the journal on the reviews page.

2023 ABR Subscription Rates

The Executive of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies has decided that the subscription rates for the 2023 issue (Volume 71) of Australian Biblical Review will remain the same as for the 2022 issue. Postage rate changes may occur before the mailout in September 2023.

Current rates can always be found at fbs.org.au/abrsubscribe.

2022 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies was held in person and via Zoom on Thursday, 3 November, 2022. Following the AGM the outgoing president, Prof. Dorothy Lee, presented a paper entitled “Emotion, Beauty, and the ‘Sublime’ in the Gospel of John.”

The following officers and members of the Executive were elected to hold these positions for the next year:

President: Chris Monaghan
Vice-President: Elizabeth Boase
Secretary: Megan Turton
Treasurer: Tim Rafferty
ABR Editor (Old Testament): Rachelle Gilmour
ABR Editor (New Testament): Alan Cadwallader
ABR Book Review Editor: Gareth Wearne
Committee Member: Chris Porter
Committeee Member: Stephen Cook (Sydney Coordinator)

Copyright 2022–2023 Fellowship for Biblical Studies Inc.