The Birmingham Research Network on the Bible and Culture

Researchers that make up this network specialize in the composition and transmission of texts in antiquity; the social world of ancient scribes and copyists including the Dead Sea Scrolls; ancient writing practices; power relations and enslavement as a facet of the social world of the Bible; the role of the Bible in contemporary culture and education; digital scholarly editing, including editions of New Testament texts and manuscripts; and theoretical engagement with spatial theory, gender and sexuality studies, and disability.

The scholarship of our researchers has been cited and profiled in The Telegraph, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN, Politico, The Times, Slate, and the BBC.

Our Biblical Studies Seminar meets twice a month online and attracts an international group of speakers and attendees from the disciplines of theology, biblical studies, classics, archaeology, and ancient history. As well as our regular meetings, more informal workshops, co-organized with collaborators at other institutions, provide venues for focused conversations on specific topics (e.g., Natal Alienation and Immigration).

In addition, the world-renowned Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE), directed by Network member Professor Hugh Houghton, serves as a hub for the creation of online and printed editions of scriptural texts and manuscripts. It also convenes the Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, which meets biennually.

Similarly, the Edward Cadbury Center for the Public Understanding of Religion, directed by Professor Andrew Davies, regularly organizes events relevant to the Bible’s influence in contemporary society, most notably the Edward Cadbury Lectures


  • Candida Moss (Network Lead) – New Testament, enslavement, and disability
  • Andrew Davies – Impact of the Bible and public religion
  • Deryn Guest - Transgender, lesbian and queer interpretations of Biblical exts
  • Charlotte Hempel – Dead Sea Scrolls and Hebrew Bible
  • Hugh Houghton – Editions and transmission of the New Testament
  • Karen Wenell – Spatial theory, ethical consuming, human rights

Research areas

Postgraduate researchers

Select publications

  • Andrew Davies, Double Standards in Isaiah: Re-evaluating Divine Justice and Prophetic Ethics (Biblical Interpretation Series, 46; Leiden: Brill, 2000).
  • Andrew Davies, ‘A Refuge from the Storm? The English Church During COVID-19’, in John R. Bryson, Lauren Andres, Aksel Ersoy and Louise Reardon (eds.), Living with Pandemics: People, Place and Policy (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2021)
  • Andrew Davies, ‘“My God ... Why?” Criticising the Actions and Inaction of God in the Psalms’ in L. Snow Flesher, C. J. Dempsey & M.J. Boda (eds), Why?... How Long? Studies on Voice(s) of Lamentation Rooted in Biblical Hebrew Poetry (LHBOTS, 552; London: T&T Clarke, 2014)
  • Andrew Davies, ‘Tears in Jerusalem: David’s Response to the Death of Absalom in 2 Samuel and Tomkins’s “When David Heard”’, in D.J.A. Clines and E. van Wolde (eds), A Critical Engagement: Essays in Honour of J. Cheryl Exum (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2012)
  • Charlotte Hempel, The Community Rules from Qumran: A Commentary. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, vol. 183, Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen. 
  • Charlotte Hempel and George J. Brooke (eds) 2018, T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Bloomsbury Companions, T & T Clark, under the Continuum Imprint, London. 
  • Charlotte Hempel, 2017, 'Wisdom and law in the Hebrew Bible and at Qumran', Journal for the Study of Judaism, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 155–181. 
  • Charlotte Hempel, 2020, 4QMMT in the Context of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Beyond. in RG Kratz (ed.), Interpreting and Living God’s Law at Qumran: Miqṣat Maʿaśe ha-Torah, Some of the Works of the Torah (4QMMT). Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam REligionemque pertinentia, vol. 37, Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen, pp. 117-136. 
  • Charlotte Hempel, 2020, ‘Why We Should be Looking for Ezra’s Legacy in the Dead Sea Scrolls,’ Semitica: 285-307
  • Charlotte Hempel, ‘Self-Fashioning in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Thickening the Description of What Rule Texts Do,’ in J. Ben-Dov and M. Bar-Asher (eds.), Social History of the Jews in Antiquity. Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen, pp. 49-65
  • H. A. G.  Houghton and David Parker (eds.) Codex Zacynthius: Catena, Lectionary, Palimpsest. Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2020. 
  • H. A. G. Houghton. “Greek Manuscripts in Alexandria.” JTS 71:1 (2020): 119-133.
  • H. A. G. Houghton (ed.) Liturgy and the Living Text of the New Testament: Papers from the Tenth Birmingham Colloquium on the Text Criticism of the New Testament. Piscataway: Gorgias, 2018.
  • Candida R. Moss “Reading Between the Lines: Looking for the Contributions of Enslaved Literate Laborers in a Second Century Text.” Studies in Late Antiquity 5:3 (2021): 432-52. 
  • Candida R. Moss “Fashioning Mark: Early Christian Discussions about the Scribe and Status of the Second Gospel.” New Testament Studies 67:2 (2021): 181-204.
  • Candida R. Moss. Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby. Co-authored with Joel Baden. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017.
  • Candida R. Moss. Divine Bodies: Resurrecting Perfection in the New Testament. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2019.
  • Karen Wenell. “Kingdom not Kingly Rule: Assessing the Kingdom of God as Sacred Space.” Biblical Interpretation 25:2 (2017): 206-33.
  • Karen Wenell. “Religion and Ethical Consumption: Supramorality and Space” in D. Shaw, T. Newholm, A. Chatzidakis & M. Carrington (eds) Ethics and Morality in Consumption: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London: Routledge, 2016.



  • November 17: Karina Atudosie (University of Birmingham) “Power in the Song of Songs”
  • December 6: Meredith Warren (University of Sheffield) “Slut Shaming the Samaritan Woman”
  • December 15: Chontel Syfox (University of Wisconsin-Madison) “Rewriting the Rape of Dinah: Gender Violence in Jub. 30”


  • February 2: Sarit Kattan Gribetz (Fordham)
  • February 9: Meghan Henning (University of Dayton)
  • February 23: Maddy Richey (Brandeis)
  • March 9: Jennifer Barry (University of Mary Washington)
  • March 30: Chance Bonar (Harvard)
  • May 4: Cate Bonesho (UCLA)
  • May 11: Elif Hilal Karaman (Dokuz Eylul University)
  • May 25: Brian Rainey (Princeton Theological Seminary)