2015 Advent Seminar Series

Ready or not, yesterday marked the beginning of advent and what better way to take time out and reflect upon this season than joining us for our advent seminar series! Last year we explored the origins of the nativity story, spending time with Matthew and Luke and trying to understand it through their words. This year we will be discovering how that blended story continues to exert its influence throughout history.

So let me cordially invite you to: Continue reading

Imagining the Nativity at the Barber Institute (5th & 9th December)

Advent Seminar Series: (Re-)Imagining Nativity

Bassano's Adoration of the Magi (c) The Barber Institute of Fine Arts; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Bassano’s Adoration of the Magi (1542) Image: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Imagining the Nativity at the Barber Institute

with Professor Martin O’Kane

  • Saturday 5 December 11.00 – 12.30
  • Repeated on Wednesday 9 December 2.00 – 3.30

Barber Institute, University of Birmingham, B15 2TS

Many will already know and appreciate Prof Martin O’Kane’s wonderfully rich and informative explorations of the use of the Bible in art.

Martin is an internationally renowned expert in the field of the Bible and art and has written and contributed to a number of publications on the subject. These include two recent books, Painting the Text: The painter as biblical interpreter (2007, Sheffield Phoenix Press) and Imaging the Bible: An introduction to biblical art (2008, SPCK). He has recently completed a three year Arts and Humanities Research Council project on biblical art in Wales that has resulted in the publication in 2010 of Biblical Art from Wales  and accompanying DVD-ROM (Sheffield Phoenix Press).

We are delighted to announce that Martin has offered to be our guide at the Barber Institute.

The visit will explore in detail three paintings depicting aspects of the Christmas story: de Beer’s Nativity, Bassano’s Adoration of the Magi and Veronese’s Visitation. The emphasis will be on how viewing such paintings can illuminate the Gospel texts and how the artist, through a variety of subtle techniques, draws the viewer into the intimacy of the scene.  In order to experience similar artistic techniques in the depiction of another important biblical topic, the visit will close with a brief consideration of three paintings that depict biblical feasts:  Stom’s Isaac blessing Jacob, Murillo’s Marriage at Cana and Steen’s The Wrath of Ahasuerus.

In order to make this opportunity accessible to as many people as possible, Martin will run this session twice. The Barber Institute is a wonderful place to visit. Entrance is free, but there is a charge for car parking in the University’s North-East Carpark (£3 for 1-3 hours, £4 for 3-5 hours). It is also well serviced by train (University (Birmingham) (UNI) station) and many bus routes. It has extremely good facilities including refreshments and a shop (for those hard to get Christmas presents!!).

We will meet in the foyer of the Barber Institute

For more visitor information and directions: barber.org.uk

For more information contact: L.Lawrence@staff.newman.ac.uk

Newman University, Genners Lane, Bartley Green, B32 3NT

Centre News (Review of 2014)

The end of the year is almost upon us. The University has been decked out in all its festive finery and now the corridors and classrooms are emptying as students head homeward for Christmas vacation…

Atrium Tree
Christmas tree in the atrium at Newman University


It has been an exciting year for the NRCBR at Newman. We started by launching a programme of PUBLIC seminars in the spring.

The title of the series was ‘Encountering the Gospel through First-century Eyes‘. Over five seminars we explored the prologue of Mark in its first-century Jewish and Graeco-Roman setting and we began to discover an extremely provocative and very challenging voice. Continue reading