Seminar with Katherine Gwyther: “The Hebrew Bible and the Utopian Imagination”

Centre for Religion and Public Life research seminar with Katherine Gwyther (University of Leeds) about “The Hebrew Bible and the Utopian Imagination”.

The Centre for Religion and Public Life is hosting a research seminar with Katherine Gwyther, PhD student in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds. She will speak about:

“The Hebrew Bible and the Utopian Imagination”

Utopia does not begin with Thomas More in 1516; it is well-established that there are antecedents in the ancient world. Yet, religious texts such as the Hebrew Bible are rarely considered. This paper explores utopia in the context of the Hebrew Bible. My discussion will be split into three sections. First, I argue against the exclusion of the Hebrew Bible as utopia(n) and critically explore its treatment within the discipline of Utopian Studies. I then move to examine the reception of utopia and the associated discipline of Utopian Studies as a hermeneutic method for Hebrew Bible scholars. I argue that the creative adoption of the concepts from Utopian Studies is fruitful for biblical interpretation. In my third section, I propose a utopian reading of Exodus 20–23. In doing so, I demonstrate the value of utopia for thinking beyond disciplinary boundaries and opening new avenues of study in both Biblical Studies and Utopian Studies.


You are welcome to join the seminar in person, or online via MS Teams.