Politization of Bibles and Biblization of Politics in the Twenty-First Century


Biblical Interpretation today is characterized by a variety of different concerns and approaches. The focus of this programme unit is on the use and misuse of biblical texts in past and present politics, in the broadest sense; and conversely, on the use and misuse of politics in biblical interpretation and transmission. The scope may include analysis of the biblical and related texts and contexts, questions of method and theory, and especially attention to interpretations- interpreters and their contexts. Papers are welcome from such perspectives as psychology and psychoanalysis, philosophy, postcolonial studies, gender studies, social studies, economic studies, racial-ethnic studies, and queer studies.



Contemporary Biblical Interpretation, Political Interests and Impacts, Interpretive Communities, Bibles and Politics


Current Term:



Jeremy Punt
Stellenbosch University

Steffi Fabricius
University of Siegen

Member Area

Sofia 2024 Call for Papers

Political Bibles: When Political and Religious Registers Meet…

Politics and religion are connected in ambiguous, surreptitious, and often idiosyncratic ways. The many intricate relationships and interactions between political systems and religious beliefs, institutions, and practices gave rise to what variously has been called the political Bible (Neutel and Kartzow 2020) and the Enlightenment Bible (Sheehan 2007) but also to political theology (Rosario Rodríguez 2020) and theopolitics (Anderson 2012), to name a few. Sacred scriptures of religious traditions or bibles for short, often form the conduit or intersecting registers for such connections, as contentious, arbitrary, and obscure as they may be. The scripturally mediated connections or entanglements depend to different extents on hermeneutical horizons (determined methodologically, theologically-ideologically, and otherwise) and epistemological registers (informed e.g. by Romanticism, Modernism, and various ideologies) as much as pragmatic considerations. For the 2024 conference, papers are invited that explore entanglements between politics and religions, to script out the dimensions and nature and elements of hermeneutical horizons and epistemological registers (e.g. how religious beliefs and practices and biblically based opinions and interpretations impact political decision-making processes, or the ways in which political ideologies influence religious institutions and their biblical interpretations and teachings); and, particularly the extent to which and ways in which bibles evoke, convey/communicate and (de)construct such entanglements (e.g. how specific biblical narratives or teachings induce political activism, or how religious leaders use biblical tropes or biblical-theological concepts to convey particular political messages, for instance, how the commandment to love one's neighbour and one's stranger is interpreted by some political parties within migration policy; it might also examine instances where critical biblical interpretations challenge or deconstruct the entanglements between politics and religions, as found for instance in popular social discourse, faith formations’ deliberations or even among political groups). Papers that intend on identifying – and explicitly exploring the interaction between and even confluence of – interpretive registers at play in the political use of Bibles and the biblization of politics, are particularly encouraged.