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Network for the Study of the Reception History of the Bible

The foundation of the series is the international and interdisciplinary Network for the study of Rewritten Bible founded in 2006 on the initiative of Åbo Akademi University. After few years of work and gatherings the need to widen the focus to the whole reception history of the Bible became obvious. To better reflect this, the title of the publication series was changed from Studies in Rewritten Bible (= SRB) to Studies in the Reception History of the Bible (= SRB). In interests of continuity we have decided to preserve the abbreviation ”SRB.” Today the network gathers a number of European scholars together to discuss and study various topics within the framework of the Reception History of the Bible.

The network has organized the following conferences: Karkku, Finland (2006); Koblenz, Germany (2007); Karkku, Finland (2008 and 2010); Göttingen, Germany (2012); Turku, Finland (2014 and 2015).

In September 2016 a conference “Abraham’s family: A network of meaning” was held in Marburg, Germany under the chairmanship of Prof. Lukas Bormann. Twenty-five papers were presented.


Why SRB?

A whole florilegium of themes and types of afterlife of the Jewish and Christian Bibles can be collected under the umbrella of Reception History. The rewriting, i.e. enhancing, modifying, completing, and colouring, of the Scriptures was done by the generations who received the authoritative texts from their forerunners – in a fact, it started already in the hands which created the later strata of the Bible itself, and since those days the process has continued in different forms until today within the Jewish and Christian traditions. Since the study of the Reception History of the Bible has already by its nature crossed the boundary between Judaism and Christianity and now also brings in contributions of the Islamic studies (the Bible rewritten in the Islamic tradition) it functions as a means of increasing mutual understanding of the deep traditions of the three Abrahamitic faiths.


Who are we?

The members of the Åbo Akademi -team of researchers represent a wide variety of disciplines and research topics. We are (in alphabetical order):

Mia Anderssen-Löf, Sven-Olav Back, Tom Holmén, Ruth Illman, Matti Kankaanniemi, Erkki Koskenniemi, Anni Maria Laato, Antti Laato, Pekka Lindqvist, Tuomas Martikainen, Kristian Norrback, Risto Nurmela, Juho Sankamo, Hannu Töyrylä, Lotta Valve, Laura Wickström, Sami Yli-Karjanmaa, Jonatan Ådahl

Some members of the network in other Finnish and foreign universities

Mariano Gomez Aranda (Madrid)
Anders Aschim (Volda)
Michael Becker (München/Munich)
Lukas Bormann (Marburg)
Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila (Helsinki)
Ilkka Lindstedt (Helsinki), see
Martin Meiser (Saarbrücken)
Timo Nisula (Helsinki/Åbo)
Jacques van Ruiten (Groningen)
Martin Tamcke (Göttingen)
Cornelis de Vos (Erlangen)

The Most Recent Project (2013-2017): ”Where are you, Adam?”

The Academy of Finland provided financial support for the project: ”Where are you, Adam? A New Understanding of Adam in Jewish-Christian-Muslim Context” during the period 1.9. 2013 – 31.8. 2017.

The topic of this research project, the figure of Adam, results from co-operation between professors Antti Laato and Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila. Scholars participating in the SRB-network contributed to this project. ÅAU research team concentrated in Jewish and Christian interpretations on Adam.

The aim of this research project was to open the closed case of Adam and provide a new and updated ”biography” of Adam-interpretations from the Old Testament times onwards to later periods when the main Jewish, Christian and Muslim documents were written. The central question wass: How was the story of Adam interpreted in different historical and social contexts? And how was the figure of Adam used to depict the prototype of human being in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions? There are several points where we wanted to clarify the picture of Adam in different historical periods and correct earlier misreadings by avoiding blinders which later Jewish, Christian and Muslim interpretations have made on earlier writings.

The overall project consisted of five different historical periods:

I: Formation of the biblical traditions in the Hebrew Bible.

II: Early Jewish writings.

III: Formation of the Christian and rabbinical traditions.

IV: Formation of the Muslim traditions.

V: The golden age in Spain when all three monotheistic religions encountered each other in a relatively peaceful milieu.

In August 25-28 2014 a conference took place arranged in Turku. The approx. 25 papers were discussing Adam-traditions and their reception history in Jewish, Christian and Muslim writings. The papers were be published in the SRB-series. The wide spectrum of the papers shows clearly that the western post-Augustine picture of Adam as the one who fell in sin and subjugated the whole humankind under the yoke of ”original sin” is too one-sided. Adam interpretation contains lots of important theological concepts which are shared by all three monotheistic religions.

Uppdaterad 15.2.2021