An evil success! The St Mary’s conference on evil

I’m delighted to report that the first conference organised by the Centre for Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St Mary’s University, Twickenham was a resounding success. About fifty of us met to hear papers and engage in fascinating conversation about the topic of evil across a wide range of texts in the Second Temple and early Christian period. My esteemed colleague Chris Keith had done a masterly job in putting this together. Here are some notes on papers which caught my ear—that’s not to say Continue reading →

Au revoir, Rod Decker

The sad news has come today that Rod Decker has died after quite a long illness with cancer. Here’s the note from his wife. Rod is a lovely man and fine scholar (verb tense carefully chosen, as Rod would always have insisted): his introductory Greek grammar and his Baylor Greek Handbook on Mark (in 2 volumes) were his final major projects and they will be out later this year. We thank God for him and send much love to his family.

This will be a stonkingly good conference!

I’m really looking forward to Friday and Saturday this week when we have our first St Mary’s University Centre for Social-Scientific Study of the Bible conference on ‘Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity’—details here; you can still book to come! I’m working on a paper on ‘Evil in Ephesus (Acts 19:8-40)’ which is looking at issues of the nature of evil, and how Luke sees evil being overcome, in Paul’s visit to the city. There are lots of interesting things going on—the full Continue reading →

Questioning assumptions

Here’s a fine piece from Larry Hurtado’s blog questioning the assumption that Christian belief about Jesus must reflect what Jesus himself believed about himself during his lifetime. Hurtado exposes this as a theological assumption and questions it cogently. Good stuff!

Chris Keith’s thought-provoking and worthwhile new book

Chris Keith Jesus against the Scribal Elite: The Origins of the Conflict Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014; ISBN 978-0-8010-3988-1 [As many readers of this review will recognise, the author of this book is my colleague at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Professor Chris Keith was kind enough to give a copy of the book I review here, but without any request for review, let alone—of course—for a favourable review. What follows is my responsibility alone.] Get a cup of coffee (or your preferred tipple)—this is a Continue reading →