Short notice announcement – Saara-Maria Jurva on Hebrews

Saara-Maria JurvaWe have the pleasure of having Saara-Maria Jurva (University of Eastern Finland) studying with us at Newman for a couple of months while she completes her doctoral research into “The Cognitive-Emotive Function of Renarrated Biblical Stories in the Letter to the Hebrews.”

Saara-Maria is an ordained priest with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and completed her MTh at the University of Helsinki in 2009.

We are really pleased to announce that she will be leading a seminar on her work at Newman University on Monday 24th October at 15.00 – 16.30. If you would like to attend and for more information, please contact


Susan Docherty to speak at this year’s Swedish Exegetical Society Exegetical Day

On the 26th September, Susan Docherty will be speaking at this year’s Exegetical Day 2016 run by the Swedish Exegetical Society at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

This year’s theme will be the ‘Rewritten Bible’  and Sue’s paper is titled, ‘“Why So Much Talk?” Direct Speech as a Literary and Exegetical Device in Rewritten Bible‘. Those of you who heard Sue’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture on the Exagoge (it can still be viewed here:Rewriting the Exodus) earlier this summer will appreciate how examining the way different biblical texts are appropriated and re-worked is helpful in building a clearer picture of the development of the biblical tradition within later historical and cultural landscapes.

A pdf programme of the day can be downloaded here.


End of semester news round-up

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!

Atrium Starbucks
Newman Atrium Starbucks

In case you missed anything, here is the centre’s news of 2016 (to date)… Continue reading

The Lost World of Adam and Eve – book review

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.

Initial caveat

Lost world of adam and eveFirst 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

Rewriting the Exodus – Susan Docherty

Rewriting the Exodus

Susan Docherty

Inaugural Professorial Lecture

Newman University, Birmingham, UK

23 May 2016

It was wonderful to celebrate with Sue her appointment as Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism here 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.

Rewriting Exodus Panopto
Click on image to view Panopto recording of Sue’s lecture

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Lloyd Pietersen on the lessons from Münster (1534)

It was wonderful to have Lloyd Pietersen with us for a couple of days last week. Lloyd thumbnailWhile 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)
Deutschlands letztere drei Jahrhunderte, oder: des deutschen Volkes Gedenk-Buch an seiner Väter Schicksale und Leiden seit drei Jahrhunderten, etc, by LUBOJATZKY, Franz. Original held and digitised by the British Library
By Franz Lubojatzky. Original held and digitised by the British Library

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.

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‘Rewriting the Exodus’ An Inaugural Lecture by Professor Susan Docherty

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

Exodus Mizrahi image
‘Exodus’ – image courtesy of Judith Hassan Mizrahi

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

Invitation to the St John’s Bible Presentation – 17th May 2016


On the

St John’s Bible, Heritage Edition

with Jim Triggs (St John’s University, Minnesota)

 Tuesday 17th May 2016

17:00 – 18:00


Room: DW101

Elijah print
2 Kings 2:9 – 2:25: Artists: Donald Jackson, in collaboration with Aidan Hart

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

New date – Lloyd Pietersen: Anabaptist Apocalypticism, Sex and Violence: Lessons from Münster

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.

Deutschlands letztere drei Jahrhunderte, oder: des deutschen Volkes Gedenk-Buch an seiner Väter Schicksale und Leiden seit drei Jahrhunderten, etc, by LUBOJATZKY, Franz. Original held and digitised by the British Library
Original held and digitised by the British Library

“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:
or Lee Lawrence:

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