Archive for the ‘Conferences & Events’ Category

David Suchet, Joan Taylor and Eddie Adams on BBC   Leave a comment

Announcement: Eddie Adams & Joan E. Taylor (my first supervisor) featuring in upcoming BBC Documentary

BBC1 has announced the broadcast dates for David Suchet in the Footsteps of Saint Peter.  These are Good Friday and Easter Sunday 9am.  Eddie Adams was the series adviser, and appears in the series along with Joan Taylor.


This is a follow up to the BBC1 series David Suchet in the Footsteps of Saint Paul.  That series, broadcast in 2012, won two prestigious awards: the Radio Times Listeners’ award for Religious Programme of the year, and the Sandford Premier Television award for religious broadcasting.


Posted March 27, 2015 by Mina Monier in Conferences & Events

The Biggest Event on the Historical Jesus: Book Now!   1 comment


“I am pleased to be able to announce that a conference will be held this summer that looks to be outrageously fun and interesting.   It will be at King’s College, London.   And it will be on the Life of Brian and the Historical Jesus.   I have been asked to give one of the papers, and how could I refuse!   I’m going to have to cut short a family vacation in France, but there’s no way I’m missing this.  Here’s the publicity for it.” -Bart Ehrman

Jesus and Brian: A Conference on the Historical Jesus and his Times

20th – 22nd June 2014, King’s College London


Join some of the world’s most eminent biblical scholars and historians, with star guests, as they discuss Jesus, first-century Judaea and the controversies of the film Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Full programme: programme.aspx

*Day tickets are now on sale £65 each.*

Saturday and Sunday tickets include a sandwich lunch as well as morning and afternoon refreshments. The Friday ticket includes a reception with drinks and canapés.

Full Conferenceregistration fee (3 days including lunches and refreshments): Was £220,

*Now £195*
Students/unwaged(3 days including lunches and refreshments): Was £110,

*Now £98*

Formal Conference dinnerat historic Inner Temple on Sat 21st June, with celebrity Key note speaker, *tickets £65*

Posted May 19, 2014 by Mina Monier in Conferences & Events

J D Crossan in the UK – Four Lectures   Leave a comment

John Dominic Crossan is in the UK this month. I have just been informed that he will be giving 4 lectures at the conference: “The Challenge of Christmas and the Meaning of Easter”

His talks will include: crossan

The Challenge of Parabolic Overtures

The Christmas Stories of Matthew and of Luke

 The Execution of Jesus in Mark                      

The Resurrection of Jesus in Paul


27th to 29th March 2014 at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick Derbyshire DE55 1AU

An application form can be downloaded HERE and posted with the required deposit.
Alternatively, you can type the relevant details into an email to Linda Harrison [ ] who will contact you
with the details for digital transfer of your deposit into the account of Free To Believe.

James Dunn: a New Book in “Christianity in the Making”   Leave a comment


Professor James Dunn is preparing a new volume to be added to his highly acclaimed series on Christian origins called Christianity in the Making. He invited the members of the department of Biblical Studies at King’s College London to join him in a seminar with 4 sessions spread over 2 months to discuss each chapter of the book. Fortunately, I will be participating in this seminar.

It is not his first time to bring forth a new book after a series of seminar  discussions. Dunn’s major work, in my opinion, is his Unity and Diversity in the New Testament. This book was the first-fruit of an intensive seminar he was part of in Durham (I think in 1971) after the publicationof the English edition of Walter Bauer’s magisterial Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum with the title “Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity”. Dunn’s book was meant to engage with Walter’s work in a fruitful dialogue. The result was a book capable of setting out a reasonable balance between unity and diversity. In the second edition, Dunn stated that he was made aware of the progress made by Helmut Koester and James Robinson in building up, on Bauer’s theory, the Trajectories model of early Christianity. Dunn also engaged in a serious dialogue with the question of the development of Jesus’ Sayings tradition(s) towards an apocalyptic path (the development from Q1 to Q2) and what Koester calls Gnostisizing Proclivity towards the final form of Thomas.

However positive Dunn was in dealing with the then new approach to early Christianity, Dunn’s work suffered, in my opinion, two problems that were later inherited by his Parting of the Ways: 

1- He confined himself within the canonical works. I do think that the so-called “canonical” literature gained this label not only for its theological opinion but also its distinctive nature. I myself am a former student of Helmut Koester but I believe that the genre of the Gospel of Mark,  what Klaus Baltzer calls Die Biographie der Propheten,  is unique and its associated literature witnesses to good historical reasons to appreciate the NT’s integrity. However, the excessive prejudice inflicted on “non-canonical” texts and ideas should have been toned down by scholars in Europe in particular. Bauer’s main thesis was to dismantle the official ecclesiastical history, well represented in Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica, and the rich content of Nag Hammadi library confirmed many of his insights. Dunn did not, however, go too much beyond the NT canonical literature… perhaps GThomas was too impactful to be ignored.

2- Bauer, and later Koester’s two-volume Introduction to the NT,  showed that the study of the development of Christian thought should be geographically oriented as a response to the diversity it had. We cannot exaggerate the significance of such a perspective. It would be misleading to talk about an idea (Christology, soteriology, identity..etc.) on the timeline axis without the space axis unless you suggest that one specific doctrine prevailed over all Christendom at that specific date. Unfortunately, while Dunn argued for the existence of a complicated diversity in early Christianity, he did not show how these diverse Christian perspectives co-existed and developed (in trajectories).

This missing feature led him to write the next monograph on the Parting of the Ways which, instead of solving these issues, inherited them and complicated the problem. The Parting of the Ways (PW) was an important monograph indeed. It endeavoured to provide a parallel to Koester’s trajectories from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. As I said, the main problem this PW model suffered from was that the point of departure for these “ways” did not presume the geographical and theological diversity and therefore it resulted in some sort of a monolithic Christianity separating from another monolithic Jewish way. This is not entirely wrong since the element of Christian Kerygma did achieve a commonality defining “Christianity” against what E P Sanders calls “common Judaism”. Therefore it should not be discarded, but rather edited, enhanced and improved.. which, in my opinion, will result in the return to a modified Trajectories model.

Beside his exhaustive volumes on specific issues or events in earliest Christianity that became standard texts for students, Dunn’s ability to implement “Big Pictures” is precisely what we need at the moment to push forward in NT scholarship. He did provide big pictures of Christian diversity and later the parting of the ways, along with an openness for dialogue and this is precisely the reason behind the seminars he convenes before publishing his books.

If you are a British theology scholar then you should be proud of having James Dunn amongst the list of your great Country’s theologians including Lightfoot, C H Dodd and Norman Perrin.  I am not British, but I am certainly proud of belonging to King’s College London’s department which also has him as a visiting scholar and I’m super excited about that seminar!

two important notes: if you would like me to deliver your voice to him regarding anything in his earlier writings please let me know. Secondly, I won’t be able to discuss or talk about the current seminar or the book under preparation due to copyright restrictions.



LocationSafra Lecture Theatre (Ground Floor) Strand Campus

When 20 (16:00) – 22/06/2014 (17:00)


Monty Python’s Life of Brianprovoked a furious response in some quarters when it first appeared in 1979, even leading to cries of ‘blasphemy’. However, many students and teachers of biblical literature were quietly, and often loudly, both amused and intrigued. Life of Brian in fact contains numerous references to what was then the cutting edge of biblical scholarship and Life of Jesus research, founded on the recognition of the historical Jesus as a Jew who needs to be understood within the context of his time. Implicitly, in setting ‘Brian’ within the tumultuous social and political background of his age, Life ofBrian sets Jesus within it also. It assumes the audience has some knowledge of the gospel accounts, which directly inform the comedy.

Ever since Philip Davies first wrote on the film 15 years ago, other scholars too have turned their gaze to consider exactly what Life of Brian does in regard to Jesus scholarship, and have increasingly delved into its curious corners to reflect on what it says both about the tumultuous times of Jesus and also contemporary scholarly discussions.  Biblical scholarship has moved on greatly in the past 25 years, and various aspects of Life of Brian correlate with themes now intensely explored. Every Bible scholar knows what ‘blessed are the cheese-makers’ means among us!

This conference opens up Life of Brian to renewed investigation, using it in an innovative way to sharpen our view. Papers presented by some of the world’s most eminent biblical scholars and historians will discuss the film’s relevance to history, biblical studies and Life of Jesus research (see below). There will be discussion of the socio-political context and Josephus; costuming and setting; and other topics. The aim is to use the film to reflect on history, interpretation and meaning, as a tool that can help us consider our assumptions and the historical evidence: a ‘reception exegesis’ approach. There will be a book produced with selected conference papers, with a publication date of mid-2015.

It is also a celebration of a British movie masterpiece.

To download a copy of the conference programme please click here.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Dr. Helen Bond, University of Edinburgh
  • ‘You’ll probably get away with Crucifixion’: How Brian (and Jesus) ended up on a Roman Cross’
  • Professor George Brooke, Manchester University
    ‘Brian as a Teacher of Righteousness’
  • Professor Richard Burridge, King’s College London
    ‘The Church of England’s Life of Python- or what the Bishop saw’
  • Professor James Crossley, University of Sheffield
    ‘Monty Python’s Life of Jesus’
  • Professor Philip Davies, University of Sheffield
    ‘Monty Python’s Life of Jesus’
  • Professor Bart Ehrman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    ‘The Life of Brian and the Apocalyptic Jesus’
  • Professor Paula Fredriksen, Boston University
    ‘ “Are You a Virgin?”: Biblical Exegesis and the Invention of Tradition’
  • Professor Martin Goodman, Oxford University
    ‘The Life of Brian and the Politics of First-Century Judaea’
  • Professor Amy-Jill Levine, Vanderbilt University,
    ‘Brian, Gender and Sexuality’
  • Professor Steve Mason, University of St. Andrews
    ‘What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?’Brian and Josephus on Anti-Roman Sentiment’
  • Dr. Aaron Rosen, King’s College London,
    ‘Laughing at Brian, Laughing at Christ: Some Reflections on Film and Modern Art’
  • Professor Joan E. Taylor, King’s College London,
    ‘The Historical Brian’
  • Dr Bill Telford, Durham University
    Monty Python’s Life of Brian and the Jesus Film’
  • Dr. David Tollerton, University of Exeter
    ‘Blasphemy!’ On Free Speech Then and Now


Conference registration fee: £180; students/unwaged £90

Conference dinner: £65

Strictly limited participation (220 places only). Early booking is essential. Participants will be responsible for finding their own accommodation in central London.

Tickets are available from

Organising Team

Conference Organiser:
Professor Joan Taylor, Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism;
tel. +44 (0)20 7848 2335

Conference assistants:
Katie Turner
Michelle Fletcher

Administration/Project Officer:
Matthew Claridge
tel. + 44 (0)20 7848 7080
Mail Address/Office: Department of Theology and Religious Studies,
King’s College London,
22 Kingsway,
London WC2B 6NR
United Kingdom.


Important Events at King’s College London   Leave a comment

Something of an events round-up for you all, it’s been a while since we had a newsletter, but with the Christmas break now well and truly behind us again, things are gearing up for another busy semester in TRS.  The following events are all taking place either in the Department or involve either current or former members of teaching staff.
Jewish Studies Research Seminar (January 14th)
Biblical Studies Research Seminar (January 15th)
Lecture and Book Signing by Prof. N.T.Wright (January 23rd)
Past, Present and Future – The Excavations at Masada (February 12th)
Collecting Greece in the 19th Century: text, image, object, knowledge (February 13th)
Ethel M Wood Lecture 2014
Jewish Studies Research Seminar (January 14th)
Prof. Martin Goodman (Oxford)
The Roman State and Diaspora Jews after Bar Kokhba’
4.30 Refreshments
5.00 Lecture
VWB 4.02 (Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway)
The paper will enquire why, after the Romans in 135 CE had changed the name of the Jewish homeland from ‘Judaea’ to ‘Syria Palaestina’ and had forbidden Jews to live in the city which they knew was the focus of Jewish religious devotion and ethnic identity, they nonetheless permitted Jews in diaspora cities to retain their status as members of distinct recognised communities with protected privileges.
Biblical Studies Research Seminar (January 15th)
The first meeting of this term’s Biblical Studies Research Seminar will take place on Wednesday January 15th in VWB (Virginia Woolf Building) room 3.01 . Dr Andris Abakuks of Birkbeck University will deliver a presentation on ‘The Synoptic Problem and the statistics of verbal agreements’.  The seminar begins at 5pm, and Dr Abakuks’ lecture will be followed by discussion and then refreshments.  You are warmly invited to attend.  
Lecture and Book Signing by Prof. N.T.Wright (January 23rd)
The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is delighted to host a lecture and book signing by Prof. Tom Wright (Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, University of St Andrews; formerly Bishop of Durham).  Prof. Wright is one of the world’s foremost and most influential New Testament scholars.  His long awaited big book on Paul, the fourth volume of the series, Christian Origins and the Question of God, has already been described as a ‘game-changer’.  Prof. Wright will give a lecture on Paul and sign copies of his new book.
The lecture and book launch will take place on January 23rd in the Chapel, King’s College London, from 6pm.  You are warmly invited to attend.  There is no admittance charge and refreshments will be provided. RSVP (by Jan 15th if possible) to attend, emailing

Past, Present and Future – The Excavations at Masada (February 12th)
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Masada excavations Guy Stiebel of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and currently the archaeologist in charge of Masada, has agreed to give a lecture Past, Present and Future – The Excavations at Masada, between 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday 12th February in the 
Jewish Museum, 129-131 Albert Street, London NW1. The lecture will take into account excavations undertaken at Masada during the past 25 years and is being partially sponsored by the British Friends of Hebrew University.
Also marking ‘Masada at 50’ – The Observer will be holding a Masada Exhibit which will run from Tuesday 21 January to Friday 21 February in the foyer of its HQ at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU. The exhibition concentrates on the Observer’s role in championing the excavations and includes testimonies and memorabilia from some of the volunteers. Access is free, 10am to 6pm each day, 7 days a week.


Posted January 11, 2014 by Mina Monier in Conferences & Events

The St Andrews Symposium for Biblical and Early Christian Studies   1 comment


Ancient Readers & Their Scriptures: The Texts, Reading Strategies, and the Versions of the Hebrew Bible in Second Temple and Early Judaism

You can now register for the St Andrews Symposium for Biblical and Early Christian Studies by following the link here: Registration. Only those who have registered are eligible for student travel scholarships which are available upon request.

Dates to Remember 

  • “Early bird” registration (£30) ends 1 February 2014.
  • Abstracts of 300 words, sent to both John Anthony Dunne ( and Garrick Allen ( are due 1 February 2014. See the previous post for details.
  • The Symposium commences 2-3 June. 


Please see “Visit St Andrews” for information on getting to St Andrews and accommodation. We recommend booking accommodation early.
If any questions arise, please contact John ( or Garrick ( We are looking forward to a fruitful dialogue with you this June!


Posted January 11, 2014 by Mina Monier in Conferences & Events