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‘By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established’ Proverbs 24:3
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Cranmer Hall, St John’s College,
3 South Bailey, Durham DH1 3RJ
Cranmer staff members have been busy writing several books recently, ranging from major theological works through to general and popular books designed to serve the wider Church.
We are committed to breaking down barriers between being academic and being accessible: good theological thinking can work at all levels to inform all God’s people as well as speak to a wider world. Catch up on some of the highlights of our recent books here.
A Spiritual Reading of the book of Jonah:
on being turned upside down
Richard. S. Briggs
Published by Grove, 2020
Cultivating an attitude of praising God in the midst of all things could be one of the most important spiritual practices available to us in our cynical and world-weary culture.
This study guide unpacks the topsy-turvy story of the prophet Jonah, and addresses questions of spiritual life and discernment with deft humour and gravity. It invites you to reflect and to pray; to talk and to listen; and to enjoy a spiritual reading of this unusual, at times offbeat, scriptural text.
Richard Briggs is Lecturer in Old Testament and Director of Biblical Studies at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham. He is also Prior of the Community of St Cuthbert.
‘If you wanted to understand Stephen Hawking but couldn’t face the maths, this is the book for you.’ – Dr Althea Wilkinson, Jodrell Bank.
Stephen Hawking kept breaking rules. Given two years to live, he managed another 54. He wrote about quantum cosmology – and sold 20 million books. He could not speak, yet the world recognized his voice. Hutchings and Wilkinson shine light on his extraordinary ideas. The result is a story of black holes, origins, many universes, and Big Questions.
‘Remarkable.’ – Professor Christine Done, Durham University ‘Highly recommended.’ – Dr Luke Barnes, author, The Cosmic Revolutionary’s Handbook ‘A warm and well-balanced portrait of Stephen Hawking and his seminal contributions to our understanding of the universe.’ – Professor Reed A. Guy, Seattle University, USA.
Revd Professor David Wilkinson is the Principal of St John’s College, Durham and Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University.
Songs of praise are common in the contemporary church—but less common is praise that is rooted in the realities of life, and without that there is a danger that our praise becomes detached and superficial.
How can we address this? By learning how to praise God from the Hallel psalms, where God (not us) takes centre stage as the creator, deliverer and rescuer, whose love and faithfulness call out for praise not only from us but from all the world.
Richard Briggs is Lecturer in Old Testament and Director of Biblical Studies at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham. He is also a curate in the Church of England.
Mixed-economy Mission: Collaborative Ministry for
Anna Brooker and Andrew Dunlop
Published by Grove Books Limited, 2019
In contexts marked by deprivation and decline, how can dioceses of deaneries turn around the prevailing narrative that churches do not grow?
This case study examines how a creative imagining of church organisation, local collaboration and vision has led to regrowth and missional vigour in formerly worn out and isolated congregations. It argues that a mixed-economy approach to ministry can nurture diverse and healthy ecosystems, as traditional forms of church are pruned and revitalised, and new expressions take root and grow.
Anna Brooker, Chaplain of St. John’s College, writes: From 2015-2019 I had the privilege of being part of the East Durham Mission Project, as vicar of several villages in the area, part-time tutor for Cranmer Hall, teaching mission and supporting students on contextual placements. The booklet was birthed out of this rich, challenging and inspiring time. It seeks to share some of what we learned together, about God’s mission, church growth and how we can all play our part.
This book is for all those who wonder how to hold together spiritual life and the study of the Bible. It asks: “How may we read Scripture for a word of life?” The answer: by reading carefully, critically, imaginatively, theologically . . . in short, spiritually. Richard Briggs offers a series of “spiritual readings” in John’s Gospel, going in search of life, and life to the full. Along the way he discovers surprises, love, humour, tears, truth, and suffering, all wrapped up in a profound theology that is designed to be understood by everyone, from newcomers right through to those who have loved John’s Gospel for a long time. He leads readers on a life-giving adventure, and models the best of careful reading of the biblical text. In a short concluding essay he helps readers understand what it means to read John’s Gospel well; to read it in life-long pursuit of a word of life.
“In this deceptively simple—but actually sophisticated—reading of John’s gospel, Richard Briggs reminds us that John’s stories are about Jesus and about us. Like John’s Gospel itself, Jesus for Life is life-giving: full of practical wisdom, inspiration, and resurrection hope.” Michael J. Gorman, Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore.
The Letter to the Hebrews has a whiff of Marmite about it, including as it does both warm encouragements and stern warnings—and is therefore often neglected in churches.
This engaging study explores the shape and themes of the letter, including the image of desert wanderings and tabernacle, Jesus as High Priest and the readers as a priestly people. It will give the reader a fresh enthusiasm for this important NT text.
Theological Hermeneutics and the Book of Numbers as Christian Scripture (Reading the Scriptures)
Edited by: Richard S. Briggs
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press (25 Jun. 2018)
How should Christian readers of scripture hold appropriate and constructive tensions between exegetical, critical, hermeneutical, and theological concerns? This book seeks to develop the current lively discussion of theological hermeneutics by taking an extended test case, the book of Numbers, and seeing what it means in practice to hold all these concerns together. In the process the book attempts to reconceive the genre of “commentary” by combining focused attention to the details of the text with particular engagement with theological and hermeneutical concerns arising in and through the interpretive work. The book focuses on the main narrative elements of Numbers 11-25, although other passages are included (Numbers 5, 6, 33).
With its mix of genres and its challenging theological perspectives, Numbers offers a range of difficult cases for traditional Christian hermeneutics. Briggs argues that the Christian practice of reading scripture requires engagement with broad theological concerns, and brings into his discussion Frei, Auerbach, Barth, Ricoeur, Volf, and many other biblical scholars. The book highlights several key formational theological questions to which Numbers provides illuminating answers: What is the significance and nature of trust in God? How does holiness (mediated in Numbers through the priesthood) challenge and redefine our sense of what is right, or “fair”? To what extent is it helpful to conceptualize life with God as a journey through a wilderness, of whatever sort? Finally, short of whatever promised land we may be, what is the context and role of blessing?
“This book is a sophisticated meditation on the nature of theological interpretation flowing from an extended discussion of the text of Numbers. Of particular value is the manner in which the book uses some of the central passages of the text as test cases for exploring possible paths through complex hermeneutical quandaries. I cannot think of other texts in the burgeoning literature on ‘theological interpretation’ that manage this task so successfully...”
Lewis Ayres, Durham University and Australian Catholic University
A Perfect Priest
Edited by: Nicholas J. Moore and Richard J. Ounsworth
Publisher: Mohr Siebeck
Albert Vanhoye is one of the most prominent French biblical scholars of the period following the Second Vatican Council, with an academic career spanning eight decades and publications in numerous European languages. Amidst diverse interests, the Letter to the Hebrews has remained the central focus of his scholarship throughout his career. This volume collects sixteen of his most significant essays on Hebrews, covering a variety of topics and approaches, with an emphasis on the key themes of priesthood and sacrifice. The essays are presented for the first time in English translation, with an introduction by the editors summarizing Vanhoye’s contribution and analysing the central features of his work.
Survey of contents:
Part One: Priesthood and Sacrifice
Christ as High Priest in Hebrews 2.17–18 – The Place and Meaning of Hebrews 5.1–10 – The teleiōsis of Christ: Chief Point of Hebrews’ Priestly Christology – ‘By the Greater and More Perfect Tent’ (Hebrews 9.11) – Eternal Spirit and Sacrificial Fire in Hebrews 9.14 – Earthly Sanctuary and Heavenly Sanctuary in the Letter to the Hebrews – Historical Recollection and Theological Creativity in the Letter to the Hebrews
Part Two: Thematic Studies
The Law in the Letter to the Hebrews – The God of the New Covenant in the Letter to the Hebrews – Universal Salvation through Christ and the Validity of the Old Covenant – Christ as Re-creator of Humanity and Restorer of Human Rights, according to the Letter to the Hebrews
Part Three: Exegetical Studies
The οἰκουμένη in the Letter to the Hebrews – Long Journey or Imminent Access? The Biblical Context of Hebrews 3.7–4.11 – Hebrews 6.7–8 and the Rabbinic Mashal – The Faith of Jesus? On Hebrews 12.2: ‘Jesus, Author and Perfecter of Faith’ – The Literary Question of Hebrews 13.1–6
Ecclesiology and Theosis in the Gospel of John
Edited by: Andrew Byers
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
For the fourth evangelist, there is neither a Christless church nor a churchless Christ. Though John’s Gospel has been widely understood as ambivalent toward the idea of “church,” this book argues that ecclesiology is as central a Johannine concern as Christology. Rather than focusing on the community behind the text, attention is directed to the vision of community prescribed within the text. This vision is presented as a “narrative ecclesiology” by which the concept of “church” gradually unfolds throughout the Gospel’s sequence. The theme of oneness functions within this script and draws on the Jewish theological language of the Shema. To be “one” with this “one God” and his “one Shepherd” involves the believers’ corporate participation within the divine family. Such participation requires an ontological transformation that warrants an ecclesial identity expressed by the bold assertion found in Jesus’ citation of Psalm 82: “you are gods.”
Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion. 1980 to the Present
Edited by: David Goodhew
The Anglican Communion is one of the largest Christian denominations in the world. Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion is the first study of its dramatic growth and decline in the years since 1980. An international team of leading researchers based across five continents provides a global overview of Anglicanism alongside twelve detailed case studies. The case studies stretch from Singapore to England, Nigeria to the USA and mostly focus on non-western Anglicanism. This book is a critical resource for students and scholars seeking an understanding of the past, present and future of the Anglican Church. More broadly, the study offers insight into debates surrounding secularisation in the contemporary world.
The book arises out of a research project led by Cranmer’s Director of Ministerial Practice, Rev Dr David Goodhew, and you can read more about the project here.
‘This is a truly valuable book. In a collection of outstanding essays, the contributors seek to find firm ground for statements about growth and decline in the Anglican Communion, one of the world’s largest religious institutions. At every stage, what they find repeatedly challenges conventional assumptions, and also raises fundamental questions that demand to be applied to other global churches. This is truly eye-opening. I cannot speak too highly of this excellent volume.’
Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History, Baylor University, USA
‘David Goodhew and his diverse team of collaborators have produced a timely, illuminating, and comprehensive collection of essays. This landmark volume represents an essential text for students of global Christianity, as well as worldwide Anglicanism, at the turn of the twenty-first century.’
Michael Snape, Michael Ramsey Professor of Anglican Studies, Durham University, UK
‘We welcome and appreciate the comprehensive and challenging contribution of this book to this phenomenon of the Church and what it means. The book brings us to where Anglicanism stands (and falls) today and tomorrow, the outcome and witness of both its internal character and external outreach rubbing shoulders, to the Glory of the Lord.’
John Mbiti, Emeritus Professor of Theology, University of Bern, Switzerland
In Wrestling with the Word, well-known and accomplished preachers grapple with a range of notoriously difficult Old and New Testament texts. As well as providing sample sermons – in an exhilarating variety of structural styles and voices – they offer ideas to help in the planning process of applying and interpreting such passages.
Becoming Reverend. A diary.
Author: Matt Woodcock
Publisher: Church House Publishing
For Paul it was the Damascus Road. In Matt Woodcock’s case it was the A19 to Selby.
Die-hard Oasis fan.
Low sperm count.
Training to be a vicar. Obviously.
Woody trained at Cranmer Hall. We still bear the scars.
A thoroughly recommended read. Expect to laugh… a lot.
Author: Jocelyn Bryan
Publisher: Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
The book provides a psychological perspective on key aspects of human nature and behaviour drawing on recent research and reflect on the issues this raises for theology and ministry. The aim is to introduce theology students, those studying practical theology and those engaged in ministerial formation or ministry to the significant current research in psychology which will deepen understanding of some of the core aspects of human nature.
The interdisciplinary nature of the exercise aims to model the benefits of such an approach for both theology and ministerial practice and as such the book aims to cross traditional boundaries. The objective is to introduce the reader to new fields of academic psychology beyond those of counselling and psychoanalysis, dated personality psychology and the popular psychology which is often referred to in publications in the area of ministerial practice and enable the reader to engage with recent psychological research and developments.
Repetition in Hebrews: Plurality and Singularity in the Letter to the Hebrews, Its Ancient Context, and the Early Church (WUNT II/388) by Nicholas J. Moore (Assistant Lecturer and Tutor at Cranmer Hall). Published by Mohr Siebeck, 2015
When I Pray, What Does God Do? by David Wilkinson (St John’s College Principal). Published by Monarch Books, 2015
Igniting the Heart: Preaching and Imagination by Kate Bruce (Cranmer’s Deputy Warden and Tutor in Homiletics). Published by SCM Press, 2015
Towards a Theology of Church Growth edited by David Goodhew (Cranmer’s Director of Ministerial Practice). Published by Ashgate in its Contemporary Ecclesiology Series, 2015
Fairer Sex by Richard Briggs (Cranmer’s Lecturer in Old Testament and Director of Biblical Studies). Published by Grove Books, 2015
Theomedia by Andrew Byers (Cranmer’s Free Church Tutor and Teaching Fellow). Published by Lutterworth Press, 2014
Here are some recent publications produced by The Cranmer Academic staff. Outputs are listed in the following categories:
Jesus for Life: Spiritual Readings in John’s Gospel (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2019) Theological Hermeneutics and the Book of Numbers as Christian Scripture (Reading the Scriptures; Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2018)
Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals
‘The Eclipse of Daniel’s Narrative: The limits of historical knowledge in the theological reading of Daniel’, Scottish Journal of Theology 70 (2017): 264-77 ‘The Christian Hermeneutics of Cranmer’s Homilies’, Journal of Anglican Studies 15 (2017): 167-87 ‘Bölcs Bibliaolvasás A Teolớgiai Hermeneutika Kontextusában’, (‘Reading the Bible Wisely in the Context of Theological Hermeneutics’), Credo (Quarterly of the Lutheran Church in Hungary) 25/3 (2015): 29-38 (in Hungarian) ‘Křesťanská etika a násilí ve Starém zákoně: hermeneutická svoboda a etická kontroverze’, (‘Christian Ethics and Violence in the Old Testament: Hermeneutical Freedom and Ethical Offence’), Theologia Vitae 5.2 (2015): 247-62 (in Czech) ‘Lost (and Found) in a Textual World: The Experience of Reading the Bible and David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest’, Glass 27 (2015): 44-50 ‘New Directions in Teaching Scripture to those Training for Ministry’, Theology 118 (2015), 250-57 ‘On “Seeing” what God is “Saying”: Rereading Biblical Narrative in Dialogue with Kevin Vanhoozer’s Remythologizing Theology’, Southeastern Theological Review 5 (2014): 61-82 ‘“These are the Days of Elijah”: The Hermeneutical Move from “Applying the Text” to “Living in its World”’, Journal of Theological Interpretation 8 (2014): 157-74 ‘Review Article: Using the Bible in Practical Theology (by Zoë Bennett)’ [with Zoë Bennett], Theology and Ministry: An Online Journal 3 (2014): 7.1-9
Essays in Collected Volumes
‘Virtue and Torah: The Character of the Instructed Reader’, in Volker Rabens, Jacqueline Grey, and Mariam J. Kamell Kovalishyn (eds.) New Approaches to Biblical Ethics (Biblical Interpretation Series; Leiden: Brill, 2019) ‘Reading the Historical Books as Part of the “Primary History”’, in Brent Strawn and Brad Kelle (eds.), The Oxford Handbook on the Historical Books of the Hebrew Bible (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019) ‘The Ostrich and the Sword: Reading the City-Lament of Lamentations intertextually with the Wilderness Wanderings of the Book of Numbers’, in Brittany N. Melton and Heath A. Thomas (eds.), Reading Lamentations Intertextually (LHBOTS; Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019) ‘Sarajevo and the PopMart Lemon: The Fractured Form and Function of U2’s Walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death’, in Scott Calhoun (ed.), U2 and the Religious Impulse: Take Me Higher (Bloomsbury Studies in Religion and Popular Music; London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), 75-86 and 209 ‘The Historical Books’, in Adam J. Johnson (ed.), T&T Clark Companion to Atonement (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017), 543-46 ‘A Mosaic Picture of Leadership: Faithfulness and Failure, Command and Character, in Old Testament Perspective’, in Patrick Nullens and Steven C. van den Heuvel (eds.), Challenges of Moral Leadership (Christian Perspectives on Leadership and Social Ethics 2; Leuven: Peeters, 2016), 97-109 ‘Judges 11.28–40’, in Kate Bruce and Jamie Harrison (eds.), Wrestling with the Word: Preaching Tricky Texts (London: SPCK, 2016), 64-70 ‘Hermeneutics and Interpretation’, in Robert A. Segal and Kocku von Stuckrad (eds.), Vocabulary for the Study of Religion (3 vols; Leiden: Brill, 2015), 2: 159-66 ‘What is a Doctrine of Scriptural Inspiration For? A Dialogue with Carlos Bovell’, in Carlos R. Bovell (ed.), Biblical Inspiration and the Authority of Scripture (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015), 32-43 ‘The Zeal of Readers in Defence and in Dissent: Phinehas’ Spear, the Covenant of Peace, and the Politics of Hermeneutics’, in R. Timothy McLay (ed.), The Temple in Text and Tradition: A Festschrift in Honour of Robert Hayward (Library of Second Temple Studies Series 83; London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 113-39 ‘Constructing the Bible’s Readers: From “Thin Descriptions” to “Thick Portraits”’, in Régis Burnet, Didier Luciani and Geert van Oyen (eds.), Le Lecteur. Sixième Colloque International du RRENAB (BETL 273; Leuven: Peeters, 2015), 69-92
Fairer Sex. Spiritual Readings of Four Old Testament Passages about Men and Women (Grove Biblical Series 77; Cambridge: Grove Books, 2015)
Human Being: Insights from Psychology and the Christian Faith (London: SCM Press, 2016)
Speaker at Constructive Conversations on classroom strategies around gender and sexuality; Luther King House, Manchester, June 2015
Psychology and Chaplaincy Hospital Chaplains Study Day; Western Park Hospital, Sheffield, October 2016
Book in progress
The Christian Handbook of Abuse, Addiction and Difficult Behaviour (2nd Edition; Stowmarket: Kevin Mayhew), forthcoming
Book on Transitions in Life: Reflections from Psychology and Theology
Ecclesiology and Theosis in the Gospel of John (SNTSMS 166; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals
‘Johannine Bishops? The Fourth Evangelist, John the Elder, and the Episcopal Ecclesiology of Ignatius of Antioch.’ Novum Testamentum 60 (2018): 121–139.
“The Ecclesiology of Christological Monotheism: The Shema and Social Identity in 1 Corinthians” in New Testament Studies 62, 4 (2016): 517–32.
Articles for a Wider Readership
“Jesus and Politics,” Preach Magazine. Issue 18, Spring 2019, The Political Issue (pp. 19–24).
“Andrew Byers on ‘What Makes a Good Biblical Scholar or Theologian?’” for The LAB—The Logos Academic Blog (December 2017, online).
“How to do New Testament Research” for The LAB—The Logos Academic Blog (April 2017, online).
“When God is Strange and Awful,” Christianity Today (June 2016; print and online).
“Dispatches from the Wondrous, Terrifying World of Biblical Scholarship,” Christianity Today (2016; online).
“Our Love Affair with the Letter “i”, Christianity Today (2014; online).
‘“Let your Light so Shine”: Rowan Williams and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’ (with Medi Ann Volpe), in Engaging Bonhoeffer: The Impact and Influence of Bonhoeffer’s Life and Thought (ed. Matthew D Kirkpatrick; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2016): 303-23
‘Bonhoeffer’s Worldly Ethics’; Dietrich Bonhoeffer Anniversary Conference, Mirfield, September 2015
‘Bonhoeffer’s Everyday Ethics for the Life of the Church’; Reading Bonhoeffer for the Life of the Church, St John’s College, September 2016
‘Reading Bonhoeffer for the Life of the Church’, international conference at St John’s College, September 2016
Books in progress
Editing the plenary papers from ‘Reading Bonhoeffer for the Life of the Church’ conference for publishing as a book
Translating Pr Erhard Schlund, Neo-Germanic Paganism in Contemporary Germany, and writing an extended introduction to this work (originally from 1923-24)
Essay in German on Schlund’s work (see above) for the German Provincial magazine of the Franciscan order
A Perfect Priest (Mohr Siebeck, 2018)
Editor and translator, with Richard J. Ounsworth, of Albert Vanhoye, A Perfect Priest: Studies in the Letter to the Hebrews, WUNT II/477 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018).
Repetition in Hebrews: Plurality and Singularity in the Letter to the Hebrews, Its Ancient Context, and the Early Church, WUNT II/388 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015).
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals
Heaven’s Revolving Door? Cosmology, Entrance, and Approach in Hebrews’, Bulletin for Biblical Research 29.2 (2019).
Jesus as “The One Who Entered His Rest”: The Christological Reading of Hebrews 4.10’, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 36.4 (2014): 383–400.
Essays in Collected Volumnes
with Richard Ounsworth, “A Perfect Priest”: The Letter to the Hebrews in the Scholarship of Albert Vanhoye’, pp. 1–19 in Albert Vanhoye, A Perfect Priest: Studies in the Letter to the Hebrews, WUNT II/477 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018).
Deferring to Dad’s Discipline: Family Life in Hebrews 12’, pp. 121–37 in Marriage, Family, and Relationships: Biblical, Doctrinal, and Contemporary Perspectives, ed. by S. Whittle, P. Johnston, and T. Noble (London: Apollos, 2017).
“In” or “Near”? Heavenly Access and Christian Identity in Hebrews’, pp. 185–98 in Muted Voices of the New Testament: Readings in the Catholic Epistles and Hebrews, LNTS 565, ed. by K. M. Hockey, M. N. Pierce, & F. Watson (London: T&T Clark, 2017).
The Christian Life in Hebrews, Grove Booklet, Biblical Series B92 (Cambridge: Grove Books, 2019).