• Angels, beasts, machines, and men: Configuring the human and nonhuman in Judaeo-Christian tradition

      Clough, David; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2008-10-01)
      This book chapter offers four snapshots from the Judaeo-Christian tradition of the theological significance of the distinction between human and nonhuman life.
    • The First World War and the Mobilization of Biblical Scholarship

      Collins, Matthew A.; Mein, Andrew; MacDonald, Nathan; University of Chester; University of Durham; University of Cambridge (T&T Clark, 2019-03-07)
      This fascinating collection of essays charts, for the first time, the range of responses by scholars on both sides of the conflict to the outbreak of war in August 1914. The volume examines how biblical scholars, like their compatriots from every walk of life, responded to the great crisis they faced, and, with relatively few exceptions, were keen to contribute to the war effort. Some joined up as soldiers. More commonly, however, biblical scholars and theologians put pen to paper as part of the torrent of patriotic publication that arose both in the United Kingdom and in Germany. The contributors reveal that, in many cases, scholars were repeating or refining common arguments about the responsibility for the war. In Germany and Britain, where the Bible was still central to a Protestant national culture, we also find numerous more specialized works, where biblical scholars brought their own disciplinary expertise to bear on the matter of war in general, and this war in particular. The volume’s contributors thus offer new insights into the place of both the Bible and biblical scholarship in early 20th-century culture.
    • Introduction

      Collins, Matthew A.; Middleton, Paul; University of Chester; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2019-05-30)
      Introduction to the volume Matthew Henry: The Bible, Prayer, and Piety – A Tercentenary Celebration (London: T&T Clark, 2019).
    • Loss of the Bible and the Bible in Lost: Biblical Literacy and Mainstream Television

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2015-02-26)
      Recent well-publicised efforts to encourage biblical literacy have emerged as a direct response to its perceived ‘decline’. The assumed (or feared) gradual ‘loss’ of the Bible to modern society at large has given rise to a renewed determination in some quarters to ensure an ongoing engagement and familiarity with what ex-Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion calls ‘an essential piece of cultural luggage’. The present examination addresses the question of biblical literacy from the perspective of mainstream television, problematising a straightforward assumption of its decline. Focusing on the popular U.S. television series Lost (2004–2010, ABC), it highlights the surprising prominence of biblical allusion (both implicit and explicit) throughout. This in turn raises questions about biblical literacy among the writers and, more crucially, the extent to which biblical literacy is assumed (or not) on the part of the audience. This examination, however, goes one step further by suggesting that, since the very nature of the programme deliberately encourages a close attention to detail on the part of its viewers and (over-)analysis of what is seen and heard, it may be that, whether or not Lost assumes continued familiarity with the biblical text, it would intriguingly appear to play a (perhaps unintentional) part in actively encouraging and promoting it.
    • Matthew Henry: The Bible, Prayer, and Piety– A Tercentenary Celebration

      Collins, Matthew A.; Middleton, Paul; University of Chester; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2019-05-30)
      Three hundred years after his death, Matthew Henry (1662–1714) remains arguably the best known expositor of the Bible in English, due to his six-volume Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. However, Henry’s famous commentary is by no means the only expression of his engagement with the Scriptures. His many sermons and works on Christian piety — including the still popular Method for Prayer — are saturated with his peculiarly practical approach to the Bible. To mark the tercentenary of Henry’s death, Matthew A. Collins and Paul Middleton have brought together notable historians, theologians, and biblical scholars to celebrate his life and legacy. Representing the first serious examination of Henry’s body of work and approach to the Bible, Matthew Henry: The Bible, Prayer, and Piety opens a scholarly conversation on Matthew Henry’s place in the eighteenth-century nonconformist movement, his contribution to the interpretation of the Bible, and his continued legacy in evangelical piety.
    • Micah, Pesher of (ESTJ)

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester
      Encyclopaedia article on the Pesher of Micah.
    • On the Trail of a Biblical Serial Killer: Sherlock Holmes and the Book of Tobit

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2019-01-24)
      In the book of Tobit, Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, is tormented by the demon Asmodeus. She has been married seven times, but each time the demon kills her husband on her wedding night. In despair, she contemplates suicide and prays for deliverance. In the course of the narrative, Tobias, the son of Tobit, travels from Nineveh to Ecbatana and, with the help of the archangel Raphael, defeats the demon and marries Sarah. Between 1939 and 1946, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce starred together in The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a series of radio plays broadcast in the United States. One episode, aired on 26 March 1945, was titled ‘The Book of Tobit’ and featured Holmes and Watson investigating the deaths of a woman’s previous three husbands, each of whom, prior to his death, had received a threatening letter signed ‘Asmodeus’. Though substantially different in both content and context, throughout the case numerous comparisons are made with its scriptural forebear. This essay first explores the use of and engagement with Tobit in this wartime murder mystery before turning to re-examine the biblical text in the light of Holmes’ namesake investigation. By effectively transposing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s celebrated detective to ancient Ecbatana, the inherently murderous nature of the biblical tale comes into sharper focus and the peculiarities of the narrative and its folkloric origins are both reassessed and illuminated from a perspective informed by crime fiction. In doing so, this essay further illustrates the extent to which the ‘genre lens’ through which we approach a text may govern our reading of it. Putting Sherlock Holmes on the case, a rather different interpretation of the text emerges – one in which there is a serial killer on the loose in the book of Tobit, and Sarah may not in fact be as innocent as she seems.
    • Postmodernism: Reasons to be cheerful

      Knowles, Steve; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2011-06-23)
      This chapter provides an analysis of the impact of postmodernism on the Christian faith and theology.
    • Professors of Religion and their Strange Wives: Diluvian Discord in the Eyes of Matthew Henry

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2019-05-30)
      The summer of 2014 marked the tercentenary of the death of Matthew Henry (1662–1714), a leading figure among early eighteenth-century Dissenters and author of the six-volume Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (1707–1714/25). This monumental work, which by 1855 had already been published in twenty-five different editions, attempted a peculiarly practical approach to the biblical text and continues to be widely used and readily accessible even today in both print and online versions. The theme of foreign (or ‘strange’) wives and Israelite intermarriage is one which occurs throughout the Hebrew Bible and, accordingly, throughout Matthew Henry’s commentary upon it. Where it appears, the practice of intermarriage is characterized by Henry as (at best) unwise and (at worst) a very real threat to both social and religious cohesion. This essay explores how Henry deals with the issue of ‘strange wives’, why he believes they continue to pose a threat, and (in view of the overall intention of his commentary) what ‘practical observations’ he offers to his reader as a result. In doing so it is argued that Henry’s commentary traces a thematic thread from the ante-diluvian age to the post-exilic period of calamities resulting from mixed marriages between ‘professors of religion’ and their ‘strange wives’.
    • SOTS, SBL, and WWI: Anglo-American Scholarly Societies and the Great War

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2019-03-07)
      In January 1917, in the midst of the First World War, a small group of biblical scholars gathered at King’s College London for the inaugural meeting of the newly-formed Society for Old Testament Study (SOTS). The decision to create such a society had been taken the previous summer at Queens’ College, Cambridge, on 29 June 1916, just two days before the commencement of the Battle of the Somme. Thus the origins of this British-based society are to be found firmly (and somewhat peculiarly) planted in the context and conflict of the Great War. As a result, the records and history of the early years of the society afford us a valuable window through which to view the landscape of biblical scholarship of the period. Likewise, the detailed minutes and papers of the wartime meetings of the larger and already established US-based Society of Biblical Literature (SBL; founded in 1880) offer a similar (yet distinct) insight into academic attitudes on the other side of the Atlantic and especially the challenges to biblical scholarship (both ideological and practical) posed by the outbreak of war. Accordingly, in thinking about the wartime mobilization of biblical studies, this essay takes as its focus the effect of the war upon British and American scholarly societies (epitomized here by SOTS and SBL) and the response(s) of those societies as indicative of shifts and trends in both wartime and post-war biblical scholarship. Although predominantly a historical survey, drawing upon the records and minutes of the two groups in order to reconstruct events, it is argued that, in both their rhetoric and the practical steps taken towards scholarly reconciliation, these societies may be seen as having actively resisted the idea of 'the enemy' prevalent in propaganda material of the time. In doing so, they were subsequently well positioned to play a significant role in the swift re-establishment of international scholarly relations after the First (and indeed later, the Second) World War. Thus, it is argued that, during wartime, these scholarly societies performed a potentially unintentional yet vital regulatory function as tools enabling and encouraging the maintenance, preservation, recovery, and continuity of international biblical scholarship.
    • The Use of Sobriquets in the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2009-04-13)
      Matthew A. Collins examines the key sobriquets – or assumed names – found among the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls. Acknowledging the problematic nature of attempting to identify historical referents behind these epithets, Collins concentrates on the function of the sobriquets as labels utilized positively or negatively within the sectarian compositions. Observing the presence of both ‘standard’ and ‘variant’ forms of sobriquet, this study examines differences in form and function across the range of texts in which they appear. Collins adopts a chronological schema which posits a Formative, Early and Late Sectarian period, and concentrates on the key sobriquets ‘the Spouter of the Lie’ and ‘the Teacher of Righteousness,’ tracing their development from contextualized scriptural typologies towards titular forms which constitute discrete elements of sectarian terminology. The book draws upon sociological research and ‘labelling theory’ to display the sobriquets in their wider context and thereby demonstrate their function as tools for labelling deviance and affirming positive counterparts. The move towards definite titular forms may consequently be viewed as a process of role engulfment reflecting increased ‘stereotypicality’ and the ultimate acquisition of ‘master status’.