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Friday, 1st March 2019UPCOMING Seminar Thursday 14 March 2019:
The Book of Job: speaking faith in the midst of trauma

This seminar will take place on Thursday 14 March 2019, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury; Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Theology & Religious Studies, King’s College London

ABSTRACT:
The book of Job, more than any in Scripture, is one that explores the very possibility of faith and hope in the midst of despair. It is articulated around three sets of protagonists: Job, his friends and family, and God. The drama of grief and trauma for Job is one that is profoundly grounded in his understanding and practice of faith, as shaped by the culture that his family and friends represent. It also revolves around the need to find a language to talk of and to God from within a space of mental distress and the breakdown of usual categories of thought. It is a drama, which explores relationships between characters, modes of being and social relationships, and which climaxes in the interaction between Job and Yahweh. This brief analysis of Job will reveal a desperate search for meaning, for ways of being a person of faith within the challenges of grief and trauma, in ways that both connect with tradition, yet are authentic to the experience of collapsing certainties and complete alienation. It will explore how grief and trauma lead to the breakdown of existing spiritual language and practices, and how this breakdown affects both Job and those who care for him. The journey Job and his friends go on is one that will leave neither Job, nor his friends, untouched, but re-shape their language, spirituality, personal narratives of the wider world, and ways of relating to the divine. This is in turns leads to reflections on the nature and role of the community of faith, the place that spirituality can play in exacerbating mental distress, but also avenues of thought for exploring news ways of construing faith and theology.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Isabelle Hamley is currently Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. She previously taught Biblical Studies and Practical Theology at St John’s College, Nottingham, as well as being the vicar of the parish of Edwalton. Her interest in academia has been nurtured through the years with a spell as a university chaplain at the university of Leicester and ten years teaching in the School of Continuing Education at the university of Nottingham. She has always had a passion for integrating theology, ministry and engagement with the wider world, and therefore trained and practiced as a Probation Officer whilst also teaching theology in the evenings in Nottingham.

 

Friday, 15th February 2019Seminar Thursday 28 February 2019:
“Living Deeply”: A Pastoral Integration of Psychology and Spirituality

This seminar took place on Thursday 28 February 2019, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Dr Fraser Watts, Visiting Professor of Psychology and Religion, University of Lincoln

ABSTRACT:
My recent book, Living Deeply: A Psychological and Spiritual Journey, has raised important issues for me about how to integrate wisdom about practical living that comes from psychology and from spiritual traditions. My basic assumption is that, though things are presented rather differently, there is a good deal of underlying convergence between the two. I will illustrate that by drawing attention to similarities between Augustine Baker’s Holy Wisdom (written in the 17th century) with modern cognitive-behaviour therapy. Living Deeply aims to provide a psychologically-grounded introduction to the Christian faith. The direction of travel in my book is deliberately from the human and psychological to the religious and spiritual. The book also moves from personal issues to relational ones, and finally deals more explicitly with religious ideas, including beliefs about God. Overall, it tries to make connections between personal growth, pastoral care, spiritual practice and religious belief, showing how richly inter-connected these are, and making the relevance of religion to everyday life more clearly apparent. The book tries to articulate the self-spirituality that seems to be the predominant one of late modernity, one that can be found in Christian settings (especially in Charismatic evangelical churches), secular settings and more general spiritual settings such as Twelve Steps programmes.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Fraser Watts was formerly Reader in Theology and Science in the University of Cambridge, where he was Director of the Psychology and Religion Research Group and a Fellow of Queens’ College. He is also a former President of the British Psychological Society and of the International Society for Science and Religion. He is now Executive Secretary of the International Society for Science and Religion and a Visiting Professor at the University of Lincoln. His books include Theology and Psychology (Ashgate, 2002); Psychology for Christian Ministry (with Rebecca Nye and Sara Savage, Routledge, 2002); Forgiveness in Context (ed. with Liz Gulliford, T & T Clark, 2004); Jesus and Psychology (DLT, 2007); Spiritual Healing: Scientific and Religious Perspectives (CUP, 2011); Head and Heart: Perspectives from Religion and Psychology (ed. with G. Dumbreck, Templeton Press, 2013;) Evolution, Religion and Cognitive Science: Critical and Constructive Essays (edited with L Turner, OUP, 2014); Psychology, Religion and Spirituality (CUP, 2017; and Living Deeply (Lutterworth, 2018).

 

Monday, 11th February 2019* CANCELLED * Seminar Thursday 14 February 2019:
Diagnosing Paul: A Methodology
for Understanding the Impairment and Disability
of the Apostle to the Gentiles

Unfortunately, the speaker had, for health reasons, to cancel the seminar scheduled on Thursday 14 February 2019, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Mr Isaac Soon, PhD Student, New Testament (BCM, MTh, MPhil [Oxon.]), Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University; Research Assistant to Prof. Francis Watson

ABSTRACT:
Past interpreters of Paul the Apostle attempted to diagnose Paul’s various weaknesses (e.g. the thorn in his flesh [2 Cor 12:1-10], cf. Gal 4:13-15) purely through medical conjecture. Until recently scholars did not have the means to speak about physical impairment beyond medical diagnosis. The advent of disability theory, however, has provided a way of moving beyond Paul’s impairment(s) as medical conditions in order to conceive of them also as social and cultural realities. This paper gives a brief overview of some recent short studies on Paul and disability in the last twenty years, and as an alternative proposes a socio-cultural method for analysing disability in an ancient Jewish and Graeco-Roman context (I draw in particular on the work of foremost German disability scholar Anne Waldschmidt). The aim is to demonstrate a critical method for analysing disability in antiquity without anachronistic retrojection in order to make Paul a fruitful dialogue partner for contemporary analyses and applications of disability theory and disability theology.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
His previous training in Biblical Studies took place in Sydney, Australia where he earned a BCM (2010) from Alphacrucis and an MTh (2013) from Excelsia College (then Wesley Institute). From 2015-2017 he read for an MPhil in Theology (New Testament) at the University of Oxford, where he worked on a project about Paul’s somatic rhetoric in 1-2 Corinthians in conversation with ancient ideals of visual appearance. In 2017 he joined the University of Durham as a recipient of a Durham Doctoral Studentship, working alongside Dr. Jane Heath and Dr. Jan Dochhorn on his PhD project entitled: “Paul, the Disabled Apostle.”

 

Tuesday, 1st January 2019Seminar Thursday 17 January 2019:
Caring for women with eating disorders:
Could insights from feminist theology reform the practice of pastoral care?

This seminar took place on Thursday 17 January 2019, 4.30-5.45pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Dr Carolyn Blair, Research Fellow, School of Social Science, Education and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:

 

ABSTRACT:
This seminar aims to provide recommendations to assist with the improvement of church-based pastoral care of women experiencing Eating Disorders (EDs) using insights from feminist theology and other relevant sources. Unique perspectives have been derived from a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with women who have experienced EDs, carers of those who have experienced EDs and those claiming insight into such issues.

Considering that the most significant finding of this research project suggests that religious fundamentalist traits mirror the characteristics of women experiencing EDs, it has been crucial to critically analyse how these traits may deepen distress for the sufferer especially in pastoral encounters. Furthermore, it has therefore been essential to provide an alternative theological perspective which has the potential to help counteract these deleterious effects.

As feminist theologians challenge patriarchal perspectives pertaining to human flourishing and practical care, this seminar will demonstrate and prompt discussion on how feminist theological insights could positively reform pastoral care and frame the place of religion and spirituality in the recovery from EDs.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Carolyn Blair is a Research Fellow in Queen’s University Belfast in the School of Social Science, Education and Social Work specialising in the area of psychological trauma. Carolyn has received a PhD in Theology and Social Work, Master of Theology and Bachelor of Theology from Queen’s University Belfast. Carolyn’s research has mainly focused on the areas of EDs and self-esteem in females, reflecting upon how church-based pastoral care could be problematic but also has the potential to help in recovery.

 

Tuesday, 1st January 2019SEMINAR PROGRAMME
Epiphany Term 2019

SEMINAR PROGRAMME – Epiphany Term 2019

These seminars are open to all staff and students of Durham University and to the general public. However, please be aware that they are aimed at a postgraduate level and are therefore especially suitable for MA, PhD and DThM students, as well as for others engaged in postgraduate study in relevant areas of enquiry.

 

If you would like to attend any of these seminars, please send an e-mail to Charidimos Koutris (charidimos.koutris@durham.ac.uk) in order to ensure that a place will be available for you.

 

Also feel free to visit the Durham University website to Subscribe to these seminars, download future seminars as an iCal calendar file or download the seminar programme in pdf format.

 

Thursday 17 January 2019 (4.30-5.45pm)
Caring for women with eating disorders: Could insights from feminist theology reform the practice of pastoral care?
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Dr Carolyn Blair,
Research Fellow, School of Social Science, Education and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast

 

Thursday 14 February 2019 (4.30-6pm) * CANCELLED *
Diagnosing Paul: A Methodology for Understanding the Impairment and Disability of the Apostle to the Gentiles
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Mr Isaac Soon,
PhD Student, New Testament (BCM, MTh, MPhil [Oxon.]), Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University;
Research Assistant to Prof. Francis Watson

 

Thursday 28 February 2019 (4.30-6pm)
“Living Deeply”: A Pastoral Integration of Psychology and Spirituality
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Dr Fraser Watts,
Visiting Professor of Psychology and Religion, University of Lincoln

 

Thursday 14 March 2019 (4.30-6pm)
The Book of Job: speaking faith in the midst of trauma
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley,
Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury; Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Theology & Religious Studies, King’s College London

 

 

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Friday, 23rd November 2018Seminar Thursday 6 December 2018:
Memory, Narrative and Ageing

This seminar took place on Thursday 6 December 2018, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Dr Jocelyn Bryan, Academic Dean and Cranmer Hall Tutor at St John’s College, Durham

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:

 

ABSTRACT:
The storied nature of our lives and experience receives considerable attention in the study of the later stages of human life. During these stages of life, the pace of experience and its content changes, allowing more time for reflection and processing. Drawing on psychological research into autobiographical memory, hindsight and the content of narrative in later life, the seminar will outline the implications of this research for spirituality and pastoral care for later life.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Dr Jocelyn Bryan is Academic Dean and Cranmer Hall Tutor at St John’s College, Durham. She is also Director of the Doctor in Theology and Ministry programme and teaches Pastoral and Practical Theology, Human Sexuality, Gender and Christian Ministry and Psychology and Christian Ministry. She has worked in Ministerial Formation for over a decade, before which she worked in management for a large computer company. Her PhD is in psychology. Jocelyn’s main research interest is in the interdisciplinary field of psychology, theology and ministry. She has recently published Human Being: Insights from Psychology and the Christian Faith and co-edited The Christian Handbook of Abuse, Addiction and Difficult Behaviour. She has also contributed two chapters to a book on Sexual Issues and published a number of reflections on pastoral challenges in the volume Facing The Issues. She is the editor of the St John’s College Online Journal Theology and Ministry.

 

Monday, 12th November 2018Seminar Thursday 22 November 2018:
The Rainbow Bridge: Intimations of Immortality

This seminar took place on Thursday 22 November 2018, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Revd Dr Susan Gabriel Talbot, Writer, worker for the Gettalife Project charity, Spiritual Director and Anglican sister (profilewebsite)

To download the presentation’s Handout click here.

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:

 

ABSTRACT:
This seminar will cover a consideration of aspects of human experience that are suggestive of the possibility of a transcendent realm; centring on visionary dream or altered states of consciousness that church history and historical theology might term as prophetic, i.e. a ‘living, numinous ‘word’ for the moment of particular significance to the individual or community. From the case-histories collected or studied, emerge powerful, evocative material suggestive of a many-layered world in which there are, as Peter Berger might affirm, ‘signals of transcendence’. These experiences of a numinous intensity and quality are also indicative of interconnections across time and space between human beings linked by kinship, compassion and at times a profound desire for wisdom and truth.

Of the contemporary accounts, some core material was drawn from primary data research collected in the first instance for a stand-alone documentary for a BBC radio 4 programme and was later added to in a doctoral research initiative at Manchester University. The Doctoral programme research drew material from qualitative ‘face to face’ interviews with a hidden population of those who had experienced such phenomena. They describe experiences felt by most interviewees to be an encounter with the numinous. These were not only visionary-dreams but included other modes of consciousness linked to prophecy, visionary dream and healing-in the spiritual sense- as well as some occasions of being shown or ‘called’ to a particular life. This core material has been added to as and when appropriate. Qualitative Interviews were also conducted with Vocations Advisors and Spiritual Directors. The final strand was a quantitative survey of the theological colleges within the UK, asking how they felt they had dealt with and were dealing with such material.

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Revd. Dr Susan Gabriel Talbot, after a portfolio career, spanning the different but related disciplines of teaching, BBC radio 4 research and presentation for Woman’s Hour and the Religious Department as well as research at Manchester Victoria University in religion, ethnicity and Education, became one of the first tranche of women to become priested in the Anglican Church in 1994.

Her professional involvement within the Anglican Church included Parish Ministry in a the large Housing Estate as well pioneering, unexpectedly, a major renewal project in one of the most deprived areas of the inner city in Manchester. Later, in the Chester Diocese, she was asked to be Healing advisor for a period, as well leading a Supervision Group for those working in Spiritual Direction in the Chester Diocese.

Sue Talbot is Chair of Trustees and field-worker of the Gettalife project www.gettalife.org.uk as well as being a writer and Spiritual Director. Sue trained in Spiritual Direction through the Loyola Hall Jesuit Retreat House and the Spidir system at Manchester Cathedral.

The work of which this presentation is a part, was granted a bursary by Gladstone’s library to enable the primary data from the doctoral research and material from other sources to be transmuted into book-form prior to the next step of moving it into the public realm, hopefully, via an intrigued Agent or publisher!

 

Monday, 1st October 2018Seminar Thursday 25 October 2018:
Shape of Water: ‘Medicine of Mortality’ in Patristic Pastoral Healthcare

This seminar took place on Thursday 25 October 2018, 4.30-6pm in Seminar Room C
(D/TH107, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

Dr Susan R. Holman, Academic editor & writer in medicine & global health, Harvard University (2007-2018); John R. Eckrich Chair & Professor of Religion & the Healing Arts, Valparaiso University (2019); Senior Fellow of the Harvard University Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality

To download the presentation’s Handout click here.

To watch the Lecture, please click on the video below:

 

ABSTRACT:
Water takes many shapes in early Christian texts on healing and need: in baptism, healing springs, the therapeutic drink of fasting, merciful nurture, filth-prevention, and the civic or public service of funding baths. Water was a human entitlement based on theological ethics; Gregory of Nyssa, for instance, condemned those who forbade the sick poor from drinking from public fountains as if they poisoned them; and in the Egyptian desert, Abba Shenoute funded (and likely designed on sanctuary patterns) a massive well during a refugee crisis. Yet even when it is regarded as essential, water can kill: mixed in wine of the “wrong” group’s eucharist, infested with mysterious forces that trigger life-threatening vomiting and diarrhea, or simply by its absence, for example in drought that some, like Basil of Caesarea, blamed on sin and greed. Water’s connection with illness and death may seem to flow in provocative eddies with Ignatius of Antioch’s famous appeal to eucharist as the “medicine of immortality.”

Water is often the forgotten cipher in health care. Yet safe drinking water and basic sanitation remain key to global goals today in both health and development. As the late Steve de Gruchy reminded us in his 2009 essay on “Water and Spirit: Theology in the Time of Cholera,” “There is only one stream of water” in this world, “[t]here is no life outside this cycle and theology has to get real about it.” Isabel Apawo Phiri, in her 2018 Steve de Gruchy Memorial Lecture, called for the church to take a serious role in realizing the vision for comprehensive water justice. While such messages most directly speak to faith-based concerns about the global environment, they are also deeply rooted in both therapeutic and eschatological imagery relevant to pastoral engagement in health care. This paper will consider and tease at these cross-time and cross-disciplinary connections, asking: how might Christian constructions of water in late antiquity potentially inform scholarship, action, and community-based thinking about how we address medicine, mortality, and ministry today?

 

BIOGRAPHY:
Susan R. Holman is a writer and scholar whose research explores the intersections of faith-based responses to disease and poverty in late antiquity with related issues in modern global health. Dr. Holman’s early studies in clinical and public health nutrition shape the narrative of her books on Christian history, including The Hungry are Dying: Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia (Oxford 2001), God Knows There’s Need: Christian Responses to Poverty (Oxford 2009), and Beholden: Religion, Global Health, and Human Rights (Oxford 2015, which received the 2016 Grawemeyer Award in Religion). She is also editor of Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society (BakerAcademic 2008), author and co-translator of Basil of Caesarea: On Fasting and Feasts (SVS Press 2013), and co-editor of The Garb of Being: Embodiment and the Pursuit of Holiness in Late Ancient Christianity (Fordham 2019).

 

Monday, 1st October 2018SEMINAR PROGRAMME
Michaelmas Term 2018

SEMINAR PROGRAMME – Michaelmas Term 2018

These seminars are open to all staff and students of Durham University and to the general public. However, please be aware that they are aimed at a postgraduate level and are therefore especially suitable for MA, PhD and DThM students, as well as for others engaged in postgraduate study in relevant areas of enquiry.

 

If you would like to attend any of these seminars, please send an e-mail to Charidimos Koutris (charidimos.koutris@durham.ac.uk) in order to ensure that a place will be available for you.

 

Also feel free to visit the Durham University website to Subscribe to these seminars, download future seminars as an iCal calendar file or download the seminar programme in pdf format.

 

Thursday 25 October 2018 (4.30-6pm)
Shape of Water: ‘Medicine of Mortality’ in Patristic Pastoral Healthcare
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Dr Susan R. Holman,
Academic editor & writer in medicine & global health, Harvard University (2007-2018);
John R. Eckrich Chair & Professor of Religion & the Healing Arts, Valparaiso University (2019);
Senior Fellow of the Harvard University Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality

 

Thursday 22 November 2018 (4.30-6pm)
The Rainbow Bridge: Intimations of Immortality
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Revd Dr Susan Gabriel Talbot,
Writer, worker for the Gettalife Project charity, Spiritual Director and Anglican sister

 

Thursday 6 December 2018 (4.30-6pm)
Memory, Narrative and Ageing
Seminar Room C (D/TH107)Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham
by Dr Jocelyn Bryan,
Academic Dean and Cranmer Hall Tutor at St John’s College, Durham

 

 

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