The Scandal of the Cross: Sexualised Violence, Torture and Public Theology – Public Talk by Dr David Tombs in Trinity College

TombsHow contemporary reports of torture and sexualised violence can offer new understanding of the crucifixion will be explored at a public talk in Trinity College Dublin on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013.

In a lecture entitled The Scandal of the Cross: Sexualised Violence, Torture and Public Theology, Dr David Tombs, Assistant Professor in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Trinity, will use both ancient and modern sources to examine crucifixion as a form of state terror torture and sexualised violence.

Organised by the Confederal School of Religions, Theology and Ecumenics and Trinity Long Room Hub as part of the Religion (s), Ethics and Cultural Engagement Lecture Series, the lecture will take place in Trinity Long Room Hub, Fellows’ Square, on Wednesday, November 13th, 3013 at 6pm.

Speaking in advance of the lecture, Dr Tombs commented:

“St. Paul’s description of the cross as ‘a scandal’ (1 Cor. 1.23) is widely known. Christians around the world are familiar with it, and many recall it each year on Good Friday. But what exactly made the cross a scandal, and why is it relevant to a Christian response to sexualised violence in conflicts today?”

“In this lecture I will present 15 years of research on why the cross was so scandalous in the ancient world. I will look at why the most critical element in the scandal has been unspeakable for two millennia, and why this has profound relevance to a church concern about sexualised violence in conflicts around the world today.

“My research suggests that ‘the scandal of the cross’ is a scandal of sexualised violence, and it is also scandalous for theologians and churches to have been silent on this for so long. In in response to reports of widespread conflict-related sexualised violence (including Central America in the 1980s, Bosnia and Africa in the 1990s and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the last decade) the central symbol of Christianity needs to be seen in a new way. It challenges theologians to find ways to speak of the cross in ways that will break the silence and taboo, and yet do so in a way that affirms the dignity of victims of sexualised violence past and present. It points to how this might be done in three areas of theological thought: the humanity of Christ; the unspoken memories of Eucharist; and the good news of resurrection.”


Media Contact:
Fiona Tyrrell, Press Officer for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Trinity College Dublin | E |T: + 353 1 8964337.