The last few years have witnessed a number of books to mark the contribution of Baptist scholars to the church and academy - see the collections in honour of John H Y Briggs, Nigel Wright, Brian Haymes, John Weaver - and it is good to see this trend continuing with this new book of essays recognising the contribution of Ernest Lucas. Ernest Lucas retired earlier this year from his position as Tutor in Biblical Studies at Bristol Baptist College. A position he has held since 1994 and so is responsible for the biblical education and formation of a whole generation of Bristol Baptist College ministerial students.
This collection of essays acknowledges the diverse areas of interest that Ernest has from the Old Testament and especially the wisdom literature, to the relationship between science and faith, to the enterprise of biblical studies, and also cricket!
Contributers are largely those associated with Bristol Baptist College (Steve Finamore, Brian Haymes, Simon Woodman, Mike Pears, Rob Ellis) and also from Trinity College (the Bristol Anglican college in partnership) - Gordon Wenham, John Bimson, Knut Heim. Alongside this are chapters by Paul Fiddes, Elaine Storkey and Robert White (Professor of Geophysics at Cambridge).
The chapters are stimulating and diverse, some providing exegetical studies of the Psalms, Job and Proverbs, others exploring the area of the environment in relation to poverty, and to discipleship. Paul Fiddes brings the biblical wisdom tradition into conversation with healthcare. Brian Haymes asks the wonderful question 'Does Ernest Lucas know what he is talking about?' in a study of knowledge and belief.
The added gem to this collection are a series of prayers by Sian Murray-Williams - a prayer follows each chapter, picking up the theme and shaping it into prayer. These are honest, funny, challenging and a demonstration of how to bring the whole of life - and in particular the academic endeavour - to God.
The book is a worthy testimony to Ernest Lucas, who whilst retired from teaching, we hope hasn't retired from writing and research. At £15 the book is well worth reading. Copies can be obtained through contacting Bristol Baptist College or here.