Proudly supported by vanity fair

Newsletter

Receive regular updates about forthcoming events and other news from Intelligence Squared

Thanks

You have been added to our mailing list and will now be among the first to hear about events.

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Old Testament vs New Testament

History &
Social Policy

Noah’s Ark, Moses and the Ten Commandments, the parting of the Red Sea. These are a few of the stories from the Old Testament. And then there’s the New Testament, with its account of the life of Jesus, the Good Samaritan, the raising of Lazarus and the feeding of the five thousand. Whatever our creed or background, these stories are embedded in our consciousness. They inform our everyday speech and much of our art, music and literature – from Cranach’s depiction of Adam and Eve to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia stories and Stormzy’s ‘Blinded By Your Grace’.

Together the Old Testament and the New Testament make up the Holy Bible. The Old Testament contains the sacred scriptures of the Jewish faith, while Christianity draws on both Old and New Testaments, interpreting the New Testament as the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old.

But which of these books is the greater? In this special Intelligence Squared event, we are bringing together cultural and religious experts to debate the merits of each. Which has the stronger moral message? Does the New Testament’s ‘turn the other cheek’ trump the Old Testament’s ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’? And which book has had the greater influence? Is it the Old Testament, which first established a monotheistic God who laid down the moral law through the Ten Commandments? (The ancient Greek and Roman gods needed propitiating but gave no moral instruction.) Or is it the New Testament, the basis of Christianity, which set out to universalise God’s message?

And which book makes for a better read? Is it the Old Testament, with its stories about the travails of the Jewish people, its tales of violence, sex and power? Or the New Testament, which describes a gentle, compassionate man who associates with the poor, downtrodden and outcast, who is betrayed, disowned and ultimately sacrificed for the sake of all humanity?

Join us on Wednesday 12th June, hear the arguments and decide for yourself.

Event Name

Old Testament vs New Testament


Choose Tickets

Speakers for the Old Testament
  • Anne Atkins

    Novelist and broadcaster

  • Howard Jacobson

    Novelist, journalist and broadcaster

Speakers for the New Testament
  • Robert Beckford

    Professor of Theology and Culture in the African Diaspora

  • Rev. Richard Coles

    Anglican priest and presenter of the Radio 4 show Saturday Live

Chair

To be announced.

 

Speakers are subject to change.


Location
  • Emmanuel Centre
  • 9-23 Marsham Street
  • London
  • SW1P 3DW
Time
  • Wednesday 12 June 2019
  • 7pm to 8:30pm



Speakers

Speakers for the Old Testament

Anne Atkins

Novelist and broadcaster


Novelist, writer and regular contributor to the Today programme’s Thought For The Day. She is a committed Anglican but believes the Old Testament has a lot more good stories.

Howard Jacobson

Novelist, journalist and broadcaster


Novelist and journalist, who has been described as the British Philip Roth (only funnier). He is best known for The Finkler Question, which won the 2010 Man Booker Prize. He has said ‘Few can do love and loss like the Old Testament.’
Speakers for the New Testament

Robert Beckford

Professor of Theology and Culture in the African Diaspora


Professor of Theology and Culture in the African Diaspora at Canterbury Christ Church University. He has presented over twenty television documentaries on Channel 4, BBC Two and BBC Four, and won numerous awards including a BAFTA. He believes that the revolutionary inclusivity of the New Testament makes it a more useful text than the Old Testament for human fulfilment and social amelioration.

Rev. Richard Coles

Anglican priest and presenter of the Radio 4 show Saturday Live


Presenter of the Radio 4 show Saturday Live. He is a parish priest and, as a former member of the Communards, is the only vicar in the UK to have had a number one hit. He was one of the inspirations for the BBC hit comedy Rev, and is the author of Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit.
Chair

To be announced.

 

Speakers are subject to change.