Monday, 24 December 2012

Review of 'Can the Book of Revelation be a Gospel for the Environment?'

Matthew Coomber's excellent edited volume 'Bible and Justice: Ancient Texts, Modern Challenges', in which I have a chapter, has been reviewed by Shannon E. Baines in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures.

Of my chapter, she says:

The third and final section of the volume, “Prospects for Applications of Bible and Justice,” comprises papers written by J. W. Rogerson, David Horrell, Simon Woodman, Diana Lipton, and Matthew Coomber...

Woodman, in his essay, “Can the Book of Revelation Be a Gospel for the Environment?,” views Revelation as containing both negative and positive images about the environment. The book describes environmental destruction which will result from God's judgment on evil but is limited to Babylon (i.e., Rome). The destruction entails the removal of oppressive systems and liberates all of creation. Woodman believes that the four creatures worshipping at the throne in Rev 4 represent all creation, human and non-human, as only one of the creatures has human facial features. He concludes that the book of Revelation is “good news” in that it “revolve[s] around God's justice: justice against evil, justice for righteousness, and justice for creation” (p. 191).

Review of Baptist Hermeneutics in The Expository Times

Michael O'Neil, of Vose Seminary, Perth, Western Australia, has written a great review in the Expository Times of The ‘Plainly Revealed’ Word of God? Baptist  Hermeneutics in Theory and Practice

He says:

This outstanding collection of essays is the fruit of a 2009 colloquium in which a group of international scholars met in Cardiff, UK, to explore the theory and practice of Baptist hermeneutics. The book contains fifteen essays including one response and two reflection papers contributed after the conference.

The essays examine how Baptists have used and interpreted Scripture, how they have understood the nature, authority and function of Scripture, and how they might navigate the troubled waters of inevitable ‘pervasive interpretative plurality,’ especially given the traditional Baptist conviction of freedom of conscience in matters of biblical interpretation.

The essays brim with historical, theological and hermeneutical insights and portray a tradition in which Baptist exegesis is ‘rich, complicated,conflicting and conflicted … a living, evolving, self-correcting hermeneutical tradition that creates space for both an emerging consensus and dissent to that consensus’ (p. 25). As such they provide a welcome alternative to the trend in some Baptist circles, which would limit interpretative possibilities to approved confessional or doctrinal positions...

The editors, publisher and sponsoring institutions are to be commended for bringing this excellent collection to publication, and one hopes it will enjoy a wide readership, not only amongst those specialists interested in Baptist history and theology, or hermeneutics more generally, but also theological and ministerial educators, and especially amongst pastors, churches and lay leaders in hope that it may indeed contribute toward the renewal of radical, prophetic, Christ-centred and Spirit-filled congregations, not least amongst Baptists.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bible Society re-publish Book of Revelation (day after 'world end'!)

Bible Society are so confident that the world ISN'T going to end on 21.12.12 that they are re-releasing The Book of Revelation the day after.

Re-published for 2012 with a new foreword by Simon Woodman, The Book of Revelation has been interpreted as the book of the end time.

However, Bible Society are so certain that nobody other than God can predict the end of the world, that they’ve chosen to release the book on Saturday 22nd December 2012 – the day after the ‘end of the world’!

Executive Director of Charity Paul Woolley says: "Ah, the futile frenzy of trying to guesstimate a date for the end of the world! Jesus said that 'no-one knows the day or the hour', so maybe we should trust him. On 21 December I'm planning to celebrate my wedding anniversary in London with a good meal - it won't be the last supper!"