Cover page from the Leningrad Codex, the oldest complete Hebrew manuscript of the Hebrew Bible

The process by which some authoritative scriptures came to be included in the canons of Judaism and Christianity has received much attention. While light has been shed on the importance of scribalism, citation, rewriting, and community understanding, little attention has been placed on the implications in making some scriptures, and not others, authoritative.

The scope of this conference will revolve around the issues of historical, theological and ethical ramifications of canonization. What are the effects in elevating certain writings to the status of “Holy Scriptures”? Some texts have the power to define identity and orthodoxy, to inspire noble actions, and also to justify violence and prejudice. Is the belief in the holiness of certain texts a warrant for their use and misuse?