Focus and functions

Focus

The Centre particularly encourages work in the following overlapping areas of biblical scholarship:

  • Historical interpretation of biblical and extra biblical texts, especially aided by social-scientific ideas and perspectives, with a strong philological focus and attention to the range of ancient languages involved.
  • Explorations of the relationships among historical, literary and theological approaches to biblical texts and among the frequently isolated disciplines of Old Testament, New Testament, Intertestamental texts  and Theology
  • Investigations of the possibilities of a renewed biblical theology, including treatments of the relationship between the Testaments, canonical interpretation, intertextuality, overall biblical themes and the engagement of such investigations with systematic and contemporary theology
  • Hermeneutical studies, including reflection on the theory, practice and history of interpretation of the Bible, on the relation of various interpretative methods to a Christian worldview, and on the reception and use of the Bible in theology, ethics, faith communities, education, literature, art and other visual media and society
  • Christian theological interpretations of the Bible, including analysis of the relation between exegesis and theology and readings of biblical texts from within the horizon of contemporary systematic, constructive and practical theology and current ethical, philosophical, cultural and political issues

In 2010 the International Centre gained funding from Bible Society for a research project exploring biblical spiritualities and their relation to contemporary spiritualities and this work remains of continuing importance to the centre.

Functions

The Centre provides a setting congenial to students who wish to pursue postgraduate research in biblical studies at master’s and doctoral level. In addition to the supervision of research students, the Centre provides 3 or 4 research seminars each semester in which staff, students and visiting scholars present and discuss their research. There is also a Hebrew Reading Group, meeting fortnightly in term-time, and a Theological Reading Group, which meets for a day twice a year, for those who wish to keep up their interest in contemporary theology while pursuing their studies.

The Centre is International in more than one sense. Not only does it produce work that is recognized as international in its quality, it also hosts research students from around the world. Recent and current postgraduate students have come not only from the U. K. but also from Australia, Argentina, Burma, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Liberia, the Philippines, South Korea, South Africa and the United States. Nearly all of these students have, of course, gone back to teach and research in colleges, seminaries and universities in their own countries, thereby helping to continue the Centre’s international influence.

The Centre conducts research activities, organizes projects, hosts visiting Lecturers, convenes conference and produces work that furthers key areas of contemporary biblical scholarship.

Both indirectly and directly the Centre serves the churches and the general public by encouraging work on the Bible and its perspectives that can contribute to teaching and preaching and inform wider discussion and debate about a variety of contemporary issues.

The Centre disseminates its research and the communication of its findings through books, articles, conferences and lectures, including an Annual Lecture in Biblical Interpretation. One major project in which The Centre was involved was the Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar. This was jointly initiated by the University and Bible Society and joined later by Baylor University and Redeemer University College, Ontario. Our own staff and a variety of international scholars took part in a Consultation each year from which an annual published volume resulted. The eighth and final volume in the series, The Bible and the University, appeared in 2007. The Centre was also involved in a project funded by the Bible Society on the Bible and contemporary opportunities (2010- 2014) and the work remains of continuing importance to the centre.