Whitley Lecture: Manchester

Last night I was able to deliver the Whitley lecture on home turf here at Luther King House.  The turnout was fantastic – about 90 people on a Tuesday evening for an academic lecture is pretty good in my view.  Yes, some of them were students (who had to be there) and friends (who felt they ought to be there), but I was especially pleased to see a number of others from local churches.  Pride of place must go to the delegation from Heywood Baptist Church (10 in all) who even hurried to finish a birthday curry to get here on time … just.  Friends from my own church at Didsbury were also kind enough to attend, as was Richard from Sub Ratione Dei.

The lecture went well, this time accompanied by some slides to help people to follow the argument.  The key challenge was to try to deliver things in such a way that those without much formal theological training could nonetheless see the gist of the argument and, importantly, begin to think through some of the implications.  I hope I managed to to this.  The questions afterwards were interesting: what do we know about Jesus’ own handling of scripture? (answer: very little in my view); can we draw a distinction between interpretations that are diverse but complementary and interpretations that are diverse but contradictory? (answer: yes we do make those distinctions, but on the basis of our location in an interpretive tradition that provides the necessary criteria); where are the boundaries for interpretation (answer: my usual answer, that we create them within a tradition, but they are always finite and partial).

There were other questions, and further discussion afterwards – but overall it was a good event.  Thanks to all who came along to listen.