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In January 2018 Professor David Tombs will visit SIIBS and deliver a special Shiloh Project lecture on ‘#MeToo Jesus’ with Dr Jayme Reaves.
Professor Tombs is the Howard Paterson Chair of Theology and Public Issues, at the University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand. He has a longstanding interest in contextual and liberation theologies and is author of Latin American Liberation Theologies (Brill, 2002). His current research focusses on religion violence and peace and especially on Christian responses to gender-based violence, sexual abuse and torture.
He is originally from the United Kingdom and previously worked at the University of Roehampton in London (1992-2001), and then in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin (2001-2014) on a conflict resolution and reconciliation programme. He has degrees in theology from Oxford (BA/MA, 1987), Union Theological Seminary New York (STM, 1988), and London (PhD 2004), and in philosophy (MA London, 1993).
Dr Jayme R. Reaves is a public theologian with 20 years experience working on the intersections between theology, peace, conflict, gender, and culture in the US, Former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, and Great Britain. Her book, Safeguarding the Stranger: An Abrahamic Theology and Ethic of Protective Hospitality is available from Wipf & Stock or any book retailer. You can find out more at www.jaymereaves.com.
Jayme’s social media links are:
#MeToo Jesus: Why Naming Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Abuse Matters
2pm, 16 January, G.03 Jessop West, University of Sheffield
Jayme Reaves and David Tombs
The #MeToo hashtag and campaign created by Tarana Burke in 2007 and popularized by Alyssa Milano in October 2017 has confirmed what feminists have long argued on the prevalence of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexually abusive behaviour. It has also prompted a more public debate on dynamics of victim blaming and victim shaming which contribute to the silences which typically benefit perpetrators and add a further burden to survivors. As such, the #MeToo movement raises important questions for Christian faith and theology. A church in New York offered a creative response in a sign which adapted Jesus’ words ‘You did this to me’ in Mt 25:40 to read ‘You did this to #MeToo’. This presentation will explore the biblical and theological reasons for naming Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse drawing on earlier work presenting crucifixion as a form of state terror and sexual abuse (Tombs 1999). It will then discuss some of the obstacles to this recognition and suggest why the acknowledgement nonetheless matters. It will argue that recognition of Jesus as victim of sexual abuse can help strengthen church responses to sexual abuses and challenge tendencies within the churches, as well as in wider society, to collude with victim blaming or shaming.
For further reading, see David Tombs, ‘Crucifixion, State Terror, and Sexual Abuse’ in Union Seminary Quarterly Review (1999).