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The Bad Bible in the Twenty-First Century

14 February @ 5:15 pm - 7:15 pm



Professor Matthew Novenson’s Inaugural Lecture in the Playfair Library, Old College on Wednesday 14 February at 5:15pm.  

The lecture will be followed by a reception. This lecture is open to the public. Please note that this lecture will be recorded.


Although the Bible is known in popular imagination as “the good book,” in much contemporary criticism it has become a, if not the, bad book. Recent research has demonstrated how the nineteenth-century rise of historical criticism of the Bible actually pre-empted a more radical moral criticism of the Bible that had been latent in eighteenth-century deism and elsewhere. Meanwhile, other recent research has enthusiastically taken up the task of radical moral criticism of the Bible, even to the point of denouncing earlier feminist and liberationist readings as self-serving apologetics. Building on this recent discussion, I consider what roles historical criticism, moral criticism, and reparative reading might yet have to play in twenty-first century biblical studies.

Professor Matthew Novenson

Matthew V. Novenson is Professor of Biblical Criticism and Biblical Antiquities at the University of Edinburgh, where he is also director of the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins. He has been visiting professor at Dartmouth College and Duke University and visiting research fellow at the University of Cambridge and University of Durham. He is the author of Christ among the Messiahs (Oxford University Press, 2012), The Grammar of Messianism (Oxford University Press, 2017), and Paul, Then and Now (Eerdmans, 2022), and editor of Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity (Brill, 2020) and The Oxford Handbook of Pauline Studies (Oxford University Press, 2022).


The Playfair Library
Old College, University of Edinburgh, South Bridge,
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL United Kingdom
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