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November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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