The Dunedin School – flor. 2009-2012 – was the home of the neo-iconoclast movement in religious and biblical studies. The School was noted for a “non-reified” approach to textuality.
Nobody can quite pinpoint the time at which “the Dunedin School” first became famous as the centre of what has since become known as neo-iconoclasm. Many attribute the epithet to Roland Boer (yet the attribution has never been clearly established). Indeed, following a conference in New Zealand in the early years of the twenty-first century, Boer is recorded as describing Dunedin as “the great nerve centre of innovative biblical studies in NZ”. Other centres, such as Auckland, didn’t even get a mention. It is undoubtedly true that the Dunedin School practitioners have developed a quite unique approach to religion and reception – stamped by the notable influences of Adorno, Popper, Eco, Badiou, Wittig, Said, Gadamer, Baudrillard, and (it must be mentioned) Cioran, yet with a distinct Dunedin flavour – which readily identifies the School in academic religious and biblical studies circles throughout the lower Southern Hemisphere.
“in modern religion, after the initial adolescent iconoclasm, including the rejection of the ‘establishment’, man [came] of age.”
– Lloyd Geering, precursor of the Dunedin School, former Professor of Old Testament Studies, Theological Hall, Knox College, Dunedin, in The Religion of the Individual in The Modern World, 1975 (when “man” possibly included women, too)
“Intellect’s true concern is a negation of reification.”
– Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments, 1947.