Biblical Perspectives on History, Memory & Cultural Identity

Course summary

Biblical Perspectives on History, Memory & Cultural Identity


The ancient world greatly respected persons and cultures which were of ancient lineage and which could show a continuous line of development from the earliest stages of a community’s life.

In Greek culture this task was performed by Homer’s poetry; in Graeco-Roman times Jewish thinkers sought to prove that their religious and social organisation and belief system was at least as old as that of Homer and thus establish their society as valid and authorised by longevity.

This short course explores the manner in which biblical texts use an historical approach to establishing group identity. It draws on the field of collective memory studies for its interpretive lens. The biblical works to be addressed are: the books from Joshua to Kings; Luke-Acts; Poetic materials from Wisdom of Solomon and Letter to the Hebrews.

Taken together these biblical works demonstrate the ways in which social cohesion can be strengthened via a chronological, ‘historical’ organisational structure. Each succeeding generation of readers learns about appropriate behaviour from the paradigms linked to the ancestors, whose beliefs and practices continue to impact on fresh social and political affairs.

Programme details

9.45am      Registration

10.00am    History, memory and identity: an interpretive lens

11.10am    Coffee/tea

11.35am    The Deuteronomistic histories

1.00pm    Lunch

2.00pm    Luke-Acts

3.15pm    Tea/coffee

3.45pm    Poetic chains of identity marker

5.00pm    Course disperses

Recommended reading

Mills, M E, From Joshua to 2Kings, London: Bloomsbury, 2016 (3rd edition)

Esler, P. Community and Gospel in Luke-Acts, CUP, 1990


Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms. Accommodation is often available in Rewley House for those who wish to stay on the night before a course. Please contact our Residential Centre on+44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and prices.


includes coffee/tea: £66.50
Baguette: £4.70
Full Meal: £13.50


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


The Revd Canon Dr Robin Gibbons

Director of Studies

The Revd. Canon Robin Gibbons is Director of Studies for Theology and Religious Studies at OUDCE. He is a member of the Theology and Religion Faculty, Regents Park College and an Honoraray Canon of Christ Church Oxford. 

Professor Mary Mills


is Professor of Biblical Studies at Liverpool Hope University. She studied theology at the University of London and has published several books on the Old and New Testaments.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.