School of Divinity

Virtual Bookshelf

Browse through our virtual bookshelf, updated with academic staff's most recent publications

Colour image of School of Divinity Academic Staff's books sitting on shelves

Dr Michael Fuller (ed.) - Science and Religion in Western Literature: Critical and Theological Studies

Published: 16th August 2022

This book explores ways in which Western literature has engaged with themes found within the field of science and religion, both historically and in the present day. It focuses on works of the imagination as important locations at which human arguments, hopes and fears may be played out. The chapters examine a variety of instances where scientific and religious ideas are engaged by novelists, poets and dramatists, casting new light upon those ideas and suggesting constructive ways in which science and religion may interact. The contributors cover a rich variety of authors, including Mary Shelley, Aldous Huxley, R. S. Thomas, Philip Pullman and Margaret Atwood. Together they form a fascinating set of reflections on some of the significant issues encountered within the discourse of science and religion, indicating ways in which the insights of creative artists can make a valuable and important contribution to that discourse.

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Dr Matthew Novenson - Paul, Then and Now

Published: 17th June 2022

The book follows a collection of a decade’s worth of essays, in which Dr Matthew Novenson puts contextual understandings of Paul’s letters into conversation with their Christian reception history. After a new, programmatic introductory essay that frames the other eleven essays, Novenson explores topics including:

  • the relation between theology and historical criticism
  • the place of Jews and gentiles in Paul’s gospel
  • Paul’s relation to Judaism
  • the relevance of messianism to Paul’s Christology
  • Paul’s eschatology in relation to ancient Jewish eschatologies
  • the aptness of monotheism as a category for understanding antiquity
  • the reception of Paul by diverse early Christian writers
  • the peculiar place of Protestantism in the modern study of Paul
  • the debate over the recent Paul-within-Judaism movement
  • anti-Judaism in modern New Testament scholarship
  • disputes over Romans and Galatians
  • the meta-question of what it would mean to get Paul right or wrong 

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Dr Ximian Xu - Theology as the Science of God: Herman Bavinck's Wetenschappelijke Theology for the Modern World

Published: 13th June 2022

The revival of Calvinism in the nineteenth-century Netherlands entailed the neo-Calvinist movement. With Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck became a brand name of neo-Calvinism. Nonetheless, not until the first decade of the twenty-first century was scholarly interest in Bavinck’s work increasing. The conventional “two Bavincks” model used to read his work for much of the twentieth century argues that some contradictory and irreconcilable themes do exist in Bavinck’s system, which makes Bavinck a self-contradictory thinker. This dualistic reading characterised most of Bavinck scholars in the second half of the twentieth century. Since James Eglinton’s new reading of Bavinck’s organic motif, the conventional model became untenable, and scholars are seeking for a reunited Herman Bavinck. Bavinck as a holistic theologian has become the industry standard of Bavinck studies. Ximian Xu aims on the one hand to maintain “one Bavinck”, on the other hand, and more importantly, to fill in a notable gap in Bavinck scholarship – that is, no single work hitherto has focused on Bavinck’s idea of theology as the wetenschap (science) of God. This study demonstrates that the idea of scientific (wetenschappelijke) theology furnishes the meta-paradigm and cardinal model that incorporates the fundamental characteristics and themes of Bavinck’s dogmatic system. Moreover, it argues that Bavinck’s scientific theology makes an attempt to engage with the other sciences. Given this, Bavinck’s scientific theology is relevant today. That is, Bavinck’s theological insights can be deployed to advance theology’s engagement with the other sciences in contemporary secular universities.

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Dr Suzanna Millar, Katherine J. Dell and Arthur Jan Keefer (eds.) - The Cambridge Companion to Biblical Wisdom Literature

Published: 9th June 2022

Study of the wisdom literature in the Hebrew Bible and the contemporary cultures in the ancient Near Eastern world is evolving rapidly as old definitions and assumptions are questioned. Scholars are now interrogating the role of oral culture, the rhetoric of teaching and didacticism, the understanding of genre, and the relationship of these factors to the corpus of writings. The scribal culture in which wisdom literature arose is also under investigation, alongside questions of social context and character formation. This Companion serves as an essential guide to wisdom texts, a body of biblical literature with ancient origins that continue to have universal and timeless appeal. Reflecting new interpretive approaches, including virtue ethics and intertextuality, the volume includes essays by an international team of leading scholars. They engage with the texts, provide authoritative summaries of the state of the field, and open up to readers the exciting world of biblical wisdom.

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Dr Alexander Chow (ed.) - Scottish Missions to China: Commemorating the Legacy of James Legge (1815-1897)

Published: 19th May 2022

This volume explores the important legacy of Scottish missions to China, with a focus on the missionary-scholar and Protestant sinologist par excellence James Legge (1815–1897). It challenges the simplistic caricature of Protestant missionaries as Orientalizing imperialists, but also shows how the Chinese context and Chinese persons “converted” Scottish missionaries in their understandings of China and the broader world. Scottish Missions to China brings together essays by leading Chinese, European, and North American scholars in mission history, sinology, theology, cultural and literary studies, and psychology. It calls attention to how the historic enterprise of Scottish missions to China presents new insights into Scottish-Chinese and British-Chinese relations.

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Dr Naomi Appleton - Narrative Visions and Visual Narratives in Indian Buddhism

Published: 22nd April 2022

This volume explores the interaction between text and image in Indian Buddhist contexts, including not only the complex relationship between verbal stories and visual representations at Indian sites, but also the ways in which visual imagery is used within textual narratives. The chapters are authored by textual scholars and art historians, bringing together different disciplinary perspectives to seek a richer understanding of how text and art relate, and of the role of narrative imagery in different media and contexts.

The book opens with an introduction that explores what narratives and visual narratives are, and why we might want to study narrative images alongside imagery-rich literary narratives. The volume is then divided into three parts. The chapters in “Part I: Visual Narratives” (Zaghet, Reddy, Zin) explore visual depictions of stories in their own right; those in “Part II: Narrative Networks” (Mace, Appleton & Clark, Strong) seek to understand the relationship between specific visual and verbal narratives; and those in “Part III: Narrative Visions” (Gummer, Fiordalis, Walters) primarily investigate how visual imagery and visualisation work in textual narratives.

The volume seeks to bridge the divide that traditionally exists between textual scholars and art historians, and to challenge the contributors to think beyond the usual boundaries of our work.

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Dr Mark Harris and Hilary Marlow (eds.) - The Oxford Handbook of the Bible and Ecology

Published: 22nd April 2022

Environmental issues are an ever-increasing focus of public discourse and have proved concerning to religious groups as well as society more widely. Among biblical scholars, criticism of the Judeo-Christian tradition for its part in the worsening crisis has led to a small but growing field of study on ecology and the Bible. This volume in the Oxford Handbook series makes a significant contribution to this burgeoning interest in ecological hermeneutics, incorporating the best of international scholarship on ecology and the Bible. The Handbook comprises 30 individual essays on a wide range of relevant topics by established and emerging scholars. Arranged in four sections, the volume begins with a historical overview before tackling some key methodological issues. The second, substantial, section comprises thirteen essays offering detailed exegesis from an ecological perspective of selected biblical books. This is followed by a section exploring broader thematic topics such as the Imago Dei and stewardship. Finally, the volume concludes with a number of essays on contemporary perspectives and applications, including political and ethical considerations. The editors Hilary Marlow and Mark Harris have drawn on their experience in Hebrew Bible and New Testament respectively to bring together a diverse and engaging collection of essays on a subject of immense relevance. Its accessible style, comprehensive scope, and range of material means that the volume is a valuable resource, not only to students and scholars of the Bible but also to religious leaders and practitioners.

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Professor Helen Bond and Joan Taylor - Women Remembered: Jesus' Female Disciples

Published: 17th March 2022

Do you think that Jesus only surrounded himself with men? Think again.

Inspired by their popular Channel 4 documentary Jesus' Female Disciples, historians Helen Bond and Joan Taylor explore the way in which Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary, Martha and a whole host of other women - named and unnamed - have been remembered by posterity, noting how many were silenced, tamed or slurred by innuendo - though occasionally they get to slay dragons. Women Remembered looks at the representation of these women in art, and the way they have been remembered in inscriptions and archaeology. And of course they dig into the biblical texts, exposing misogyny and offering alternative and unexpected ways of appreciating these women as disciples, apostles, teachers, messengers and church-founders.

At a time when both the church and society more widely are still grappling with the full inclusion and equality of women, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the historical and cultural origins of Christianity.

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Dr Simon Burton and Matthew C. Baines (eds.) - Reformation and Education: Confessional Dynamics and Intellectual Transformations

Published: 7th March 2022

Closely entwined with the educational revolution of early modernity, the Reformation transformed the pedagogical landscape and culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Embracing a broad understanding of the Reformation this volume examines the confessional dynamics which shaped the educational transformations of early modernity, including Calvinists, Lutherans, Anabaptists and Roman Catholics in its scope. Going beyond conventional emphases on the role of the printing press and theological education of clergy in university settings, it also explores the education of laity in academies, schools and the home in all manner of topics including theology, history, natural philosophy and ethics. More well-known figures like John Calvin and Philipp Melanchthon are examined alongside less-well known but important figures like Caspar Coolhaes and Lukas Osiander. Likewise, more prominent centres of reform including Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands are considered together with often overlooked locations like the Czech Republic and Denmark.

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Dr Salam Rassi - Christian Thought in the Medieval Islamicate World

Published: 8th February 2022

  • First book-length history of Syriac and Christian Arabic apologetic literature
  • First intellectual biography of an influential Syriac author
  • An in-depth analysis of the entangled worlds of medieval Christian and Islamic theology
  • A detailed study of a much-neglected period of social and intellectual history in the Middle East

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Professor Timothy Lim (ed.) - Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel

Published: 2022

Professor Timothy Lim recently published a guest-edited issue of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022) on the theme of 'The Normativity of the Torah'.  There are articles by John J. Collins on the development and observance of the Torah in the Persian Period; Christopher Rollston on the late attribution of authorship of the Pentateuch to Moses; Sidnie Crawford on the literary strategy of the Temple Scroll that obviates the mediator Moses; and Laura Quick on how Deuteronomy was detextualised in the performative retelling of the Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian.  Professor Lim's own article on Josephus shows that the motivation to rewrite the biblical text is not only due to the authoritative nature of scripture, but also to the perceived defects of the laws and narratives.  Josephus innovated or changed the order of the laws and narrative for historiographical purposes to accommodate what he perceived to have been a better sense of the laws and flow of the events of Jewish history.  The entire volume was coedited by a former New College PhD student in Hebrew Bible, Josiah Peeler (PhD 2022), now assistant professor at Mid-Atlantic Christian University.

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