The Bible in Today's World

It was a very real honour and joy for the NRCBR and Newman University, yesterday (09/01/2020) to host the launch of the Birmingham diocese ‘The God who Speaks‘ programme for the Roman Catholic ‘Year of the Word (2020)‘.

The God who Speaks

The theme of the event was, ‘The God who Speaks: The Bible in Today’s World‘ and three talks that explored the (sometimes surprising) ways in which the Bible functions within the contemporary world.

Professor Susan Docherty (head of the Theology and Philosophy at Newman) extended a warm welcome to all and introduced the day.

The first talk was by Dr Richard Goode (senior lecturer in Theology) on the Bible in the social media world. This drew attention to the diverse uses of the Bible within public spaces and discussed how recent trends in the use of the Bible within the political arena reflect those within social media, suggesting not so much a decline in biblical literacy, but differences in its use. The session concluded with the challenge raised by extremist white nationalistic groups and their often overt use of the Bible to promote their ideology and message.

Richard Goode speaking about the Bible in the digital (social media) world. Image: Jim West

This was followed by a fascinating (and packed!) workshop led by David McLoughlin (Emeritus Fellow in Christian Theology, and Movement of Christian Workers). David helped us to read a number of the parables of Jesus in a new way that would help us to explore how they might relate to the world of 21st century work. David set each of the parables within their social and historical settings that allowed us to understand their ‘real world’ context of Roman-period Palestine and how that might relate to the contemporary working world.

David McLoughlin discussing the parables of Jesus and the world of work. Image: Jim West

At the midpoint, at the wine reception, Fleur Dorell (national co-ordinator for the CBCEW and Bible Society) officially launched the Birmingham diocese ‘The God who Speaks’ programme to mark the Roman Catholic ‘Year of the Word’ 2020. As well as introducing the various activities and events that are planned – and still in the planning – Fleur talked passionately about the importance of the Bible to Christian faith and the need for much closer engagement with the Bible and encouraging its wider use.

Fleur Dorell (Bible Society and CBCEW) launching ‘The God who Speaks’ programme. Image: Jim West
The launch of ‘The God who Speaks’ at Newman University. Image: Jim West
Jim West speaking on the Word that Abides. Image: Helen Ingram
Jim West introducing reception studies at the ‘God who Speaks’ event. Image: Hywel Clifford

The key note address was given by Dr Jim West (MingHua Theological College and Charles Sturt University). It was great to have Jim back with us and his illustrated lecture examined the way the Bible has been used and understood in no-textual ways, looking at a wide range of examples from art, music and film. The lecture raised a number of questions relating to the relationship between the Bible and different cultural arenas, and also the power of these interpretations on how the Bible is understood today. A very stimulating question and answer session included issues about the relationship between academic biblical studies and the church.

On Graduation

To all our graduates…

We were so proud of you yesterday and it is important that you know that. There must have been so many times over the past three years when it appeared that the opposite was the case and that you would never be good enough for us. But we always knew you were and that is why we never stopped pushing you.

Graduation 2018 image:Newman University

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Awards for Newman University’s Theology Department

Please forgive the rather indulgent nature of this post, but it is always lovely to be appreciated and thanked for the work that you do. This is particularly rewarding when those who are showing appreciation are those you closely work with; students and staff. Therefore we, as a department, were delighted when we were notified that we had been nominated for 5 awards at this year’s Newman SU Excellence Awards 2018.

It was a real honour and privilege to receive 3 awards and a ‘highly commended’ on the night, as well as the recognition of the standard of our work in the Newman Theology and Philosophy department. Continue reading

Lloyd Pietersen on ‘Does the Matthean Jesus really loves his enemies?’

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

Matt 5

(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

Does the Matthean Jesus really love his enemies – talk by Lloyd Pietersen

It is a real joy to have Lloyd Pietersen with us once again. This time he will be speaking at the Humanities Research Group Seminar Series for the Newman Humanities Research CentreThose of you who have heard Lloyd speak will know that this will be a stimulating, engaging and thought-provoking paper.

Does the Matthean Jesus Really Love His Enemies?

love-your-enemies

Dr Lloyd Pietersen

Thursday 30 March 2017

Newman University

Room DW112
17.00 – 18.00 Continue reading

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

Centre News (Summer 2015)

The rather hectic second semester is now drawing to a close with a flurry of marking, deadlines and planning meetings for the new academic year. After the colourful chaotic bustle of the last few weeks, the campus is now settling down into quiet summer reflection, where research rather than teaching and assignments become the main focus.

BeFunky_Newman globe.jpg

Looking back, it has been a great semester. It was a real joy to have Steve Moyise with us in February and we are looking forward to hearing from him again at our conference in a few week’s time (see below).

Unfortunately, it was not logistically possible to hold the evening seminars. However, looking ahead, we are hoping to be able to host more events in the summer and autumn. Continue reading

Dead Letters and Living Words: NRCBR Conference 2015

Dead Letters and Living Words: Continuity and creativity in the interpretation and use of the Bible Conference.

6th June 2015

 Newman University

We are very excited to announce this year’s conference for the NRCBR at Newman University to which you are warmly welcome.

The Hebrew and Christian scriptures hold an important place within their respective communities as authoritative texts rooted within their ancient past. However, there is a tension between the continuity of traditional scriptural readings and a renegotiation of those texts when applied to new contexts. This conference will explore that relationship examining different ways that texts have been given life throughout centuries and how this might impact upon the text’s status as authority.

ROUND-TABLE CONFERENCE

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Workshop from NRCBR conference 2014

This year the emphasis will again be placed upon participation for all and providing the opportunity for everyone present to engage with the questions and issues presented in each of the session. Therefore we are developing a more inclusive round-table style format to the afternoon, structuring it so that we can all be part of the on-going conversation about the relationship between continuity and creativity, historical and contextual readings, and the boundaries of biblical interpretation and use.

Speakers are still being finalised, but among those who are booked to speak include:

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Lloyd Pietersen taking a workshop of last year’s NRCBR conference

Dr. Lloyd Pietersen (Centre of Anabaptist Studies, Bristol Baptist College) who will give the key note address

• Professor Martin O’Kane (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David)
• David McLoughlin (Newman University)
• Dr. Richard Goode (Newman University)

More details will be uploaded as they become available.

Cost: £20
Students and unwaged free

Refreshments:
Teas and coffees will be provided
Please bring own lunch – hot food, drinks and snacks can be purchased at the University

Registration 9.00 to 9.30

The conference will end at 17.30

To book a place, please follow the link here to the Newman University estore

For more details, please contact: L.Lawrence@staff.newman.ac.uk

Susan Docherty talks about the Jewish Pseudepigrapha

What is the Jewish Pseudepigrapha and why is it important? What are these texts about and who read them? Susan Docherty (Head of Theology and  Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism here at Newman University) answers these questions in an interview on the Voice of Israel , where she discusses her new book The Jewish Pseudepigrapha: An introduction to the literature of the Second Temple Period (SPCK, 2014).

Susan Docherty image
Professor Susan Docherty Image: Newman University

Talking to Voice of Israel’s Eve Harrow, Sue explains how the significance of this often overlooked collection of Jewish texts is so important to our understanding of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity.

Among the areas Sue discusses with Eve are:

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