Social History of Modern Biblical Scholarship


The purpose of this programme is to foster cross-disciplinary and collaborative research into the social history of modern biblical scholarship. A growing number of scholars have pursued such research of late, with the salutary effect of producing self-reflexive histories of the cultural, ideological and political entanglements of biblical studies as an academic discipline. 

This research programme intends to (a) provoke more professionally trained biblical scholars to examine the social and historical construction of the field in which they practise; and (b) give concentrated visibility to emerging work that defines this trajectory among the sub-divisions of contemporary biblical research. The programme was launched in 2007, with lectures by scholars who have devoted significant energies to this type of intellectual history. All colleagues who are currently carrying out research on this topic or interested in participating in the programme, are cordially invited to contact the chairs.


Ward Blanton 

James Crossley

Halvor Moxnes 


Amsterdam 2012

At the 2012 meeting in Amsterdam we will have two sessions:

The Politics of Interpretation. This session will focus on the political context of Biblical interpretation or on the role of interpretation in politics. One part of the session will be a panel discussion of Halvor Moxnes, Jesus and the Rise of Nationalism. A New Quest for the nineteenth century historical Jesus. I.B. Tauris 2012. The rest of the session will be devoted to related papers from early modern and modern periods. Presentations in this session is by invitation.

Presuppositions and prejudices. This session will deal with the role of cultural prejudices and/or presuppositions in Biblical scholarship from the early modern times to post-modernity. This sessions is open for proposals, we especially encourage papers that deal with the role of anti-Semitism or philo-Semitism.

Tartu, 2010

The 2010 session will be as follows:

Hanna Stenström, Uppsala University, Presiding

Yvonne Sherwood (University of Glasgow) 'The Changing Shape of Critique in Biblical Studies'

Hans Leander (University of Gothenburg) 'Liberators or Colonialists? The Pioneers of Modern Biblical Studies and European Colonialism'

Ward Blanton (University of Glasgow) and James Crossley (University of Sheffield), 'Toward a Social History of the New Perspective on Paul'

Jonathan Birch (University of Glasgow), 'Ethical Christ: the Moral Imperatives of Early Modern New Testament Criticism'

The Annual Conference 2021
takes place 2-5 August
in Wuppertal. Read more.