2017 ABR Cover and Indexes Now Online
ABR Postage Rate Increase
Death of Bruce Malina
Report on the August Melbourne Symposium
2017 ABR Book Reviews
Now Online
June August Meeting
2018 ABR Subscription Rate Rise
June Sydney Meeting
June Melbourne Symposium
April Sydney Meeting
March Melbourne Symposium
at New Venue
FBS Member Achievements for 2016
Report on the 2016 Annual General Meeting and 2017 Events
2016 FBS National Conference
Current issue of
Australian Biblical Review
News and Coming Events

2017 ABR Cover and Indexes Now Online

The cover of the forthcoming 2017 issue of Australian Biblical Review and the details of all of the articles included in this issue is now online. The Index of Authors has also been updated. ABR will be mailed out to subscribers and members around the end of September.

ABR Postage Rate Increase

Australia Post has announced that the postage rates for international letters increase from 2 October 2017. The new subscription and postage rates for Australian Biblical Review can be found on the ABR Page.

Death of Bruce Malina

The renowned New Testament scholar, Dr Bruce J. Malina has died. See here for details and for an account of his life and work.

August Melbourne Symposium

The August Symposium of FBS in Melbourne was held on Thursday, 24 August at the Centre for Theology & Ministry, Parkville. The paper, delivered by Dr Liz Boase, Lecturer in Old Testament Studies, Flinders University, SA, was entitled, “Good Figs Bad Figs: Reading Jeremiah 24 as Chosen Trauma” (a work in progress).

Abstract: Jeremiah 24 comes as something of a surprise in the overarching narrative of the book. Those in exile are identified as “good figs,” the ones upon whom the future of Israel rests. The Jerusalem community, by contrast, are branded as “bad figs,” those upon whom God’s judgment will come. The identification of the exiled community as good figs interrupts the inevitable conclusion that those who remained behind were the favoured ones. Pointing to the shift in focus to the exilic community, as well as the message of future hope being based in the fate of this community, the text has been identified as emerging from the exilic community after either the first (597 BCE) or second (586) expulsions. There is little consensus, however, with regard to the provenance of the passage. Rather than attempting to argue in favour of one or other of these dates, this paper explores how this text might have functioned both for those exiled in 597 and for the exilic and post-exilic communities in the wake of 586 BCE. Drawing on the insights of both Jeffrey Alexander and Vamik Volkan, I will argue that this passage constructs the exile as a “chosen trauma,” contributing to the formation of a trauma narrative which helps to define communal identity. The paper will explore the usefulness of this interpretive approach for understanding the theological function of Jeremiah 24 within these fractured communities.

Liz Boase is senior lecturer in biblical studies at Flinders University/Adelaide College of Divinity. In recent years her research has focused in two areas: ecological hermeneutics and trauma hermeneutics. She is founding co-chair of the SBL section, Biblical Literature and the Hermeneutics of Trauma, and co-editor of Bible through the Lens of Trauma.

The paper was very well received and there was much discussion in the question session. The next gathering will be on 2 November for the AGM, and the Presidential address from Dr Mary Coloe pbvs.

2017 ABR Book Reviews Now Online

The book reviews that will appear in the forthcoming 2017 issue (Volume 65) of Australian Biblical Review are now available in full text in the Book Reviews Section. The 2017 issue of ABR is expected to be mailed out to subscribers and FBS members at the beginning of October.

Notice of the August Sydney Meeting

The next meeting of the Sydney FBS will be held on Friday, 25 August, from 1.00–3.00pm at Macquarie University, Building X5B, Level 3, in The Museum of Ancient Cultures (there is a large seminar room at the end of the hallway on level 3). The paper will be given by Dr David Starling (see bio below)* on the topic, “‘She Who Is in Babylon’: 1 Peter and the Hermeneutics of Empire” (abstract below)**.

Members may bring their own lunch and meet from 1.00–2.00pm. Please note that no catering can be provided this time, but please consult the attached map with directions to the room, and suitable food outlets near the venue so that you are able to purchase food on campus if you wish and join other members for lunch. The paper will be delivered from 2.00–3.00pm. If you have any questions about access, food options or travel to the venue, please see the further information below*** or contact Kyle Keimer.

Please RSVP by Wednesday 23rd August to Rachelle Gilmour if you will be attending the meeting.
* David I. Starling teaches New Testament, Greek, and Theology at Morling College in Sydney, Australia. His PhD studies were at the University of Sydney and his thesis, on Paul’s use of exile imagery, was published as Not My People: Gentiles as Exiles in Pauline Hermeneutics (BZNW 184; de Gruyter, 2011). Subsequent publications include Theology and the Future: Evangelical Assertions and Explorations (London: T&T Clark, 2014; co-edited with Trevor Cairney), UnCorinthian Leadership (Cascade, 2014), The Gender Conversation (Wipf & Stock, 2016; co-edited with Edwina Murphy) and Hermeneutics as Apprenticeship (Baker, 2016). His current projects include commentaries on Ephesians, Colossians and 1 Corinthians.
**Abstract: A much-discussed topic in the last three decades’ scholarship on 1 Peter has been the stance that the author takes toward the values and ethos of the Graeco-Roman social environment within which the readers conducted their lives as communities of Christ-followers. The benchmarks for the discussion were set by David Balch and John Elliott, whose debate in the early 1980s established the terms of the conversation as a set-piece contest between “conformity” and “resistance” as rival accounts of the letter’s relationship to its socio-political context. More recently, scholars including David Horrell, Warren Carter, Jennifer Bird and Betsy Bauman–Martin have argued that the long-running “Balch–Elliott debate” needs to be focussed more deliberately on the particularities of the imperial context and the shape that it gave to the power-structures within which the letter’s readers were required to relate to their social environment. In this paper, I build on their work and respond to their proposals, arguing that another crucial particularity of the text that needs to be taken into account is the tradition of understanding within the author encourages his readers to interpret that imperial power and their relation to it. With those two considerations in mind, this paper examines the ways in which the author’s use of OT traditions contributes to the stance that he urges his readers to take toward the imperial dynamics of fear, patronage and honour that shaped their socio-political context, tracing the ways in which both the socially “conformist” and the socially “resistant” dimensions of the letter’s injunctions are expressed in terms of scriptural categories and grounded in scriptural patterns of judgement. The picture that emerges is one that offers a more coherent and, arguably, more plausible account of the rhetorical strategy and social ethics of 1 Peter.
In addition to marking the best and closest places to grab some food (circled in blue: C10A is the campus hub and has lots of options; C7A is just a coffee cart with limited snacks; W5A is the staff club and has sit-down meals; and the library and Australian Hearing Hub both have cafes with decent selections), also indicated where the meeting will be held (in green: X5B Level 3, the Museum of Ancient Cultures), and the best place to park on campus (in yellow). Parking on campus is pretty expensive and might be sparse in the afternoon, so if people can get there by bus or train it might save them some money and time looking for a place to park.

2018 ABR Subscription Rate Rise

The subscription rate for the 2018 issue of Australian Biblical Review will rise to $24.00 (plus postage). This is the first price rise since 2010. The discount for Australian and New Zealand subscribers has been removed, so all subscribers will pay the same rate from next year. Current subscription and postage rates can always be found on the ABR Page.

June Sydney Meeting

An FBS meeting was held in Sydney on Friday, 16 June, at Moore Theological College. The speaker was Dr Kit Barker from Sydney Missionary and Bible College who gave a paper titled: “Trapped in Time: The Rhetorical Function of Dischronology in the Book of Judges” (see abstract below).
Dr Kit Barker is Lecturer in Old Testament at Sydney Missionary and Bible College. He is the author of Imprecation as Divine Discourse: Speech Act Theory, Dual Authorship, and Theological Interpretation (Eisenbrauns, 2016) and co-editor of the recently published Finding Lost Words: The Church’s Right to Lament (Wipf & Stock, 2017). He and his family attend Narrabeen Baptist Church where Kit serves as an elder.
Abstract: Two lines of inquiry have shaped recent discussion of the book of Judges: chronology and rhetoric. Many regard the chronology of the cycle section as problematic and attempt to reconcile the account with the temporal reference in 1 Kings 6:1. Others are concerned with the rhetoric of Judges, focusing on the final chapters and debating their relationship to the central section of the book and to the Deuteronomistic History. To date, these two lines of inquiry have largely been discussed in isolation from each other. This is unfortunate. Instead, I argue that the presentation of chronology in the book’s final form is central to its rhetorical strategy. Specifically, the presentation of chronology aids an elaborate rhetorical strategy of entrapment, unveiled in the final chapters with the reference to Phinehas. I propose that this disclosure of dischronology “springs the trap” of the earlier chapters and reveals the rhetorical climax of the book.
June Melbourne Symposium

The June Symposium of FBS in Melbourne was held on Thursday, 8 June at the Centre for Theology & Ministry (CTM) in Parkville. On the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation a paper was presented by Dr Stephen Haar, titled “‘To Be Lutheran Is To Be a Bad Exegete’: Reading the Bible in the Light of the Lutheran Reformation.”
Abstract: In Pauline scholarship the label ‘Lutheran’ has been used as an ‘out-of-bounds’ marker: a slur synonymous with being ‘traditionalist,’ advocate for the ‘old perspective,’ or simply being ‘wrong’. However, in the interest of academic clarity, and out of fairness to the living tradition that bears this name, it needs to be said that this pejorative use of the label ‘Lutheran’ in recent scholarship has been unhelpful at best. This presentation will explore what it means to read, or more accurately listen to the Bible with Luther. It will consider what Luther continues to offer academic study of the Bible in the twenty-first century.
Stephen Haar is the Academic Dean and Vice-Principal of Australian Lutheran College (ALC); a college of the University of Divinity. He is also Senior Lecturer (Biblical Studies). An ordained pastor of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA), Stephen served as a parish pastor for 26 years prior to joining the faculty of ALC in 2005. He has been a member of the Australian Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue, since 1995, and serves on the LCA Commission for Theology and Inter-Church Relations.

April Sydney Meeting

The first FBS meeting in Sydney for 2017 was held on Friday, 28 April, 1–3pm at Moore Theological College. Prof. Elaine Wainwright presented a paper titled “Attentive to Weeds and Trees: Listening Anew to the Matthean Jesus” (see the abstract below).
Elaine Wainwright is Professor Emerita Theology of the University of Auckland where she worked for 13 years (2003–15). She is a New Testament scholar specialising in the Gospel of Matthew and contemporary hermeneutical perspectives for reading biblical texts. Her most recent publication is Habitat, Human, and Holy: An Eco-Rhetorical Reading of the Gospel of Matthew, the Earth Bible Commentary on the Matthean Gospel and she is currently co-authoring a feminist commentary on the Gospel of Matthew for the new Wisdom Commentary Series edited by Barbara Reid and published by Collegeville Liturgical Press.
Abstract of Paper: In a recent publication, Habitat, Human, and Holy: An Eco-Rhetorical Reading of the Gospel of Matthew, I developed a framework for reading biblical texts ecologically in response to the profound ecological challenges our world is facing. This paper will engage with that framework but will nuance it further as a result of a review panel at the recent SBL meeting in San Antonio. I will give particular attention to those texts in which material elements such as weeds and trees characterise Jesus’ teaching.
March Melbourne Symposium at New Venue

The first Melbourne symposium was held on Thursday, 16 March at the Wyselaskie Auditorium, Centre for Theology & Ministry (CTM), Parkville, with a paper by Dr Mark O’Brien OP titled: ‘Discerning the Dynamics of Jeremiah 1–25 (MT).’

It is generally agreed that the Book of Jeremiah is the product of several stages of editing or redaction. Does the final product have any order or unity, or is it, in the words of McKane ‘a rolling corpus,’ a somewhat untidy collection of prose and poetry? This paper will argue that the various parts of Jeremiah 1–25 (MT) have been carefully assembled in order to unfold a coherent theology of the Word of God via the dynamic interaction of key characters.
Mark O’Brien is a Dominican priest who did his theological studies in Australia, Ireland, Rome and the US, obtaining a DTheol from the MCD in 1987. He currently lectures in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Catholic Theological College and Yarra Theological Union. His most recent book is Restoring the Right Relationship. The Bible on Divine Righteousness. (Adelaide: ATF, 2014).

Other dates and speakers for the year are:

8 JuneDr Stephen Haar (Dean of ALC; Senior Lecturer in Theology)
24 AugustDr Liz Boase (Lecturer in Old Testament, Flinders University)
2 NovemberAGM and Presidential address from Dr Mary Coloe pbvs

FBS Member Achievements in 2016

The list of achievements by FBS members during 2016 is now online at the Achievements Page.

2016 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of FBS was held on Thursday, 3 November, at Queen’s College. After the AGM, a paper was delivered by the outgoing President, Dr Christopher Monaghan, titled: “Letting the Oral Traditions have a say: the minor agreements, oral tradition, and the two source theory.”
In recent years Dunn has urged that the default literary paradigm in synoptic studies be reset and attention be paid once more to the role played by the oral tradition in the formation of the gospels. The literary paradigm has also been more carefully evaluated in the light of what has been learned about compositional practices in the first century. Synoptic studies have been enriched by these two areas of research. The first has provided a timely reminder not to discount the ongoing impact of the oral tradition in the formation of the synoptic gospels, and the second has provided a vantage point from which the major utilization theories can be tested and put into a more credible context. This paper examines some concrete examples from the significant minor agreements to test whether and how traces of the oral tradition might be recovered. The case to be made is that some “irresolvable” agreements can be better explained by expanding the two source theory to take into account the ongoing impact of the oral tradition.
Dr Chris Monaghan is a Lecturer in New Testament at Yarra Theological Union, University of Divinity, and has served as YTU’s President since 2009. Having studied for his Licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Biblicum in Rome he has taught at YTU since 1987 principally in Luke–Acts, Matthew and the letters of Paul. His research interests include the passion narratives and the synoptic problem.

Good discussion followed. At the meeting, a vote of thanks was passed for the work of the outgoing President, and the outgoing NT Editor, Keith Dyer. There was very positive feedback about the 2016 FBS Conference, held in Melbourne from 26–27 September at Yarra Theological College, Box Hill. Rachelle Gilmour attending the meeting from Sydney and reported on FBS meetings there; Rachelle will be the Sydney FBS Coordinator from next year.

The following officers and members of the Executive were elected for 2017:

President:Mary Coloe PBVM
Vice-President:Rosemary Canavan
Secretary:Merryl Blair
Treasurer:Brian Incigneri
ABR OT Editor:Anne Gardner
ABR NT EditorDavid Sim
ABR Book Review Editor:Michael Theophilos
Committee Member:Mark O’Brien OP
Committee Member:Sunny Chen

2016 FBS National Conference

The 2016 National FBS Conference was held on 26–27 September 2016 at Yarra Theological Union, 34 Bedford Street, Box Hill. The keynote speaker was Matthias Henze, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism at Rice University, Houston, Texas.

A copy of the Program for the conference can now be downloaded from here.

FBS News

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News items or suggestions about the content of the site are welcome. Please email the Site Administrator, Brian Incigneri.