Dialogues on the Passion as read by René Girard

Dialogues on the Passion as read by René Girard. Author Paul Gifford in conversation with Revd Greg Bartlem, Vicar of St Peter’s, Wellesbourne.

These were to have been given ‘live’ at the launch event of Prof. Paul Gifford’s book Towards Reconciliation. Understanding Violence and the Sacred in after René Girard , hosted by the Dean of Coventry , Very Revd. John Witcombe. on 31 March, at Coventry Cathedral (St Michael’s House) . The theme chosen was determined by the proximity of Holy Week.

The restrictions introduced by the Coronavirus crisis led to this event being cancelled. However, it was felt that something of Girard’s vigorously original and fascinating thinking, little known in this country, should be made available to a wider public.

Towards Reconciliation by Paul Gifford available now.

Part 1 What is Sacred Violence?

Part 2 Getting the Passion into Focus anthropologically

Part 3 The Christian Meaning of the Passion rediscovered

Author Interview: Paul Gifford Towards Reconciliation

“The most stimulating and enlightening book I have read for ages, opening up René Girard in a compelling way.”

-Angela Tilby, Canon Emeritus of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford and Canon of Honour of Portsmouth Cathedral

How did you arrive at the title of Towards Reconciliation: Understanding Violence and the Sacred after René Girard?

Backwards! I knew René Girard (at Stanford University, in California).

The most interesting thing in his work ? How it helps us understand something really gigantic which baffles us all: ‘sacred violence’.Think of how we were absolutely phased to see the beheadings and crucifixions of ‘Islamic State’…What on earth…????

 And where does that take us ? ‘Towards Reconciliation’  Because, as we begin to understand where sacred violence  comes from,  we also begin to understand for the first time what getting over it (‘reconciliation’) really means. We see why,  imitating  each other’s desires; we all fall into rivalry, conflict and violence.  It’s all about the psychic ‘internet’ that links us:  already in nature..  Before www and ‘trending’ were ever dreamed of  (think of that!)

How would you describe René Girard’s influence on your thinking?

 Massive. He brought it all together. ‘Mimesis’  (that’s reciprocal imitation to you and me) is what links things up. So for instance:  the baby’s first smile (‘answering’ the mother’s smile) ;  the way the world’s stock markets ‘follow’ or ‘react to’ one other (‘New York sneezes, London catches cold’) ; the fashion industry and internet ‘trending’ (copying models of desire, styles, interests etc – and manipulating them!) ; the way we communicate (‘do you copy that, Red Leader?’); the way we are able to learn anything and everything. It’s all a matter of  imitation.

Are there any points on which you disagree with René Girard?

Not really. It’s very convincing stuff and breath-takingly original. Perhaps he concentrates more than I would on the negative side of mimesis – the shadow side.  But that’s because negative mimesis – the sort that produces two hands reaching out for the same desirable things, getting in each other’s way; falling into tit-for-tat rivalry , conflict and violence is what we least understand. And what we most need to understand!

Has the relationship between violence and the sacred changed in recent times?

 Girard says it has. Primitive peoples had rituals which disarmed the fateful dynamic of rivalry and conflict which threatened their very survival. When things got really bad, they  took a scapegoat victim; and made him/her into a ritual sacrifice to the powers above. It’s the idea of a lightning conductor taking the hit, turning aside that fearsome thunderbolt that would have destroyed the community as a whole. To ‘sacrifice’ – in that primitive sense –  is to  ‘fabricate the  sacred’. That’s mythical of course: you can’t buy off catastrophe with bloody sacrifices (though you do pacify the conflicts… for a while)

 Now, we no longer believe in the power of rituals like that. So we’re entirely exposed to lightning striking our entire house! In the shape FOR INSTANCE of: Coronavirus; climate change, floods and droughts; nuclear accident; wars between  the Haves and Have-nots…There’s an awesome lot we need to be protected from! And what do we have to protect us? Or for transforming the game (that’s another way to see ‘Reconciliation’)?

How has René Girard informed your perspective on the Passion of Christ?

Well, Girard sees it, precisely, as God’s way of ‘transforming the game’.  God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself ‘(as Apostle Paul says) . In a sense Jesus ‘takes the hit’; but the hit doesn’t come from God.(that’s a human misconception: we project our violence onto God) – and there’s  no transaction (we really must stop thinking of Jesus bargaining with God – or doing a ‘Deal’ Donald Trump-style, so as to let us off the hook!). The hit   comes from our own (blind, self-mystifying – ‘sacred’!)  – human violence: ‘They know not that they do’.

The Passion of Christ (His suffering for the world) teaches us to slip out from under that human self-mystification involved in sacred violence. It makes peace truly – without mystification. It gives us a new – and adequate – model for putting things right. And the Resurrection tells us God is in it.

Yes, the  Passion does defeat evil on a cosmic scale. When He welcomes back the first batch of 72 disciples sent out to pioneer His mission without Him, Jesus for the first time, I think — contemplates his own self- sacrificial death: ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’. Satan is the founding murder – sacred violence as foundation for our culture, our civilisation and our world. He’ll take the hit; but Satan will fall to earth, broken in his prestige, and in his hold over God’s creation.

Where do you anticipate Girard’s legacy being most apparent?

Well, he himself says he wants increasingly his work to be an argument in favour of Christianity, which is set aside, he thinks, very superficially and foolishly, by modern people. It’s what we most need!

But the fact is that it is.also . universal: you get to know why your baby smiles; why your money disappears, why governments are ‘faking it’; why Darwin isn’t the end of Christianity, but an unrecognised worker in its vineyard…It’ll tell you where real hope lies,  etc

In which aspects of everyday life could Girard’s insight be of greatest value?

 Personal relations; social interactions ; seeing the opportunity in the present Coronavirus crisis…’Redeeming’  the world for  our children and grandchildren

What does your writing process consist of?

Copy and paste, really. You ‘copy’ other writings (register them inwardly); then you  re-write (‘reciprocate’) in kind, but creatively, incorporating your own response. Then you repeat the process: you ‘copy’ your own insights; and then reciprocate and paste again, rewriting them better!

What are you currently reading?

 One of my own pieces of 2006, on laughter and humour. That’s because I used to teach French; and, yesterday,  a French radio station got in touch and said it wanted to  do a week’s broadcasting on humour throughout Europe. I have to say,  in an interview to-morrow whether  there such a thing as ‘European laughter’– or do I think  British humour is different?

What will be your next project?

At least I shall know a bit better, having studied Girard, what it is that I am doing…whatever it turns out to be!

Get your copy of Towards Reconciliation Here

New in April

Notes from a Wayward Son: A Miscellany

by Andrew Walker

Out on 30/04/2020

“The second edition of Notes from a Wayward Son highlights the ground-breaking work of Andrew Walker, bringing together his expertise in sociology and his commitment to orthodox trinitarian theology.”

Pete Ward, Professor of Practical Theology, Durham University

This ‘miscellany’ puts readers around the table with a teacher who has provided the church with wisdom and passion, allowing us to hear an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about the relationship between the gospel and culture. Andrew Walker’s ‘ecclesial intelligence’ and broad interdisciplinary approach to theology and sociology will undoubtedly capture the imagination of many who are curious about the church’s mission in the modern West. Notes from a Wayward Son represents a broad sampling of Walker’s writings from a distinguished forty-five-year career – from explorations of Pentecostalism and Charismatic Renewal to Eastern Orthodoxy, C.S. Lewis, and Deep Church; from the impact of modernity on the ecclesia to mission and ecumenism in the West today. In a world and a church often driven by the latest fashions, Walker’s is a voice to which we will want to listen!

Pre order now

Come Out from among Them, and Be Ye Separate, Saith the Lord: Separationism and the Believers’ Church Tradition

By William H. Brackney and Evan L. Colford (editors)

Out on 30/04/2020

As a corollary to the 500th anniversary of the Radical Reformation, here is a collection of fresh and scholarly essays that carefully underscores General and Particular Baptists, Black Baptists, Mennonites, Hutterites, Pentecostals, and other Restorationist movements. Taking their cue from the great Brethren historian, Donald Durnbaugh, this nonsectarian volume elucidates the meaning of the Believers’ Church tradition.

Chris Chun, Professor of Church History and Director of Jonathan Edwards Center, Gateway Seminary

Believers’ Churches have their origin in the Radical Reformation of the sixteenth century. Over the past 450 years, the movement has included the Brethren, Mennonites, Hutterites, various types of Baptists, and the Restoration Movement.

The Believers’ Churches together have been characterized by a strong personal faith in Christ, a call to discipleship and Christian activism, a high view of the authority of Scripture, and profession of faith in believers’ baptism. The Believers’ Churches have represented their beliefs in various ecumenical settings, missionary gatherings, and theological conversations. In the late 1950s, representatives of the several Believers’ Churches began to meet in a series of conferences to explore their common views on doctrine, history, and ethics. Topics at the conferences have included baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the nature of the church, and religious voluntarism.

In 2016, the 17th Believers’ Church Conference was held at Acadia University and sponsored by Acadia Divinity College. The theme was ‘The Tendency Toward Separationism Among the Believers’ Churches’. This volume includes the papers presented at the conference and examines the theme from an immediate post-Reformation perspective, with analyses provided by leading historians, theologians, and social science specialists.

Pre order now

Luther as Heretic: Ten Catholic Responses to Martin Luther, 1518–1541

By M. Patrick Graham and David Bagchi (editors)

Out on 30/04/2020

Ten Catholic critics of Luther and the Reformation come to brilliant light and life in this excellent collection of texts, newly translated into English and crisply introduced. Scholars and students alike of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation will learn from these striking examples of rhetorical and theological hardball played at a furious pace.

John Witte Jr, Emory University

The publication of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 immediately elicited responses from dozens of Roman Catholics in Germany and beyond. While Luther’s works and those of his leading supporters have been available in English translation for many years, those of most of his Catholic opponents have not. In order to address this imbalance, win a fairer hearing for the Catholic opposition, and make it possible for students to understand both sides of the sixteenth-century religious debates, translators have drawn on the rich resources of the Kessler Reformation Collection at the Pitts Theology Library to present here introductions to and translations of ten Catholic pamphlets.

Luther as Heretic begins with an essay sketching the larger background for these publications. The editors’ goal is that this book will prove useful for teaching and research and will foster a deeper understanding of the sixteenth-century theological discussions by allowing today’s readers to hear voices that have been mostly silent in the English-speaking world for centuries.

Pre Order now

Top 10 theology books to read as you self-isolate

Although churches and universities have closed their doors for the foreseeable, there is nothing to stop you contemplating the ineffable from the comfort of your home. We at James Clarke & Co have compiled a list of our top 10 books to read during your self-isolation.

James Clarke & Co Top 10

Christos Yannaras:
The Apophatic Horizon of Ontology
 

By Basilio Petrà and Norman Russell (translator)

Learn more about the Greek theologian and  philosopher Christos Yannaras

“By testifying to the superabundance of God incarnate and of the Trinity, apophaticism is the seal of a theological and philosophical reflection that, faithful to classical metaphysics, does not retreat from claiming the value of ontology: theology is actually a theory of being as Trinitarian Mystery. Christos Yannaras proposes a critical reflection on the Church and on its historical forms, that are always inadequate as compared to the free breath of the Spirit.”

– Giacomo Canobbio, Faculty of Theology of Northern Italy

An introduction to the work of the Greek theologian and philosopher Christos Yannaras, exploring the development of his contribution to Greek Orthodox thought.

Publication date: 29/08/2019
ISBN: 9780227177044
Pages: 140pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB), £20.00 (PB, 27/02/2020)
Find out more

Ever-Moving Repose:
A Contemporary Reading of Maximus the Confessor’s Theory of Time 

By Sotiris Mitralexis

Thinking about the passing of time a lot recently? You’re in good company…

“This is a really welcome addition to the fast-growing literature on Maximus the Confessor. It is a first-class study of the original texts, but is distinctive in its willingness to bring Maximus’ thought into fruitful conversation with contemporary philosophical discussions, so that the implications of this study will be of interest to many more than Byzantine specialists.”

– Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge

A study of the theology of Maximus the Confessor, bringing contemporary insights from the Orthodox tradition to bear on his understanding of temporality.

Publication Date: 28/06/2018
ISBN: 9780227176849
Pages: 258pp
RRP: £22.50 (PB)
Find out more

Society and God:
Culture and Creed from a Philosophical Standpoint
 

By William Charlton

It’s brand new!

“This wide-ranging book proposes a holistic framework for understanding the human condition. Arguing that we are essentially social beings, Charlton rejects the fashionable liberal individualism, secularism, and multiculturalism of our times, and offers a challenging interpretation and defence of the Christian doctrines of creation, incarnation, and salvation as part of a single continuous creative process.”

– John Cottingham, Professor of Philosophy of Religion, University of Roehampton

A philosophical examination of religion and society, offering a closely reasoned challenge to the dominant Western discourse of secular liberalism.

Publication Date: 30/01/2020
ISBN: 9780227177006
Pages: 196pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB) £20.00 (PB published 30/07/2020)
Find out more

Meditation and Piety in the Far East

By  Karl Ludwig Reichelt

Find peace at this turbulent time…

The result of more than forty years of intimate contact with the ‘religious elite’ of the Far East, Dr. Reichelt’s book is a study of a too-often remote and unknown world.

For the western reader this study reveals the life of the East Asia religious communities, their sanctuaries, sacred writings and daily discipline. These non-Christian religions present a massive front of tradition and dogma, which so far the Christian faith has rarely penetrated.

Publication date: 26/02/2004
ISBN: 9780227172353
Pages: 172pp
RRP: £21.75 (PB)
Find out more

Accommodation and Acceptance:
An Exploration of Interfaith Relations

 By Ambrose Mong

Mutual understanding has never been more important…

“With his trademark scholarly rigor and intellectual honesty Ambrose Mong explores one of the most challenging issues facing Christianity in Asia today. For him, accommodation and acceptance of Asian religious pluralism is not an option for Christianity but an imperative for its mission. Mong masterfully shows how Christian faith needs to be reconceptualized in its encounter with Asian religions, from Christology to ecclesiology to Trinitarian theology. This book is a must-read not only for Asian Christians but also, and one may argue especially, for Western Christians.”     

– Professor Peter C. Phan, Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University

A study of the rhetorical techniques employed by the passion narrative in the Gospel of Luke, and the light they shed on Luke’s themes and narrative sources.

Publication date: 31/12/2015
ISBN: 9780227175187
Pages: 288pp
RRP: £25.00 (PB)
Find out more

Jesus and the Cross:
Necessity, Meaning, and Atonement

 By Peter Laughlin

Why crucifixion?

“Authenticity in articulating the redemptive meaning of Jesus’s death is at the heart of this book. The question is: what were Jesus of Nazareth’s aims in undergoing death? Theologies of the atonement generally bypass this question, thus accentuating a split between history and theology. Laughlin’s achievement is to have shown how a critical realist presentation of the Jesus of history can play a crucial role in developing an atonement theology faithful to Jesus’s own intentions.”

– Raymond Canning, Professor of Theology, Australian Catholic University, Canberra

A novel investigation of the meaning of atonement centered on the often-neglected question of Jesus’s intention in submitting to his crucifixion.

Publication date: 26/03/2015
ISBN: 9780227174968
Pages: 286pp
RRP: £20.50 (PB)
Find out more

Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period

By John Curtis

Brand New!

The eight essays published in this volume make a valuable contribution to the study of ancient Iran. Covering a diverse range of subjects and written by leading experts in the field, they illuminate aspects of the arts, architecture, and culture of Persia from the Achaemenid to the Sassanian period (c. 550 BC to 600 AD).

– Michael Roaf, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Munich

A collection of essays in memory of the curator and scholar Terence Mitchell, exploring the history and archaeology of Ancient Persia.

Publication date: 30/01/2020
ISBN: 9780227177051
Pages: 232pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB)
Find out more

Paul’s Non-Violent Gospel:
The Theological Politics of Peace in Paul’s Life and Letters 

By Jeremy Gabrielson

Some calm amidst the storm…

“In Paul’s Non-Violent Gospel, Jeremy Gabrielson asks new questions regarding Paul’s theological commitments and, in the process, discovers new theological resources within Paul’s worldview. This important and challenging work deserves wide consideration.”

– Bruce W. Longenecker, W.W. Melton Chair of Religion, Baylor University

An insightful study of Paul’s commitment to peace and non-violence, exploring the personal, theological and political aspects of his thought.

Publication Date: 28/08/2014
ISBN: 9780227174654
Pages: 216pp
RRP: £17.00 (PB)
Find out more

Towards Reconciliation:
Understanding Violence and the sacred after René Girard
 

By Paul Gifford

Brand new!

Allow Paul Gifford to walk you through René Girard’s theories.

“The most stimulating and enlightening book I have read for ages, opening up René Girard in a compelling way.  Here is a wonderfully lucid exploration of the dark side of human civilisation, and a challenge to confront the lure of sacred violence while we still have time.”

– Angela Tilby, Canon Emeritus, Christ Church, Oxford.

Paul Gifford shows that the culture theorist and fundamental anthropologist René Girard has in fact decoded the obscurely ‘foundational’ complicity between violence and the sacred, showing why it is everybody’s problem and the Problem of Everybody.

Publication date: 26/03/2020
ISBN: 9780227177082
Pages: 163pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB); £20.00 (PB published 24/09/2020)
Find out more

Way Back To God:
The Spiritual Theology of Saint Bonaventure 

By Douglas Dales

Go back in time…

Bonaventure was a great pastor and preacher, and also a very effective teacher. His writing shows clarity and conviction, and his authority arose from his profound grasp of Scripture and patristic monastic tradition. The force behind how he wrote sprang from his keen sense of the significance of Francis and Clare and all that flowed from them, not least into his own spiritual life and experience as a person of deep contemplative and mystical prayer.

Publication Date: 25/04/2019
ISBN: 9780227176931
Pages: 240pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB) £25.00 (PB published 31/10/2019)
Find out more

Bonus Bok

Upcoming title

Notes From a Wayward Son:
A Miscellany

By Andrew Walker

“Andrew Walker inhabits the life of the mind with rare clarity and insight. He probes and tests the dynamics of contemporary Christianity with innumerable shafts of constructive insight, making sense of theological, sociological, and cultural dynamics. He has the intellectual gifts to understand Christians with whom he cannot fully agree in ways that help them and those unlike them better understand themselves. Andrew’s contribution to the academy and the church is profound and admirable.”

– Rob Warner, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Plymouth Marjon University

This ‘miscellany’ puts readers around the table with a teacher who has provided the church with wisdom and passion, allowing us to hear an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about the relationship between the gospel and culture.

Publication Date: 30/04/2020
ISBN: 9780227177099
Pages: 363pp
Price: £65.00 (HB) £25 (PB)
Find out more

May Special Offers!

A number of choice titles are available from our website at a discounted price. Don’t miss this opportunity, the offers will end on the 31st of May!

Book of the Month:

The Literary Construction of the Other in the Acts of the Apostles

 

The Literary Construction of the Other in the Acts of the Apostles: Charismatics, the Jews, and Women
By Mitzi J. Smith
An analysis of the Acts of the Apostles showing how the text uses its characterisation of the Other to reinforce the self-identity of the earliest Christians.

Paperback was £15.75 -> Now 15% discount £13.39

 

Special Offers:
The Acts of Paul

 

The Acts of Paul: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary
By Richard I. Pervo
An erudite commentary on the Acts of Paul, one of the most important of the Apocryphal Acts, including an improved translation of the text.

Paperback was £25.75 -> Now 10% discounted £23.18

 

Apostle Paul

 

Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe
By Robert Orlando
A rethinking of St Paul’s role in shaping the emerging Christian religion, emphasising his human, political and material interactions with his contemporaries.

Paperback was £15.50 -> Now 10% discounted £13.95

 

Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul

Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul: Reflections on the Work of Douglas Campbell
Edited by Chris Tilling
A collection of extracts and essays developing the theological implications of Douglas Campbell’s ground-breaking work in the field of Pauline studies.

Paperback was £25.75 -> Now 10%  discounted £23.18

Guest Blog: A review of Margaret G. Sim’s ‘A Relevant Way to Read’ by Zoe Hollinger

James Clarke & Co is proud to present a guest blog post from Zoe Hollinger, a PhD student studying the intertextuality and the use of the Old Testament in Hebrews from Belfast.

Review of Margaret G. Sim’s, A Relevant Way to Read: A New Approach to Exegesis and Communication. Cambridge: James Clark and Co., 2016; 136 pages; £17.50; ISBN: 9780227174425.

Relevant Way to Read_9780227174425
A Relevant Way to Read: A New Apporach to Exegesis and Communication by Margaret G. Sim

In A Relevant Way to Read, Margaret G. Sim draws from her background as a linguist and Bible translator in order to provide a brief introduction to relevance theory and its application to biblical studies. Relevance theory originated as an attempt to explain how humans communicate, emphasising the importance of inferring information and optimising relevance. Although some of the insights gained from relevance theory have influenced how linguists translate Scripture, little work has been done on how the theory may benefit NT exegesis. Through her utilisation of relevance theory, the subject of her PhD, Sim intends to provide a new angle through which old interpretive problems can be examined (p117).

Sim’s study can be divided into two parts: the first section provides the theory behind her study (chapters 1-2), whilst the second demonstrates how one can apply this theory to particular areas of NT interpretation (chapters 3-7).

Chapter 1 introduces the reader to debates regarding the nature of communication and authorial intent. In contrast to deconstructionism, which denies that texts have meaning, Sim argues that relevance theory provides a more satisfying explanation for how humans communicate. This is because the very creation of a text implies that the author intends to communicate with her audience (p2). This reality coheres with the basic premise of relevance theory: “The speaker assumes that a hearer listens to what he has to say because she is interested in it: it has relevance for her” (p4).

In chapter 2, Sim begins with a short orientation to the topic of relevance theory, charting its origins in the work of Deirdre Wilson and Dan Sperber, before discussing the main points of the theory and providing a definition of key concepts used: underdeterminacy, inference, metarepresentation, and ostension.

Chapters 3-7 demonstrate the working out of relevance theory by applying it to a number of contentious issues in NT interpretation.

Chapter 3 deals with how the NT authors re-present their thoughts, and the thoughts of others, in their writings. As a result, Sim examines the understanding of NT metaphor and issues surrounding the use of the OT within the NT. She concludes that the expectation of exact resemblance in citations is a modern notion and should be abandoned, and that more weight should be given to the use of metaphor, echoes and allusions when attempting to gain insight into a NT author’s communicative intent (p51).

Sim redefines irony in chapter 4 as “echoing a thought, belief or utterance of another while maintaining a distancing attitude to such an utterance” (p70) and demonstrates the usefulness of such a definition through an analysis of 1 and 2 Corinthians.

In chapter 5, Greek particles are analysed to determine how they can guide interpretation. Sim is rightly critical of the idea that each particle has a fixed lexical meaning and shows, through the use of relevance theory, how these words signal to the reader what the author desires to communicate.

Chapter 6 examines the difficulty of understanding conditional sentences. Sim encourages a move away from traditional categories ‘factual’ and ‘counterfactual’ since the potentiality of a conditional sentence is decided on pragmatic terms. Instead, she focuses on the logical relationship between the two clauses of the conditional sentence in order to provide a clearer exegesis of NT passages.

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Chapter 7 concludes the book by providing a summary of Sim’s argument, as well as touching on issues relating to tense and time in Greek verbs. This is not a detailed discussion, however, since the chapter’s aim is to encourage scholars to employ the basic insights of relevance theory in their future research. Sim illustrates and provides support for her arguments with a wide variety of examples drawn from day-to-day interactions, NT passages, ancient Greek authors, and even classic works of literature. Each chapter ends with a summary of the key points dealt with in the chapter. Sim also provides a more substantial glossary at the back of the book as well as further reading for those interested in understanding relevance theory in more detail.

For non-specialists with no previous background in linguistics, A Relevant Way to Read provides a clear and concise introduction to relevance theory. The book is comprehensive in its summary of the main ideas associated with relevance theory, but does not overwhelm the reader with unnecessary information. Sim avoids the over-use of technical vocabulary and only provides enough linguistic theory to enable a biblical scholar to apply it to the text of the NT. Scholars more aware of the intricacies involved in the arguments surrounding relevance theory may protest that Sim has not covered everything that there is to be said about relevance theory, but that is not her purpose (p28), and, as with any short introduction, the book is necessarily selective.

Sim’s book is to be commended for its originality. It sets a precedent for further research into biblical texts, since relevance theory has not garnered the attention it deserves in biblical studies. Nonetheless, the novelty of this theory may mean that some of Sim’s conclusions are open to further questioning or refinement, but the benefit of this is that it invites scholars to interact with how relevance theory applies to specific problems in NT interpretation.

Sim’s attention to the original NT Greek text will appeal to students with a background in Biblical languages, but the provision of her own English translation of each text means that students with little or no grasp of the original Greek are still able to understand the force of her arguments.

Overall, Sim has written an incredibly accessible orientation to relevance theory and its application to NT exegesis, one which will appeal to senior biblical scholars and graduate students alike.  It is sure to influence a number of future studies as scholars seek out new and original methods to apply to NT texts.

Zoe Hollinger is currently undertaking a PhD on intertextuality and the use of the Old Testament in Hebrews, under the supervision of W. Gordon Campbell at Union Theological College, Belfast.

If you would like to get involved in writing a guest blog post for either our James Clarke site or Lutterworth Press, we would be delighted to hear from you!

Please send your name, degree title and university to sales@lutterworth.com, along with the topic that you wish to cover.

www.jamesclarke.co.uk

September: Monthly Special Offers

A new month is upon us, and that means its time for our monthly special offers! A number of choice titles are available from our website at a discounted price.

September’s 10% discounted titles are:

Postsecularism: The Hidden Challenge to Extremism
By Mike King
An innovative look at how spiritual and secular thought collide and combine in today’s world, charting a new way forward that combines the best of both worldviews.
Paperback was £27.00, now £24.30

And another title by Mr King:

Secularism: The Hidden Origins of Disbelief
By Mike King
A timely and fascinating examination of the decline in religious faith and rise of secular thought in western intellectual society.
Paperback was £27.00, now £24.30!

Quietism, Dynamic Passivity, and the Void
By Trevor Boiling
Drawing on a new translation of the Spiritual Guide of Miguel de Molinos, this is a highly original and wide-ranging discussion of Quietism and its central concepts of spiritual peace, power and passivity.
Paperback was £33.25, now 29.93!

And finally, September’s Book of the Month (with a 15% discount) is:

9780227173572_cover.indd

Subversive Spirituality: Transforming Mission through the Collapse of Space and Time
By L. Paul Jensen
An original and enlightening discussion of the relationship between spirituality and mission in a world where the spatial and temporal aspects of contemporary living have become increasingly constricted.
Paperback was £27.00, now £22.95!

Are there any titles you’d like to see on offer from James Clarke & Co soon? Let us know in the comments.

Monthly Special Offers!

Check out our monthly special offers, one title 20% off and three more at 10% off!

March’s monthly offers are:

Jesus and the Son of Man

jesusson

By A.J.B. Higgins

Was £47.50, now £40.38
Book of the Month: 20% Discount
A study of the relationship between early Christian belief about Jesus and Jesus’ own teaching, and the problem that the Gospels, while professing to record the teaching of Jesus, do so through the eyes of early Christians.

Essays on the Lord’s Supper

essaysls

By Oscar Cullmann and Franz J. Leenhardt

Was £19.75, now £17.78
Special Offer: 10% Discount
Two essays by distinguished Reformed scholars that present original interpretations of the central meaning of the Lord’s Supper.

He Ascended into Heaven

heascend

By John Gordon Davies
Was £26.25, now £23.63
Special Offer: 10% Discount
A key theological work in the doctrine of the Ascension that deals with the origin and significance of the Apostles’ Creed.

The Progress of Dogmaprogress

By James Orr

Was £47.50, now £42.75
Special Offer: 10% Discount
A study of the development of doctrine in the unfolding history of the Christian church.