Professor Louise Lawrence

Research interests

My research expertise encompasses three inter-related areas: (a) Disability Studies and Biblical Texts; (b) Contextual Readings of New Testament Texts; (c) Social-scientific Approaches to New Testament Interpretation (especially anthropological approaches). I have written five monographs, co-edited a collection of essays and produced over twenty peer-reviewed articles and essays in these areas. My most recent project/monograph entitled, Bible and Bedlam: Madness in New Testament Interpretation (currently in press with T&T Clark/Bloomsbury, out in 2018) attempts to unveil the normative, rational and ‘neuro-typical’ assumptions surrounding the discipline of biblical studies. My 2013 monograph, Sense and Stigma in the Gospels: Depictions of Sensory-Disabled Characters (Oxford University Press, 2013) exposed the sensory disabilities of biblical studies as a largely sight-centric endeavour. My 2009 monograph, The Word in Place: Reading the New Testament in Contemporary Contexts (SPCK) documented the results of a three year project (in conjunction with the South West Ministry Training Course) which initiated community readings of biblical texts within a diversity of settings (urban, rural, coastal areas etc.) across Devon and Cornwall. Published biblical ‘readings from below’ by ‘ordinary’/’untrained’ readers have hitherto largely been dominated by work in majority-world settings. The prism of the West often de-contextualises the ‘ordinary’ bible reader in Britain; this book is an important voice in showing how industrialised Western readings also can be inflected by deep place concerns. Reading with Anthropology: Exhibiting Aspects of New Testament Religion (Paternoster, 2005) and An Ethnography of the Gospel of Matthew: A Critical Assessment of the Use of the Honour and Shame Model in New Testament Studies (Mohr Siebeck, 2003) both employed social-scientific methodologies and posed important challenges to the modes in which biblical scholarship hitherto had utilised these fields.