A New University of Divinity in Australia

The following notice appeared today in the Victorian Government Gazette:

Education and Training Reform Act 2006

1. Authority : This notice is issued pursuant to section 4.3.30(1) of the Education and Training Reform
Act 2006.

2. Definitions
Melbourne College of Divinity means the Melbourne College of Divinity continued as a body corporate under the Melbourne College of Divinity Act 1910.

3.    Approval of institution to operate as a University
Pursuant to section 4.3.30(1) of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) approves the Melbourne College of Divinity to operate as a specialised university under the specialised title of ‘MCD University of Divinity’.

4.    Period of approval:The approval herein remains in force for 5 years commencing on 1 January 2012.

The common seal of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority was hereunto affixed on the 25th day of August 2011 as authorized by it pursuant to section 4.2.1(3) of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.

What this means is that, subject to the veto of the Victorian Parliament, what was formerly the Melbourne College of Divinity has been given permission to operate as a Specialist University within the Australian Higher Education System. Like RMIT University, the new name is made up of the familiar acronymn, but the lack of a specific mention of the word 'Melbourne' indicates that this development aims to secure the national and international profile of the new University. The history and background to this important decision is outlined well by Andrew McGowan here.

If you didn't know already, I teach for a College, within an ecumenical teaching institution within what will now be a University. This is a historic day for the MCD, and all associated with the application for Specialist University status are to be congratulated on securing this outcome.

Death of C. K. Barrett

This news from Jimmy Dunn, via Steve Walton

You will be saddened to hear that Kingsley Barrett, my predecessor, died last night (6.30 pm, 26.08.11) – aged 94. He was the greatest UK commentator on NT texts since J. B. Lightfoot, and much loved by a wide range of Methodist chapels to which he ministered for about 60 years. He will be much missed, but his commentaries will live on for many years, providing information and insight to future generations of students of the NT.

This is sad news. Barrett's commentary on John was one of the first books I bought on entering Bristol Baptist College in 1986 (see Jim's post here for a characteristically elegaic meditation on the importance of this work). I still remember carrying it back from the SPCK bookshop on Park Street along with a copy of Kümmel's NT Introduction.

A New Role: Editor of Pacifica

Today I received formal notification that I have been appointed as the new editor of the Australasian theological journal, Pacifica, commencing in 2011.  I am delighted to have the opportunity to take on this role, following in the impressive footsteps of Brendan Byrne SJ who has occupied it for 12 years. Pacifica is one of the, if not the, most significant theological journal published in Australia (it has recently been awarded an 'A' rating in the Excellence in Research in Australia journal rankings thus placing it alongside such other journals as Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Novum Testamentum, Modern Theology and the International Journal of Systematic Theology.)

So, in due course, I will be on the look out for articles of the very best quality to sustain and enhance the reputation of Pacifica. And there is a job to be done in making sure that theological research in Australasia reaches the widest possible international scholarly audience. Watch this space for more details.


Even the opening joke was nerdy: Moses, tablet, commandments etc etc. And Apple launches in my opinion get more and more ridiculous as time goes on: far too many 'incredible…astounding…unbelievables'. But much more serious is the fact that they have decided to make their new Tablet computer a beefed up IPhone rather than a keyboardless MacBook. This means, among other things, being entirely locked into the App Store for applications. In other words, its fine for playing, but not for working. Time will tell if it becomes the new Cube. I can't wait for Charlie Brooker's review.

Initial review here, but read the comments as well for a more critical appraisal. Oh, and I speak as a Mac user of 11 years, typing on a MacBook Pro with an IPhone in my pocket.

Christmas Message

I know that a number of Australian and UCA friends now read this blog from time to time. So for them, and for others, here is a typically honest Christmas Greeting from Al Macrae, President of the Uniting Church in Australia (and a mate).

A New New Testament Tutor at Northern Baptist Learning Community

Excellent news comes via the Northern Baptist Learning Community website:

New Tutor in New Testament Studies

We are absolutely delighted to announce that we have appointed a new
full-time Tutor in New Testament Studies to the Staff Team of NBLC and
to the wider teaching community of Luther King House.

He is Revd Jonathan Tallon, an anglican, currently Priest in Charge
in the Parish of Cadishead on the edge of Manchester in the direction
of Liverpool.

The Appointing Group were unanimously thrilled in making this
appointment. Jonathan presented himself as a person who will bring
freshness and real strength to our staff team. He is an experienced
minister, who has served in a variety of challenging contexts, very
much committed to mission and ministry. He has excellent academic and
teaching skills, currently working on his PhD in the University of
Manchester, and already very much involved on the regional teaching
programme of the SNWTP in which we share.

Jonathan will take up the appointment on 1st November 2009, beginning teaching in earnest in the second semester.

Please rejoice with us in this appointment, praying for Jonathan and his family as they begin to negotiate a demanding move.

Richard Kidd and Anne Phillips
(Co-Principals of NBLC)

Graham Stanton

Stanton The world of New Testament scholarship has lost another of its key figures in Graham Stanton who died last week after a long illness (thanks to Mark and Mike for the news).  I never really knew Professor Stanton, although somewhere I still have a letter from him after I had made an enquiry about postgraduate study at King's College.  For me his outstanding works are the collected essays on Matthew in A Gospel for a New People and those gathered in the more recent Jesus and Gospel.  The opening essay in the latter volume is the best available treatment of the background and usage of εὐαγγέλιον in the New Testament.  He was working on the Galatians commentary for the ICC series, and we will have to wait to see whether that volume can be issued under his name.  Professor Stanton was also instrumental in establishing the British New Testament Society (formerly Conference) along with Jimmy Dunn.  He always struck me as an incredibly humble and kind man, whose scholarship (as with many of his predecessors in the Lady Margaret Chair at Cambridge) was best expressed in careful and judicious essays that will still be consulted in generations to come.