Biblical Violence

  Conveners: helen paynter, trevor laurence      Email conveners

This study group is for those working on the hermeneutics of biblical violence in both testaments.
Biblical violence can be found within every genre of the Bible and is not a homogeneous entity: it is variously condemned, described, implored, threatened, endorsed or commanded. Biblical violence may be interpersonal, societal or international. It may be military, sexual or structural. It can be historical, mythological and eschatological. There are many unanswered questions that fall within this broad theme, and at times they present enormous pastoral and even missional problems to the Church. Further rigorous, confessional scholarship is imperative.

For all these reasons, a wide variety of hermeneutical approaches to a wide range of texts is needed. This group’s engagement with biblical books provides a forum for specific, focused conversation and collaboration on the hermeneutics of violence which transcends a focus on any one book or corpus and dialogues across genres and testaments.

The three years of the research group will each pick up on different hermeneutical approaches to biblical violence. These are as follows:

2020 – speech act theory
2021 – humour, satire and subversion
2022 – intertextuality

It is anticipated that the papers may then be collected in an edited volume.

Our theme for 2021 is humour, satire, and subversion. During the session, presenters will give an overview of the major points and discoveries in their papers. The session will conclude with a 35-minute period of discussion with all presenters.

  • Helen Paynter, Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence, Bristol Baptist College, Presiding (5 min)
  • Hannah Capey, University of Southampton
    Reconciling Humour and Horror: Black Comedy as Reading Strategy in Megillat Esther (20 min)
  • Lucas A. Iglesias Martins, Centro Universitário Adventista de São Paulo
    The Violent Rhetoric of Prophetic Satire (20 min)
  • Gregory E. Lamb, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
    Humor in Martyrdom and Death? Paul's Satirical Reimagination of Violence and Death in Philippians (20 min)
  • Brandon M. Hurlbert, Durham University
    Drowning Jonah in a Thousand Genres (20 min)