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Reading the Apocalypse: the Interpreter’s Challenge E-mail
Written by Ian Boxall   
Monday, 02 July 2012 16:34

Ian Boxall is Editor of Scripture Bulletin, and Tutor in New Testament at St Stephen's House, Oxford.

It is probably fair to say that no other biblical book has had so many detractors and critics – inside as well as outside the churches – as the Book of Revelation. Commentators often cite the famous words of Martin Luther, in his Preface to Revelation of September 1522:

'My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it. … Therefore I stick to the books which present Christ to me clearly and purely.'

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Take and Read: the Acts of the Apostles E-mail
Written by Adrian Graffy   
Monday, 02 July 2012 00:00

Fr Adrian Graffy is the editor of the Take and Read series (Alive Publishing).

The first four volumes of the Take and Read series, on the four gospels, were published in 2009.

Now the same group of authors, Ian Boxall, Adrian Graffy, John J Henry and Henry Wansbrough is producing four more volumes, on further books of the New Testament.

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What Are They Saying About the Minor Prophets? E-mail
Written by Jennifer Dines CSA   
Sunday, 08 January 2012 09:46

Jennifer Dines CSA taught Biblical Studies at Heythrop College, University of London, from 1979 to 2001. She now lives in Cambridge and does research mainly on the Septuagint. She is a Trustee of the Catholic Biblical Association. 

When Augustine coined the term ‘Minor Prophets’ for the twelve books from Hosea to Malachi,  it was not a slur on their status but a comment on their brevity by comparison with the ‘Major’ (i.e. longer) prophetic books. Many scholars now prefer what is in fact older terminology: ‘the Book of the Twelve’, often abbreviated to ‘the Twelve’ which is what, for convenience, I shall use here. Each of the Twelve has its own introduction (Hos. 1:1; Amos 1:1; Jon. 1:1; Hab. 1:1 and so on) and, until recently, has mostly been studied as a self-contained text. Yet these twelve books always form a distinct group in biblical manuscripts, whether Jewish or Christian.

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In Animate Praise: The Heavenly Temple Liturgy of the Apocalypse & the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrific E-mail
Written by Sean Michael Ryan   
Sunday, 08 January 2012 09:36

Sean Ryan is a Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Heythrop College, University of London, with a particular interest in apocalyptic/heavenly-ascent literature. A revised version of his PhD, focused on the cosmology of Rev. 9, will be published in Spring 2012.

Central to the Apocalypse’s visionary logic is its visualisation of the heavenly realm as a celestial temple.  Scenes of worship in the heavenly sanctuary can be traced, like a golden-thread, through this visionary narrative (Rev. 4–5, 8:1-6, 11:15-19, 14:2-5, 15:2–16:1, 16:17-21, 19:1-8), revealing the Deity's consummate control over the created cosmos, enthroned in the heavenly Holy of Holies, prior to the cessation of such cultic boundaries in the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21–22).

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Word for the World: Four Characteristics of a Faithful Sharing of the Word E-mail
Written by Matthew van Duyvenbode   
Sunday, 08 January 2012 09:31

Matthew van Duyvenbode works as part of the Bible and Culture team at Bible Society (www.biblesociety.org.uk/culture). He is a trustee of the Catholic Bible School, and is secretary to the Scripture working group under the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis at the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Dei Verbum in 2015, we are presented with a valuable opportunity to reflect on our response to the scriptural renewal it both noted and encouraged within the life and mission of the Church. The impact of increased scriptural engagement in the life of the faithful over the intervening years has widely been caricatured as a swing to liturgical liberality, followed by a traditionalist reaction. Whist the analysis is somewhat crude and misleading, it is interesting to note that popular comment has primarily concerned itself with assessing the use and interpretation of the Bible ad intra.

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Many Happy Returns: When was the Church’s Birthday? E-mail
Written by Michael Tait   
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 10:51

Michael Tait holds the Licence in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the PhD from the University of Manchester.

As a child, I doubt if I were alone in finding the notion of the Queen’s two birthdays (official and unofficial?/natural and unnatural?) puzzling. Apart from the tantalising questions as to whether she received two sets of presents, two cakes and two parties, the basic difficulty lay in the fundamental oxymoron. It is the same question as that posed by Nicodemus: ‘Can a man be born more than once?’ (cf. Jn 3:4). I was reminded of this conundrum when a postgraduate student friend recently asked me about the birthday of the Church. On reading through his thesis for the umpteenth time, he had just realised that he had referred to the resurrection of Jesus as the birthday of the Church.

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Did Paul ever go to Rome? E-mail
Written by Henry Wansbrough OSB   
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 10:40

Henry Wansbrough is a monk of Ampleforth. He has been Chairman of the Faculty of Theology at Oxford University, and served on the Pope’s Biblical Commission for eleven years. He is General Editor of The New Jerusalem Bible, and has written a number of books on biblical subjects.

The purpose of this essay is to sketch the possibility that Luke’s purpose in devoting so much attention to the journey of Paul to Rome, with all its drama, is less to complete a biography of Paul than to achieve other objectives of Luke’s writings. In particular it was important to Luke to complete the geographical scheme for Acts, laid out by the Risen Christ in Acts 1:8, of bringing the gospel to the heart of the Roman Empire. Since Luke’s Gospel depicts the spread of salvation from the Jews to the gentiles, it is also appropriate that his two-volume work should end with the formal protestation at the heart of the gentile world that Jewish resistance to the message has forced the messengers to concentrate on the gentile world.

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