Dr David Tollerton

Research interests

My research interests fall into the three interconnected areas:

1. Religious responses to the Holocaust

The majority of my work within Holocaust studies to date has focused on appeals to the Bible among those responding to the mass-murder of Europe’s Jews. Although often focusing on specific biblical texts, such as the Book of Job, this has also included consideration of the 'biblical' as a broader transferable category. 

I am continuing to write on critical responses to Jewish 'Holocaust Theology' but also the use of sacred categories in Holocaust remembrance more broadly. This particularly includes interactions between Holocaust memory and wider socio-religious changes within contemporary society. I was recently awarded a grant by the St Luke's Foundation to consider Holocaust representation in the RE classroom, and the place of Holocaust memory in British society is a topic I will be examining further in forthcoming work.

2. Concepts of blasphemy and sacredness

Earlier in my career I was an AHRC research assistant on a project examining ideas of religion and freedom of expression in contemporary Britain, and from this I have ongoing interest in evolving perceptions of blasphemy. This has included looking at the reception of art and films deemed offensive within particular communities, and wider questions about the interface between religious tradition and secularity amidst debates about offence and sacredness.

3. Contemporary receptions of the Bible

I have often found receptions of the Bible to be a useful entry point into the research areas described above. As well as several publications on post-Holocaust readings of the Bible I have also looked at biblical reception in connection to instances of religious offence. This has particularly meant looking at art and film, and recently I edited a volume for Bloomsbury press on Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings.

I am a member of:

-       The British Association for Holocaust Studies

-       The British Association for Jewish Studies

-       The Society of Biblical Literature

-       The European Association of Biblical Studies

-       The International Society for Heresy Studies.