Mike Sandford is running this conference with a great line up. Here is the outline:
The Bible, Zionism and Palestine’ is a conference, hosted by the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, to explore the role of the bible in theology and politics in Israel and Palestine today. The conference will last for 3 days, the 24-26th May 2012.
The Bible has played a fundamental role in the creation and existence of the modern state of Israel, and, some say, in the continued suffering of the Palestinian people. Today, the Hebrew Bible is used as an authoritative text to justify the placement of Israel’s borders, and to legitimise and even encourage the expulsion of Palestinians from the land. The New Testament has also been utilised by Christian Zionists who argue that the establishment of the state of Israel is God-ordained, and that its existence is necessary for enabling the second coming of Jesus.
Despite the fact that the bible has played a significant role in the plight of the Palestinians, some Christians insist that it ultimately promises not oppression but liberation for the Palestinian people. At the same time, an increasing number of Christians and Jews are questioning Zionist theology and its implications for the indigenous population in Palestine.
Others argue that the role of the bible in Israel and Palestine should ideally be minimised, taking the view that, as an ancient and deeply ethnocentric text, the bible will not do as a moral ‘textbook’ and is ultimately not sympathetic with humanist values such as human rights and equality.
The conference will deal with these issues and also with broader matters surrounding Israel and Palestine, such as the persistence of anti-Jewish assumptions which have permeated biblical scholarship and infiltrated the Christian church, and the rise of post-holocaust philosemitism, which, for some, has resulted in a paralysing fear of passing negative judgement on any of Israel’s actions.
We are welcoming contributions from all perspectives under four main headings: Antisemitism, Philosemitism and the Bible; The Bible and the Existence of Israel; Judaism, Christianity and Zionism; and the Bible and the Palestinians.