Growing a Bible Garden (YOTW 2020)

Fresco of garden at the villa of Livia (first century BCE), Prima Porta. Image:

The designation by the Roman Catholic Church for the year 2020 to be the ‘Year of the Word‘ has created the opportunity for a number of exciting initiatives that explore different aspects of the Bible, its use and meaning. There is special focus this year on on the plants and the Bible.

To celebrate this, the Bible Society (one of the co-supporters of the YOTW) is sponsoring the award winning garden designer Susan Eberle to create a garden themed on Psalm 23 for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Garden Show this year.  

The proposed ‘Psalm 23 Garden’ designed by Sarah Eberle for the RHS 2020 show at Chelsea. Image:

This is part of a wider project that involves communities and schools developing their own Psalm 23 gardens. Alongside this, the Bible Society are producing a wide range of (practical and spiritual) resources.

Additionally, for the annual 3 day Flower Festival to be held at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, on 12th to 14th June the theme will be ‘The God who Speaks’.

Flower display at the 2019 Flower Festival at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham. Image:

How you can get involved

In support of this, we are producing a set of resources for children and adults to encourage you to grow your own ‘Bible garden’. These might be of particular use for teachers, (grand)parents and guardians. All the plants which we will be featuring are mentioned in the Bible and have been specifically chosen because they are simple to grow and require low maintenance. Seeds can also be purchased cheaply and easily, which makes it an ideal activity for primary and junior schools as well as at home.

I am delighted that Alexandra Leighton, a second year Theology undergraduate from the University of Birmingham who has been working with us as part of her placement, has provided a number of resources for this project. The resources will be paired, with one set being directed to adults and the other to children (see below). They can be accessed through the ‘Plant a Bible Garden‘ tab on the menu bar.

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The God who Speaks (2020)

2020 is set to be a exciting year for anyone with an interest in the Bible and its use, and the Theology and Philosophy department at Newman University are really delighted to be part of it!

A number of Bible Societies have joined together to support the year 2020 as the ‘Global Year of the Bible’. Consequently, a wide range of events and activities have been planned to highlight the place of the Bible within contemporary life, to foster a wider awareness of it, and to encourage its use. The year 2020 has added significance for the Roman Catholic tradition as it marks the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini – Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’ – and the 1,600 anniversary of St Jerome’s death. To this end the Catholic Church with the Bible Society are launching a series of events, resources and initiatives for the ‘The God who Speaks – Year of the Word, 2020‘.

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Whose reading is right? Conflicts of interpretation in world Christianity – Leeds Trinity

I’ve just received notice of this – it looks really good and many here might also find it interesting…


British and Irish Association for Practical Theology (Mission Studies Special Interest Group) and Leeds Trinity University

Whose reading is right? Conflicts of interpretation in world Christianity

Day Conference: 12 April 2016, 11.00am-3.30pm

Venue: Leeds Trinity University, Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 5HD,

Guest speaker: Dr Joshua Broggi, University of Oxford

Theme: Why do readers from different cultures produce divergent readings of the Bible? In view of the global character of Christianity, this has become a prominent question. When Christians read scripture, traditions supply concepts that shape what counts as normal, good, and true. But what is the effect of Christian commitments on rationality? How have readers decided on a correct interpretation?

This day conference organised by the British and Irish Association for Practical Theology and Leeds Trinity University is an opportunity for a dialogue with Dr Joshua Broggi, University of Oxford. His book Diversity in the Structure of Christian Reasoning (Brill 2015) deals with just these issues, using illustrations from central Africa and southern India. Broggi offers a fresh strategy for relating tradition and reason that reconfigures the hermeneutical picture developed by Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer.
Booking: Please register your attendance by email to .
Cost: £10.00. Includes refreshments and sandwich lunch. Payable on the day.
Refreshments served from 10.30am and available after 3.30pm.

Imagining the Afterlife in the Ancient World – Call for Papers

Call for papers: Imagining the Afterlife in the Ancient World

The University of Birmingham and Newman University have jointly issued a call for papers and advance notice for their forthcoming ‘Imagining the Afterlife in the Ancient Mediterranean World’.


Image from: Imagining Afterlife Conference website (click through for link)
Image from: Imagining Afterlife Conference website (click through for link)

Their call reads:

We invite paper proposals for an inter-disciplinary conference on the theme “Imagining the Afterlife in the Ancient Mediterranean World”, to take place in Birmingham, UK at the University of Birmingham and Newman University, 21-23 June 2016. Continue reading

You won’t want to miss this: BCTR @ Birmingham 2015

There’s nothing quite like the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS). There is an energy, courage and that slight whiff of danger about them – quite frankly, what’s there not to like? If anyone is going to be the first to touch the toppling ark it’s going to be one of them! The great news is that this year their annual Bible, Critical Theory and Reception seminars are coming to Birmingham on the 9th & 10th September.

I would strongly encourage you to take the opportunity to attend. It is totally free – although James Crossley or John Lyons would appreciate letting them know if you are hoping to come.

Part of its remit is to take biblical studies out of the institute and so, as in previous years, the 2015 BCTR seminar will be held at the Prince of Wales pub, Mosely – expertly selected by our own Tom Hunt. Continue reading

The Cadbury Lectures 2014: Is the New Testament Anti-Jewish?

This year’s Edward Cadbury lectures at the University of Birmingham will take place in a few week’s time. Professor Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt University Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences) will be examining “Is the New Testament Anti-Jewish?

The press release for this event reads:

Despite progress in both historical studies and interfaith relations, Jews and Christians continue to misunderstand each other, and to misunderstand the relationship of the New Testament to its Jewish context. By looking at major parts of the New Testament – the Christmas story, the sermon on the mount, the passion narrative, the letters of Paul, and the epistle to the Hebrews – we can see how and why the followers of Jesus of Nazareth dialogued with, debated, and sometimes defamed their fellow Jews. We also find, in doing the historical work, that Jews and Christians have much to celebrate both in terms of what they hold in common and in areas where they came to differ.
In this year’s series of Cadbury Lectures Professor Levine provides a historically informed and theologically sensitive reading of those New Testament passages that some claim to be anti-Jewish, rooted in a recognition that both Judaism and Christianity formed their identities in dialogue and debate with each other. The series explores and celebrates where Judaism and Christianity agree, as well as where they disagree.

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