Are there any Early Fragments of the So-Called Gospel of Peter?
The first text in the Akhmîm codex discovered in Upper Egypt in 1886–87 was confidently identified as the Gospel of Peter, mentioned by Eusebius in his description of the activities of the second-century bishop Serapion. Although the Akhmîm text is dated palaeographically between the seventh and ninth centuries, it is seen as being a witness to a text that dates from at least as early as the second century. This position appeared to have been strengthened by the identification of a number of early papyrus fragments as belonging to the Gospel of Peter. This paper calls into question such identifications, and consequently suggests caution should be exercised before too quickly making the conclusion that the text from Akhmîm is to be identified with the second-century Gospel of Peter.
Wednesday, 01 November 2006
Hat Tip to Chris Tilling for pointing out the latest research tool from the wonderful (jealousy, jealousy) library at Tübingen. The Index Theologicus "contains document descriptions from more than 600 periodicals and from Festschriften and congress publications. It is updated every night and represents the state of the preceding work day." In other words it is an equivalent to the ATLA database and thus very helpful for those of us who don't have access to ATHENS passwords at the moment (long story). I entered 'Philippians" and it came back with 277 entries, which are bang up to date including Paul Holloway's recent article on Philippians 1.3 in NTS. This actually makes the whole thing an improvement on ATLA. This is a brilliant resource: thank you Tübingen.
Thursday, 29 June 2006
The latest issue of the International Journal of Systematic Theology has just been posted. Thanks to Ben Myers for drawing my attention to this:
Articles are as follows
Karl Barth's Christology as a Resource for a Reformed Version of Kenoticism
McCORMACK, BRUCE L.
Violence in Bloomsbury: A Theological Challenge
Accommodation to What? Univocity of Being, Pure Nature, and the Anthropology of St Irenaeus
The Trinity, Election and God's Ontological Freedom: A Response to Kevin W. Hector
MOLNAR, PAUL D.
Actualism and Incarnation: The High Christology of Friedrich Schleiermacher
HECTOR, KEVIN W.
An interesting collection. I note especially Oliver Davies' article which reminds me of my last visit to Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church (where friends Ruth Gouldbourne and Simon Perry will be inducted as ministers on Sunday walking down from Euston through Tavistock Square and seeing the pristine brickwork of the BMA headquarters. Professor Davies, as well as being Professor at Kings, is a research fellow of the Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent's Park College in Oxford.
Thursday, 23 February 2006
Blogging has been rather light these past couple of weeks, but I have a few moments to give information about one or two new books that are out there and look interesting and/or are important.
First up is my good friend John Colwell's extraordinary (in the sense of wonderfully better than the ordinary rather than the strange or eccentric) Promise and Presence: An Exploration of Sacramental Theology (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2005).
Here is the blurb:
A ground-breaking, evangelical sacramentalist approach to the seven sacraments.
Following an introduction that briefly reviews the development of sacramental theology the book begins with an exploration of God’s Triune identity and the implications of this doctrine for the gracious and mediated nature of God’s relatedness with the world.
A central section follows in which a doctrine of the Church and a doctrine of Scripture are expounded in response to this understanding of the gracious and mediated nature of God’s relatedness. Both Church and Scripture are identified as conferring context, definition, and validity on all other sacramental events.The final section reconsiders the seven Sacraments of the Catholic tradition in the light of an understanding of sacramentality developed in the first two sections of the book. The Sacraments are discussed from a Baptist perspective but with a committed ecumenical intent and an underlying awareness of the contemporary British and North American context within which the Church exists and Scripture is heard
But this cannot do justice to the importance of this book for Baptists. Every minister should read it, every one of the students at NBC (and I know some of you read this) and at other Colleges! should understand what John is arguing, why he is arguing and why it makes all the difference in the world if he is right. Plus, there are some good jokes.
In addition, a couple of more technical monographs looks fascinating.
Luke Bretherton, Hospitality as Holiness: Christian Witness Amid Moral (Ashgate, 2006)
We live amid increasing ethical plurality and fragmentation while at the same time more and more questions of moral gravity confront us. Some of these questions are new, such as those around human cloning and genetics. Other questions that were previously settled have re-emerged, such as those around the place of religion in politics. Responses to such questions are diverse, numerous and often vehemently contested. Hospitality as Holiness seeks to address the underlying question facing the church within contemporary moral debates: how should Christians relate to their neighbours when ethical disputes arise? The problems the book examines centre on what the nature and basis of Christian moral thought and action is, and in the contemporary context, whether moral disputes may be resolved with those who do not share the same framework as Christians. Bretherton establishes a model - that of hospitality - for how Christians and non-Christians can relate to each other amid moral diversity. This book will appeal to those interested in the broad question of the relationship between reason, tradition, natural law and revelation in theology, and more specifically to those engaged with questions about plurality, tolerance and ethical conflict in Christian ethics and medical ethics.
Douglas Knight, The Eschatological Economy: Time and the Hospitality of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006). More information about this book can be found on Douglas' great webiste and blog. Look here. He has been kind enough to send me a pre-publication .pdf copy which I am looking forward to reading.
Wednesday, 25 January 2006
Sage have sent notification of the latest issue of Ecclesiology. Here are the abstracts:
Discovering the Presence of Christ in the World: Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Contribution to the Discussion on the Authority of the Bible in the Church
How should we commemorate Bonhoeffer in this anniversary year of his execution? While Bonhoeffer's legacy has been contested, especially in German theology, and his theological influence has declined, we continue to be fascinated by him as a person. Bonhoeffer's life and death is a paradigm of the right relationship between faith and practice, i.e. of discipleship. This can be linked to developments in biblical hermeneutics that stress the original context of the text and the need for a response by the reader to bring out its relevance. Bonhoeffer's ecumenical significance is evidenced by his affinity to Karl Rahner — both affirmed the prior unacknowledged presence of Christ in the secular world — and to the Ignatian Exercises.
Key Words: biblical hermeneutics • Confessing Church • Dietrich Bonhoeffer • Ignatian Exercises • Karl Rahner
Discovering the Presence of Christ in the World: A Response to Wolfgang Klausnitzer 
Walter Sparn offers a response to Wolfgang Klausnitzer's paper for the sixtieth anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's death. Sparn is in general agreement with Klausnitzer's interpretation. Sparn emphasises the need to re-understand Bonhoeffer's polemic against ‘religion'. He is also in agreement with Klausnitzer in situating Bonhoeffer in relation to the current paradigm shift in Biblical Studies. Sparn elucidates Bonhoeffer's understanding of the Church as a hermeneutical community, as well as the consequences for the churches in terms of radical change. Sparn is content to endorse the understanding that Bonhoeffer shares with Ignatius Loyola and Martin Luther in the heritage of devotio moderna. But he challenges Klausnitzer's appeal to Rahner's transcendental ‘original experience'.
Key Words: biblical hermeneutics • Dietrich Bonhoeffer • Karl Rahner
Discovering the Presence of Christ in the World: A Response to Wolfgang Klausnitzer 
Paul M. Collins
Paul Collins offers a response to Wolfgang Klausnitzer's paper for the sixtieth anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's death. Collins takes up his reference to Rahner's appeal to ‘Mystagogy’ and reflects on Bonhoeffer's own use of the terminology and practice of Christian Initiation in the early Church, in his appeal to the Arkandisziplin. These reflections are drawn together in the light of postmodern philosophy and the call to 'think otherwise'. In conclusion Bonheoffer's challenge to the theological status quo of his own day is applied to the contemporary situation.
Key Words: Dietrich Bonhoeffer • ‘disciplina arcana’ • initiation • Karl Rahner • mystagogy
A Roman Catholic Understanding of Ecumenical Dialogue
The Decree on Ecumenism and subsequent ecumenical documents indicate a growing commitment to ecumenical dialogue in the Catholic Church. Given the ecclesiology of communion of the Second Vatican Council and foundational ecumenical texts in St John's Gospel, it would be impossible for the Roman Catholic Church to be faithful to Christ if it were not engaged in dialogue with other Christian communions. Such dialogue is necessary for its own self-realization. Only through dialogue will it hear the call to conversion and receive the gifts that only other Christians can offer. For the Catholic Church to cease to be involved in ecumenical dialogue would be not just a moral failure, but an ecclesiological breakdown.
Key Words: Decree on Ecumenism • Ecumenical Directory • John Paul II • Roman Catholic Church • Second Vatican Council/Vatican II • ‘Ut Unum Sint’
Are Southern Baptists Evangelicals? A Second Decadal Reassessment
Malcolm B. Yarnell, III
In 1983, Southern Baptist theologians began to evaluate the relationship between Southern Baptists and American evangelicals. In 1993, the relationship between the two and the concomitant problems of identity formation were again given serious consideration. This article reviews the earlier conversations and reassesses the relationship in the second decade after the question was first raised and in light of the fact that many Southern Baptists have begun to define themselves as evangelicals. Serious reservations about a close identification are raised in light of a number of doctrinal controversies. Of especial concern are the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the Baptist doctrine of the Church. It is suggested that Southern Baptists continue their dialogue with but maintain a healthy distance from evangelicalism. Concurrently, an expansion in dialogue with other Christian communities, including fundamentalists, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, mainline Protestants, Anabaptists, as well as other Baptists, is advocated.
Key Words: American Evangelicalism • Baptist ecclesiology • Southern Baptist Convention • Trinitarian
Looks interesting with a welcome focus on Bonhoeffer and the last article on Southern Baptists. I think Malcolm Yarnell did his doctoral studies at Regent's Park College in Oxford, but my guess is that the article will be pretty conservative (i.e. evangelicalism represents a watering down of historic Christian beliefs) - I will wait for my hard copy to arrive before being able to form a final judgement.
Wednesday, 18 January 2006
The latest issue of New Testament Studies has landed in hard copy on my desk. Below are the abstracts. If you want to access electronically then you will need an insitutional subscription. As often happens there are a cluster of articles in the same area (this time Paul in Galatians and Acts).
Decrees and Drachmas at Thessalonica: An Illegal Assembly in Jason's House (Acts 17.1–10a) a
Those who have identified the specific charges of the judicial proceedings in Thessalonica according to Acts 17.6–9 have generally taken one of two routes. The traditional view is that Paul and Silas were accused of treason (maiestas). Just over three decades ago, however, E. A. Judge put forth an alternative hypothesis that the decrees of Caesar in Acts 17.7 referred to imperial laws against predicting the change of ruler. After challenging these two explanations, this essay puts forward a fresh proposal – that both the charges and the seizure of payment in this judicial episode relate to the imperial laws repressing Graeco-Roman voluntary associations.
a This article is a revised version of a paper presented at the Acts Seminar of the British NT Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland (September 2004). I am grateful to Dr Mikeal Parsons, Professor Graham Stanton, Mr Dmitry Bratkin, and Mr David Rudolph, who have made very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this essay.
Paul's Collection and the Book of Acts Revisited a
The narrative of Acts has often been mined for historical information about the monetary collection that Paul raised among the Gentile churches of his mission for the saints in Jerusalem. Most scholars have assumed that Acts refers to the Pauline collection, either in 11.27–30 or 24.17. Against this consensus, this paper contends that the narrative of Acts, when read on its own terms and without the imposition of information from the Pauline epistles, neither mentions nor alludes to Paul's collection for Jerusalem. In its narrative context, Acts 24.17, far from being a reference to the collection, identifies Paul before his accusers as a faithful Jew whose individual piety is demonstrated by almsgiving and worship. Information from the book of Acts, therefore, cannot be used to write the final chapter of the historical reconstruction of the Pauline collection.
a I would like to thank Professor Beverly Roberts Gaventa, my colleagues in the ‘Luke–Acts’ Seminar at Princeton Theological Seminary, Dr Verlyn Verbrugge, and the anonymous readers at NTS for their helpful input on earlier drafts of this paper. I am especially grateful to Professor Gaventa for the guidance and encouragement that she offered from the initial stages of this project. Any errors or deficiencies in the present work are, of course, no one's responsibility but my own.
Living Rewards for Dead Apostles: ‘Baptised for the Dead’ in 1 Corinthians 15.29
Baptism in the Corinthian church was an expression of allegiance to honour not only Christ but also the ‘patron’ apostle in whose testimony the convert had believed (1 Cor 1.12–17). Some apostles known to the Corinthians had died (cf. 15.6), yet their testimony lived on and bore fruit in Corinth, resulting in baptism for the honouring of the dead apostles. In the context of 15.20–34 Paul uses this practice to expose the hypocrisy of those who deny the resurrection and yet seek to honour apostles who depend on the resurrection for receiving honour, as do Christ and God the Father.
Galatians 2.20 in Context
When interpreted in its context in the argument of Galatians, Gal 2.20 is an important part of Paul's discussion of justification by faith. It functions as a depiction of justification apart from any consideration of Jew or Gentile status. This conclusion is based on an examination of the flow of Gal 2.15–21, a consideration of 2.15–21 in its larger context, and a study of 2.20 itself. This role of Gal 2.20 has frequently been overlooked due to inherent difficulties in interpreting the passage and to specific features about the way scholars have interpreted the verse and the larger passage.
Paul's Allegory of the Two Covenants (Gal 4.21-31) in Light of First-Century Hellenistic Rhetoric and Jewish Hermeneutics
Galatians 4.21-31 opens with a brief allusion to events recounted in Genesis 16-17, to which Paul aptly appends the following comment: ατινα εστιν αλληγ[omicron]ρ[omicron]υμενα (4.24). Through a re-evaluation of the meaning of the verb αλληγ[omicron]ρεω in the context of Hellenistic rhetoric and by setting Paul's own hermeneutic in the context of Jewish hermeneutical norms of the first century, this paper argues that Paul's allegory of the two covenants is more reflective of Jewish reading practices which sought to eschatologize the Torah, such as Paul's reading of Gen 16.1 through its haftarah, Isa 54.1, rather than Christian typology.
La sagesse de la vie selon l'épître de Jacques: Lignes de Lecture
L'épître de Jacques montre clairement comment la vie chrétienne doit et peut être sage. À partir d'une perspective enracinée dans le Premier Testament, mais tout à fait renovée par l'incarnation du Fils de Dieu, Jacques donne un fresque des caractères fondamentaux de la vie selon l'évangile de Jésus Christ. La perspective sapientielle paraît la clef de lecture du portrait de l'existence humaine offert par cette épître du Nouveau Testament. Jacques présente la sagesse de Jésus sans offrir des considerations elévées sous un point de vue strictement intellectuel ou esthétique. Il invite ses lecteurs à un choix éthique directe. Savoir pour aimer, aimer pour savoir: celui-ci est le sens de la vie chrétienne selon Jacques.
Abraham's Bosom, the Place Where he Belonged: A Short Note on απενεχθηναι in Luke 16.22
In the story of the rich man and the poor Lazarus in Luke 16, the usual translation of v. 22 is: ‘The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham’, or ‘he was carried by the angels to the bosom of Abraham’ (εγενετ[omicron] δε απ[omicron]θανειν τ[omicron]ν πτωχ[omicron]ν και απενεχθηναι αυτ[omicron]ν υπ[omicron] των αγγελων ει[final small sigma] τ[omicron]ν κ[omicron]λπ[omicron]ν [Alpha]βρααμ). None of the dozens of existing translations of Luke and commentaries on his Gospel that I have consulted offer anything other than this. There is nothing wrong with this translation, except that the verb used here for carrying away, απ[omicron]φερειν, can have a semantic aspect that is not captured in this rendering, an aspect which I strongly suspect is present here. I submit as a translation of the verse the following free rendition: ‘The poor man died and the angels carried him away to the bosom of Abraham, the place where he belonged (or: his well-deserved place)’.
Wednesday, 11 January 2006
Trinitarian Missiology: Towards a Theology of God as Missionary
This article explores the possibilities of using ‘missionary’ as an
attribute of God, as has been done recently in some ecclesial discourse. To this
end, it offers an exegesis of John 20:21–23 via expositions of Augustine’s
discussion of the divine missions in De Trinitate, Barth’s account of election,
and the Lateran condemnation of Joachim of Fiore, and a discussion of the
relationship between trinitarian theology and the divine attributes.
I mention it because the article began life as a paper written for the Doctrine and Worship Committee of BUGB, which I was chairing at the time. At my suggestion, and before the committee was disbanded, we were exploring issues around the theology of mission. A number of the contributions revolved around the idea that Baptists are too quick to conceive of mission as something the the church does. Instead, we ought to recover the notion that mission is rooted in who God is. One step towards making this conceptual shift is to explore the idea that God does not have a mission (as in the usual understanding of the Mission Dei), but instead is a missionary i.e. "missionary" can be stated as being an attribute of God. This is what Steve's paper, now revised and published, explores.
Monday, 09 January 2006
The latest issue of the Baptist Quarterly, the journal of the Baptist Historical Society, arrived last week. Details of the articles are not yet posted on the BHS Website, but I list authors and titles of the mian articles below:
R. E. Davies, "Strange Bedfellows: Isaac Hollis and family, Baptist Benefactors"
Christine Lumsden, "A Family's Service: The Andersons of Bristo Place, Edinburgh"
John Hough, "Clifford Cleal: A Fresh Approach to Social Responsibility".
I have also been asked by David Milner to put a permanent link to the BHS Website on the site and have done so in the right sidebar.
Thursday, 03 November 2005
I know that others have posted about this, but the arrival of the email alert for JSHJ prompted me also to mention it. The lastest issue focusses on the single topic of the resurrection of Jesus with particular attention to N. T,. Wright's mammoth discussion in The Resurrection of the Son of God. Here are the abstracts - you will need a personal / institutional subscription to get the electronic versions; either that or pop into your local friendly theological library.
Explaining the Resurrection: Conflicting Convictions
Dale C. Allison, Jr
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Although explanations for the earliest Christian proclamation of Jesus' resurrection vary, certain standard arguments appear again and again. The present article introduces those explanations and those arguments as well as the essays in this theme issue of JSHJ, with a view to clarifying what they add to the traditional discussion.
Resurrection Research From 1975 to the Present: What are Critical Scholars Saying?
Gary R. Habermas
Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, USA
An overview of resurrection research in Europe and North America during the last 30 years indicates some expected as well as some surprising trends. This study highlights six of these major research areas. The works of two representative scholars, J.D. Crossan and N.T. Wright, provide interpretive angles on these subjects. The article concludes with some comments on what is taken to be the single most crucial development at present, that after Jesus' death his followers had experiences that they thought were appearances of the risen Jesus. These early Christian experiences need to be explained viably.
The Jewish Background to The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T.Wright
David J. Bryan
Cranmer Hall, University of Durham Durham, UK
This response to N.T. Wright's recent magnum opus on the resurrection of Jesus concentrates on his handling of the Jewish background to the beliefs about what had happened to Jesus. It was made in dialogue with the author at the British New Testament Conference in Edinburgh (Sept. 2004). In his study Wright vigorously argues that Christian beliefs stand out as both continuous with the mainstream of Jewish thought on the subject, but also introducing a new and unexpected element, namely that no one expected an individual to rise ahead of the rest of humankind. This conclusion forms the bedrock for Wright's investigation of the New Testament traditions about Jesus and his robust defence of the traditional belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus as an historical event. The pivotal nature of his conclusion about the background beliefs therefore called for a thorough analysis of his handling of this material. This article goes some way to offering that kind of critique.
Against the Historical Plausibility of the Empty Tomb Story and the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus: A Response to N.T. Wright
James G. Crossley
University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
Wright's recent book on the resurrection is the most important defence of the historical accuracy of the empty tomb and the bodily resurrection. However, his arguments do not stand up to close scrutiny. Sufficient attention is not paid to the importance of Jewish and pagan legendary traditions concerning great figures of the past. Unlike non-Christian traditions, the Gospel narratives are never treated with any decree of scepticism (not even Mt. 27.52-53) which is a dubious practice for a historian. The earliest evidence for the empty tomb has no genuine eyewitness support (in contrast to the resurrection appearances) and Mk 16.8 suggests that the story was not well known. The first resurrection appearances are more likely to be visionary experiences interpreted as a bodily raised figure, which meant that the early accounts of Paul and Mark could assume an empty tomb even if historically this was not the case.
Jesus' Resurrection and Christian Origins: A Response to N.T. Wright
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
While acknowledging Wright's competent handling of a wide range of primary sources, this response takes issue with his conclusions by arguing that the bodily resurrection did not happen and that the Gospel accounts are legendary and at times contradictory. It is also argued that there are two distinct traditions of understanding the resurrection in earliest Christianity, i.e. a more 'spiritual' transformation associated with the Jerusalem church and the bodily resurrection associated with the Pauline churches and represented in narrative form in Mk 16.1-8. This response is divided into the following main areas: ideas of post-mortal life in Judaism; 1 Corinthians 15; the Gospel narratives; and conversion-visions.
Jesus' Resurrection in the Early Christian Texts: An Engagement with N.T. Wright
Larry W. Hurtado
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
Wright's latest book in his multi-volume treatment of 'the New Testament and God' reveals an impressive amount of research and reflection on practically every topic. The size and detail of Wright's book make it difficult to do justice to it, and it requires anyone who engages it in such a limited presentation to select matters for particular attention. This is an attempt to contribute productively by offering critique of certain matters, particularly those of apologetics, Wright's portrayal of Jesus' resurrection in the New Testament, 'metaphorical' use of resurrection language, religious experience and devotion to Jesus, and variety in early Christian resurrection-beliefs. But the critical focus should not be misconstrued and the overall reaction is one of appreciation and gratitude.
Resurrecting Old Arguments: Responding to Four Essays
N. T. Wright
Bishop of Durham, Durham, UK
The author is grateful for the attention given to his book The Resurrection of the Son of God by the four reviewers. David Bryan is right to highlight the Enoch literature as a more fertile source of resurrection ideas than the book allowed for; but he has overstated his objection. Granted that the stream of thought represented by resurrection is more diverse even than RSG allowed, the book's argument did not hinge on the wide spread of resurrection belief at the time but on the meaning of 'resurrection', i.e. a two-stage post-mortem existence, the second stage being a new embodiment. Bryan's suggested elevation of Enoch, Elijah and others as precursors of the exaltation of Jesus fails in that these figures neither die nor are resurrected. James Crossley's counter-proposal—resurrection stories grew from 'visions' which gave rise to the idea of an empty tomb as an attempt to 'vindicate' the 'ideas and beliefs of Jesus'—fails on several counts, not least because it ignores Jesus' kingdom-proclamation which was not the promulgation of ideas and beliefs but the announcement that Israel's God was going to do something that would claim his sovereignty over the world. Michael Goulder revives the highly contentious hypothesis that the early Church was polarized between the Jerusalem apostles, who believed in a non-bodily resurrection, and Pauline Christians for whom the resurrection was bodily. The claim that Mark 16.1-8 is full of contradictions and impossibilities is rejected. Larry Hurtado warns against downplaying the role of experience both in the Christian life and in describing the devotion and liturgy of the early Church. While cautioning against the use of the word 'metaphor' to mean 'less than fully real', I acknowledge the force of the argument, and suggest the cognitive processes I propose and the devotional life sketched by Hurtado are complementary.
Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus
Craig A. Evans
Acadia Divinity College, Wolfville, NS, Canada
The burial of Jesus, in light of Jewish tradition, is almost certain for at least two reasons: (1) strong Jewish concerns that the dead—righteous or unrighteous—be properly buried; and (2) desire to avoid defilement of the land. Jewish writers from late antiquity, such as Philo and Josephus, indicate that Roman officials permitted executed Jews to be buried before nightfall. Only in times of rebellion—when Roman authorities did not honour Jewish sensitivities—were bodies not taken down from crosses or gibbets and given proper burial. It is highly improbable, therefore, that the bodies of Jesus and the other two men crucified with him would have been left unburied overnight, on the eve of a major Jewish holiday, just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Scholarly discussion of the resurrection of Jesus should reckon with the likelihood that Jesus was buried in an identifiable tomb, a tomb that may well have been known to have been found empty.
Tuesday, 01 November 2005
The latest issue of the Baptist Quarterly has landed on my desk.
EDITORIAL: PERSONALITY AND PROTEST
On Timothy Larsen, Contested Christianity: The Political and Social Contexts of Victorian Theology, Baylor University Press, 234pp, ISBN 0918954932. £28-50 (Amazon).
‘THE BREATH OF REVIVAL’: The Welsh Revival and Spurgeon’s College
The influence of the Welsh Revival of 1905 reached out far beyond the Principality. This paper looks at the impact of Spurgeon’s College and the Metropolitan Tabernacle through the six Welsh students at the College.
Ian M. Randall, Vice-Principal and Tutor in Church History and Spirituality, Spurgeon’s College, London
FROM A THUNDERSTORM TO A SETTLED STILL LIFE: Estonian Baptists 1959-1972
This completes the paper, based on the E.A. Payne Memorial Prize Essay 2005, showing how a period of apparent still life for Estonian Baptists allowed them to develop internal fellowship and find the beginnings of new confidence.
Toivo Pilli, Course Director in Baptist and Anabaptist Studies at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague
SHAKESPEARE’S MAN AT THE FRONT: The ministry of the Revd William Cramb Charteris OBE MC during the Great War (1914-1918)
This paper looks at the life and work of William Charteris, a Baptist minister, and one of the first to become a Free Church military chaplain.
Neil Allison is presently serving as a chaplain to the 1st Battalion The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) and is based in Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh)
WAINSGATE BAPTIST CHURCH is taken into the care of the Historic Chapels Trust
ASSOCIATION RECORDS OF THE PARTICULAR BAPTISTS OF THE WEST COUNTRY TO 1659: Some queries
Local knowledge suggests some different identifications Alec Barber, a lifelong Baptist, worked in Local Government, and has preached for over fifty years in the village churches east of Taunton
BAPTISTS IN THE NEW OXFORD DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Modern technology makes it easy to find the 630 entries in the new DNB that mention a Baptist connection.
Brian Bowers, an engineering historian, was one of the 372 Associate Editors of the Dictionary and one of the 10,000 contributors. He is a member of Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, London, six of whose former members appear in the Dictionary.
ANOTHER WAY OF BEING CHRISTIAN IN FRANCE: Review article
Some years ago a group of French Baptists began to gather an archive and to research their history. Sébastien Fath, an historian and sociologist, drew on and extended this research for his doctoral study, producing his pioneering and magisterial book, Une autre manière d’être chrétien en France: socio-histoire de l’implantation baptiste (1810-1950) (Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2001. 1222 pages. ISBN 2-8309-0990-9.. Amazon price £37-15) . Drawing on plentiful resources (for ‘les Baptistes ... écrivent beaucoup’), Fath shows how Baptists have been implanted in the nation’s life.
Faith Bowers, Sub-editor, Baptist Quarterly
REVIEWS AND NOTES ON BOOKS
Anna M. Robbins, Methods in the Madness: Diversity in Twentieth-Century Christian Social Ethics, Paternoster Theological Monographs, Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2004. pp.xx+294. ISBN 1-84227-211-X. £19-99.
Reviewed by Brian Haymes, Minister, Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church
Paul Weller, Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society (London: Continuum, 2005), 244 pages, ISBN 0 567 08487 6, £19.99.
Reviewed by N.G. Wright, Principal, Spurgeon’s College, London.
Clive Field, ed., Church and Chapel in Early Victorian Shropshire: Returns from the 1851 Census of Religious Worship, [Shropshire Record Series, Volume 8], Centre for Local History, University of Keele, available from SRS, 12 Oakfield Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 8AA, £15 including p & p.
Reviewed by J.H.Y. Briggs
Michael A G Haykin (ed.), At the Pure Fountain of Thy Word: Andrew Fuller as an Apologist, Volume 6 Studies in Baptist History and Thought, Paternoster, Carlisle 2004, 255pp. ISBN 1-84227-171-7 £19.99
Reviewer: Brian Talbot Minister Cumbernauld Baptist Church
B.R. Talbot, A Brief History of Central Baptist Association 1909-2002, Baptist Union of Scotland, 2005. 40pp £3-50 inclusive from BU of Scotland, 14 Aytoun Road, Glasgow G41 5RT, 01414326169.
Reviewed by John Barclay, who was President of the Baptist Union of Scotland 1994-5
Andrew Rollinson, Liberating Ecclesiology: Setting the church free to live out its missionary nature, The Whitley Lecture for 2005, Whitley Publications, Regent’s Park College, Oxford, OX1 2B, 40pp, £3-50.
Reviewed by J.H.Y. Briggs
Courage and Hope: The Stories of Ten Baptist Women Ministers, edited by Pam and Keith Durso, Baptist History and Heritage Society and Mercer University Press, 2005
The INDEX to Volume 40 is available from the Treasurer: on disc at £2-00, as part of the regularly updated Cumulative Index on CD-ROM at £7-25, or as A4 print-out at £7-25.
What isn't mentioned in that summary of contents is that there is also an announcement of the published version of Rooger Hayden's doctoral thesis on Evangelical Calvinism among 18th Century Particular Baptists entitled Continuity and Change. It will be published in March 2006.
Now, I had better get down to finishing off the review I am supposed to be writing for the next edition of the Quarterly!
Tuesday, 27 September 2005
The latest issue of Biblica is available online. The abstracts for the NT related articles are as follows:
- Karl Olav SANDNES, «Whence and Whither. A Narrative Perspective on Birth a!nwqen (John 3,3-8)» , Vol. 86(2005) 153-173.
- In John 3 birth a!nwqen is illustrated by the wind. Its effect can be experienced without knowledge of from whence it comes and whither it goes. This analogy asserts both the reality and the mysterious nature of the wind. John 3,8 is, however, not exhausted by this analogy. John 3,3-8 belongs within an epistemological pattern found throughout this Gospel: like is known by like. The mysterious and enigmatic nature of Jesus’ identity sheds light on the "whence and whither" of John 3,8. Christology thus becomes a key to understand the mysterious nature of faith.
- Samuel BÉNÉTREAU, «Évangile et prophétie. Un texte original (1 P 1,10-12) peut-il éclairer un texte difficile (2 P 1,16-21)?» , Vol. 86(2005) 174-191.
- It is commonly agreed that the Second Epistle of Peter evinces a knowledge of the First Epistle of Peter (cf 2 P 3,1), but the degree of the influence upon the Second Epistle is assessed differently. This study endeavours to show that the difficult text of 2 P 1,16-21, in which the witness of the apostles is associated with the "prophetic word", becomes clearer and more coherent when a connection is set with 1 P 1,10-12.
- Kevin B. McCRUDEN, «Judgment and Life for the Lord: Occasion and Theology of Romans 14,1–15,13» , Vol. 86(2005) 229-244.
- This article explores Paul’s discussion concerning the strong and the weak in Rom 14,1–15,13. My thesis is that Paul’s comments in this section of the letter function neither completely as a response to an actual problem in Rome, nor as entirely general paraenesis. Rather, Paul’s comments function simultaneously on both a situational and non-situational level. Considering that specific concerns over food were likely operative in the Roman congregation, Paul employs non-specific language in this section in order to espouse a larger theological vision of the essential unity of Jew and Gentile under God’s salvation in Christ.
I have just had an invitation to attend the launch of the latest Regent's Study Guide (a series of volumes that seek to relate academic scholarship to the needs of working ministers, produced by Regent's Park College in Oxford).
The details are:
Anthony J. Clarke, Paul S. Fiddes (eds.), Flickering Images: Theology and Film in Dialogue
I haven't seen a copy yet, but when I do I will post the image in the sidebar. The launch date is November, so copies may not be around at the moment, but watch this space.
Recent volumes in the series have been of very high quality, so I am looking forward to seeing this one.
Friday, 19 August 2005
The latest issue of Ecclesiology arrived a few days ago, preceded by the electronic announcement of its contents. For those who don't know, Ecclesiology is a relatively new journal published by Sage, described as "The Journal for Ministry, Mission and Unity". Convening Editor is Paul Avis, and Paul Fiddes is also listed as an editor, representing the Baptist tradition. The journal has the potential to explore all sorts of contemporary issues at a serious academic level, and it should be taken by every major theological library. The current issue is devoted to exploring the question of why structural ecumenism is in crisis by reflection on a number of issues of ecumenical method. Here are the abstracts:
Does Doctrine Still Divide?
Against an old adage that ‘doctrine divides, service unites’, this article argues that all features of the ecumenical enterprise - evangelistic, humanitarian, moral, liturgical, sacramental, ecclesiological - bear a doctrinal dimension; the point is to discern and foster the unity in doctrine that is necessary to their pursuit. Twentieth-century doctrinal dialogues are surveyed, both in the multilateral arena (notably Faith and Order’s Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry) and in some representative bilateral cases. Their achievements are measured, and the remaining (and new) issues are noted. Attention is paid to the effect of the Roman Catholic Church’s official entry into the Ecumenical Movement with the Second Vatican Council’s decree ‘ Unitatis Redintegratio’, and Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical ‘ Ut Unum Sint ’ is viewed as both a recognition of a century’s progress in ecumenism and the setting of an agenda for continuing work.
The Development of Doctrine: A Lutheran Understanding and its Ecumenical Application
In this essay, a Lutheran understanding of the development of doctrine is developed, in contrast with what George Lindbeck calls ‘historical situationalism’, the limitations of which are analysed. While the final authority of doctrine is a function of its evangelical content, a particular historical development of church teaching can possess a subordinate, distinct, formal authority as an authoritative sign of the material authority of its content. Such developments of doctrine can be irreversible. This understanding is placed in relation to the most prominent doctrine on the development of doctrine, the Catholic teaching on papal infallibility. The comprehensive narrative of the Western church’s struggle over authority since the late Middle Ages should be seen as including both Catholic and non-Catholic developments and as still unresolved.
The Common Statement Called into Question
The forms, structures and conventions of ecumenical texts, and the methods of their production, play a determinative role in shaping the successes and failures of the quest for Christian unity. The textual genre of the ‘common statement’ has played a particular critical role in the development of the modern ecumenical movement, but hermeneutical problems inherent in this genre demand a re-evaluation of the viability of these texts as effective vehicles for ecumenical dialogue. The re-imagination of ecumenism for the twenty-first century must begin with a reassessment of the role of this traditional text form as part of a broader re-imagination of the entire textual life of the movement.
What is Communion and When is it Full?
Joseph D. Small
‘Full communion’ has become the favoured term to characterize forms of reconciled life between and among churches in North America. Yet the term is problematic. This article examines ‘full communion’ in light of its genesis in the ecumenical movement, challenges from Orthodox and Roman Catholic perspectives, the biblical witness, and the actual life of churches that are in ‘full communion’. The article concludes by suggesting a way to retain and employ koino nia categories in ecumenical relations.
Whose History? Historical Method and Ecclesiology in Ecumenical Context
This article explores the concealed relationship of changing historical formulations of Christian doctrine to the statements of doctrine contained in ecumenical dialogue reports, and argues for a form of church history that would be ecumenically and theologically useful. Through a series of specific examples, it points to the hidden history of the ecclesiological contexts in which doctrine is situated. Noting limitations in the concept of ‘paradigm shift’, as well as in theories of doctrinal development, it argues that church history needs to attend to three levels of historical argumentation, covering doctrines, institutions, and social context, and proposes a historical methodology cognizant of all three, and above all of the links between all three.
Structures of Unity: The Next Ecumenical Challenge - A Possible Way Forward
William G. Rusch
The modern ecumenical movement with its primary goal of the visible unity of the churches has given attention to ecclesiology. This has been true both in the work of Faith and Order and in many of the bilateral dialogues. Yet both Faith and Order and the dialogues have stated remarkably little about the structures needed for church unity. This article suggests that by building on the concept of differentiated consensus it may be possible to recognize and utilize a concept described as differentiated participation to move the churches toward greater visible unity. In conclusion some examples are given.