Annual Lecture

Making Sense of Sensory Language in the Gospel of John

The 2019 Sydney College of Divinity Annual Lecture was held on Wednesday 8 May 2019 from 7.30pm to 9.00pm. It was held at the Sydney College of Divinity.

The speaker was Dr Louise Gosbell from Mary Andrews College in Sydney.

Louise has a PhD in Ancient History at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her dissertation was focused on the experiences of people with physical impairments in the gospels of the New Testament. Louise has taught Biblical Studies at Wesley Institute in Sydney for 7 years and has had the opportunity to speak at numerous local and international conferences on disability and the Bible. She also works as a volunteer for CBM Australia helping Christian communities to become more inclusive for people living with a disability.

At the Sydney College of Divinity Annual Lecture, Louise presented some of her recent research that explored how the New Testament documents depict the human senses, focusing on the Gospel of John.

Professor James Harrison launched Dr Louise Gosbell’s monograph ‘The Poor, the Crippled, the Blind, and the Lame’: Physical and Sensory Disability in the Gospels of the New Testament (2018, Mohr Siebeck), after the Lecture.

The monograph is the first major New Testament study of the interactions of the historical Jesus with people with disabilities. How did the gospel writers reinforce and reflect, as well as subvert, culturally-driven constructions of disability in the ancient world? What emerges is a strikingly original and masterful study of the ministry of Jesus against the backdrop of Second Temple Judaism and the Graeco-Roman world. Louise employs the visual, literary, and documentary evidence to construct a graphic portrait of the daily life of physically and social marginalised people in antiquity, and the radical dimension of Jesus’ ministry to them.

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