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October 2017

TQQ: The Gospel of Mark: A Story of Belief and Bafflement

Tue 24 October, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Mark lets us know at the outset that he has a point of view on Jesus: he is the Messiah. But it soon becomes clear that we know more about Jesus than his often baffled companions do, and we also know more than the world at large is allowed to know. So why is so much store set on secrecy, not to mention misunderstanding? Why does Jesus’ family nurse such doubts about him, and why do his followers oscillate between getting… Read more

TQQ: The Gospel of Matthew: Christian Judaism or Christianity? (1 of 2)

Tue 31 October, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Matthew’s Gospel, to which we owe the Sermon on the Mount, is peppered with paradoxes. At one and the same time it is extremely Jewish in atmosphere and also fiercely critical of some members of the Jewish community. It advocates a religion that some would see as Christian Judaism and others as Christianity, and the two are not the same. It belongs firmly within the Christian world but has no sympathy with Christians who do not toe the line in… Read more
November 2017

TQQ: The Gospel of Matthew: Christian Judaism or Christianity? (2 of 2)

Tue 7 November, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Matthew’s Gospel, to which we owe the Sermon on the Mount, is peppered with paradoxes. At one and the same time it is extremely Jewish in atmosphere and also fiercely critical of some members of the Jewish community. It advocates a religion that some would see as Christian Judaism and others as Christianity, and the two are not the same. It belongs firmly within the Christian world but has no sympathy with Christians who do not toe the line in… Read more

TQQ: The Gospel of Luke: The Story of a Radical Conservative (1 of 2)

Tue 14 November, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
To Luke we owe some of the most cherished stories in the Gospels – the parables of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son, or the framing of the whole story between infancy narratives and the story of the unrecognized stranger on the walk to Emmaus. Luke loves the theme of freedom – but freedom from what? He highlights the role of women – but is he in any sense a feminist? He seems at times rather conservative by instinct,… Read more

TQQ: The Gospel of Luke: The Story of a Radical Conservative (2 of 2)

Tue 21 November, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
To Luke we owe some of the most cherished stories in the Gospels – the parables of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son, or the framing of the whole story between infancy narratives and the story of the unrecognized stranger on the walk to Emmaus. Luke loves the theme of freedom – but freedom from what? He highlights the role of women – but is he in any sense a feminist? He seems at times rather conservative by instinct,… Read more

I Feel Something I Don’t Understand: Religion and Being Human

Tue 28 November, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Do the great world religions actually contribute to making us more human? Or does religion distort and confuse what being human actually means and entails? Contact Alison Ogden for all booking enquiries aogden@sarum.ac.uk  |  01722 424826  |  01722 424800 (main reception) Read more

TQQ: The Gospel of John: The Story of a Visiting Stranger (1 of 2)

Tue 28 November, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Here is the key question for readers of the Gospel of John: why is this Jesus so different from the three other versions provided by Mark, Matthew and Luke? Jesus talks all the time about himself and sees the secret of his significance in his origin with his Father before the beginning of time. This quite distinctive Jesus must be formational of a very distinct Christian community, one that had some very painful experiences at the hands of co-religionists, and… Read more
December 2017

Text, Interpretation and Imagination

Mon 4 December, 2:00 pm to Thu 7 December, 2:00 pm
The images, stories, myths and teachings of the Bible have served as a foundation for the Western cultural imagination. The Bible, when read in each new cultural context, both challenges the readers’ cultural assumptions and is challenged by new ways of reading which spring forth from the readers’ distinct perspective. The discipline, art and craft of hermeneutics require that one become sensitive to both the reading of the text and the act of being read by the text. During this… Read more

TQQ: The Gospel of John: The Story of a Visiting Stranger (2 of 2)

Tue 5 December, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Here is the key question for readers of the Gospel of John: why is this Jesus so different from the three other versions provided by Mark, Matthew and Luke? Jesus talks all the time about himself and sees the secret of his significance in his origin with his Father before the beginning of time. This quite distinctive Jesus must be formational of a very distinct Christian community, one that had some very painful experiences at the hands of co-religionists, and… Read more

TQQ: D-Day

Sat 16 December, 10:30 am to 3:30 pm
Twice during the TQQ year, we hold a ‘D-Day’ (i.e. day of discussion). This enables us to work together in discussion on topics that students themselves would like to address. We again mix theological work together with a more relaxed experience, with coffee, lunch in the Sarum College refectory, and tea. This day is intended for those who have attended the Autumn 2017 term of Theology Quest and Questions. Contact David Catchpole (drc@sarum.ac.uk) for all enquiries. Read more
January 2018

TQQ: The Jewish World of Jesus of Nazareth (1 of 2)

Tue 9 January 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
No one can understand too clearly the corporate consciousness, the history-fuelled sensitivities, the regular religious practices, and the qualified internal diversity of the Jewish community within which Jesus of Nazareth was born, lived, and died. We begin the term’s work by sketching in some of the determining features of that community’s practice and belief. In setting the scene for the reconstruction of Jesus’ mission, we give careful attention to the rugged figure of John the Baptist, undeniably a figure within… Read more

TQQ: The Jewish World of Jesus of Nazareth (2 of 2)

Tue 16 January 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
No one can understand too clearly the corporate consciousness, the history-fuelled sensitivities, the regular religious practices, and the qualified internal diversity of the Jewish community within which Jesus of Nazareth was born, lived, and died. We begin the term’s work by sketching in some of the determining features of that community’s practice and belief. In setting the scene for the reconstruction of Jesus’ mission, we give careful attention to the rugged figure of John the Baptist, undeniably a figure within… Read more

TQQ: God’s Kingdom: Old Theme, New Energy

Tue 23 January 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Much uncertainty attends the exercise of reaching back to the historical figure of Jesus, so we will pause over methodology first of all. No one doubts that Jesus spoke publicly and repeatedly about ‘the kingdom of God’, so our next task is working out what he meant by it and what (if any) were the particular nuances he conveyed. Appearing on the public stage as a prophet he aroused opposition, not only because of what he said but also because… Read more

TQQ: Jesus Among the Healers of the World

Tue 30 January 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
In one sense, being a healer proved nothing; in another sense, it was a means of making a deep imprint on society. Jesus seems to have accepted that others did what he was doing (allegedly!), and there were available in his time several patterns of assessment of such workers of miracles – charismatic holy men, shamans, and others. Jesus gave a very particular meaning to his own actions, to which we can with due caution gain access. We will search… Read more
February 2018

TQQ: Jesus and the Wisdom of the World

Tue 6 February 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
The approach of wisdom, originally unconfined to Israel but latterly absorbed into the religion of ‘the law and the prophets’, was clearly one with which Jesus identified. When he went back to Nazareth, it was his wisdom that impressed just as much as his healings (see Mark 6.2). We will check the developing concerns of the wise teachers – thus, Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes – and go on to measure the indebtedness of Jesus to their legacy. We ask whether this holds one… Read more

TQQ: Pondering the Parables

Tue 13 February 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
For Mark, who said that Jesus never said anything except in parables, and for many through the centuries, the parables are his most enduring and memorable legacy. But how do parables work, we may ask? Do they make more demands on the listener than attentive listening? And when they serve to provoke, what is the intention of the speaker? Advance booking not required, simply come along on the evening. For further information about Theology Quest and Questions, visit our TQQ page or contact Alison… Read more

The Bible: Cultural Critique and Transformation

Mon 19 February 2018, 2:00 pm to Thu 22 February 2018, 2:00 pm
The Bible is notably the most translated book in human history. Its worldwide popularity has shaped political, economic and cultural relations in societies where it is read. Its entrenchment in history has made it a language for readers, interpreters and textual critics alike who have found the Bible a useful means to address issues of concern within their contexts and so to voice various calls for social and cultural transformation. Despite the fact that the study of the Bible in… Read more

TQQ: Following in the Footsteps of Moses? Jesus and the Law

Tue 20 February 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
There was a time when students of the historical Jesus insisted on quite fundamental tension between him and the Mosaic tradition which so defined the Jewish people. If they were right, the so-called parting of the ways between Christianity and Judaism was inevitable and indeed the harvest of seeds sown by Jesus. But perhaps they were not right! We will take soundings in some of the most sensitive evidence provided by the Gospels – for instance, the debate about marriage… Read more

The Words of the Prophets are Written on the Subway Walls: Art and the City

Tue 27 February 2018, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
It is the city that attracts some of our most elusive, creative and talented contemporary artists. Our city landscapes have become the setting for some of our best know urban murals, which are themselves an enduring testimony to how the city both tantalizes and torments our humanity. From Banksy to David Choe and Xavier Prou, street art has become some of the most iconic and provocative art of our generation. During this day we will examine some of the most… Read more

TQQ: Holy People and Holy Place: Jesus and the Jerusalem Temple

Tue 27 February 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
The thought that Jesus set out to found a church is controversial, but it may well be that the beginnings of such a thought are to be found in the idea of a human temple rather than one built with stone. That requires us to reconstruct Jesus’ view of the Jerusalem Temple: was he accepting and affirming, or was he critically inclined towards some kind of replacement? Maybe the ‘cleansing’ of the Temple was the most arresting thing he ever… Read more
March 2018

Theology and Film

Mon 5 March 2018, 2:00 pm to Thu 8 March 2018, 2:00 pm
This module explores the growing field of theology and film. Students will become conversant in the language and history of cinema, noting specifically the unique ways in which film uses technology, editing, framing, and sound to convey meaning. After a brief introduction to film studies, students will then explore the historical relationship between theology and film, with specific reference to the reception (ranging from prohibition to utilisation) of film by the Christian Churches. We will spend time looking at and studying… Read more

TQQ: Can This Be the Son of God?

Tue 6 March 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
In the ancient world one way of conveying the conviction of a person’s specialness was to tell stories about his/her birth, and two of the Gospels do just that. Each in its own way majors on the idea of Messianic Sonship, and both leave behind clues as to how that conviction was achieved. We will investigate Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 and begin to see how the potentially related ideas of Messiahship and Sonship can be detected in the self-awareness… Read more

Swords Into Ploughshares: Promoting Peace Through the Arts

Wed 7 March 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
In this lecture Jolyon Mitchell looks at the relationship between art and warfare, using his experience as a BBC journalist as inspiration. In this thought-provoking talk, he explores how the perspective with which we view something can change its very nature. This lecture is free and open to all, advance booking required. To book email info@sarum.ac.uk or telephone 01722 424800. Read more

TQQ: Why Did Jesus Die?

Tue 13 March 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
No one would have invented a story of crucifixion, one of the most desperate and degrading means of capital punishment ever invented. Such a death in the case of Jesus poses questions as to what he said or did, or was thought to have said or done, that might have caused the authorities to move against him and ultimately to take his life away from him. On another level, there is the question of whether an untimely death figured in… Read more
April 2018

TQQ: D-Day

Sat 7 April 2018, 10:30 am to 3:30 pm
Twice during the TQQ year, we hold a ‘D-Day’ (i.e. day of discussion). This enables us to work together in discussion on topics that students themselves would like to address. We again mix theological work together with a more relaxed experience, with coffee, lunch in the Sarum College refectory, and tea. This day is intended for those who have attended the Spring 2018 term of Theology Quest and Questions. Contact David Catchpole (drc@sarum.ac.uk) for all enquiries. Read more

Liturgy and Culture

Mon 16 April 2018, 2:00 pm to Thu 19 April 2018, 2:00 pm
This module will investigate the relationship between liturgy and its changing cultural contexts. This is a topic that has become increasingly important for churches as they reassess their relationship to society and for liturgical studies as churches and scholars recognise the significance of cultural context for liturgical development. The module will introduce students to different ways of understanding the relationship between culture and liturgy, and the implications and theological assumptions of each approach. Reflection on these issues will be in… Read more

TQQ: Easter: Epilogue and Prologue

Tue 24 April 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
The Gospel writers do not end their narratives with a grim and ghastly death but with unexpected light at the end of the tunnel of darkness. So too, Paul and his predecessors in faith. They, he, and their fellow-believers called it ‘resurrection’, something intensely real to them and intensely meaningful for all thoughts about Jesus from then till now. Our researches have to examine the widespread phenomenon of visionary experiences; we also have to probe the stories of an unoccupied… Read more
May 2018

TQQ: From Jesus to Paul

Tue 1 May 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
By the time Paul came on the scene the Jesus movement had turned into the Christian church in Jerusalem. The intensity of his opposition and subsequent volte face provokes a series of questions. What can we piece together about the life and faith of the Jerusalem community, with its Hebrew and Hellenist wings? What made Paul so implacably hostile? What was the meaning of the event that turned him around near Damascus: was it a ‘conversion’ or a ‘call’ or… Read more

TQQ: The Religion of Paul: Christian Judaism or Christianity?

Tue 8 May 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Paul made his most indelible mark as ‘the apostle to the gentiles’, but his understanding of Christian mission went through more than one phase. What are the presuppositions of the change of emphasis from ‘preaching circumcision’ to becoming ‘the apostle to the uncircumcised’? What are the implications of what has been termed his great social experiment, the sharing of table fellowship across the ethnic divide? Does that change mean that Paul became the founder of a new religion? Advance booking… Read more

The Poet as Priest: David Jones

Fri 11 May 2018, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Have you ever considered how a poet can also have a priestly function? If the priest is someone who mediates between human beings and the divine or spiritual realm, then this could be said of the poet as much as of the minister of religion. The notion of the poet as shaman, as a mediator between the human world and the spirit world, is a very ancient and ubiquitous one. Although officially these roles have been separated in the Christian… Read more

TQQ: Crisis in Antioch

Tue 15 May 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
In the long term Paul’s tense relationship with the leadership in Jerusalem reached breaking point in a confrontation in his home church of Antioch. The ramifications were wide-ranging and quite fundamental, and they leave us with two questions: What was Paul saying when he was trying to persuade gentiles to become Christians in any setting untouched by the controversies over the Jewish heritage? And what exactly did he mean by ‘righteousness by faith’ in a setting where that heritage was… Read more

God, Beauty and the Imagination

Mon 21 May 2018, 2:00 pm to Thu 24 May 2018, 2:00 pm
The aim of this course is to explore how God, beauty and the imagination have found expression in art, literature and music and how these themes have been reflected in theology. In so doing the module will provide an introduction to some major art-historical epochs and subjects and examine how artists have engaged with and have rendered Christian dogmas, such as the life, death and resurrection of Christ, the Trinity, Mary, the church etc through various means from the Renaissance… Read more

TQQ: The ‘Gospel’ of the Son of God

Tue 22 May 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
It is clear beyond all doubt that the interpretation of the significance of the crucified and risen Jesus was the all-consuming issue for Pauline Christianity. So we will examine how far the historical Jesus was relevant to Paul’s theological outlook; what meaning should be attached to the crucifixion; how close Jesus comes to God in Paul’s theological scheme; and how far the term ‘in Christ’ provides a vital key, perhaps the most vital of all. The world in which Paul… Read more

TQQ: The Divine Spirit and Christian Ethics

Tue 29 May 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
If the letter to the Romans is, as many claim, the most systematic presentation of the Pauline position, a very crucial role is played by the central section (5.12-8.39). This richly repays careful analysis, and from that analysis will emerge important data concerning Sin and sinning, the law and the Spirit, the gospel and baptism, and the ultimate Christian hope. Advance booking not required, simply come along on the evening. For further information about Theology Quest and Questions, visit our TQQ page or contact… Read more
June 2018

Lost in the Supermarket: Brand as Religion

Tue 5 June 2018, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
How do marketers use the power of religious principles – values, symbols, rituals – to create communities of worship? During this day we will reflect on how contemporary religion might help fill consumerism’s empty spaces. Contact Alison Ogden for all booking enquiries aogden@sarum.ac.uk  |  01722 424826  |  01722 424800 (main reception) Read more

TQQ: Believing and Belonging

Tue 5 June 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Whatever store Paul set on the individual’s response of faith, it was always incorporation in a believing and worshipping community that sustained that faith. That in turn generated a long agenda: the identity of ‘church’; the implications of the reality that ‘in the beginning was the meal’; the interaction of charisma and institution; and the relationship to the local synagogue. Advance booking not required, simply come along on the evening. For further information about Theology Quest and Questions, visit our TQQ page or contact… Read more

TQQ: Men, Women and Christians

Tue 12 June 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Paul has often been held responsible for some very reactionary and sexist positions on the status and function of women. Maybe the charge is just, maybe it is not, indeed perhaps a serious misjudgement. We will examine the evidence, stretching as it does from the seemingly enlightened (depending on your point of view!) ‘all one in Christ’ formula to the strange discussion of wearing veils and the strict demand for female silence in church. Advance booking not required, simply come… Read more

Worship, Art and Architecture

Mon 18 June 2018, 2:00 pm to Thu 21 June 2018, 2:00 pm
The space in which Christian worship takes place is influenced by the culture of the age and place as well as ecclesiology. This module will investigate church buildings and their art in significant historical periods in order to highlight the way each artefact is the result of a confluence of variables. The theoretical notion of ‘sacred space’ will be explored and students will be encouraged to reflect upon the use of liturgical space in specific contexts. There will be a… Read more

TQQ: Living in Hope

Tue 19 June 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Some think that Paul has been done no favours by those who found the centre of his thought in either ‘justification by faith’ or ‘in Christ’ rather than ‘waiting for God’s Son from heaven’. There is plenty of grist to the mill of hope in Pauline faith, so we will sketch in some of the ways in which living hopefully defines the future and even touches the present. Resurrection thinking comes into play once again, as well as some surprising… Read more

TQQ: Paul and His Legacy

Tue 26 June 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
In the aftermath of Paul’s Christian career as missionary and theologian it was unavoidable for each and every branch of the Christian Church to take a stance in relation to his convictions and influence. The three synoptic gospels do it, Acts does it, but maybe some of the letters attributed to Paul but doubtfully written by him are specially interesting as signs of what happened among those who wished to be faithful – as they saw it! – to Pauline… Read more
September 2018

Poetry and Peace Building

Fri 21 September 2018, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Approaching the centenary of the end of the first world war, this day will explore the pastoral role of poetry after trauma, and the power of words to heal the soul. In the wake of war the ‘pastoral’ language of a green and pleasant land no longer spoke to many people. What Rebecca Chopp has called the ‘poetics of testimony’ often takes a more fragmentary and challenging form, serving a pastoral role by giving voice to inexpressible experience. Contact Alison… Read more
October 2018

Theology and Human Culture

Mon 8 October 2018, 2:00 pm to Thu 11 October 2018, 2:00 pm
Engage with the ‘texts’ and practices of human culture and explore the nature of the relationship between theology and culture through creative and critical perspectives. Students will be given the opportunity to refine and update their knowledge of theologians and key theological debates as they relate to human culture, show how central themes in theology are expressed through different forms of culture in history and today, and be given the opportunity to critically reflect on human culture through a variety… Read more
December 2018

Text, Interpretation and Imagination

Mon 3 December 2018, 2:00 pm to Thu 6 December 2018, 2:00 pm
The images, stories, myths and teachings of the Bible have served as a foundation for the Western cultural imagination. The Bible, when read in each new cultural context, both challenges the readers’ cultural assumptions and is challenged by new ways of reading which spring forth from the readers’ distinct perspective. The discipline, art and craft of hermeneutics require that one become sensitive to both the reading of the text and the act of being read by the text. During this… Read more
February 2019

Relocating Religion: Cultural and Spiritual Realignments

Mon 18 February 2019, 2:00 pm to Thu 21 February 2019, 2:00 pm
In a so called ‘secular age’ has religion and more specifically Christian faith and belief simply disappeared from public view altogether? Do modern people no longer require the ‘sacred canopy’ of religion to feel at home in the world? Has the idea and practice of religion become so tarnished with notions of religious fundamentalism and extremism or institutional irrelevance and corruption that by and large, in Europe at least, most people leave it to a small minority of others to… Read more
April 2019

Re-imagining Church in a Changing Culture

Mon 1 April 2019, 2:00 pm to Thu 4 April 2019, 2:00 pm
Much has been written about the dramatic decline in Church membership and attendance as evidence of ‘the death of Christian Britain’ since the 1960s to the present day, raising questions about the future of the institutional church in particular and ‘organised religion’ in general. This module aims to go beyond such ‘headlines’ to equip students to understand and critique patterns of decline and growth which are characteristic of the church in the 21st century using both theological and sociological tools.… Read more
May 2019

Mass Culture: Theological Engagement and Spiritual Practice

Mon 13 May 2019, 2:00 pm to Thu 16 May 2019, 2:00 pm
This module considers the phenomenon of mass culture as that which approximates to the actual ‘lived culture’ of millions of people today. The module will explore and discuss topics such as changing patterns of leisure and travel in today’s world as well as technological and media mediated culture which forms the backdrop to spirituality and ‘doing’ theology in our age. In this respect modern mass culture frequently mimics religious modes of orchestrating emotion and creating identity while at the same… Read more
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