Browser does not support script.
Research & Expertise
Connections & Outreach
The 2023 KCL / UCL Hebrew Bible Workshop took place on Wednesday 15 March. The Keynote Lecture was delivered by Professor Konrad Schmid, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism at the University of Zurich. Professor Schmid spoke on the topic ‘How Divine Laws Became Divine: The Case of the Covenant Code (Exodus 20-23)’.
The Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King’s College London announced a series of public lectures dedicated to the memory and work of Colin Gunton. Colin held the Chair of Christian Doctrine at King’s for many years and deeply shaped its theology.
Gunton Memorial Lecture for 2023
Gunton Memorial Lecture for 2022
Colin Gunton Memorial Lecture 2021
The 2018 Lecture was given by Professor Mark D Jordan (Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Christian Thought at Harvard University Divinity School) at 6pm on 2 May 2018, in K2.30 (King's Building, Strand Campus).
The 2017 Lecture was given by Professor Oliver O’Donovan (Professor Emeritus, Christian Ethics and Practical Theology, University of Edinburgh) at 6pm on 16 May 2017, in K2.31 (King’s Building, Strand Campus).
The department was delighted that Professor Alan Torrance (University of St Andrews) agreed to be our first distinguished lecturer.
The day included presentations by staff and students in the Department for staff, students and RIST invitees. In the evening there was a public lecture by Professor Torrance.
The lectures are designed for students and staff within Jewish Studies and beyond, members of the Society of Maccabaeans, and other interested members of the public.
It will be called 'To Grasp the Hebraica Veritas: Different Hebrew Learning Approaches in Medieval England', and will be led by Professor Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies).
Reading Jewish Literature in Victorian England by Dr Nadia Valman (QMUL)
This lecture explores the beginnings of popular Jewish literature in Victorian England. Jews were all the rage for early Victorian readers, and historical novels by the Anglo-Jewish writer Grace Aguilar became beloved bestsellers. But Aguilar also aimed to boost the pride of Jewish readers and indirectly to shape the contemporary debate about Jewish political rights. As this lecture shows, Aguilar's writing deeply influenced nineteenth-century Jewish popular literature in France and Germany too, where it came to express the contradictions of the Jewish encounter with modernity.
Nadia Valman is Reader in English Literature at Queen Mary, University of London. She is the author or editor of nine books on Jews and British literature, including The Jewess in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture (Cambridge University Press), the Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures (Routledge) and The Jew in Edwardian Culture: Between the East End and East Africa (Palgrave).
Israel Zangwill Our Contemporary: Ghetto — Melting Point — Zion by Professor Bryan Cheyette (University of Reading)
Israel Zangwill (1864–1926), a founding member of the Society of Maccabaeans, was the most famous Jew in Britain and America during his life-time. Although largely forgotten, he lives on in three main ways. His bestselling fiction, especially Children of the Ghetto (1892), profoundly changed the perception of migrant Jews; his notorious play The Melting Pot (1908) helped characterize modern America; and, as a Jewish territorialist, Zangwill challenged mainstream Zionism by putting people ahead of land. My talk will explore the extent to which Zangwill’s preoccupations — ghetto, melting pot and Zion — speak to us today.
Bryan Cheyette is Chair in Modern Literature at the University of Reading. He is the editor or author of ten books, most recently Diasporas of the Mind: Jewish and Postcolonial Writing (2014) and volume seven of the Oxford History of the Novel in English (2016). He is currently working on a short introduction to the Ghetto for Oxford University Press and a longer book on Israel Zangwill.
An International Enterprise: Amsterdam's Jewish Book Trade in the Dutch Golden Age
by Professor Shlomo Berger (University of Amsterdam)
The Amsterdam Jewish book industry thrived in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This lecture will offer a portrait of printers and tradesmen, it will look at the role of Amsterdam books in local Sephardi and Ashkenazi life, and it will trace the circulation of Amsterdam books in Jewish communities and among Christian Hebraists in other parts of Europe as well as in Britain and Ireland. Through the lens of interesting Amsterdam books, it will depict the local and global dimensions of Jewish culture just before the inception of modernity.
Shlomo Berger is Professor of Yiddish Culture at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on early modern Yiddish and Ashkenazic cultural history. In 2013 he published Producing Redemption in Amsterdam: Early Modern Yiddish Books in Paratextual Perspective (Brill). At present, he is co-convener of the Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies. During Hilary and Trinity terms he is also a Visiting Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford.
The Last Anglo-Jewish Gentleman - Redcliffe Nathan Salaman (1874-1955) by Professor Todd M. Endelman (University of Michigan)
The communal hegemony of the Anglo-Jewish notability collapsed in the mid-twentieth century. One of its last representative figures was Redcliffe Nathan Salaman - plant geneticist, country gentleman, social historian of the potato, and Zionist. Salaman witnessed and acutely observed its demise, as well as the larger transformation of British Jewry in the twentieth century.
Todd M. Endelman is Professor Emeritus of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. A specialist in the history of Anglo-Jewry and modern Jewish social history, he is the author of The Jews of Georgian England, Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History, and The Jews of Britain, 1656-2000. He recently completed a history of conversion and radical assimilation in modern Jewish history, which Princeton University Press will be publishing in 2014. He is currently working on a biography of Redcliffe Nathan Salaman.
Dreyfus Was Not Along: The Army as a Jewish Career in Modern Europe by Professor Derek Penslar (Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies and Fellow, St Anne's College, Oxford / University of Toronto)
Chaired by Dr Adam Sutcliffe, King’s College London
The military was an important source and sign of Jewish social mobility in modern Europe. This talk will explore the social background and family lives of Jewish army officers and show how the presence or absence of Jewish officers illustrates the position of Jews in a country's society. The focus will be on fin de siecle France, where the tragic figure of Alfred Dreyfus appears in a different light when placed against the background of hundreds of French-Jewish career officers, including dozens at the most senior ranks.
Professor Penslar is a comparative historian with interests in the relationship between modern Israel and diaspora Jewish societies, global nationalist movements, European colonialism, and post-colonial states.
"The Great Sir, Unique Among His People": Visions of Jewish Community in the Tributes to Sir Moses Montefiore by Dr François Guesnet (University College London)
Chair: Dr Andrea Schatz (King's College London)
Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885) was undoubtedly one of the most prominent Jews of the nineteenth century. His advocacy for Jewish communities in the Ottoman Empire, in Russia, Romania, Palestine, Morocco and elsewhere, spanning more than four decades, made him one of the best known Jews in modern history. A remarkable expression of this reputation are the thousands of tributes sent by Jewish communities, congregations, and associations from around the world to Ramsgate. In his lecture, Dr François Guesnet argues that by paying tribute to Sir Moses Montefiore, the authors of these remarkable documents evoked and advocated their vision of Jewish community. These visions were as multifaceted and complex as the personality of the addressee himself. The lecture is based on the project to digitise and transcribe the collection of tributes held at the Special Collections at University College London, a project sponsored by the Montefiore Endowment.
Kabbalah, Science and Moral Cosmopolitanism in Enlightenment Jewish Thought by Professor David Ruderman (University of Pennsylvania)
Chair: Professor Marc Saperstein (Leo Baeck College London)
The lecture dealt with the history of a single book and its incredible reception among Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Book of the Covenant was first published by an eastern European Jew named Pinhas Hurwitz in 1797. It purports to be a mystical commentary on a classic kabbalistic text, but in reality is an encyclopedia of the sciences, a book of instructions on reaching the level of a prophet, and a work of moral guidance. In the latter case, the author strongly advocates that Jews need to love all non-Jews.
This best-selling book, published in 36 editions, offers a fascinating window into the processes of continuity and change in Jewish thinking at the dawn of the modern era: the dialectic between mysticism and science; between Jewish faith and modern philosophy; and between an internal notion of Jewish superiority and the demands of universal ethics.
Professor Ruderman has received the National Jewish Book Award in History 2010.
The FD Maurice Lectures were established in 1933 in honour of Frederick Denison Maurice. Maurice, who was Professor of English Literature and History (1840-1846) and then Professor of Theology (1846-1853) at King's, was forced to leave the College in 1853 on the grounds that his theological ideas would be detrimental to students, although a more fundamental reason was probably his social radicalism.
The FD Maurice lectures take place over three consecutive evenings in the Spring, with a common theme. The establishment of the lectures testified to a later generation's recognition of Maurice's enormous contribution to education and to society. Maurice's own range of interests is reflected in the range of topics addressed in FD Maurice Lectures, within the fields of Biblical Studies, History of the Christian Church, the Study of Religion, Systematic and Moral Theology, and the intersection between religion and society. The lectures have been given by some of the most eminent specialists in their field and are designed both for students and staff and for the informed public.
A series of three public lectures on aspects of British coronations throughout history.
Dr David Crankshaw, Lecturer in the History of Early Modern Christianity, Department of Theology and Religious Studies.
Dr George Gross, Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Theology and Religious Studies.
The FD Maurice Lectures 2023: British Coronations of Past and Present
Missionaries, Converts and Maskilim: An Entangled History of Christians, Jews, and Those In Between in 19th-Century Europe.
Speaker: David B. Ruderman
(Joseph Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History, University of Pennsylvania)
Tuesday 28 February: The Many Faces of Alexander McCaul, the Missionary to the Jews
Wednesday 1 March:The Intellectual and Spiritual Journey of Stanislaus Hoga: From Judaism to Evangelical Christianity to Hebrew Christianity
Thursday 2 March: The Jewish Response to McCaul: Isaac Baer Levinsohn and His Defense of the Rabbis
Christianity and Conscience in Early Twentieth Century Britain (Speaker: Professor Seth Koven (Rutgers University)
14 June Lecture: Love, Friendship, and Christian Revolution in the London Slums
This lecture explores how and why the convergence of a modernist theology of love with the radical practice of friendships across divides of class, race and nation produced a revolutionary Christianity in the first decades of the twentieth century.
15 June Lecture: Christianity, Conscience, and the Warfare State in First World War Britain
This lecture analyses how gender and sexuality informed the wartime state’s response to the challenges posed by radical Christian critiques of the violence of everyday life in imperial industrial capitalist Britain and on Europe’s battlefields.
About the speaker: Professor Koven has published widely on the history of disability and the body; childhood; gender, maternalism, and comparative welfare states. He is notably the author of two highly regarded works, Slumming: Social and Sexual Politics in Victorian London (Princeton, 2004), which analyses the relationship between eros and altruism in shaping social welfare and The Match Girl and the Heiress (Princeton, 2014), which explores the love, friendship, and global lives of a half-orphaned Cockney match factory worker and the daughter of a well-to-do shipbuilder and pacifist feminist humanitarian, showing how they sought to remake the world according to their own utopian vision of Christ’s teachings. He is the founding director of the co-director of the Rutgers British Studies Center (RBSC). His F.D. Maurice lectures will offer compelling insights into the relationship between Christianity and conscience in early twentieth century Britain.
Religion and Sociology: a marriage made in heaven or hell? By Professor James A. Beckford FBA (University of Warwick)
Dates: 18, 19 & 20 March 2014
Religions have lost none of their power to fascinate, to motivate and to infuriate in the early twenty-first century. The aim of these lectures is to discuss how far sociological perspectives are capable of raising important questions about religions and our understanding of them. The starting point is the emergence of sociological concerns with religion in the 19th and early 20th centuries and of the continuing doubts about the value of studying the social dimensions of religion. I shall then set out my own approach to understanding religion in its social contexts, using examples from recent research on, for example, religion in prisons, religious diversity and new religious movements. Finally, I shall discuss the contributions that sociological perspectives have brought to bear on a selection of current debates, disputes and controversies about religion in Britain today.
Tuesday 18 March: ‘The religious and the social'
The first lecture explores the evolving relationship between sociology and other approaches to the study of religion. After reviewing a variety of sociological perspectives on religion I shall begin to make a case for adopting a moderate form of social constructionism as a distinctively sociological – but not sociologistic – way of raising and tackling good questions about religions.
Wednesday 19 March: ‘Religions, rights and regulation’
The second lecture amplifies my social constructionist perspective by showing how far it can throw light on some of the intriguing and challenging issues that arise when prisons provide inmates with opportunities to practise their faith. Comparisons between the provisions made in England & Wales, France and Canada will help to sharpen the focus on what counts not only as religion but also as acceptable religion.
Thursday 20 March: ‘Religious diversity, the state and contention’
The focus of the third lecture is on a variety of controversies in which religious actors, organisations and communities are currently embroiled in Britain. Theological and moral aspects of the controversies about, for example, equalities legislation, multiculturalism, secularism and faith schools are often in the headlines, but I shall argue that sociological analysis can also throw light on broader questions about the contested management of religious diversity and the role of the state in ‘interpellating’ faith communities as its ‘partners’.
26- 28 February 2013: The Good Book: The Bible in a Secular Society by Professor Philip Davies (University of Sheffield)
Our major Western religions (I include Islam, which has a long history in Europe) have argued for centuries about the meaning of the Bible, between themselves and among themselves. I see no reason not to extend this conversation beyond religions. Why should, for example, debates about contraception, abortion, capital punishment, suicide, homosexuality, our responsibility to the earth, gender, ethics generally, which are conducted across all of our population, assume that biblical interpretation is just for the pious?
Tuesday 26 February: 'A Secular Canon'
The first lecture will define the relationship between secularism, religion and the Bible, and argues that while the Bible is de facto canonical in our modern society, it is the secular state that bears the responsibility for maintaining its influence through education and by encouraging its use in public debate.
Wednesday 27 February, 18.30 'Democracy, Identity, Ethics' K6.29, King's Building, Strand Campus
The second lecture describes how the Bible addresses secular principles and issues such as 'worldly wisdom' versus religious 'insight'; the mistrust of the 'word of God'; democracy; the rule of law; and society-building.
Thursday 28 February, 'Secular Biblical Exegesis'
The third lecture in the series discusses the principles of secular exegesis - already the norm in much biblical scholarship - and illustrates with examples how it can contribute positively to contemporary secular society.
Truth, Reconciliation & Leadership by Professor Robert Schreiter C.PP.S. (Professor of Theology, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago)
Tuesday 22 March 2011: Christian and secular narratives of reconciliation
Wednesday 23 March 2011: Truth-telling in social reconciliation
Thursday 24 March 2011: Leadership after conflict: justice, forgiveness and reconciliation
King's TRS maintains excellent links with both national and international partners
TRS alumni relations, student destinations and more
Biographies, contact details and academic profiles for Department staff members.