Theology and Apocalyptic Sessions at the 2015 AAR/SBL

The ‘Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic’ group is pleased to announce a programme of two sessions to take place as ‘additional meetings’ once again this year during the annual meeting of the AAR/SBLin Atlanta.

I/ Saturday, November 21st, 6:30 – 8:30 (Lenox Room at the Hyatt Regency )s200_samuel.adams

A Book Discussion Panel on Samuel V. Adams, The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N.T. Wright (forthcoming 2015, Inter-Varsity Press).

  • Grant Macaskill (University of Aberdeen)
  • Chris Tilling (St Mellitus College, London)
  • Joshua B. Davis (Birmingham, AL)
  • Samuel V. Adams (Kilns College), responding
  • Justin Klassen (Bellarmine University), presiding

II / Sunday, November 22nd, 6:30 – 8:30 (Room 213 at the Hilton Downtown)

The Place of Divine Judgement in an Apocalyptic Theology: A Panel SessionNiklaus 1846 divine judgement

  • Ry Siggelkow (Princeton Theological Seminary),  ‘The Harrowing of Hell: Ernst Käsemann’s Theology of Divine Judgement’
  • Christopher C. Brittain (University of Aberdeen), ‘Disaster and Apocalyptic Theology–On Divine Judgement and Meaning’
  • Evan F. Kuehn (University of Chicago, Divinity School), ‘The Judgement of God in Christ: A Proposal for an Apocalyptic Account of God-forsakenness’
  • Scott Prather (Jackson Free Press), ‘Apocalypse and Apathy’
  • Christopher Holmes (Otago University), presiding

Updates on the programme will be posted here in due course. Details of these sessions will also appear eventually in the AAR programme book in the ‘additional meetings’ section.

J Louis Martyn (1925-2015)

J Louis Martyn_1980s photo bw

Beverly Gaventa (Baylor) has penned a memorial tribute to Lou Martyn which can be read on the SBL webpage here.

There is also a notice from the President of Union Theological Seminary, Serene Jones, which you’ll find here.

Fleming Rutledge has also written this memorial reflection here.

Joel Marcus (Duke) offers his own personal reflections on Martyn’s life and work here on Mark Goodacre’s NT blog.


(photo credit: Fleming Rutledge)

Call for Papers — ‘The Place of Divine Judgement in an Apocalyptic Theology’, AAR / SBL November 2015

divine judgement

     Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic

      AAR 2015 (Atlanta, November 21st – 24th)

      ‘The Place of Divine Judgement in an Apocalyptic Theology’

      A Call for Papers



 Continuing our explorations in theology and apocalyptic, we invite proposals for short papers (20-25 minutes in length) investigating the place, shape, task and substance of an account of divine judgment in an apocalyptic Christian theology.  Does an apocalyptic orientation in Christian life and thought demand any particular approach to the matter of divine judgment? How might an apocalyptic theology hear and be shaped by the cardinal biblical texts that bespeak the last judgment?  What role should divine judgment play in an apocalyptic soteriology? What transformations would be required to republish traditional dogmatic accounts of divine judgment in an contemporary ‘apocalyptic key’? Are there particular resources in the theological tradition which ought to inform and guide contemporary reflection on this theme?

Proposals should be no more than 300 words in length, and must be accompanied by a brief single-page CV.

Proposals should be sent to Philip Ziegler:

All proposals must be received by April 30th, 2015

Special SBL Session: Paul and the Apocalyptic Imagination (S21 – 201)

Here’s an invitation to folks who are interested to attend this special session on the Friday afternoon just before the start of the SBL/AAR meeting dedicated to exploring ‘Paul and the Apocalyptic Imagination’.  The event has been organised by New Testament scholars Paul Maston, Ben Blackwell and John Goodrich.  It promises to be a very rich afternoon.  Full details follow:

st.-paul-with-swordFriday, November 21, 2014
12:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Room: 300 A (Level 3 (Aqua)) – Hilton Bayfront (HB)
Across various branches of biblical and theological study, there is a renewed interest in ‘apocalyptic’. This development is seen particularly in the study of Paul’s theology, where it is now widely agreed that Paul promotes an ‘apocalyptic theology’. However, there is little agreement on what this means. Scholars from different perspectives have, as a result, continued to talk past each other. This special session provides an opportunity for leading Pauline scholars from different perspectives to engage in discussion about the meaning of Paul as an apocalyptic thinker. Indeed, one of the strengths and aims of this event is that different and opposing views are set next to each other. The session will hopefully bring greater clarity to the ‘apocalyptic’ reading of Paul by providing much needed definition to central terms and interpretive approaches and by highlighting both their strengths and weaknesses.

Session 1
Jason Maston, Highland Theological College, Presiding

Jason Maston, Highland Theological College, Welcome (5 min)
M. C. de Boer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – VU University Amsterdam
Apocalyptic as Eschatological Activity (25 min)
N.T. Wright, University of St. Andrews
Apocalyptic as Sudden Fulfilment of Divine Promise (25 min)
Loren Stuckenbruck, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Apocalypticism in Second Temple Judaism (25 min)
Philip Ziegler, University of Aberdeen
Apocalypticism in Modern Theology (25 min)
Discussion (15 min)
Break (15 min)
Session 2
Ben Blackwell, Houston Baptist University, Presiding
Michael Gorman, Saint Mary’s Seminary and University
The Apocalyptic New Covenant and the Shape of Life in the Spirit (25 min)
Edith Humphrey, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Apocalypse as Theoria in Paul: A New Perspective on Apocalyptic as Mother of Theology (25 min)
Douglas Campbell, Duke University
Paul’s Apocalyptic Epistemology (25 min)
Beverly Gaventa, Baylor University
Romans 9–11: An Apocalyptic Reading (25 min)
John Barclay, University of Durham
Apocalyptic Investments: First Corinthians 7 and Pauline Ethics (25 min)
Discussion (20 min)
Word of Thanks, Book Promotion, and Adjournment: John Goodrich, Moody Bible Institute

Theology and Apocalyptic at the 2014 AAR: Session Two

Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic

AAR 2014 (San Diego, November 22nd – 25th)

A Book Panel to Discuss 

Stanislas Breton’s, A Radical Philosophy of Saint Paul (Stanford University Press, 2011)

Sunday, November 24th, 6:30-8:00


Gaslamp Room 3 at the Omni Hotel

Our panellists will explore Breton’s suggestive book. We hope you will be able to join in this conversation.


  •   Travis Kroeker, McMaster University 
  •   Alexandra Brown, Washington and Lee University
  •   Justin Klassen, Bellarmine University

  Presiding: Doug Harink, The King’s University College

Theology and Apocalyptic at the 2014 AAR: Session One

joachim of fiore

Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic

AAR 2014 (San Diego, November 22nd – 25th)

 Is “Apocalyptic Dogmatics” Possible?

Saturday, November 23rd, 6:30-9:00


Gaslamp Room 2 at the Omni Hotel

Does an apocalyptic orientation in Christian life and thought subvert the very idea of dogmatic theology? If so, why and how? Or, might an apocalyptic orientation open up the possibility of doing dogmatic theology differently? If so, what impact would such orientation to apocalyptic have upon the shape, content, style and performance of dogmatics. Are there unexplored avenues and untapped resources that might contribute to such a project? Are there historical or current exemplars that might usefully guide it?

Our panellists and respondent will variously explore such questions to open up the conversation.

  • Derek Taylor (Duke University Divinity School): Theology as if Christ Speaks: Bonhoeffer’s Response to the Deafening Power of Dogmatics
  • Matt Burdette (University of Aberdeen): History is Altogether Unnecessary: Apocalyptic Theology and Robert Jenson’s Account of Divine Transcendence
  • Daniel Rhodes (Loyola University Chicago): Beyond Contemplation: The Possibility of Apocalyptic Political Orthodoxy
  • Christopher Holmes (University of Otago): Some First Principles of an Apocalyptic Dogmatics

Presiding: Philip G. Ziegler (University of Abderdeen)

Upcoming Sessions at the AAR/SBL: Friday Afternoon Workshop

Perspectives old, new, and apocalyptic on Paul, and the shape of dogmatic theology.

Douglas Harink, The King’s University College, Edmonton

M22-208Harink headshot
Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic
Friday – 1:30 PM-3:30 PM
Convention Center: CC 311

Once again this year we will begin our activities during the AAR/SBL with a workshop session on Friday afternoon.  In a change to the previously advertised programme, Doug Harink will be presenting a working paper exploring the implications of recent Pauline scholarship for dogmatics.  The paper will be followed by a time of open conversation concerning the questions and issues prompted by the paper.  You are all most welcome to attend. Here is an abstract of the paper:

  • Within Protestant theology the interpretation of Paul, and more specifically of the Letter to the Romans, has had a determinative influence on the shape of dogmatic and systematic theology. The contours of the theology of the “Lutheran” interpretation of Paul have provided the basic outline for presentations of Christian doctrine from Melanchthon, Calvin, and Lutheran and Calvinist scholasticism, up to the present day. In this paper I ask what the “New Perspective on Paul” has to contribute to the form and content of dogmatic/systematic theology, suggesting that it at least should cause us to place some themes at the heart of dogmatic theology that have previously been left on the fringe or outside of systems of doctrine. I conclude with an argument that an “apocalyptic” reading of Paul, and specifically Romans, has the capacity to take up, redefine, and discipline the contributions of both the “Lutheran” and “New Perspective” interpretations, while at the same time conceiving the shape of dogmatic theology differently. I am in conversation with the works of Stephen Westerholm, J. D. G. Dunn, J. Louis Martyn, Douglas Campbell, and Karl Barth.

Upcoming Sessions at the AAR/SBL 2013: Book Panel on ‘Outlaw Justice: The Messianic Politcs of Paul’

Once again this year we are glad to host a panel session to engage with the author of a recent book which touches on themes close to the heart of the work of our group.  We are very grateful to Ted Jennings (Chicago Theological Seminary) who will join us to discuss his most recent book, Outlaw Justice: The Messianic Politics of Paul (Standford University Press, 2013).  We hope to see you there!

Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic
Saturday – 6:30 PM-9:00 PM
Renaissance Harborplace-Kent 

Kaitlyn Dugan (Curator, Center for Barth Studies, Princeton Theological Seminary)

Beverly Gaventa, (Distinguished Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Baylor University)

Arne Rasmusson (Professor of Systematic Theology, Gothenburg University, Sweden)

Gordon Zerbe (Professor of New Testament, Canadian Mennonite University)


Theodore Jennings (Professor of Biblical and Constructive Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary)


Joshua B. Davis, (Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology The General Theological Seminary, NYC)

Upcoming Sessions at the 2013 AAR/SBL: ‘One Church: Holy, Catholic and Apocalyptic’

We are pleased to announce that at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (Baltimore, MD, November 23-26, 2013) alongside our additional meetings we will host a Wildcard Session as part of the regularly scheduled conference.


Sunday, November 24th, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Convention Center-342
Continuing the work of the ‘Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic’ group which has previously convened as an additional meeting in recent years, this session focuses upon the doctrine of the church as a particularly neuralgic point of contemporary Christian theology and explores various possibilities for drawing upon apocalyptic discourse and modes of thought to advance, re-frame and creatively shift current ecclesiological debates. Four invited panelists engage this task by asking, from varied perspectives and with differing concerns, about the ‘difference apocalyptic makes’ to contemporary theological understandings of the church’s witness and mission, its institutional forms, its sacramental life and practice, and the manner and horizon of its political engagements. What light might renewed attention to the apocalyptic character of the Christian gospel shed upon enduring questions of the unity, particularity, catholicity and historic continuity of Christian communities?
  • Dr Philip Ziegler (University of Aberdeen), Presiding
  • Dr. Joseph Mangina (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto):   If It’s a Symbol, To Hell With It: Apocalyptic and Transubstantiation
The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist demands consideration of the bodily character of God’s Selbstmitteilung. Christ’s self-gift in the Eucharist is the gift of his body. A good theology of real presence will uphold both the gift-aspect and the bodily-aspect. Setting the Eucharist in an explicitly apocalyptic frame of reference aids in this endeavour. Theologies of real presence often betray dualist assumptions, but if the Eucharist is apocalyptically given, such unhealthy dualisms can be overcome. Since Christ is the reality manifest in the Eucharist, the sacrament can be thought on analogy with the incarnation. George Hunsinger’s recent creative proposal for thinking about real presence has much to recommend it,but I argue that a more properly apocalyptic doctrine of real presence is in fact provided by transubstantiation, carefully understood, with its strong kinship to the doctrine of creation ex nihilo. Important ecumenical and ecclesiological consequences follow.
  • Dr. Susan Eastman (Duke University Divinity School):   One Church Holy and Apocalyptic?

Does appeal to apocalyptic trump ‘apostolic’ as a descriptor of the church? This paper explores the points of tension and of contact between descriptions of the church as apostolic and as apocalyptic. Insofar as ‘apostolic’ signals an overriding concern to protect the church’s identity through an institutionally protective and unbroken stream of tradition and leadership, apocalyptic descriptors of the church represent a profound interruption and disruption of such self-description. Insofar, however, as the meaning of ‘apostolic’ is drawn from the force of the Greek — ‘sent out’ — the church as apocalyptic must indeed be apostolic. In this sense, the word ‘apostolic’ conveys the church’s union with Christ in Christ’s redemptive incursion into human history existence without remainder and without exception.

  • Dr. Chris Huebner (Canadian Mennonite University): The Apocalyptic Body of Christ? Reflections on Yoder and Apocalyptic Theology
  The work of John Howard Yoder figures prominently among many of those who represent the so-called “apocalyptic turn” in recent theology. And yet among the many themes that are said to identify Yoder as a fellow apocalyptic thinker, one theme about which there seems to be comparative silence is his understanding of the body. This paper sets out to explore that silence. In doing so, it investigates two questions: first, Is Yoder’s understanding of the body in tension with other aspects of his work that might be characterized as more properly apocalyptic? Or, second, can we find in Yoder an account of the apocalyptic body that might serve to enrich recent discussions about apocalyptic theology?
  • Mr. Ry O. Siggelkow (PhD Candidate, Princeton Theological Seminary): The Transgression of the Integrity of the Church
Post-Yoderian political theology concentrates upon preserving the church’s distinctive public identity vis-à-vis modern political formations claiming that previous ways of thinking about the church’s relationship to politics owe too much to Troeltsch and the liberal Protestant establishment. Convinced that political theology has too often acquiesced to the norms of modern secular politics, such theology redirects Christian theological attention away from the modern nation-state and onto the church’s tradition and core practices. The church and its liturgy are not only the site for the formation of Christian virtue, but also in themselves and as such constitute Christian political action. Drawing on the work of Käsemann, MacKinnon, and Yoder I argue that this “turn to the church” in political theology can re-inscribe the very Constantinian logic it seeks to resist and suggest that an account of the church framed by an apocalyptic theologia crucis provides the necessary corrective.

James Cone Panel Session Papers now published

  For those of you who were unable to squeeze into the room last November in Chicago  to take in our panel discussion of Prof. James Cone’s most recent book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Orbis Press) — as well as for those who were — I’m glad to announce that all the panelists’ remarks together with Prof. Cone’s response have just been published as a ‘Book Forum’ in the July 2013 issue of Theology Today.  

It’s a spirited and enlightening exchange that well repays reading!