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What future for the books of the bible?

This day conference has been organised to address the perceived dwindling levels of biblical literacy in 21st century Britain. If the characters, storylines and central themes of the Old and New Testaments are no longer widely known, what impact will this have on the cultural landscape of an increasingly pluralist society?

 

In 2010 a Bible Society Questionnaire revealed that few people really knew the basics of what the books of the bible contained and what their message was for today. This pretty grim picture has been challenged as recently as the summer of 2013 when the Barna Group conducted a survey in the United States of 1075 adults and found that 20 read the Bible.

Dame Joan Bakewell wrote recently: “No one knows their Bible stories anymore and I think they should….Bible stories saturate our literature too. Milton couldn’t exist without them. And T. S. Elliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ is imbued with them…The texture of biblical reference is laced into our language: “as old Methuselah”; “living off the fat of the land”; “sour grapes”; “out of the mouth of babes and sucklings”; “three score years and ten”.”

We look at the Bible in modern culture from the perspective of experts in biblical studies, advertising and the media. The papers which are presented will be published.