Notice of 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
Postage Rate Increases
2018 ABR Mailed Out
August Melbourne Symposium
June Sydney Meeting
June Melbourne Symposium
April Sydney Meeting
Current issue of
Australian Biblical Review
News and Coming Events

Notice of March Melbourne Symposium

The first Melbourne gathering of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies for this year will be held on Thursday, 7 March, at the Centre for Theology and Ministry (CTM), Parkville, at 6.30pm with dinner at 7.00pm. The guest speaker is Professor Terry Falla, who will present 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.”
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.

Members must advise their intention of attending the dinner to the Secretary (by email by midday, Friday, 1 March. Cancellation up to this time is possible, but cancellation closer to the event will result in the full price being charged. The cost of the dinner and drinks is $35.00, payable on the evening. Receipts are available on request from the Treasurer, Brian Incigneri.

Future dinner dates and speakers are:

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

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.

April Sydney Meeting

The first Sydney meeting for 2018 was held on 13 April. The paper was given by special guest, Dr Anne Gardner (from Melbourne) who gave a paper titled, “Why Nebuchadnezzar?” (see abstract below).
Bio: Dr Anne Gardner is an adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Monash University in Australia. She has published widely across the areas of the Hebrew Bible and the Inter-Testamental Literature.
Abstract: Why Nebuchadnezzar? In Daniel 4 and 5, Nebuchadnezzar makes an appearance, although recent scholars think that Nabonidus is the real character under the spotlight. Arguments for and against this viewpoint are assessed and it will be seen that while the story about Nabonidus plays a part in chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar’s role is just as important. Historical elements that appear in the tale are brought to the fore as is the need to justify Israel’s God. The relevance of Nebuchadnezzar/Nabonidus and Belshazzar in the context of the events leading to the Maccabean crisis is apparent in Daniel 5 and links with the use of Belshazzar as a cipher in the headings to Daniel 7 and 8.
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