Notice of Annual General Meeting
Book Launch by Gili Kugler
2019 Australian Biblical Review Mailed Out
International Postage Rate Increase for ABR
Notice of the November Meeting for Sydney Members
Report on the August Meeting for Sydney Members
Report on the June Melbourne Symposium
Report on June Meeting for Sydney Members
Alan Cadwallader Appointed as NT Editor
Gareth Wearne now Associate Book Editor (Sydney)
Report on April Sydney Meeting
Report on March Melbourne Symposium
New Sydney Coordinator
FBS Member Achievements for 2018
2018 Annual General Meeting
November Sydney Meeting
Report on the 2018 FBS National Conference
Current issue of
Australian Biblical Review
News and Coming Events

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The final 2019 Melbourne gathering of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies will be held on Thursday, 7 November, back at our usual venue (Centre for Theology and Ministry, Parkville), gathering at 6.30pm for a meal at 7.00pm. The Presidential Address will be given by Assoc. Prof. Keith Dyer, titled: “Paul, Matthew, Israel and the Nations.” The Annual General Meeting will precede the address.
Abstract: There are severe tensions between Paul's letters and Matthew’s Gospel regarding the Jewish Law in particular, as our colleague David Sim has argued forcefully in many publications. I will continue this discussion about the evidence and reasons for the differences between these early Jewish followers of Jesus, and explore the political factors that may have shaped these differences.

Bio: Keith is an Associate Professor with the University of Divinity and has been teaching New Testament at Whitley College for over 25 years. His particular interests have been the Gospel of Mark and the Book of Revelation, but he has more recently been involved in the “Ecological Aspects of War” research group with Anne Elvey and Deborah Guess, the “Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages” series with Terry Falla and Beryl Turner, and the Colloquium on Material Culture and Religion with Christine Thomas, Dan Schowalter, and Steven Friesen.
Members must advise their intention of attending the dinner to the Secretary (by email by midday, 1st November. Cancellation up to this time is possible, but cancellation closer to the event will result in the full price being charged. Please include any dietary requirements. The cost of the dinner and drinks is $35.00, payable on the evening. Receipts are available on request from the Treasurer, Brian Incigneri.

Book Launch by Gili Kugler

Dr Gili Kugler is launching her book, When God Wanted to Destroy the Chosen People: Biblical Traditions and Theology on the Move, in the Woolley Common Room, John Woolley Building, Level 4, University of Sydney on Tuesday, 5 November, at 5.00pm (refreshments supplied), followed by a discussion with the author. All members are welcome.
Abstract: When God Wanted to Destroy the Chosen People examines the image of God as a source of threat to the existence of his people, Israel. It focuses on the evolution of the biblical narratives and ideas about Israel’s non-negotiable status as a “chosen people,” in contrast to God’s revocable commitment to them. The narratives of God’s threats to annihilate Israel enable a striking exposure of the complexity of biblical theology and the intricacy of the text’s methods and techniques, revealing the variety of voices that shaped the ancient texts.
Bio: Dr Gili Kugler is a lecturer of Biblical Studies at the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research area lies within the framework of literary-historical analysis, a method examining the evolution of narratives and ideas inserted into the text throughout time. Her research explores and exposes the layers beneath the final form of the biblical narratives, and behind the meanings and ideas loaded into the text throughout years of interpretation.
2019 Australian Biblical Review Mailed Out

The 2019 issue of Australian Biblical Review was mailed out on Monday, 23 September. The Index of Articles, the Index of Authors and the full text of all the book reviews are now available online.

International Postage Rate Increase for Australian Biblical Review

Australia Post has announced that, from 30 September, international postage rates will increase. The rates for Australian Biblical Review will be:

New Zealand$8.10 (previously $7.50)
Asia/Pacific$8.80 (previously $8.00)
Rest of World$13.50 (previously $12.00)

November Meeting for Sydney Members

The fourth and last meeting of 2019 will be held on Friday, 1 November from 1.00–3.00pm, in room 218, level 2 at Fisher library, Sydney University. The library is located in the middle of the Camperdown campus, 6 mins walk from City road on one side, and 5 mins walk from Parramatta Rd from the other side. The presentation will be given by Dr John Davies (bio below), who will be talking on “What Did Luke Think He Was Writing?” (abstract below).
Bio: John Davies is Principal emeritus of Christ College (the Presbyterian Theological Centre) in Sydney where he taught Greek, Hebrew and Hebrew Bible. He is currently an honorary research associate of the Sydney College of Divinity. John studied Classics and Hebrew (BA Hons., MA Hons.) at the University of Sydney, followed by theological study (MDiv.) at Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia), then PhD in Semitic Studies at the University of Sydney. He is the author of a number of books and articles on biblical studies and language including Lift up Your Heads: Nonverbal Communication and Related Body Imagery in the Bible; Unless Someone Shows Me: English Grammar for Students of Biblical Languages.
Abstract: What Did Luke Think He Was Writing? Luke’s designation of his project as a λόγος (Acts 1:1) has not been fully explored as to its implications for how we read the Gospel of Luke and Acts. Luke’s use of λόγος throughout his two-volume work to denote the divine proclamation should inform our reading of Acts 1:1. Luke writes in the tradition of biblical prophetic literature with a proclamation about the culmination of God’s purposes in the Jesus story. The parable of the soils (Luke 8) is played out in the narrative of Luke–Acts and the prophetic message, the λόγος, calls on its hearers to repent and live in accordance with God’s purposes.
Please RSVP to Gili Kugler by October 21, and please specify whether you are planning to join us for lunch (details later) at 1.00pm.

Report on August Meeting for Sydney Members

Tour of the University Library by FBS membersThe August meeting for Sydney members was held on Friday, 16 August at the University of Sydney. The presentation was preceded by a short tour provided by the library staff at the library’s rare books collection.

The presentation was given by Dr David Frankel (see bio below) from the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, talking on “The Binding of Isaac and Child Sacrifice in Ancient Israel” (abstract below). A video of the talk can be found on YouTube. Members can also see info about the event and photos on the Facebook page of the Department of Hebrew Biblical and Jewish Studies at Sydney University
Bio: Dr. David Frankel is Senior Lecturer of Bible at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He wrote his doctorate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the guidance of Prof Moshe Weinfeld. His publications include The Murmuring Stories of the Priestly School (Brill), The Land of Canaan and the Destiny of Israel (Eisenbrauns) and many scholarly articles.
Abstract: It is commonly assumed that child sacrifice was universally condemned as an “abomination” in ancient Israel. Following this assumption, the story of the near sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22 is often interpreted as a polemic against this “pagan” practice. The presentation will challenge these assumptions by restoring earlier versions of the story of the binding of Isaac and examining other biblical and external evidence related to the story.
Thirty people attended the talk and 14 went on the tour.

August Melbourne symposium

The August Melbourne symposium was held on Thursday, 29 August, at the Old Warden’s Lodge, Trinity College, Parkville. The guest speaker was Dr Rachelle Gilmour, who presented a paper titled: “‘I will raise up evil against you’: Retribution, forgiveness, and collective punishment in 2 Samuel 12.”
Abstract: In 2 Samuel 12, David is condemned by the prophet Nathan for despising God. There have been various attempts to explain why David is forgiven and yet his son dies, including the influential proposal by Gerlemann that David’s son dies as atonement for David’s sin. Through identifying a pattern of forgiveness followed by punishment throughout the book of Samuel, and examining the nature of collective punishment in the Hebrew Bible, I will investigate the unexpected nature of forgiveness in 2 Samuel 12.

Bio: Dr Rachelle Gilmour is Bromby Senior Lecturer in Old Testament at Trinity College Theological School, University of Divinity. Previously, she was the driving force behind the Sydney chapter of FBS.

June Melbourne Symposium

The second Melbourne gathering of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies for this year was held on Thursday, 13 June, at the Centre for Theology and Ministry (CTM), Parkville. The guest speaker was Associate Professor Robert Derrenbacker, who presented a paper titled: “Ancient Literary Culture and Dating the Synoptics and their Sources: What’s at Stake When We Date.”
It was followed by keen questioning from the those attending. Attendance was notably higher for this dinner and included quite a few guests.
Abstract: Most would agree that assigning dates to the production of the Synoptic Gospels (and their sources) is highly speculative and tentative; coming to some informed conclusions about the literary relationships between the Synoptics (the so-called ‘Synoptic Problem’) is (perhaps) less so. This paper will explore the often unforeseen and unexplored implications of assigning dates to the Gospels (and their sources) on they Synoptic Problem, with particular attention paid to ancient compositional conventions, literary production and literature circulation.

Bio: Bob Derrenbacker is Dean of Trinity College Theological School, and Frank Woods Associate Professor in New Testament.
Future dinner dates and speakers are:

29 August: Rachelle Gilmour (NOTE: at Trinity College)
7 November: Presidential Address by Keith Dyer (including AGM)

June Meeting for Sydney Members

The next Sydney meeting was held on Friday, June 14, at Moore Theological College. The speaker was Dr Louise Pryke. Her talk was entitled “Not the Biblical Noah: Communication and Character in Flood Narratives” (see abstract below).
Bio: Dr Louise Pryke is a lecturer in Macquarie University’s Ancient History Department. She is an Honorary Associate of the Department of Hebrew Biblical and Jewish Studies and the Classics and Ancient History Department at the University of Sydney. In 2016, Louise was a recipient of the International Association for Assyriology (IAA) Fund—an international award for early career scholars in Assyriology. Dr Pryke’s research interests include myths and narrative literature in the Ancient Near East. Louise is the author of Scorpion (2016) and Ishtar (2017). Her most recent book, Gilgamesh, was published in April 2019. Gilgamesh explores the world’s first hero of epic literature. She is currently writing a volume on the cultural symbolism of turtles.
Abstract: This paper explores the significance of communication within the biblical and ANE accounts of the Flood. In popular culture, Utanapishtim is often described as the equivalent of biblical Noah. Yet, the two characters, and their relationships with the divine, are distinctive. The uniqueness of the two Flood survivors is perhaps most easily recognised through the differences in their communications in the texts. This paper considers the literary characterisation of the two Flood survivors, with an exploration of the role of speech and communication in the narratives.
Gili Kugler reports that her presentation was excellent and engaging, and that it has been filmed and will appear later in the year on the HBJS Facebook page and on YouTube.

Alan Cadwallader Appointed as NT Editor

David Sim has stepped down as NT Editor of Australian Biblical Review and Alan Cadwallader has taken over the role. Alan can be contacted here. Many thanks to David for his work on ABR in the past.

Gareth Wearne now Associate Book Editor (Sydney)

Gareth Wearne, a Sydney member, has been appointed to assist Mary Coloe with book reviews for Australian Biblical Review. Gareth can be contacted here

Report on March Melbourne Symposium

The first Melbourne gathering of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies for this year was held on Thursday, 7 March, at the Centre for Theology and Ministry (CTM), Parkville. The guest speaker was Professor Terry Falla, who presented a paper titled: “Gathering Earth’s Daughters: The Making of a New Kind of Lexicon to the Gospels in Syriac and Discoveries to which it has Led.” Terry provided each attender with a copy of his latest paper and his excellent talk was very well appreciated by all.
Brief Abstract: Against a trend in European scholarship to see the promise of the land in the Priestly narrative (Pg) as having little or no importance, I argue that the land promise is central to Pg’s vision. Indeed the nature of PgPg’s land promise is such that it represents the pinnacle of PgPg’s hoped for future; for its fulfilment is only possible once the vision in relation to the other promises of descendants and to be their God were to become a reality.

Samuel Johnson describes the collecting and analyzing of words to make a dictionary as ‘the gathering of earth’s daughters.’ In this paper, the daughters of earth are from long ago and the dictionary of a new kind. It begins with the story of the translation of the Greek New Testament into Syriac. Classical Syriac is a sister dialect of the language spoken by Jesus. It is a major dialect of Aramaic, which at that time was the language of the Middle East. The paper then tells why Beryl Turner and I are creating a new kind of lexicon to this early Syriac translation, discoveries made along the way, and how the lexicon has led to the creation of The International Syriac Language Project (ISLP).
Bio: Terry Falla is Director of the Syriac Language Research Centre at Whitley College. His work on the Syrian Lexicon is of great international interest and importance.

Future dinner dates and speakers are:

13 June: Bob Derrenbacker
29 August: Rachelle Gilmour
7 November: President Address by Keith Dyer (including AGM)

April Sydney Meeting

The next Sydney meeting will be held on Friday, 5 April, at Moore Theological College. The speaker will be the Mandelbaum scholar in residence Prof. Gary Rendsburg from Rutgers University (bio below*), who will talk on “How the Bible Is Written” (abstract below**).
Bio: Gary Rendsburg serves as the Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. His teaching and research focus on ‘all things ancient Israel’—primarily language and literature, though also history and archaeology. His secondary interests include post-biblical Judaism, the Hebrew manuscript tradition and Jewish life in the Middle Ages. Prof Rendsburg is the author of seven books and about 170 articles; in addition, he has produced two series for the Great Courses program, one on ‘The Book of Genesis’ and one on ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls.’
Abstract: This talk is based on Rendsburg’s forthcoming book, How the Bible Is Written (Hendrickson, 2019), focusing on the nexus between language and literature in the Hebrew Bible, with specific attention to how the former is used to create the latter. Topics include wordplay, alliteration, repetition with variation, marking closure, dialect representation, intentionally confused language, and more.
The talk will commence at 2.00pm. Members are welcome to meet up at the venue at 1.00pm for lunch. Catering arrangements will be advised later. Members wishing to attend must advise by 1 April.

New Sydney Coordinator

The Sydney/NSW Branch of FBS has a new Coordinator—Dr Gili Kugler. The previous Coordinator, Rachelle Gilmour, has done a fine job as Coordinator since the branch was created and her many efforts have been well appreciated by members, especially her organisation of the 2018 FBS Conference in Sydney. Gili is a Lecturer in Classical Hebrew and Biblical Studies at the University of Sydney. She can be contacted at

FBS Member Achievements in 2018

The list of achievements by FBS members during 2018 is now online at the Achievements Page.

2018 Annual General Meeting

The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies was held on Thursday, 1 November at the Centre for Theology & Ministry (CTM), 29 College Crescent, Parkville. The Presidential Address was given by Dr Rosemary Canavan, who presented a paper titled: “A Woman, a Coin and the Prosperity of Colossae.”
Brief Abstract: The discovery of a third coin attributed to Claudia Eugenitoriane adds another piece to the jigsaw which illustrates a history of women with agency in civic and religious affairs at Colossae. Claudia Eugenetoriane is known to have revived the mint at Colossae in the second century CE. This paper introduces this new coin, its imagery and the implications of prosperity of Colossae. In addition, it highlights one woman in a history of influential women in Colossae and the Lycus Valley.
Rosemary is the Academic Dean and Senior Lecturer in New Testament at Catholic Theological College, University of Divinity.

The following officers and members of the Executive were elected for the next year:

President:Keith Dyer
Vice-President:Robyn Whitaker
Secretary:Merryl Blair
Treasurer:Brian Incigneri
ABR OT Editor:Anne Gardner
ABR NT EditorDavid Sim
ABR Book Review Editor:(temporary vacancy)
Committee Member:Sunny Chen (retired from the committee, 7/11/12
Committee Member:Chris Monaghan

Melbourne events during 2018 will be:

Symposium, 7 March
Symposium, 13 June
Symposium, 29 August (Speaker: Rachelle Gilmour)
Annual General Meeting, 7 November (with the Presidential Address by Keith Dyer)

November Sydney Meeting

The final FBS Sydney meeting for the year was held on Friday, 9 November. The speaker was Dr Lyn Kidson (bio below), who gave a paper titled “Exegeting 1 Timothy 2:12 with Papyrus Documents” (abstract below).

Bio: Dr Lyn Kidson worked as an associate Baptist pastor before completing the MA in Early Christian and Jewish studies at Macquarie University in 2013. She has just graduated with a PhD from MQ and her thesis was on the rhetorical strategies in the first chapter of 1 Timothy.

Abstract: Exegeting 1 Timothy 2:12 with Papyrus Documents
Verse 12 in the second chapter of 1 Timothy is an extremely contested verse: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man” (NIV). As Thomas Schreiner (1995) observes “virtually every word in verses 11–12 is disputed.” Kroger and Kroger (1992) note in their appendix 2 that the “ουκ … ουδε pattern [in verse 12] naturally leads us to expect a ‘neither … nor’ construction”; but go on to point out that it could “be understood as simply intensifying the point.” Köstenberger (1995), on the other hand, implied that they were making an undue effort to make αὐθεντεῖν (to have authority over?) subordinate to διδάσκειν (to teach?) so that it ‘in effect functions as an adverb and to give it a negative connotation.” He argued that οὐδέ does not function as a subordinating but as a coordinating conjunction. However, Payne (2002) demonstrates from New Testament examples that the οὐδέ functions to merge two expressions together to “convey a single more specific idea.” In this paper, I will examine the οὐκ (??) … οὐδέ construction in the light of its use in papyrus documents. When the nuance with which this construction could be used is taken into account along with verse 12’s context within the letter, it becomes apparent that the writer is imploring the women not to acquiesce to those promoting the other instruction (1 Timothy 1:3–4).
Report on the 2018 FBS National Conference

The 2018 FBS National Conference was held in Sydney on 26–28 September at Australian Catholic University, North Sydney. This conference provided an opportunity for biblical scholars from across Australasia to come together, to network, collaborate and share the best in local research. The keynote speaker was Prof. Mark Brett from Whitley College, Melbourne.The program included an exciting array of local scholars.

The FBS Sydney Coordinator, Rachelle Gilmour, writes:
“The conference was a wonderful success with 51 papers presented and over 72 attendees. Participants travelled from around Australia, including Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth as well as internationally from New Zealand. The breadth and rigour of scholarship was very impressive across the board and ‘special sessions,’ focussing on topics such as Ecological Hermeneutics, Materialist Approaches, Performance Criticism, Text Criticism and the Lycus Valley, were a highlight. The keynote speaker for the conference was Prof Mark Brett from Whitley College, Melbourne, who presented an important look to our past and a deeply animating vision for the future of biblical Studies in our region in his address on the “Past and Future of Biblical Studies in Australia.” Some other highlights of the conference included the launch of Norman Habel’s new book Acknowledgement of the Land and the Faith of Aboriginal Custodians after Following the Abraham Trail; a very enjoyable networking event for postgraduate students led by Dr Gili Kugler; and of course the conference dinner at a local restaurant on Thursday evening. With thanks to our organising committee, Gareth Wearne, Gili Kugler and Ian Young, our team of undergraduate helpers from Sydney University and Macquarie University and to the FBS executive for bringing the conference together.”
See here for the conference papers and program.

2018 ABR Mailed Out

The 2018 issue (Volume 66) of Australian Biblical Review was mailed out to members and subscribers on 1 October 2018. All online indexes have been updated. See the Table of Contents Index for details of the articles in this issue (and the Author Index) and the Book Review Index to access the full text of the book reviews.

Postage Rate Increases

Australia Post has significantly increased postage rates for overseas mail, effective from 1 October 2018, so that Australian Biblical Review postage will now cost $7.50 for New Zealand (previously $5.50), $8.00 for Asia/Pacific (previously $6.00) and $12.00 for Rest of World (previously $9.00). ABR rates can always be found on the ABR Page.

August Melbourne Symposium

The third Melbourne gathering of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies for this year was held on Thursday, 30 August, at the Centre for Theology and Ministry (CTM), Parkville. The speaker was Dr Sue Boorer, who presented a paper titled: “Is the Promise of the Land in the Priestly Narrative a Utopian Hope?”
Brief Abstract: Against a trend in European scholarship to see the promise of the land in the Priestly narrative (Pg) as having little or no importance, I argue that the land promise is central to Pg’s vision. Indeed the nature of PgPg’s land promise is such that it represents the pinnacle of PgPg’s hoped for future; for its fulfilment is only possible once the vision in relation to the other promises of descendants and to be their God were to become a reality.
Bio: Sue is senior lecturer in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Murdoch University. Her area of expertise is Pentateuch, and her latest book is The Vision of the Priestly Narrative: Its Genre and Hermeneutics of Time.
The final dinner for 2018 will be the Annual General Meeting on Thursday, 1 November, at which the Presidential Address will be delivered by Rosemary Canavan (NT).

June Sydney Meeting

The second Sydney meeting for 2018 was held on Friday, 15 June, at Moore Theological College. The paper was presented by Dr Gareth Wearne (bio below*) with the title, “Recent theories about memory and the copying of biblical texts” (abstract below**).

Bio: Dr Gareth Wearne is a Lecturer in Biblical Studies in the Australian Catholic University’s Faculty of Theology and Philosophy. He was recently awarded the Dirk Smilde Scholarship at the University of Groningen’s Qumran Institute, which is devoted to Dead Sea Scrolls research.
Abstract: In recent years, approaches to textual criticism have been impacted by the development of models that emphasise the role of memory in the processes of copying and transmission (Person 1998; Martin 2010; Carr 2011). Such models foreground the role of the copyist as both reader and re-composer of literary texts and an active participant in the transmission process. Moreover, they emphasise the importance of the immanent tradition—that is “the set of metonymic, associative meanings institutionally delivered and received through a dedicated idiom or register either during or on the authority of traditional oral performance” (Foley 1995: 7)—as a potential source of inspiration and interference in the copying process. According to this view, textual criticism can offer unique insights into the reception and cognitive processing of authoritative texts in specific contexts. David Carr, especially, has foregrounded cognitive processes associated with the internalisation of written material and its reproduction from memory. He has proposed a typology of variants which may emerge from such a process, including inter alia the exchange of synonymous words, word order variation, and the presence and absence of conjunctions and minor modifiers (Carr 2011). Similarly, Raymond Person has advocated an understanding of the ancient Israelite scribe as performer, arguing that the processes of textual reproduction are analogous to oral performance inasmuch as they allow for greater or lesser degrees of “synonymous” variation—that is, variants which operate at the level of lexis but not semantics (e.g. the inclusion or omission of epithets; Person 1998). Yet, notwithstanding the explanatory potential of such models, others have sounded a cautionary note, pointing to recent theorists’ limited engagement with the manuscript evidence (Hendel 2016) and their failure to consider the current state of cognitive science when developing the theoretical basis of such models (Wearne 2017). This paper will survey the contours of recent discussions and ask can we really have a cognitively informed approach to textual criticism?
June Melbourne Symposium

The second Melbourne gathering of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies for this year was held on Thursday, 14 June, at the Centre for Theology and Ministry (CTM), 29 College Crescent, Parkville. The speaker was Prof. Dorothy Lee, who presented a paper titled: “Fictive Kinship and its Symbolism in the Literary Structures of 1 John.”
Brief Abstract: This paper explores notions of kinship in 1 John and the way they develop through the complex structures of the epistle.
Bio: Dorothy Lee is Frank Woods Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity College. Born in Scotland, she studied first Classics then theology, gaining a doctorate in Johannine studies at the University of Sydney. Since then she has published widely both in the Gospels, with a focus on narrative criticism and theology, and also in feminist studies.

Our other dinners are: 30 August: Sue Boorer (OT), 1 November: Rosemary Canavan (NT) and Annual General Meeting.

FBS News

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