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The event took place on the 15-16 March.

Exploring ideologies of race and the contemporary contexts of New Testament interpretation

International visitors from the USA and Norway, together with other scholars from the UK and staff and graduate students from the University of Exeter, met on 15-16 March to explore the ways in which ideologies of race, nation, and ethnicity shape the practice of New Testament interpretation – and vice versa.

Brought together by Professor David Horrell, under the auspices of an AHRC Leadership Fellowship, assisted by Katherine Hockey, presenters considered how topics such as African-American biblical interpretation and race relations in the USA (Love Sechrest); the overlaps between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the Norwegian context, with particular reference to the terrorist atrocities committed by Anders Breivik (Halvor Moxnes); the changing uses of terms like Volk (‘people’) and Rasse (‘race’) in German New Testament scholarship (Kathy Ehrensperger); and the ways in which depictions of Judaism in contrast to Christianity in mainstream British New Testament scholarship reflect the prevalent neoliberal political ideology (James Crossley).

Among the important things to emerge from the conversation was a heightened appreciation of the ways in which scholarship is shaped by, and implicated in, diverse political contexts and racial ideologies, and that communication and comparison across these contexts helps us to become more critically aware of these influences on our work. Also apparent was a concern to confront the ways in which scholarship can implicitly underscore ideological convictions about the supremacy of whiteness and Christianness. The positive challenge is genuinely to value forms of particularity and otherness without subsuming them beneath a dominant racial or religious identity.

Date: 21 March 2016

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