Staff and students of the University of Divinity produce world-class research in all theological disciplines. Here are some recent publications by our members.
Dr David Starling, Hermeneutics as Apprenticeship
(Baker Academic, forthcoming October 2016).
Fifty years ago, in the heady atmosphere of the late 1960s, Harvey Cox made the famous pronouncement that “the only future that theology has … is to become the theology of the future”. The introduction to Theology and the Future: Evangelical Assertions and Explorations (T&T Clark, 2014) takes up that dictum and attempts to rearticulate it in a chastened, humbler form. The work of theology is still oriented toward the future, as both prophecy and phronesis, but—according to the evangelical vision that informs our book—it gets its bearings not from the immanent historical processes of modernity but from the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. The essays in the remainder of the book take up that vision and apply it to a series of themes, including ecology, urban planning, the philosophy of science and the creative arts.
Hermeneutics as Apprenticeship (Baker, 2016) is an appeal for the renewal and ressourcement of contemporary biblical hermeneutics through apprenticeship to the interpretive practices of the biblical writers themselves, and an attempt to show what that might look like through a series of worked examples. The aim is not to supplant other disciplines such as historical-critical exegesis or philosophical hermeneutics, but to ground their exercise in the interpretive wisdom that is modelled and taught within the canon.
The Gender Conversation (co-edited with Edwina Murphy; Wipf & Stock, 2016) brings together papers from a symposium that we hosted at Morling College last year. The particular conversation to which the title refers is the intra-ecclesial conversation between Christian brothers and sisters who follow the same Jesus and read the same Scriptures, yet differ on how those Scriptures are to be interpreted and applied to matters of gender. The topics about which we conversed were not only the in-house questions about the shape of relationships and the exercise of ministry within the church, but also the wider cultural questions about biology, identity, politics, justice and power about which our society continues to conduct a vigorous discussion.
Most of my current research is focused on the exegesis and theological interpretation of the New Testament. I have been asked to write commentaries on Ephesians, Colossians and 1 Corinthians for two different commentary series, both of which concentrate on the theological interpretation of the text. I’ve also been working on a piece about the ethics of the New Testament and another about the themes of righteousness, justice and justification within Scripture and in the theology of the patristic period.
— Revd Dr David Starling, Morling College
Andrew Sloane, Vulnerability and Care: Christian Reflections on the Philosophy of Medicine
(London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2016).
Medical and bioethical issues have spawned a great deal of debate in both public and academic contexts; however, such debate rarely engages with underlying issues of the nature of medicine and its role in human community. Vulnerability and Care seeks to fill that gap by providing Christian philosophical and theological reflections on the nature and purposes of medicine and its role in human society. The book describes the contexts in which medicine is practiced, identifying challenges it must address. It demonstrates how debate over bioethical issues is rooted in conflicting visions of the nature of medicine, and identifies resources available for those who would reflect “Christianly” on medicine. At the heart of the book is an articulation of a Christian understanding of medicine as both a scholarly and (inherently moral) social practice, and the philosophical-theological framework which informs this perspective. The book closes by re-examining the context of medicine and bioethical issues with which it opened.
–Revd Dr Andrew Sloane, Morling College
Correlating Sobornost: Conversations between Karl Barth and the Russian Orthodox Tradition, edited by Ashley John Moyse, Scott Kirkland and John McDowell.
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016).
The diaspora of scholars exiled from Russian in 1922 offered something vital for both Russian Orthodoxy and for ecumenical dialogue. Liberated from scholastic academic discourse, and living and writing in new languages, the scholars set out to reinterpret their traditions and to introduce Russian Orthodoxy to the West. Yet, relatively few have considered the works of these exiles, particularly insofar as they act as critical and constructive conversation partners. This project expands upon the relatively limited conversation between such thinkers with the most significant Protestant theologian of the last century, Karl Barth. Through the topic and in the spirit of sobornost, this project charters such conversation. The body of Russian theological scholarship guided by sobornost challenges Barth, helping us to draw out necessary criticism while leading us toward unexpected insight, and vice versa. This collection will not only illuminate but also stimulate interesting and important discussions for those engaged in the study of Karl Barth’s corpus, in the Orthodox tradition, and in the ecumenical discourse between East and West.
Siu Fung Wu, Suffering in Romans
(Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2015).
Suffering in Romans by Dr Siu Fung Wu is the edited text of a doctoral thesis for the University of Divinity, supervised by Revd Associate Professor Sean Winter. Don’t let any of that put you off reading it! Yes, there is detailed argument and evidence here—much of it in the footnotes or appendices—but the rest reads very clearly and gives a challenging perspective on texts that we need to hear differently in today’s world. This is not a book about the theme of suffering in Romans, but a reading of Paul’s most influential letter from the perspective of those who suffer in diverse ways. This is because such people comprised the majority amongst the ekklēsial groups in Rome at the time, as Wu demonstrates, and because this is still the experience of many today including Wu’s own background in the garment industry in Hong Kong. As a theme, suffering is explicit in Romans 5 and 8, though there has been no full-length treatment of it until this book. As a reality of first-century urban life (as for many still today), the daily struggle to survive in an environment that alternates between hostility and indifference towards the poor and powerless provides a perspective on the interpretation of the whole of Romans that we would all do well to wrestle with.
— Associate Professor Keith Dyer, Whitley College
Methodism in Australia: A History, edited by Glen O’Brien and Hilary M. Carey
“Methodism has played a major role in all areas of public life in Australia but has been particularly significant for its influence on education, social welfare, missions to Aboriginal people and the Pacific Islands and the role of women. Drawing together a team of historical experts, Methodism in Australia presents a critical introduction to one of the most important religious movements in Australia’s settlement history and beyond. Offering ground-breaking regional studies of the development of Methodism, this book considers a broad range of issues including Australian Methodist religious experience, worship and music, Methodist intellectuals, and missions to Australia and the Pacific.
Contributors: Russell E. Richey, Hilary M. Carey, Glen O’Brien, Malcolm Prentis, Renate Howe, David Hilliard, John Harrison, Alison Longworth, Troy Duncan, Ian Breward, Samantha Frappell, Jennifer Clark, D’Arcy Wood, David Andrew Roberts, Margaret Reeson, Anne O’Brien, Garry W. Trompf, William Emilsen.