The sun is at last shining. Most of the undergraduates have dispersed leaving the library and atrium feeling strangely empty and rather lonely. However, the campus is far from quiet. Major building work is underway; buildings are cordoned off, the chapel stands gutted and open to the elements, and the sound of heavy plant machinery fills the hot summer air. All this tells us that the spring/summer semester has now drawn to a close and this affords me a brief respite in time to give you a round up of news about the centre for the year so far – and a very busy year it has been!
In case you missed anything, here is the centre’s news of 2016 (to date)… Continue reading →
John H. Walton, The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate. Illinois: IVP Academic, 2015, pp. 256. £12.99. Pbk. ISBN: 978-0-8308-2461-8
A slightly shorter form of this book review first appeared in Reviews in Science and Religion 66 (Nov 2015) 37-44.
First of all, it is important to recognise that this book has been written for a very specific target audience; conservative evangelicals who are troubled by claims that science contradicts Genesis 2-3. The context is firmly that of the science-creationist debate in the US. For readers outside the States, I would recommend that they read Walton’s impassioned and, at times, touching appeals towards the end (pp.207-208 and 209-210) as this will help to make sense of his rather eccentric emphases and omissions – as well as the idiosyncratic methodology and conclusions. Continue reading →
It was wonderful to celebrate with Sue her appointment as Professor of New Testament and Early Judaismhere at Newman, and to recognise the quality of her scholarship and field of research. The theme of Sue’s inaugural professorial lecture was an often overlooked and little known 2nd century BCE text attributed to Ezekiel the Tragedian: The Exagoge. Written in iambic trimeter, it is a retelling in dramatic form of the biblical story of the exodus from Egypt. Sue’s presentation demonstrated how this text is a highly instructive example of the ways in which a text can be appropriated and adapted for different audiences and/or contexts. The lessons we can learn from the Exagoge can shed light on the reception and re-use of Hebrew and Christian biblical traditions throughout history.
It was wonderful to have Lloyd Pietersen with us for a couple of days last week. While he was here, he took a couple of sessions with our undergraduates discussing Anabaptist hermeneutics and the Schleitheim Confession (1527). On Monday evening he presented an illustrated paper on the lessons that can be learnt from Münster 1534-1535. In it, he explored how a marginal group, who espoused pacifism, could give rise to an event that ended in so much bloodshed and violence… and what might its lessons be for us today?
Anabaptist Apocalypticism, Sex and Violence: Lessons from Münster
Dr. Lloyd Pietersen
Newman Research Centre for the Bible and its Reception
25th April 2016
(Full text of paper available to download below)
In this lecture I shall briefly rehearse the origins of sixteenth century Anabaptism before turning to a summary of the events leading up to Münster. After describing the events at Münster between 1534-1535 I shall examine the role of apocalypticism on the movement and finally reflect on some more contemporary examples of apocalypticism, sex and violence and ending with some cautionary comments on Donald Trump.
A warm invitation is extended to all to come and join with us to celebrate SUSAN DOCHERTY’S installation to Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism at Newman University, Birmingham
An Invitation to
The Inaugural Professorial Lecture
Presented by Professor Susan Docherty
‘Rewriting the Exodus’
Monday 23rd May 2016 – 5.30pm
The biblical account of the Exodus has always been significant for Jews in constructing their history, identity and theology. The story of how God acted through Moses to free the Israelite slaves from their suffering in Egypt is, not surprisingly, retold in numerous Jewish writings throughout the centuries. Continue reading →
The Saint John’s Bible, the first handwritten illuminated Bible of its scale in over 500 years, is a Bible for the 21st century. Strands of DNA and magnified images of viruses under the microscope are woven into illuminations. Satellite photos of the Ganges Delta and photos from the Hubble telescope are used to depict creation. Images of contemporary ecological destruction find their place alongside period images from celestial charts and sculpted creatures that stood at the doors of ancient buildings in Babylon. The imagery, like the text, is alive and constantly rewards the modern day seeker. Continue reading →
We are really pleased to announce that we have a new date for Lloyd’s public lecture that, unfortunately, had to be cancelled in March.
One of the most demanding and perplexing questions that we face today is why a group or community can begin to adopt certain actions and behaviours that appear to diametrically oppose their core values? How can some religious groups commit acts of atrocities whilst apparently advocating a theology based upon love and peace?
This is not a new phenomenon and important lessons that could guide us to possible answers can be found in studying examples from history.
Anabaptist Apocalypticism, Sex and Violence: Lessons from Münster
Dr Lloyd Pietersen
Monday 25th April
17.00 – 18.00
Room – CH116
We are delighted to have with us at Newman Dr Lloyd Pietersen (Visiting Research Fellow and specialist in Anabaptist Studies) who will be giving an open lecture on the time of the ‘New Jerusalem’ established in Münster, 1534, and discussing the lessons that can be learned from this dark period.
“In the election for city councillors in February 1534, Anabaptists gained control of the city of Münster. Shortly afterwards the city was declared ‘the New Jerusalem’ and Christ’s second coming was expected by Easter 1534. The city was besieged by the local prince-bishop for 16 months and eventually fell in June 1535. During this 16 month period Münster was ruled by a new ‘King David’ and polygamy was instituted. Resistance to his rule was violently crushed. This lecture examines the role of apocalypticism in transforming peaceful Anabaptism into the violence of Münster and reflects briefly on apocalypticism and violence today.”
Everyone is welcome to attend.
For more details please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you want to know more about the world in which the Bible was produced… and I mean REALLY know more about it? Then this is going to be a real treat for you!
There are those treasured moments that one might almost believe that a publisher held a meeting to decide how they might produce a book to fit so perfectly with one’s interests that the only conclusion one can draw was that it was designed especially for you. It is almost as if it has been produced specifically for you. This is one of those moments… No it is more than that, because this is not just one book, but a whole multi-volume set of them!
How is the Bible understood by someone reading it for the first time? What do people outside the church make of Jesus’ teaching? Do they hear a different message to the ones preached within the church? Can their understanding offer insights that we, who are more familiar with the texts and the underpinning layers of theological teaching, might miss?
We are delighted to have Symon Hill visit us on Thursday 7th April to talk about his latest book, The Up-Side Down Bible. This book is the fruit of Symon’s work with using the Bible amongst groups of people who have no church background or awareness of traditional church interpretation.
The Up-Side Down Bible
Thursday 7th April
5.00 – 6.00
When Symon Hill started writing a book about the parables of Jesus, he didn’t turn to commentaries and sermons, but to people who had never heard the words of Jesus before, including atheists, trade unionists and sex workers. The result is a revelation.