Dr Alison Jack (MA BD PhD)

Senior Lecturer in Bible and Literature, Assistant Principal of New College

Background

Since studying the New Testament as an undergraduate at New College with Professor John O'Neill, I have been fascinated by the ongoing influence of biblical texts and the way they have teased and puzzled their readers. Throughout my academic career I have tried to integrate my interest in English and Scottish literature with my study of the Bible, and this has led me to focus on the fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My work in various parishes alongside my academic studies has offered me much fruitful engagement with committed and interested  readers of these biblical texts, in a wide variety of circumstances. The combination of roles has been stimulating and challenging. Other areas of research in Religious and Moral Education in primary and secondary schools have offered fresh insights into contextual readings of the Bible and other sacred texts. 

My recently published monograph, The Prodigal Son in English and American Literature (OUP, 2019), explores the rich connection between this biblical figure and a wide range of literature. I have also recently co-edited a book (with Caroline Blyth) on The BIble in Crime Fiction and Drama (Bloomsbury, 2018). 

I am Director of the newly formed Scottish Network for Religion and Literature.

Qualifications

MA BD PhD Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority 

Responsibilities & affiliations

External appointments

Theological Advisor on the Christian Aid Advisory Committee for Scotland

Chair of the Editorial Board of Theology in Scotland

Trustee of the Drummond Trust

President of the Church Service Society

Undergraduate teaching

Over a period of several years I have developed and taught a level 10 Honours course with a colleague in the English Literature Department, entitled “Reading the Bible and Literature”. Out of this has developed a level 8 course on "The Bible and Literature", with a particular focus on enabling English Literature students and others to appreciate the role of the Bible in literary texts. 

I also course manage and teach an interdisciplinary level 10 course on "Modern Religious and Ethical Debates in Contemporary Fiction" with colleagues in Religious Studies and Theology and Ethics; and a level 10 course on "The Parables in Practice". I am course organiser for the Level 8 course, "Jesus and the Gospels".

Postgraduate teaching

I am course manager for the "Selected Topics in Biblical Studies" Level 11 course, and I contribute to the "Science and Religion in Literature" Level 11 course.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?

Yes

Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students keen to work in the fields of the reception history of the Bible, the Bible in Literature and the Bible in the context of ministry or education. The parables of Jesus are a further research interest.

Current PhD students supervised

Tricia Worster

Gemma King

Jaime Wright

Past PhD students supervised

Sarah Agnew

Teresa McCaskill

Research summary

Hermeneutics, with a particular interest in reception history, feminism and literary criticism; the intertextuality of the Bible, and in particular of the Gospels and Revelation; biblical allusions in English and Scottish fiction; Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Scottish fiction; the Gospels; parables of Jesus.

 

I am also developing a research interest in the fields of Bible in religious education in schools, and in science, literature and religion.

Current research interests

I am currently exploring the influence of the Bible on Twentieth Century poets from Scotland, Ireland and America. Other research interests include violence in the Bible, especially against women, and its relationship to the portrayal of women in crime fiction and drama.

Affiliated research centres

View all 28 publications on Research Explorer

Conference details

- Nov 19th: SBL Annual Meeting 2017 Boston: “Lost and Found”: The Bible as Artefact and Metanarrative in Crime Fiction, with Special Reference to Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy”, in the Bible and Popular Culture section.

In the press

I am a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Prayer for the Day and the Daily Service.