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Reviews & Notices
Thursday, 01 July 2010 00:00

Friday, 01 January 2010 00:00

Welcome to the first on-line edition of Scripture Bulletin. The Executive Committee of the Catholic Biblical Association is most appreciative for the very generous donations from subscribers which have made this new
venture possible. We hope that this new format will enable the journal to reach out to a wider audience, as well as to our existing body of readers.

In the modern tendency to oppose Science to Theology, and against a general preference for the ‘scientific’ prosaic over the poetic, the Bible is regularly regarded as a problematic text. In her article on ‘Reading the
Bible after Darwin,’ at the end of a year marking the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, Mary Mills examines the presuppositions underlying both creationist and evolutionary treatments of the Bible, and explores an alternative and more nuanced strategy for reading Genesis. She finds in the early chapters of Genesis some similar interests, though differently expressed, to those found in evolutionary theory. She also highlights ways of reading Genesis which prioritise human responsibility over human ‘dominion’.

In the latest article in our ‘What are they saying about…?’ series, Peter Anthony offers a wide-ranging exploration of recent trends in scholarship on Luke-Acts. He shows the potential for complementing more established historical-critical approaches with other methods: holistic readings, for example, which encourage an approach to the finished text, and social scientific approaches. He also alerts us to some of the challenges posed, for example, by deconstructionist approaches and committed readings. This is a fine survey of the range of approaches on the current scholarly table, which includes suggestive pointers to the future shape of this fertile area of New Testament studies.

Our final article is what might be called an exercise in historical imagination, aiming to flesh out the historical and social context presupposed by the book of Revelation. Ironically, although authorial location is regularly regarded as significant for the interpretation of the gospels and the Pauline letters, John’s named context of Patmos has been largely ignored in scholarly discussions of the Apocalypse. This article hints at how to restore the balance, inspired by visits to Patmos itself.

Ian Boxall

Friday, 01 January 2010 00:00

Mary Mills is Professor and Head of Department of Theology, Religious Studies at Philosophy at Liverpool Hope University, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Catholic Biblical Association.

Creation and Evolution are two serious concepts for addressing the key issues of how the world came to be. At the simplest level this is a matter of mechanics, the ways in which material substances develop into planet earth. At a deeper level, however, it is an ontological issue, the question of how Being itself comes into existence; for the bottom line is not matter as such but how inert materials acquire energy to grow and change and make new forms. In this area of enquiry, which is foundational for the human condition, religion and science act as parallel explanatory tools and, most recently, have been set up as opposing and mutually exclusive approaches – creationism versus evolutionary theory.

Friday, 01 January 2010 00:00

Peter Anthony is currently engaged in postgraduate studies on Luke-Acts at the University of Oxford. He is Junior Dean at St Stephen’s House.


Scholarly discussion of Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles in recent years has displayed some of the astonishing breadth of opinion and originality of approaches which have characterized other areas of New Testament Studies. Indeed, van Unnik went as far as to describe Luke-Acts in 1966 as being a “storm centre in contemporary scholarship.” The eclipse of the historical critical method as a universally accepted paradigm for study, and the emergence of literary, narrative, rhetorical, social-scientific, feminist, and canonical approaches has led to an explosion of hermeneutical perspectives. Along with much flux, however, certain consensuses have also arisen on a number of critical questions. In addition, however, not a few Lucan scholarly taboos concerning assumptions which cannot be questioned can be seen still to be very firmly in place, and not to have been affected at all by the past fifty years or so of scholarship.

Friday, 01 January 2010 00:00

Ian Boxall is Tutor in New Testament and Senior Tutor at St Stephen’s House,
Oxford, and member of the Theology Faculty in the University of Oxford. He is also Editor of Scripture Bulletin. His most recent book on the Apocalypse is The Revelation of St John in the Black’s New Testament Commentary series

Using the Imagination
The ruined Greek and Roman cities of Asia Minor have played a crucial role in the scholarly interpretation of the Apocalypse for well over a century. No serious commentator on the book can afford to ignore the monumental studies of Sir William Ramsay and Colin Hemer even if one wishes to dissent from aspects of their readings. Nor is the usefulness of the seven cities confined to stones, artifacts and inscriptions. What one might call the ‘imaginative landscape’ also comes into play: the ability to visualise, for example, the sheer magnificence of Pergamum’s acropolis, looming like Satan’s throne over the surrounding plain, or the gleaming white marble of Ephesus’ Temple of Artemis, dominating the approach from the sea. Or in more recent writing, use of the imagination has also been called for to appreciate the symbolic world such cities evoke (Steven Friesen’s splendid book John’s Apocalypse and the Imperial Cults, significantly subtitled ‘Reading Revelation among the Ruins’, is a fine example of the latter).

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