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The Kirby Laing Centre's

Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar

The Bible is made up of a library of books that came into existence over hundreds of years. Biblical hermeneutics asks how we can approach and interpret this inspired corpus to hear God’s address today.

The first of The Scripture and Hermeneutics consultations took place in Cheltenham in April 1998. The theme for this meeting was the crisis in biblical interpretation and the sort of answers to it being proposed by advocates of speech act theory such as Anthony Thiselton, Nicholas Wolterstorff and Kevin Vanhoozer, all of whom were present. We were not agreed at this consultation whether speech act theory has the resources to take biblical interpretation forward, but it became clear that any attempt to renew biblical interpretation in the academy would require a process with multiple consultations to address the key areas we thought required attention.

Thus was born The Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar (SAHS), a project based in Theology and Religious Studies at The University of Gloucestershire, where it was headed up by Craig Bartholomew. Our second consultation was held in September 1999 at Selwyn College, Cambridge, at which Prof Brevard Childs and Prof Walter Brueggemann were present. The theme of that consultation was the crisis in biblical interpretation. Not all of us were agreed that there was a crisis but we all agreed that a renewal of biblical interpretation was urgent, hence the title of the first volume, Renewing Biblical Interpretation.

From 1998 – 2008 the Seminar was a partnership project between British and Foreign Bible Society and The University of Gloucestershire. Later in the process Baylor University and Redeemer University College joined in the venture as partners. In its first phase the Seminar identified eight topics that required attention and each year for eight years it organised an international, interdisciplinary seminar somewhere in the world to address one of these key issues. 

A volume in the Scripture and Hermeneutics Series (Paternoster and Zondervan) emerging from each consultation was published each year (volumes). The final volume in the Series, The Bible and the University, was published in 2007.

Since the completion of its initial eight volume series SAHS has continued to publish, producing Hearing the Old Testament: Listening for God’s Address (Eerdmans), edited by Craig G Bartholomew and David Beldman, and in 2016 A Manifesto for Theological Interpretation (Baker Academic) appeared, edited by Craig Bartholomew and Heath Thomas.

In 2016 and 2017 SAHS focused on the theme of the kingdom of God. In 2018 it engaged in a dialogue with Jeremiah Unterman’s Justice For All: How the Jewish Bible Revolutionized Ethics (Philadelphia: JPS, 2017), an important new work on the ethics of the Hebrew Bible.

In 2019 the topic of SAHS was “A Critical Engagement with Oliver O’Donovan’s ‘Ethics As Theology’ Trilogy”, building out from the 2002 SAHS volume: A Royal Priesthood? The Use of the Bible Ethically and Politically. A Dialogue with Oliver O’Donovan (Scripture and Hermeneutics Series, Volume 3). A stellar group of scholars from multiple disciplines revisited and engaged O’Donovan’s ongoing work in a review panel, especially his recent “Ethics as Theology” Trilogy (Self, World and Time; Finding and Seeking; Entering into Rest), with the aim of exploring some new trajectories in contemporary Christian Ethics.

The Committee

A.J. Culp (co-chair), PhD, Pastor & Director of Theological Training Lakewood Baptist Church; David Beldman (co-chair), PhD, Director of KLC North America, Professor of Old Testament at The Missional Training Center (Phoenix); Megan Roberts, PhD, Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Prairie College, Alberta; Megan DeVore, PhD, Professor of Church History and Early Christian Studies, Colorado Christian University; William Olhausen, PhD, Anglican minister and part-time faculty member at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute and adjunct lecturer Trinity College Dublin.

For any enquiries regarding the Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar, contact Dr. David Beldman or Dr. AJ Culp.

SAHS: Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar at SBL / IBR 2024.

23 November 2024  |  13:00 – 15:00  |  San Diego, CA

Reading Leviticus as Christian Scripture:
Hermeneutical, Intertextual, and Formational Reflections

The Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar has initiated a multi-year project: Reading Difficult Texts as Christian Scripture. The focus for each year will be a particularly difficult biblical book or text, and each trimester we host an online discussion to wrestle with different dimensions of reading the text as Christian Scripture.

This year, Leviticus was the subject of our reflections. Leviticus is the literary and symbolic center of the Torah, and it functions as the beating heart of Israel’s life of worship. This book that was so vital to God’s people in the Old Testament seems so foreign to the people of God today. Because its contents (including countless rites and instructions) are so difficult for us to relate to and understand, we often simply ignore Leviticus or distort its teaching to make it palatable.

Over the course of 2024, the SAHS invited participants to reflect on Leviticus hermeneutically with Drs. AJ Culp and Dru Johnson, intertextually with Drs. Geoff Harper and Michael Graves, and formationally with Rev. Dr. Amy F. Davis Abdallah and Dr. Christine Palmer. These individuals expertly helped us navigate this difficult biblical text and helped to open it up as Christian Scripture today.

This event marks the culmination of our year’s work on Leviticus. We have invited a senior scholar with expertise in Leviticus and a New Testament scholar to offer their insights, reflections, and engagement with our year’s work, followed by a guided discussion. We hope to have the project’s presenters in attendance and will welcome their participation. 

Seminar Programme

Welcome

David Beldman, Missional Training Center, and AJ Culp, New College, University of New South Wales (5 min)

Opening Liturgy

William Olhausen, Minister, Church of Ireland, Presiding (5 min)

Presentations

Jay Sklar, Covenant Theological Seminary
“A Leviticus Scholar’s Reflections on the Reading Leviticus as Christian Scripture Project” (20 min)

Tyran Laws, Prairie College
“A New Testament Scholar’s Reflections on the Reading Leviticus as Christian Scripture Project” (20 min)

Break (10 min)

Discussion

Members of the SAHS Committee (45 min)

Liturgy and Closing

William Olhausen, Minister, Church of Ireland, Presiding (5 min)