Sociology and the Bible


In the light of increasing interest in the use of the social sciences in Biblical Studies this research programme concentrates on the use of sociological theory and method in particular within the context of social scientific approaches. We are interested in applying sociological ideas to the reading of biblical texts in their historical settings and in reconstructing ancient social worlds and processes of social change. We are also interested in developing sophisticated ethnography researching the use and interpretation of the Bible in a variety of social and cultural settings.  The latter connects our interests to contextual reading, minority criticism, postcolonial readings and the use of the Bible in faith and non-faith communities. Finally, we are interested in assessing the legacy of the Bible in the work of sociologists past and present and in tracing the history of the impact of biblical ideas in social institutions and policies.


David Chalcraft, Liverpool John Moores University

"Methods, Theories, Imagination: Social Scientific Approaches in Biblical Studies". Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014.


Leipzig 2013

For the EABS Conference in Leipzig in 2013, we are inviting papers for two sessions.  One session will concentrate on the work of William Dubois (author, inter alia,  of The Souls of Black Folk) and will seek to interrogate his writings from the perspective of his use of biblical themes in his sociological and literary work and also reflect on how his concepts, such as 'double consciousness' resonate with contemporary concerns about identity, hybridity and minority criticism and the analysis of specific biblical texts.   The second session is an open session and we welcome submissions that address any of the three concentrations we focus upon, namely: using social sciences/sociology to read ancient texts in context and reconstruct ancient social worlds; the legacy of biblical ideas in the work of sociologists and social scientists and, thirdly, the development of ethnographic study of Bible use in a variety of global contexts. In the latter regard papers can be methodological or ideally report on case studies in progress or recently completed.

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