Old Testament violence: Whitley 2018
There are many gruesome and violent stories in the Old Testament. What do we make of them? Do they have any relevance for today?
Should we ignore them, and what are the dangers if we do? And if we don’t, how do we read these narratives ethically?
These are some of the questions that this year’s Whitley Lecture attempts to explore. The lecture, delivered by the Revd Dr Helen Paynter, is entitled Dead and Buried? Attending to the voice of the victim in the Old Testament and today.
‘I actually landed on this subject around 12 years ago,’ she explained to an audience at Regent’s Park College on Tuesday.
‘I received a call from our youth worker. She told me that one of our young people was in danger of losing her faith because of her reading of some of the stories in the Old Testament.
‘Ever since then the question, for me, hasn’t gone away.’
The tour is in full swing, with Helen now having delivered in four Baptist colleges.
She gave the first at Northern Baptist College in January, before visiting South Wales Baptist College last week Wednesday (21 Feb). Following Regent’s, she travelled to Bristol Baptist College, where she is a research fellow, to deliver the lecture on Wednesday (28 Feb).
There are currently a further six venues booked, including Birmingham, Glasgow, Exeter, London (twice) and back to Bristol.
At each event Helen gives a shortened version of the lecture, lasting around an hour, before taking questions.
The lecture is ‘an argument to read the Bible well,’ she said in response to a question in Oxford. The full text is available for purchase.
More than 150 people have attended so far. As well as students and college staff, the audience in Oxford on Tuesday saw people travel from Birmingham and Solihull.
Thanking Helen and closing the lecture at Regent’s on Tuesday, principal the Revd Dr Rob Ellis, described it as ‘stimulating and disturbing in equal measure.’
Attendance at each lecture is free, and no booking is required.
Helen has been blogging about preparing for the lecture. Read her blogs here
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