‘But it is you, my equal …’ Reacting to the conviction of Jan Joosten

Last week began with the shocking news of the conviction in France of Professor Jan Joosten on charges of possession of child abuse images. The details of the case, particularly its extent, were awful, almost awful beyond expression. The news particularly affects fellow members of the professional academic Biblical Studies societies of which he was a member and who were acquainted with him, including myself. It is with my fellow members in mind that I am writing these reflections, in the hope of providing some shred of support.

The immediate outpouring of reactions through social media was understandably raw, and prompts some reflections on how we can make sense of that, and thus have compassion for ourselves and one another in such circumstances. This in turn leads us to explore where can find resources within the Bible to help us in the processing of our reactions. And finally I will offer some thoughts on the implications for the reception of Joosten’s academic work.

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#BLM, White Male Privilege and Sexism in Academia

The tragic, heart-breaking death of George Floyd, and the subsequent protests on both sides of the Atlantic, have dominated my reflections for the past week.

As I am a representative of two institutions that are often charged with systemic racism (the Church of England, and the academic guild), I have been spending time reading more deeply into the topic. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

The thing that has struck me more strongly than before is that (my) white male privilege tends to be invisible to me.

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