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"The Hebrew Bible in Culture" Subject of Symposium at Pomona College

The Hartog Symposium on “The Hebrew Bible in Culture” will be held at Pomona College on Thursday, November 17 from 9:30-5:00 p.m. in Smith Campus Center’s Hart Room 201 (170 E. Sixth Street, Claremont). Scholars at the conference will examine the Hebrew scriptures in relation to empire, migration, feminism, militarized revenge and more.

“Too often the potential relevance and importance of biblical studies for a wide range of inquiries is underestimated,” says Pomona College Associate Professor of Religious Studies Erin Runions. “We are excited to host this international panel of biblical scholars who will explore the multiple ways that Hebrew Bible continues to affect culture(s) and politics.”

The schedule is as follows:

  • 9:30 a.m.: “A More Excellent Way: How the Bible of Empire Discovered the Argument Based on Love and Trade” - Yvonne Sherwood (Glasgow University, Scotland) explores transformations of the biblical related to the first European empire in the so-called New World.
  • 10:30 a.m.: “islandly conTexted: rooting migration, routing Moses” - Jione Havea (United Theological College, Australia) re-reads the figure of Moses in the exodus story from the perspective of the migrant routes of the natives of Oceania.
  • 11:30 a.m.: “Everything Under the Sun: Song of Songs 1:5-6, Caribbean Identity and Slavery” - Fiona Black (Mount Allison University, Canada) examines the themes of Song of Songs 1: 5-6—blackness, work, the sun, and scorn—in relation to Caribbean identity, the whitening of Christianity, slavery and tourism.
  • 1:45 p.m.: “By the Book: Psalm 137 and Circuits of Militarized Revenge” - Erin Runions (Pomona College) looks at how Psalm 137 came to be used as torture at Abu Ghraib and as justification for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
  • 3:00 p.m.: “What Have Thelma and Louise to Do with Deborah and Ya’el?:  Feminism, Violence and the Bible” - Carleen Mandolfo (Claremont School of Theology) discusses the feminist erasure of Ya’el’s violence, and asks whether this violence might be appreciated as a vehicle of feminist empowerment.
  • 4:00 p.m.: “Sex and the Singular Girl” - Lesleigh Cushing Stahlberg (Colgate University) revisits the stories of Dinah and Tamar in the book of Genesis.

Papers will be summarized and then discussed. For advance copies of a paper or more information, contact: (909) 607-0026 or or

The Joseph J. Hartog Symposium, administered by the Department of Religious Studies at Pomona College, is sponsored by John Hartog, Class of 1974, in memory of his father. The Hartog Symposium is held yearly to explore various facets of Judaism and its influence.