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Reviews & Notices
Monday, 10 January 2011 19:04

Thursday, 01 July 2010 17:37

To mark the impending beatification of John Henry Newman, this edition of Scripture Bulletin includes two articles exploring different aspects of Newman’s engagement with the Bible.

In our first article, Henry Wansbrough OSB offers a stimulating account of two aspects of Newman’s developing thought pertaining to biblical study: the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, and the quest for an appropriate Catholic understanding of scriptural inspiration. In the former case, Wansbrough shows how Newman anticipated the direction eventually taken by the Second Vatican Council, for which, among a number of reasons, Vatican II has often acquired the title ‘Newman’s Council’. In the second, we also see Newman responding, often creatively, to challenges posed by critical scholarship and developments in the natural sciences.

The second article considers Newman as a preacher of the gospels. In this year of Luke, it examines Newman’s treatment of the Third Evangelist and his writings, together with some specific examples of sermons on Lucan texts. It aims to show that, although very much a preacher of his time, in several ways Newman anticipates more recent developments in scholarly study of the Bible, as well as reminding us of older, well-tested exegetical strategies.

Timothy Ashworth’s article offers a sustained study of a fundamental aspect of Pauline thought as expressed in his Letter to the Galatians: the relationship between Christian liberty in the Spirit and continuing moral discipline. He does this through a very effective exploration of the key terms stoicheia and stoicheō, arguing that, in contrast to their normal treatment by translators, they have firm definitions which Paul uses effectively to clarify difficult theological concepts.

Ian Boxall

Thursday, 01 July 2010 17:34

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.


In this year when we are awaiting the beatification of Cardinal Newman it is appropriate to reflect on his contributions to scripture scholarship. He was, of course, primarily a patristic rather than a scripture scholar. However, despite a difficulty in reading German, it is striking to see from his Oxford lectures how familiar he was with the innovative German biblical scholarship of the day. Nevertheless, at least two of his important contributions remain interesting and relevant at the present day, namely his views on the interrelationship of scripture and tradition, and his reflections on the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. The former nexus of questions has its focus during the period when Newman was working his way towards the Catholic Church, the latter when he was already within it.

Thursday, 01 July 2010 17:31

Ian Boxall teaches New Testament at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, where he is also Senior Tutor. He is the editor of Scripture Bulletin, and the author of the volume on Luke’s Gospel in the Take and Read series (Alive Publishing).


The tasks confronting the preacher in this liturgical year of Luke are complex and manifold. Some of these tasks are general issues relating to the interpretation of the biblical text, such as the relationship between the parts and the whole – an issue highlighted by more holistic approaches to the gospels such as narrative criticism. Others are more specifically related to the interpretation of Luke’s Gospel, such as ongoing questions of genre, or consideration of the precise relationship between the Gospel and Acts, with some recent appeals for ‘loosing the hyphen’ in the widely-used phrase ‘Luke-Acts’.  Still others are concerned with the ministry of preaching. How does one make the move as it were from the text – or the text in the study – to the pulpit, from interpretation to application? Or does such an articulation of the preacher’s task betray a misunderstanding of the complex processes at work both in exegesis and in homiletics, by treating application as a mere ‘add-on’ to a prior hermeneutical task? Recent trends in biblical scholarship, meanwhile, with their turn towards, on the one hand, bold theological readings of scriptural texts, and on the other, a renewed emphasis on the history of a text’s reception, seem only to compound the difficulties further.

Thursday, 01 July 2010 17:18

Timothy Ashworth is Biblical Studies Tutor at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham.  He is author of Paul’s Necessary Sin: the Experience of Liberation, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006) from which the central argument of this article is taken.


I come to the writing of this article having just led a course on Galatians for a group of Quakers.  The Quaker tradition rejects law as its organising principle; instead it has a set of structures for discerning the present guidance of the Spirit for the individual and community.  In the 1660s, the time of religious upheaval in which they emerged, Quakers had to distinguish themselves as a group from Ranters, whose rejection of law led to gross indulgence.  So, from then on, throughout Quaker history there has been an emphasis on faithful and tested responsiveness to guidance by the Spirit.  Direction and discipline there has been but always with a concern not to allow these to become an external imposition.  Paul had a similar problem in presenting his gospel: how do I affirm continuing moral discipline alongside the radical nature of freedom in the Spirit?

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