Literature Festival Tickets

The Cheltenham Literature Festival are offering University of Gloucestershire students a limited number of free tickets to the following events:

L261: Write Honourable Members

What makes a politician put pen to paper and produce a novel? Academics Nicola Allen and Aidan Byrne delve into this unusual but distinctive genre and reveal the truth about our honourable friends’ secret fantasies. They are joined by bestselling author Michael Dobbs (House of Cards), The Times Literary Editor Robbie Millen and broadcaster and journalist Anne McElvoy.

L169: Freedom is Therapeutic

Italy, 1978: the Basaglia Law sanctions the closure of psychiatric hospitals in an attempt to revolutionise mental health care. Drawing on the anti-psychiatry movement’s legacy, UCL head of psychology Peter Fonagy, historian John Foot (The Man Who Closed the Asylums) and former psychiatrist Linda Gask (The Other Side of Silence) discuss tackling mental health care today. Chaired by David Freeman.

The University of Gloucestershire - Interview brief (3)_Page_1

See your student email for details of how to claim tickets.

Harry Potter as Christ figure and more…

As part of the Humanities Students Research Conference on 08 June, Theology and Religious Studies student Alison Kerks presented her research on Harry Potter and Christian Aesthetics.


Based upon her excellent ‘Bible and popular culture’ research project for HM5000, Alison discussed the role Christian imagery, allusion and values play in the Harry Potter corpus, and the controversies which have surrounded those books (and films) in some Christian circles. Working from some of the snippets which J.K. Rowling has let slip herself, and engaging with other Potter scholarship, Alison explored the imagery of Harry as Christ figure, the repeated themes of death and resurrection, and the centrality of love as a vital and overcoming force in the stories. Alison concluded:

The Harry Potter series is more than a tale of good versus evil; it is more than life versus death; it is more than violence versus love; it is even more than love of power versus the power of love. It is above all else about love. Love for all, good and bad, the undeserving, the ‘clean’ and the ‘unclean’, the outcasts and those society accepts. There is an undeniable echo of the Third Gospel and its major ‘salvation for all’ theme. What Rowling has produced is one of the greatest love stories ever told, that of God’s love for humanity, re-imagined in such a way that the reader is often unaware that that is what they are enjoying and perhaps even experiencing.

Alison’s though-provoking presentation was very well received and stimulated interesting questions and discussion.


Prof Larry Hurtado gives the annual ICBI lecture…

This year’s annual lecture for the International Centre for Biblical Interpretation will be given by Prof Larry Hurtado. His title,

 Early Christianity:  A ‘Bookish’ Religion


Texts were central in the young Christian movement from its inception.  What became the “Old Testament” were the initial scriptures in which believers found predictions and other resources for formulating their faith.  But very quickly Christians also produced their own texts.  Scholars commonly believe that there were lists of Jesus’ sayings, perhaps early “passion narratives,” and other texts that no longer are extant.  Paul’s letters are the earliest extant texts, written c.50-60 AD, and by c.100 AD or so were being treated as scriptures in various Christian circles.  The four Gospels form a remarkable body of texts without real parallels in the time.  Early Christianity was exceptionally productive of texts, also copying and disseminating them (we know of several hundred composed within the first three centuries).  Texts were sometimes a part of other religious options as well, but, with the possible exception of ancient Judaism, no other group or tradition seems to have been so given to the production, copying, distribution and reading of texts as central activities.  This “bookishness” took material and visual form too, in the preferred bookform (codex) and also in the use of “nomina sacra” as scribal expressions of Christian faith/piety.

Professor Larry Hurtado is a New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity and Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at the University of Edinburgh.

The lecture is on Thursday 28 May 2015 at 7.30pm, in Room TC001, Francis Close Hall Campus.

Tickets are free but you must email to reserve your place.  Drinks will be served after the lecture.