History and Interpretation of the Bible

The Centre of excellence “History and Interpretation of the Bible” was created on the 1st of January 2012 as research project no. P401/12/G168 supported by the Czech Science Foundation (Grantová agentura České republiky); it is based at the Charles University in Prague, Protestant Theological Faculty.

The project is based on the cooperation of the Centre for Biblical Studies and of the Centre for Patristic, Medieval and Renaissance Texts, of some specialists of the Czech Institute of Egyptology (Charles University in Prague) and of the Catholic Theological Faculty (Charles University in Prague). All these institutions cooperate with their partner research institutions in abroad.

The interdisciplinary project aims at following and elucidating the process in which the biblical texts, having been formed by historical circumstances, became themselves influential in the formation of new cultures. Researchers of different specializations analyze selected topics concerning biblical texts, their context and formative influence in the time span from the Late Bronze Age until the present day. The project is supposed to contribute to the knowledge of the historical contexts of the biblical texts by providing editions and databases of primary historical sources on the international level and it will also provide further basic instruments for understanding and interpreting the Bible in the Czech language domain (editions, commentaries, thematic studies).

The project is profiled by three perspectives: it examines emergence, transmission and interpretation of the biblical texts. Each of the three aspects represents in the context of biblical studies a multi-layered field of research, involving themes like e. g. material production of texts, scribal education and culture, cultural environment, political context and historical events, communication between different linguistic areas, theological concepts, etc. This necessitates an interdisciplinary approach. Therefore, the project associates around its thematic basis researchers from the following disciplines: theology, history of philosophy, Akkadian, Hebrew, Greek, Coptic and Latin philology and linguistics, cuneiform and North-West Semitic epigraphy, history of the Ancient Near East, biblical exegesis, theoretical reflection on historiography and theory of translation.

The project is structured into five units in that the distinctive teams of scholars pursue their research:

1.  The World of the Hebrew Bible: Epigraphy and History of Levant, Mesopotamia and Egypt in the 2nd and 1st millenium BCE

    1.1 Levantine Epigraphy of the Late Bronze Age (15th–12th centuries BCE)

    1.2 Aramaic Epigraphy in the 1st Millenium BCE, till 1st Century BCE

2.  Old Testament Studies

3.  New Testament Studies

4.  Interpretation of the Bible in the Early Christianity

    4.1 Interpretations of the Bible in the Greek and Latin Fathers

    4.2 Interpretations of the Bible in the Apocryphal, Apostolic and Other Early Christian Writings

    4.3 Interpretations of the Bible in the Coptic Writings

5.  Translations of the Bible

    5.1 Study of the Greek Texts of the Old Testament

    5.2 Czech Bible Translations