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November 19, 2010

Comments

Ed Kaneen

Thanks Andy, I am just reading Vincent Taylor's classic lecture series on 'The Formation of the Gospel Tradition', and it got me wondering why there are so many British Methodist (as he was) and Anglican NT scholars of renown, but relatively few British Baptists. Is it simply a matter of numbers; or is it a fear of critical engagement with the Bible; or something else? Hence, I'll be very interested to see how this series develops.

Sean

Ed
As a Baptist NT scholar of no renown, allow me to venture an answer. There is a long tradition of OT Baptist scholarship (see Paul Fiddes and Rex Mason's article in the forthcoming Baptist hermeneutics volume). My sense is this tradition was largely self-perpetuating over the 20th century: Wheeler Robinson - H H Rowley - Aubrey Johnson - Henton Davies - David Russell - Ron Clements - Rex Mason and of course Paul F himself at doctoral stage. Key to it is that these people published. There is a kind of equivalent line for NT e.g. Len Champion who worked with Dibelius; George Boobyer who was minister of the church I pastored in Reading before becoming a Quaker and then the later generation of Beasley-Murray (George not Paul, although Paul also wrote a doctorate in NT under Fred Bruce)and Ralph Martin. The list is neither as full, nor is there a sense of a lineage or family tree.

I suspect the reason is less do to with a fear of critical engagement (all of the above were/are 'critical' scholars in one way or another and Beasley Murray famously translated Bultmann on John) and more the vagaries of circumstance and history. The more interesting question is whether and how there is anything distinctively Baptist in the kinds of biblical engagement we find in the work of the above - something that the new volume from Mercer UP will explore in some detail.

Andy Goodliff

Sean thanks for this response. Interesting. I'm not convinced we will see a similiar line again like that which we saw regarding OT, although there are perhaps more baptists pursuing doctoral studies (although very few that I know within OT studies, which perhaps reflects the discipline itself in the UK) ...

You're point about whether they were distinctively baptist is a fascinating one ... perhaps easier to be a more distinctively baptist NT scholar because of how it is tied up with ecclesiological and sacramental questions, but could there be and what would it look like with regards to a baptist OT theology is interesting ... I'll have to go back and read the Fiddes and Mason contributions ...

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