Isaiah and Empire: colloquium and book

Aoraki Mt Cook across Lake Pukaki, NZ

My colleague Dr Tim Meadowcroft and I are teaching a MTheol/DMin course on “Isaiah and Empire” this semester. The more we have prepared for the course the more aware we have become that, despite the fact that most readings of the book of Isaiah see it as set against several (traditionally three) distinctly different Impreial contexts, there is no book addressing the topic of the interaction of this work and “empire”.

The first section of the book is (mainly) set against the backcloth of Judah as a client state of the Neo-Assyrian empire, chapters 40-54 are widely seen as speaking first to Judean exiles in Babylon (the heart of the empire then),1 while the last chapters seem to address inhabitants of the province of Yehud in the Persian Empire. Add to that the recent popularity of empire (and of Post-colonial approaches) in Biblical Stidies, and you see why we are surprised by the lack of a book or journal with a topical issue. Hence the colloquium, leading to a book, that we are planning.

The idea is to get participants reading each other’s work before the meeting, so interacting at more depth at the meeting, then editing their own papers afterwards to make a more coherent book, yet one which reflects differing approaches and methods.Here is the call for paper (as a Download PDF):

Isaiah and Empire

Colloquium and Book

Call for papers:

This colloquium (sponsored by Laidlaw-Carey Graduate School in Auckland, New Zealand) will explore cultural and theological implications of aspects of the book of Isaiah in the context of empire. Potential papers might include, but are by no means limited to:

  • readings of particular texts in the light of ancient imperial contexts
  • studies of the redaction history of Isaiah
  • Isaiah (or a particular text) in contemporary “imperial” or post-colonial contexts
  • theological reflections
  • cross cultural perspectives on Isaiah in imperial contexts
  • contemporary political reflections

The colloquium will take place in Auckland, NZ, on 14th-15th February 2011 (this is summertime in NZ but after schools have begun for the year). Since we intend to publish a book with the same title in 2011, draft papers will be circulated among participants in 2010 and final form submitted by April 15th 2011.

Please send enquiries and abstracts before 31st August 2010 to:

Dr Tim Bulkeley or
Dr Tim Meadowcroft

PS don’t forget the other colloquium call for papers on has still not closed:
spiritual│complaint : theology and practice of lament

  1. one minority view would see this section addressed to people in Judah but still under the Babylonian empire []

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