Recent publications from the University of Divinity research community

The University of Divinity research community recently gathered online for the annual Research Conference. During the conference, we celebrated publications written by our academics, honorary researchers and HDR students that had been published in the last 12 months (since the previous Research Conference). We invite you to explore the publications below.

The Fault Lines Founding Liberty

Sarah Bacaller 

The Fault Lines Founding Liberty explores the tensions inherent in growing up and moving on from faith, family, and past versions of ourselves. With unanswered questions and hovering guilt, a young woman comes to confront the specters of her past through dialogue with an unexpected companion. This process is as uncomfortable as it is transformative. Freedom is discovered not by eliminating life’s loose ends nor running away from them, but in gathering them bravely and continuing to put one foot in front of the other despite everything–a process made hopeful in the solidarity of unexpected friendship.

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“Hegel and Vocation: Beyond a Sacred–Secular Divide”

Chapter of Transforming Vocation

Sarah Bacaller

There has been an explosion of publishing in the faith-work movement in the last twenty years. Work is increasingly seen as the new frontier for Christian mission. However, the church and theological colleges have failed to keep up with the interest among, and needs of, workplace Christians. This book is the urgent corrective that is needed, moving past Theology of Work 101 to much deeper encounters with God’s word as it relates to daily work. These twelve academic papers look at work through three different lenses: the workplace, the church, and theological education. It is prefaced by Mark Greene from the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, reflecting on what work, church, and theological education would look like if there was no sacred-secular divide.

This chapter asks whether the use of an oppositional hermeneutic in positing sacred and secular realms is helpful for Christian self-understanding, particularly in the narratives used within contemporary Christian communities. It explores potential dynamics and implications present in making use of such a point of reference through three theological forays, which draw on the work of G. W. F. Hegel.

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God Has Chosen: The Doctrine of Election Through Christian History

Mark Lindsay

Among the traditional tenets of the Christian faith is the belief that God chooses or elects people for salvation. For some Christians, such an affirmation is an indication of God’s sovereign and perfect will. For others, such a notion is troubling for it seems to downplay the significance of human agency and choice. Throughout the church’s history, Christians have sought to understand the meaning of relevant biblical texts and debated this theological conundrum.

With care and insight, theologian Mark Lindsay surveys the development of the Christian doctrine of election. After exploring Scripture on this theme, he turns to the various articulations of this doctrine from the early church fathers, including Augustine, and medieval theologians such as Aquinas, to John Calvin’s view, the subsequent debate between Calvinists and Arminians, Karl Barth’s modern re-conception of the doctrine, and reflections on election in the shadow of the Holocaust.

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Contemporary Feminist Theologies: Power, Authority, Love

Co-edited by Kerrie Handasyde, Cathryn McKinney and Rebekah Pryor.

This book explores the issues of power, authority and love with current concerns in the Christian theological exploration of feminism and feminist theology. It addresses its key themes in three parts: (1) power deals with feminist critiques, (2) authority unpacks feminist methodologies, and (3) love explores feminist ethics. Covering issues such as embodiment, intersectionality, liberation theologies, historiography, queer approaches to hermeneutics, philosophy and more, it provides a multi-layered and nuanced appreciation of this important area of theological thought and practice.

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Tragic Novels, René Girard and the American Dream

Sacrifice In Suburbia

Carly Osborn

This book draws on the philosopher René Girard to argue that three twentieth-century American novels (Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides, Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm, and Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road) are tragedies.

Until now, Girardian literary analysis has generally focused on representations of human desire in texts, and neglected both other emotions and the place of tragedy. Carly Osborn addresses these omissions by using Girardian theory to present evidence that novels can indeed be tragedies. The book advances the scholarship of tragedy that has run from Aristotle to Nietzsche to Terry Eagleton, proposing a new way to read modern novels through ancient traditions. In addition, this is the first work to examine the place of women as victims, or in Girardian terms, ‘scapegoats’, in twentieth century fiction, specifically by considering the representation of women’s bodies and ambivalence about their identities.

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A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia

Katharine Massam

A Bridge Between is the first account of the Benedictine women who worked at New Norcia and the first book-length exploration of twentieth-century life in the Western Australian mission town. From the founding of a grand school intended for ‘nativas’, through links to Mexico and Paraguay then Ireland, India and Belgium, as well as to their house in the Kimberley, and a network of villages near Burgos in the north of Spain, this is a complex international history.

A Bridge Between gathers a powerful, fragmented story from the margin of the archive, recalling the Aboriginal women who joined the community in the 1950s and the compelling reunion of missionaries and former students in 2001. By tracing the all-but forgotten story of the community of Benedictine women who were central to the experience of the mission for many Aboriginal families in the twentieth-century this book lays a foundation for further work.

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Towards a Just and Ecologically Sustainable Peace

Navigating the Great Transition

Deborah Guess

This book develops a holistic approach to countering violence that integrates notions of peace, justice and care of the Earth. It is unique. It does not stop with the move toward articulating ‘Just Peace’ as a human concern but probes the mindset needed for the shift to a ‘Just and Ecologically Sustainable Peace’. It explores the values and principles that can guide this shift, theoretically and in practice.

The book is international in scope and grounded in the reality of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific context. The book brings together important insights drawn from the Indigenous relationship to land, ecological feminism, ecological philosophy, the social sciences more generally, and a range of religious and non-religious cosmologies.

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Visualising Britain’s Holy Land in the Nineteenth Century

Amanda Burritt

This book demonstrates the complexity of nineteenth-century Britain’s engagement with Palestine and its surrounds through the conceptual framing of the region as the Holy Land. British engagement with the region of the Near East in the nineteenth century was multi-faceted, and part of its complexity was exemplified in the powerful relationship between developing and diverse Protestant theologies, visual culture and imperial identity. Britain’s Holy Land was visualised through pictorial representation which helped Christians to imagine the land in which familiar Bible stories took place. This book explores ways in which the geopolitical Holy Land was understood as embodying biblical land, biblical history and biblical typology. Through case studies of three British artists, David Roberts, David Wilkie and William Holman Hunt, this book provides a nuanced interpretation of some of the motivations, religious perspectives, attitudes and behaviours of British Protestants in their relationship with the Near East at the time.

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(Chapters in) Beauty and Christian Tradition

Xiaoli Yang

Beauty and Tradition was the theme of the Biennial Conference on Philosophy, Religion and Culture held at the Catholic Institute of Sydney in November 2018.

This volume contains a selection of papers from the Conference that well address the theme from a variety of points of view—religious and non-religious, cultural, analytic and speculative.

The aim of the Conference is to bring together academics and graduate students from secular universities and theological colleges to discuss and share perspectives on themes of significance for the whole community. The Conference has shown that on both sides—religious and secular—there is room for meetings and conversations that are more spiritually broad and culturally informed.

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(Chapters in) Spiritual Direction Down Under: Plumbing New Depths in Spiritual Awareness

Xiaoli Yang

Companioning at the Edges is the title of a new book recently published by Melbourne’s WellSpring Centre. The book, which explores new dimensions of spiritual direction/companioning, contains fourteen essays written by Australian spiritual direction practitioners.

WellSpring Director, Rev Ann Lock, writes, “Imagine a book for people yearning to companion each other in deepening their experiences of life. A book for companions who may be spiritual directors, for those with diverse spiritual perspectives and care practitioners in the wider community. Imagine that it tells the story of the valuable role spiritual companioning/direction has in responding to the needs of our society and impacting our broader world.’’

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The Holy Bible and the Afterlife Literary Classics of Emanuel Sweedenborg (1688-1772)

Ruwan Palapathwala 

TS Eliot begins his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” by arguing that the poets’ treatment of their position withing ht ehistoric context of literature is that determines the talent. No author is independent and the later the prophets of intertextuality also ratified this contention. How are the prominent writers of the world influenced by the Holy Books?. Scholars from different parts of the world assembled in Kaula Lumpur to postulate their views on theis topic. This is a complilation of articles presented at this international conference – eighth in the series of intertextuality seminars related to Holy Books.

The Ministry of Women in the New Testament

Dorothy Lee

This book explores the role and status of women in the New Testament writings: the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, the Pauline school, and the other NT texts. It also ventures into the early church and into theological arguments against women’s ordination, drawing on views from across the ecumenical spectrum. Overall the book argues that there is plentiful evidence of women’s ministry and leadership within the New Testament world and early church, and therefore no historical or theological obstacle to women’s full participation in ministry in the life of the church.

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Copts in Modernity

Elizabeth Agaiby

Copts in Modernity presents a collection of essays – many of which contain unpublished archival material – showcasing historical and contemporary aspects pertaining to the Coptic Orthodox Church. The volume covers three main themes: The first theme, History, gathers studies that look back to the nineteenth and late eighteenth centuries to understand the realities of the twentieth and twenty-first; the second theme, Education, Leadership and Service, explores the role of religious education in the revival of the Church and how Coptic religious principles influenced the ideas of leadership and service that resulted in the Church’s spiritual revival; and the third theme, Identity and Material Culture, draws upon a broad range of material and visual culture to exemplify the role they play in creating and recreating identities. This volume brings together the work of senior and early career scholars from Australia, Europe, Egypt, and the United States.

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Mapping Migration, Mapping Churches’ Responses in Europe: ‘Being Church Together’

Darrell Jackson and Alessia Passarelli

The first edition of Mapping Migration, Mapping Churches’ Responses in Europe in 2008 came at the request of the World Council of Churches for a study describing migration to Europe. A second Edition was published in early 2016.

This third Edition, in addition to updating the statistical data, also looks at how migration is changing the reality of churches in Europe. The new patterns of Christian churches, captured by the strapline ‘being church together’ or ‘uniting in diversity’, demonstrate a refreshing and renewing diversity that challenges notions about the very terminology of ‘migrant church’. This study asks at what point that notion becomes discriminatory and offensive. The original research and reflection contained in this third edition is a useful and revealing addition to the previous two editions.

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The Suffering of God in the Eternal Decree: A Critical Study of Karl Barth on Election

Nixon de Vera

This book seeks to unpack the evolution of Barth’s understanding of God’s suffering in Jesus Christ in the light of election. The interconnectedness of election, crucifixion, and (im)passibility is explored, in order to ask whether the suffering of Christ is also a statement about the Trinity.

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