Bagster’s Bibles: for Norwich and the world

Last weekend, I happened upon a melancholy Twitter thread that captured the closing of a two-hundred-year-old church in Norwich: Princes Street United Reformed Church. The author, Jay Hulme (@JayHulmePoet), had gone to photograph the building as a record for posterity, a day before the pews and fittings were due to be stripped out. (You can read and see Jay’s account here.)

One of the outcomes of this visit is that a small collection of books, mostly bibles, found piled on a windowsill has now gone to the Norfolk Heritage Centre for safe-keeping. Looking carefully, with input from friends and the local church minister, Jay had identified several books belonging to the Colman family—famed for their mustard. One of these was a copy of Samuel Bagster’s “English Version of the Polyglot Bible”, heavily annotated by its owner—Ethel Mary Colman Continue reading Bagster’s Bibles: for Norwich and the world

The best translation?

What’s the best bible translation? I recall being asked this question a couple of years ago, following a talk on Luther’s language. I’m not sure exactly how I answered. I know I probably said to read more than one version. (There is no such thing as a perfect translation.) I may have also acknowledged that for those studying academically, the NRSV tends to be the recommended port of call. I have a suspicion I also recommended a volume Athalya Brenner put together, that presents insights into contemporary biblical scholarship through the voices of biblical women. It turns the notion of translation upside down, and sometimes we need that level of freshness.

Continue reading The best translation?

Embracing Early Modern Biblical Studies

Last year, I wrote about the prospects of a new network in Early Modern Biblical Studies. Two weeks today, scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds will gather in Sheffield for a workshop to think about ways to take that vision forward.

In advance of that workshop, I’ve invited those with an interest in the field to fill out a survey to help determine our priorities. This is proving a really useful way to capture ideas and think about how best to direct our collective energies. Continue reading Embracing Early Modern Biblical Studies

EMBerS: Glowing prospects for network in Early Modern Biblical Studies

Two years ago, Richard Wistreich gave a lecture and masterclass as part of a Visiting Speaker series at the University of Sheffield. This was during my stint as Coordinator for the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies (SCEMS). At dinner after the lecture, I discovered Richard’s son-in-law is a fellow biblical scholar (and friend).* Richard quizzed me over the absence of biblical studies in the Society for Renaissance Studies (of which he is Vice Chair). Where, he wanted to know, are all the early modern biblical studies scholars? And how do we get them to RenSoc?

Continue reading EMBerS: Glowing prospects for network in Early Modern Biblical Studies

Towards a doctorate

The early days of my doctoral research were quickly disrupted: I arrived in the Department of Biblical Studies just as the University announced its intent to close it. That step was forestalled, and I had a small role in shaping what became the new Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS). Continue reading Towards a doctorate

Theologian

To my undergraduate peers, I was a “Theologian”. This (and I guess still is) was the standard shorthand for those pursuing a degree in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Cambridge. It felt like an odd label, and only two of my fifteen module choices contained “Theology” in the title. Continue reading Theologian