Graduation is always a very special moment in the academic year and this year was no exception. It is wonderful to celebrate with a group of people that over the past three years you have come to love and respect. Each one has their own story; the personal mountains, stressful nights of worry, the struggles to understand ideas and concepts that, at first, seem so incomprehensible and alien, all those times of self-doubt, and times of sheer tiredness. Yesterday, each one had their own reason to be proud of what they achieved and it was a joy to celebrate it with them.
Gaining any degree is an achievement. However, what, for me, is such a privilege in working with theology and philosophy students is that for many of them this is far more than an academic journey. That is not to say that there is not a immense amount to learn and information to process. At Newman, we cover key theologians from antiquity to the present, learn AND apply philosophical and theological methodologies and systems of thought, address the main issues facing life in the contemporary world, as well as trying to understand the worlds of the past. The subjects sweep from global issues to individual personal reflection. All of this can be very demanding not just intellectually, but emotionally, psychologically and spiritually (I use that term in the widest sense). Over the last three years we have dug deep into their personal core values, got them to question the compasses they have trusted to guide their lives, looked deeply into the darkness of human nature and behaviour. We have all walked outside our comfort zones (lecturers included), learnt new things and challenged each other. We could only do that together; listening to each other, sharing, encouraging each other to find our voices, understanding and, above all, making each other brave. The class of 2017 excelled at doing all these. Continue reading →
Earlier this year, due to ill health, we sadly had to cancel a public talk by Dr Jim West on the relationship between the academic study of the Bible and the Church. We are delighted to announce that Jim has very graciously offered to come to the UK specifically to give this talk. We are both touched and extremely grateful for such a generous gesture and we would like to invite you to come to what promises to be an informative and fascinating talk on a subject that will be close to the heart of many people.
The Intersection of Academic Biblical Studies and the Life of the Church
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 →
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 →
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 →