Research seminars and events

We host an exciting and engaging research seminar programme throughout the year. Some of our lectures are given by internationally leading biblical scholars, academics across a range of disciplines, University of Sheffield staff and our own postgraduate students.


Sheffield Centre for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies

2021-22 Research Seminar Series

Mondays, 2-3:30pm unless otherwise noted.

Please email for the link to join.

Semester 1

4 October ∴ Tom de Bruin

Fascination, Frustration, and Fixing Mark

Ancient Christians were masters of derivative writing—from extensions of existing gospels and epistles, to entirely new gospels and letters of Paul; from Christian retellings of Jewish narratives, to entire novels about the adventures of specific apostles. Most of these works were not included in the canon, but they were still passed down across the centuries and are now collected as pseudepigrapha and apocrypha. Using theory developed in Fan Studies, this book explores fundamental questions about these ancient derivative texts: Why were they written? In what ways do they interact with more established texts? How does the consumption of derivative texts influence the original ones? And how does the community react to these (new) texts? Through the examination of the endings of Mark, I will demonstrate how frustrated and fascinated fans improved the original gospel. These examples elucidate a major reason why Christian derivative texts are produced: an affective fascination and frustration with the existing narratives.

18 October ∴ Launch, The Cassirer Digital Collection **5pm on Blackboard Collaborate** 

Classicist, philologist, philosopher and self-taught biblical scholar Heinz Cassirer (1903-1979) published ground-breaking work on Kant and Aristotle, before turning his attention to the New Testament. Retrieving the oeuvre of this German Jewish emigré scholar, the Sheffield Cassirer project is now The Digital Cassirer Collection, an online edition of his works for all to read.

Book a free place at the online launch event (Monday 18 October, 17:00 BST) for an introduction to the digital interface and to hear more about the background to this scholarly edition. The 75-minute programme includes reflections on Cassirer’s significance beyond the field of interdisciplinary biblical studies and an open question and answer session.

There is also a chance to win a print copy of Cassirer’s New Testament translation and the monograph, Grace and Law. 

2:30pm start, 1 November ∴ Sam Hirst (Liverpool) ∴ Annual Hallowe’en Gothic Bible Event 

The ‘imaginary transaction’ of Endor: Gothic ghosts, theologies of the supernatural and the ‘witch’ that never was

The Gothic is full of ghosts and critical debate continues as to whether these ghosts were a form of literary Methodism, attempting to raise the Divine with the dead, or the reflection of a secular longing for the sensational. This talk takes us back through the theological debates on the existence of the supernatural as they were framed around discussion of the infamous ‘Witch of Endor’ passages (1 Samuel 28) at the beginning of the eighteenth century. These debates offer a threefold paradigm of interpretation for the presence of the possibly supernatural in the Gothic genre: whether an imaginary transaction brought about through imposture (superstition), a practice of over-interpretation (enthusiasm) or the solution to the encroaching threat of a fanatical atheism. We will look at how writers as diverse as Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Eliza Parsons, T. J. Horsley Curties and Clara Reeve frame their presentation of the supernatural and how these tactics and devices mirror the biblical debates around the ‘Witch of Endor’ from earlier in the century.

22 November ∴ Hindy Najman (Oxford)

Scriptural Vitality in Ancient Judaism: Poesis and Forward Moving Philology

6 December ∴ Naomi Hetherington (Sheffield)

"What Would Buffy Do?": Superheroes and Self-Sacrifice in the Time of Coronavirus

13 December ∴ BOOK LAUNCH: Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean. Speakers: Meredith Warren, Shayna Sheinfeld, Sara Parks + reviewers

Semester 2

28 February ∴ Shayna Sheinfeld (Frankel Institute, University of Michigan)

21 March ∴ Cate Bonesho (University of California, Los Angeles)

28 March ∴ Karen Bray (Wesleyan College)


25 April ∴ Isaac Soon (Crandall University, Canada)

“The Disabling/Enabling of Paul’s Severed Head: Milk, Ejaculation, and the Nourishment of the Church in the Martyrdom(s) of Paul”

9 May ∴ Grace Emmett, Sir Henry Stephenson Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

16 May ∴ Shaily Patel (Virginia Tech)