BCTR 2017: The Return to Birmingham

James Crossley, over at Harnessing Chaos, has some good news about the next “Bible, Critical Theory, and Reception” seminar:

The seventh annual BCTR Seminar will be dedicated to some of the latest developments in biblical studies. Building on the success of the Bible and Critical Theory seminar and journal in the southern hemisphere, this approximate northern hemisphere equivalent will welcome papers in the general areas of critical theory, cultural studies and reception history. Reception history is broadly understood to include the use, influence and receptions of biblical texts in all aspects of what might conventionally be called ‘culture’ (e.g. film, pop music, literature, politics etc.).

Source: BCTR 2017: The Return to Birmingham


Patristics and Europe in 1951

Closed for business. Snack bar on Avenue Robert Schuman. Photograph by me.

“… since we are gathered here on the soil of Great Britain, how could we not call to mind a model or antitype of the labour we’re now doing: the work completed in the ‘dark ages’ by the scotti monasteries, heirs of the first rush out of Ireland; by the monasteries and episcopal schools of the Anglo-Saxons … where the beginnings of the Carolingian Renaissance, and so our civilisation today, were sketched out.” – Conclusion to Henri Marrou’s address to the first Oxford Patristics Conference (1951)

This quote is a good example of the ways in which people came to see the connections between the end of the Roman Empire and Europe after 1945. I’ve spent some time in the Archives nationales d’Outre-Mer trying to make more sense of these connections. As I walked to and from the archives I also thought about how memories of the past shape our world today.

The building containing these archives stands on the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence at the end of Avenue Robert Schuman. Schuman was a key figure in the early negotiations on European integration after the Second World War. Over the past week, as the consequences of Brexit begin to play out, this junction between the colonial archive and Schuman’s avenue has come to seem a physical monument to the intersection between memories of empire and the European present. Continue reading “Patristics and Europe in 1951”

Library #2: The BnF

A forest grows through the national library of France.

Forest at the centre of the BnF, photograph by me.

In early June I spent a week in the Bibliotheque nationale de France. Every day I walked up through the 13e arrondissement and onto the roof of the library where one found the entrance. The BnF was designed to take its place alongside a host of other monumental buildings along the banks of the Seine – Les Invalides, for example – but I always approached it crab-wise, through a building site on the other side of the Avenue de France, criss-crossing through the roadworks.

Continue reading “Library #2: The BnF”

ANOM (nom nom nom)

Paul Cezanne, Maison Maria with a view of Chataeu Noir. Photograph by Charlie Llewellin (CC BT-SA 2.0)

I’ve spent the last few days working through material generated by archaeological expeditions to Algeria in the 1950s. Light relief was provided by the minutes of Faculty meetings at the Université d’Alger. Alongside other records from French involvement in its overseas territories, these archives are located in the Archives nationales d’Outre-Mer (ANOM) in Aix-en-Provence. Aix is built around a charming old town and is famous for being the home of Paul Cezanne, whose painting, above, shows a provencal farmhouse with a gothic ruin partially hidden in the background. Continue reading “ANOM (nom nom nom)”