Ruth as deserving stranger

A case study of translation serving ideology in Reformation Europe

Paper to be presented at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference in Bruges, 18-20 August, 2016; session 244, “The Vagaries of Translation in the Early Modern World”
(chaired by Paul Arblaster).

ABSTRACT
Did sixteenth-century bible translation and commentary contribute to debate about social issues? What differences occur between vernacular and Latin translations of the Bible, and what is their significance?

Reading the biblical book of Ruth, sixteenth-century commentators address the protagonist’s question, Continue reading Ruth as deserving stranger

In debt to sundry sources

European borrowings in 16th & 17th century English translations of ‘the Book of Books’

Paper to be delivered at the Meeting of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publication (SHARP) in Paris, 18-22 July 2016.
The conference theme is “Languages of the Book / Les Langues du Livre”.

A French translation of this abstract is appended.

ABSTRACT
Five years have elapsed since the quatercentenary of King James’ Bible, 481 since the editio princeps of the English bible, a translation assembled “out of five sundry interpreters” by Miles Coverdale. In the years between Continue reading In debt to sundry sources

Postgraduate, Part I

After my first degree, I studied at the then Centre for the study of Jewish-Christian Relations (CJCR), now a part of the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. Before graduation, I had taken a paper on Responses to the Holocaust; it is an odd thing to say, but I wrote well on the subject. A combination of that, my acquisition of Biblical Hebrew, and an earlier study visit to Israel-Palestine (with the Council of Christians and Jews) took me onto postgraduate study.

“we were more The Choir than Great British Bake-Off.”

It was a formative year. Continue reading Postgraduate, Part I

Early modern pin-up girls

Lessons learned from the Bible’s “virtuous women”

Presented to the Society for Reformation Studies, Westminster College, Cambridge, 5-7 April 2016. (Abstract slightly amended.) The conference theme was “The Bible in the Reformation”.

Seek a virtuous woman in Coverdale’s 1535 Bible and you will find only Ruth. By 1611, the only “virtuous” people in the English Bible are women. Continue reading Early modern pin-up girls

Linguistic DNA

I am currently a postdoctoral research associate for Linguistic DNA, modelling concepts and conceptual change in early modern English (1500–1800). This is a three-year research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, based in the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield.

Update to this post coming soon.

Drunkenness and naughty vicars

In the first half of 2015, I worked as a research associate on the AHRC and ESRC-funded project Intoxicants and Early Modernity. My work coincided with the transcription and modelling of intoxicant-linked events from consistory (church) court records. 

Archived documents from the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries included repeated accusations of illicit brewing, alcohol-fuelled adultery, and other extra-marital deviance (including some unpleasant tales of sexual assault). Continue reading Drunkenness and naughty vicars

The Quest for Biblical Literacy

Curricula, Culture and Case Studies

Book cover for
Rethinking Biblical Literacy (2015)

ABSTRACT
A companion piece to the 2011 Postscripts article, this invited chapter contextualises recent discourse about biblical literacy, its decline and its desirability, by examining past statements about and measures of biblical literacy and looking at who the stakeholders are. One can usefully distinguish between those advocating knowledge of the Bible for religious purposes (the pursuit of “scriptural literacy”) and those who present it as culturally important, in terms of heritage or the ability to make Continue reading The Quest for Biblical Literacy

Towards a doctorate

The early days of my doctoral research were quickly disrupted: I arrived in the Department of Biblical Studies just as the University announced its intent to close it. That step was forestalled, and I had a small role in shaping what became the new Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS). Continue reading Towards a doctorate

Practi[s]ing Biblical Literacy

Case Studies from the Sheffield Conference

With Nicky Hallett (University of Sheffield, UK), Carl Tighe (Derby University, UK), and José Luis Lopez Calle (Universidad Valladolid / Carlos III University, Madrid, Spain).

ABSTRACT:
When and how does the Bible enter the classroom? In May 2011, the department of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield hosted a conference on the role of the Bible in secondary and higher education. This paper addresses the notion of biblical literacy, providing an account of the emergent practices discussed, with in-depth treatment of three case studies. The examples are drawn from the fields of English Literature, Economics, and Creative Writing. The different role of the Bible in education in North American and British contexts is also considered, and the article concludes with considerations for future collaboration.

Keywords: Biblical Literacy; Creative Writing; Economics; English Literature; Higher Education; King James Version; Religious Education; Secondary Education; Curriculum.

Published in:
Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds, 7.2 (2011) pp. 173-196. DOI: 10.1558/post.v7i2.173

On biblical literacy

In the run up to the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible translation, I facilitated a conference at the University of Sheffield exploring how shifts in biblical literacy affect teaching in a range of academic subjects. The three-day conference brought together professional educationalists from school and university contexts, to improve our understanding of issues posed by biblical illiteracy and share different ways in which the Bible could be encountered productively in the classroom.

Delegates heard results from a comparative study of texts in religious education undertaken Continue reading On biblical literacy