It was a real joy to have Lloyd Pietersen with us recently to present a paper on ‘Does the Matthean Jesus really love his enemies?’ He was participating as part of the Humanities Research Group Seminar Series for the Newman Humanities Research Centre.
(full text of paper available to download below)
Lloyd began by conceding that this was his first time presenting an academic paper on the Synoptics (or Matthew in particular) and that this was very much a work in progress. The focus was Jesus’ instruction in Matt 5:44 to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, from the Sermon on the Mount, and argued that this idea broadly conflicted with the canonical and non-canonical Jewish understanding of ‘enemy hatred’. Continue reading →
The iconic London location of Trafalgar Square was host to another set of iconic symbols yesterday (14th April) as the Wintershall Players performed a 90 minute ‘re-enactment’ of the crucifixion of Jesus. The two performances included a hundred actors, as well as live donkeys, horses and even doves.
Wintershall presents a number of these types of events, including the nativity (in a barn) and the Acts of the Apostles and reflects the vision of its founders, Peter and Alison Hutley to: Continue reading →
Newman University is situated next to a reservoir and, over the last few days, the current system of very warm air over Britain has resulted in the (sort of) annual ‘infestation’ of flies on the Newman campus. I have to admit to rather enjoying the sight of them, dancing lazily in loose veils in the soft afternoon sun and their sudden appearance on a paper I am reading or scurrying across the desk. However, I am also aware that, for those living in halls, it can create feelings that are far less poetic! Nevertheless, it got me thinking about flies in the Bible and the wider Ancient Near Eastern traditions.
If I am in the minority among those living and working at Newman for rather relishing this phenomenon, I also have to concede that I appear to be a bit of an oddity where the ancients are concerned too! Flies appear to have been universally disliked, or at least, viewed as worthless pests and nuisances. Continue reading →
One of the real joys about teaching at Newman is that we get to work with some highly motivated, interesting and extremely capable students who don’t simply want to learn facts and figures, but who are seriously engaged with subject. You might be interested in following one of our third year Theology undergraduate’s blog, theologianinprogress. The blog is written by Isabella Wray and reflects on her visit to the city of Corinth for her final year dissertation.
For her honours dissertation Isabella is looking at the Ancient city of Corinth with a particular interest in the place of freedmen (like Erastus; Romans 16:23) within the Pauline church. As part of her research, she visited Corinth last Summer (2016) and her blog follows her itinerary and reflections on what she discovered.
Cancellation of Dr Jim West’s talk on the Intersection of Academy and Pew (5th January)
I am really sorry to announce that we are having to cancel tomorrow’s (5th January) talk by Jim West on the Intersection of Academy and Pew.
Jim flew into Britain on Sunday for SOTS and developed flu-like symptoms almost immediately. Unfortunately these have progressed to a full blown fever and loss of voice. Understandably, he feels that he is not in a position to be able to give his talk. He wants me to pass on his apologies and that feels awful about letting people down’.
There has been a lot of interest in this talk and so we are looking at ways that we can re-schedule for another time when Jim is in the country.
Please accept our apologies to those who were looking forward to this event and had made special preparations for it.
Last year I posted a short piece reflecting on the use of the Bible in the debate concerning the refugee crisis: Migrants, Refugees and the search for a Biblical Perspective. Tragically, fourteen months later, the crisis shows no signs of abating and political solutions remain (largely) incoherent and confused. In the light of this, I have become increasingly aware of the application of a relatively new narrative to the traditional nativity story. This has been particularly pronounced in the use of memes on social networking sites and exemplifies the plasticity of this story and the way that it can be adapted to provide powerful messages that address specific issues and needs.
As part of the CCRS programme I regularly take a couple of sessions where we compare and contrast the canonical birth narratives and students almost overwhelming state that they prefer Luke’s account because they find it more applicable to them and to contemporary society. When asked to explain further, they generally point to the ‘humble setting’ of Jesus’ birth, and the identification with the poor and socially disadvantaged. There appears to be little room for the ‘kings’ (or more accurately, magi) in our modern day nativities! Continue reading →
Unfortunately this event has been cancelled due to ill health. We hope to reschedule this talk at a later date.
We apologise for any inconvenience
The early Church father, Tertullian, once wrote: “[w]hat indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church?” (De praescriptione, vii). Sometimes, some of my students take great pleasure in reminding me of this!
It is therefore a great pleasure to welcome to our shores someone who is amply qualified to guide us through this (often tempestuous) relationship and offer to you all…
…a very warm, post-Christmas, invitation to a public talk
We’ve had the pleasure of welcoming Saara-Maria Jurva from the University of Eastern Finland to our department for the last few months. Saara is currently working on her doctoral research on the Letter to the Hebrews and has been working closely with, our resident Hebrews and OT in the NT specialist, Susan Docherty.
On October 24th, Saara presented a PhD seminar on her work. Her research examines the way the author of Hebrews retells stories and events from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in a way that resonates on both cognitive and emotional levels. Saara’s seminar focused upon the author’s retelling of the wilderness experience in Hebrews 3: 7-19. Continue reading →