Wycliffe Scripture and Theology Colloquium - May 18-19, 2012
Thursday June 7th, 2012
The Scripture-intensive focus of Wycliffe College was on full display at the biannual Scripture and Theology Colloquium on May 18 and 19, 2012. Organized by the Wycliffe Centre for Scripture and Theology, The Colloquium expolored the possibilites and tensions of theological exegesis in an age often marked by a division between historical-critical and text-critical analysis on the one hand and philosophical and theological exploration on the other. The first day saw contributions from scholars who reflected on Pope Benedict XVI's two-volumne meditation on Jesus of Nazareth, which self-consciously seeks to reconcile historical, doctrinal and moral questions in relation to each other. World-renowned New Testament scholar David Trobisch centred his critique on Benedict's treatment of text-critical questions, arguing that the Pope did not adequately account for variants between the synoptic texts and overemphasized the Johannine Jesus at the expense of the synoptic portrayals. Joseph Mangina, Wycliffe's own professor of systematic theology, lauded Benedict's ventures in themes of Eucharistic sacrifice and its moral implications as well as the Pope's facility with ecumentical conversation partners. However, (and perhaps conversely to Dr. Trobisch's contribution) Dr. Mangina expressed concern that Benedict's inclusion of historical-critical questions caused him to lean toward a demythologized and possibly realized eschatology in the treatment of Jesus' so-called "Apocalyptic Discourse" (e.g. Mark 13). Wycliffe New Testament professor Terry Donaldson brought his "irenic" mindset to bear in examining both text-critical and theological questions, as well as Benedict's integrative methodology in general. Finally, Father Gilles Mongeau, SJ, theology professor at TST-member Regis College, resonded to the concerns of the Protestant presenters by pointing to the implications of Benedict's post-Vatican II Augustinian methodology, which explicityly calls for the integeration of historical questions to a broader theological argument.
The second day of the Colloquium featured papers by Wycliffe doctoral students on various topics of theological interpretation of Scripture. Spencer Boersma discussed Bonaventure's use of the "tree of life" image in Christological reading of Scripture, and Sean Otto examined John Wycliffe's more "minimalist" reading of Mary Magdalene episodes in light of other medieval commentaries that link these episodes to the Sacrament of Penance. David Ney traced contemporary debates over literal and historical-critical interpretation to the emergence of these debates in eighteenth-century England; and Jeff Boldt presented his own Christological interpretation of the sacrificial shepherd employing themes relating Matthew 27 to Zechariah 11.
In the work of both professors and students, and through the ministry of the Wycliffe Centre for Scripture and Theology, "the Word endures" at Wycliffe College.
By: Matthew Neugebauer, a TST Advanced Degree student, and a Wycliffe Graduate.